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Sunday, November 1, 2020

Beloved, this is a long post, but necessary. Lessons from the Wilderness, Vol. 32, A special Series: A Study in Revelation, Part Eight...

 ©2020 David E Robinson, At the Gates of Yerushalayim Ministries

 

A Special series:

 Lessons from the Wilderness, Volume 32

  …A Study in Revelation… Part 8

A Search for the Truth at the end of the Age

αποκαλυψις ιησου χριστου

(The Revelation of Yeshua the Messiah) [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]





We left off last time after discussing how we are to check ourselves in the faith using 1 John. Now let us see why that is so important.

Unless you are dealing with your sin, there is no agonizing going on.  Are you expecting a quick victory over the flesh?  Stop.  It took us years to get this messed up – it takes Yahveh whatever time it takes to conform us to the image of His son.  So, what if it seems you are progressing slowly?  So, what if it takes 25 years?  Maybe Messiah will return tomorrow – are you concerned?  Do not be if you are agonizing over your sin.  If you are not, if you think you’ve “arrived”, then perhaps you had better re-read 2 Peter 2, learn what it means and repent of your presumption.

 2 Peter 2 (CEV)

2     Sometimes false prophets spoke to the people of Israel. False teachers will also sneak in and speak harmful lies to you. But these teachers do not really belong to the Master who paid a great price for them, and they will quickly destroy themselves. 2 Many people will follow their evil ways and cause others to tell lies about the true way. 3 They will be greedy and cheat you with smooth talk. But long-ago God decided to punish them, and God does not sleep4  God did not have pity on the angels that sinned. He had them tied up and thrown into the dark pits of hell until the time of judgment. 5 And during Noah’s time, God did not have pity on the ungodly people of the world. He destroyed them with a flood, though he did save eight people, including Noah, who preached the truth.  6 God punished the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah b by burning them to ashes, and this is a warning to anyone else who wants to sin. 7-8 Lot lived right and was greatly troubled by the terrible way those wicked people were living. He was a good man, and day after day he suffered because of the evil things he saw and heard. So, the Lord rescued him. 9 This shows that the Lord knows how to rescue godly people from their sufferings and to punish evil people while they wait for the day of judgment. 10 The Lord is especially hard on people who disobey him and do not think of anything except their own filthy desires. They are reckless and proud and are not afraid of cursing the glorious beings in heaven. 11 Although angels are more powerful than these evil beings, c even the angels do not dare to accuse them to the Lord. 12 These people are no better than senseless animals that live by their feelings and are born to be caught and killed. They speak evil of things they do not know anything about. But their own corrupt deeds will destroy them. 13 They have done evil, and they will be rewarded with evil. They think it is fun to have wild parties during the day. They are immoral, and the meals they eat with you are spoiled by the shameful and selfish way they carry on. d 14 All they think about is having sex with someone else’s husband or wife. There is no end to their wicked deeds. They trick people who are easily fooled, and their minds are filled with greedy thoughts. But they are headed for trouble!  15  They have left the true road and have gone down the wrong path by following the example of the prophet Balaam. He was the son of Beor and loved what he got from being a crook. 16 But a donkey corrected him for this evil deed. It spoke to him with a human voice and made him stop his foolishness. 17 These people are like dried up water holes and clouds blown by a windstorm. The darkest part of hell is waiting for them. 18 They brag out loud about their stupid nonsense. And by being vulgar and crude, they trap people who have barely escaped from living the wrong kind of life. 19 They promise freedom to everyone. But they are merely slaves of filthy living because people are slaves of whatever controls them. 20 When they learned about our Lord and Savior Jesus Messiah, they escaped from the filthy things of this world. But they are again caught up and controlled by these filthy things, and now they are in worse shape than they were at first. 21 They would have been better off if they had never known about the right way. Even after they knew what was right, they turned their backs on the holy commandments that they were given. 22 What happened to them is just like the true saying,

“A dog will come back to lick up its own vomit.

A pig that has been washed will roll in the mud.” [6]

Only Yahveh knows the heart of man – that is why we grow, why we agonize.  Progress must be made in our sins.  We must be over-coming – for if we are in Him, we are winning.  Sin will have no place [1 John 3:6-10]. 

Let us go to Philippians 1:27-30:

 Philippians 1:27-30 (1901 ASV)

Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Messiah: that, whether I come and see you or be absent, I may hear of your state, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one soul striving for the faith of the gospel; 28 and in nothing affrighted by the adversaries: which is for them an evident token of perdition, but of your salvation, and that from God; 29 

because to you it hath been granted in the behalf of Messiah, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer in his behalf: 30 
having the same conflict which ye saw in me, and now hear to be in me. [7]28 

 We have a privilege shown to us here in Philippians 1:29.  Paul says it is “given” to us not only to believe on Messiah, but to also suffer for His sake.  “Given” here is the word (G5483) χαρίζομαι  charizomai (khar-id'-zom-ahee).   The word is a form of the root word χάρις charis (khar'-ece) – “grace”.  Indeed, one of its definitions is the giving of grace, freely given, of grace, or good will unmerited.

[Thayer Definition:

1) grace

1a) that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech

2) good will, loving-kindness, favor

2a) of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Messiah, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues

3) what is due to grace

3a) the spiritual condition of one governed by the power of divine grace

3b) the token or proof of grace, benefit

3b1) a gift of grace

3b2) benefit, bounty

4) thanks, (for benefits, services, favors), recompense, reward] [8]

 We have been “given” the privilege of suffering for Messiah.  We have the favor of Yahveh to suffer for His Son, for we have to suffer for Him, if we are true believers.  Did not Messiah tell the twelve they would suffer for His name’s sake [Matt 10:5-42]?  Did not Messiah tell them to take up their cross [Matt 16:24-28]?  Again, did He not prophesize about the fate that awaited them [Matt. 20:33]?

             We today are at ease.  O we wail and bemoan that they [the world] hold us in disdain.  They will not let us pray in school, they mock us on television, they call us intolerant, so on and so on.  US, us, us.  Always moaning about us.  Yet, how often do you hear any voices defending Messiah Yeshua? 

 From the pulpits? Maybe…

In the pews?  Maybe…

Lots of “amens”, but truly little else.

 They mock our Yahveh, our Savior, and what do we do?  We watch the same TV shows they do, we pay our money to support the blasphemers in Hollywood, to see the latest movies that are filled with sex and violence.  We allow our children to listen to music that promotes death and despair, we let them play video games that revel in mayhem.  We huff and we puff about the moral decline in our government yet vote to put the same thieves, robbers, and liars back into office that we complain about.  We do not vote the Bible, we vote personality.  We put on airs and a good show yet speak nothing to the lost about the way of life and about the sin that is killing our nation, for fear of our jobs or reputations.  Sin abounds, but all we do is turn our heads as if we do not see it and then pat ourselves on the back because we have done our duty to Yahveh by not polluting our eye gates! We drive by the unwashed and the unloved, mumble some kind of prayer for them and go on – never looking back [maybe out of fear that we just passed an angel or worse, Jesus Himself… “Hope that wasn’t you Lord…”]. Yahveh’s “people” seek to make their “churches” user friendly to get more in the door and then make the offering an unholy thing – money drives the church, not salvation. 

 “Super Apostles” come in and talk about the “Five-fold ministry”, “theocracy”, “submission”, “don’t criticize the anointed!”, and take control over their congregations' bit by bit till they turn the worship of Yahveh into a carnival.  And the world laughs at our Yahveh, defames the name of Jesus because WE DON’T KNOW HIM EITHER!

O ecclesia, my heart is breaking… O ecclesia why don’t you know Him?

                O Remnant, blessed little remnant… You know Him though, and He knows you.  You are the ones weeping, you are the ones crying out to Him in your despair at not only your sin, but the sins of the nations, and the sins of Yahveh’s people.  O that I could bear the iniquity for you all!  O if only I had the strength, but I do not!  Only Yeshua is able, only Messiah my Savior, my Peace, my Hope, my Shield, my Rock, my Lover, my Yahveh is able!

  O Jerusalem, Jerusalem!  Cry out to Him, say the words “Baruch haba HaShem Adonai!” Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! When you cry those words, He will come back! O how we need Him now! O how I ache for Him!  We weep, we plead for those to hear… Yet O remnant, you know, O You KNOW, that there are those who call themselves “believer or Christian” but serve another Messiah.  You know they call themselves “believers”, yet there is no fruit in them.  You hear the “shepherds”, yet you know they speak the easy lies, they have no truth in them.  And you weep.  You agōnizomai! And through it all, our Father in heaven counts our tears and hears our cries.

                 You read the Words of Yahveh and know that what the Word says is not what is taught in most of the congregations of today.  You speak the truth that the Holy Spirit has revealed to you and you are reviled, hated for the truth, shunned.  Yet, what else can you do?  For only by the Truth can the captive be set free, only by the Truth can the chains be broken.  Because you love Him, you speak, not to be liked, but to be faithful and obedient to the One you say you love.

                 What is the sin that so easily besets you Christian?  What sin, what affection, what emotion keeps you, believer, from speaking the Truth?  Do you love your family more than His Word?  I struggle with that.  O I do, Lord, help me with my struggle!  Do you love your reputation more than Him?  Your job?  Your place in the church?  Your “ministry”?  What so easily besets you my brethren?  Is it worth the price it may make you pay?  Can any compromise of Yahveh’s Word be worth your soul?  What is the beam in your eye?

                 Do we not realize that we are at war?  We are in a battle for the Truth, and the fight is not, brethren, with the world.  O they know the truth…  That is why they run away from it so hard and fast.  When they come up against one who knows the Truth, the spirit that controls them rears up in opposition and they spew out its’ poison.  Of this, what more can we do, then rebuke it, wipe the dust from our feet and move on?  The problem though lies in another direction. 

 Why do the ones that say they know the Lord, run away just as fast?  Our battle lies with those who profess to know Messiah.  It is in the sleeping pews and the congregations of the dead that the real war is waged.  When the Word of Yahveh is rightly divided [2 Tim. 2:15, (G3718 ) ὀρθοτομέω orthotomeō (or-thot-om-eh'-o): to make straight and smooth, to handle aright, to teach the truth directly and correctly[9]] what do you see?  Warnings about how the world will treat you?  You already know it will hate you.  No, the warnings tell us about the turning away from sound doctrine, of the lovers of self, of the wolves in sheep’s clothing, of “satan’s ministers of light”…  Into the “church” will come our enemies, and they will call themselves by His name.  Eph. 5:1-21 tells us how we are to walk.  Jude warns us of those to come [Jude1:10-19] and Messiah Himself lays out the case against them in the Revelation.  The seven churches not only represent the congregations at the end time, but also the different type of people that will call themselves “believers” [Rev. 2:1-3:22].  To walk in the light demands first discernment, and then, to speak the Truth, even as it will almost always be, to our own hurt.

                So then, how is the Truth of Yahveh’s Word distorted, especially as it relates to the agōnizomai?  What do most believe?  Well, just as an aside, I knew a man who came as a regular speaker at a discipleship program, who boasted all the time of his five-million-dollar real estate portfolio and how he skipped lunch every day.  He commented upon how he considered it an honor to skip lunch every day, to be “counted worthy” of “suffering for Messiah” that way.

 My beloved, while this may seem extreme, this is symptomatic of how most “believers” in the west view their “suffering for Messiah”.  I dare to say, how most feel about “agonizing over sin” is the same way.  Most have read the words, or hopefully they have at least heard somebody speak about “agonizing over sin” [though, suffering is not in most congregation’s agenda anymore].  They maybe see themselves at least struggling with sin, by that I mean, they can recognize it to a degree, yet they are not really overcoming.  They assume that they are at least doing what they are supposed to be doing, and by recognition, they are “agonizing over sin”.  Is this what Paul meant?  Just recognizing the term or the sin has no real effect on their own lives or others, now does it?  Look at Philip. 1:30 again.  Paul speaks of the Philippians going through the same conflict as he, and we know the sufferings he endured.  The Greek word for conflict is agōn.  The battle is for the Truth and the conflict can be physical and/or mental, but it is always spiritual.  To agonize does not mean to recognize.  Most “Christians” believe that if they recognize their sin and then “confess” it, that this covers the sin.  Well, we must look at what “confess” really means, do not we, to see if this is true or not.

                 There are several examples in the Greek New Testament where the words are translated “confess” in English.  Two examples are:

 1)      James 5:16 (KJV): “…16 

Confess your faults [trespasses, sins, iniquities] one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much…” [10]

 Here the word for “confess” is the word ἐξομολογέω exomologeō (ex-om-ol-og-eh'-o) (G1843), defined by Thayer as: “…forth from the heart, freely; …to profess publicly, openly…”[11].  Strong’s Concordance defines it as: “…to acknowledge or (by implication, of assent) agree fully:--confess, profess, promise…”[12]

 The second example is taken from 1 John 7:9:

 

2)      1 John 1:9 (1901 ASV): If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. [13]

 The word used here is ὁμολογέω homologeō (hom-ol-og-eh'-o) (G3670); “1) to say the same thing as another, i.e. to agree with, assent…; 2b) not to deny…; 2b3) to confess, i.e. to admit or declare one’s self guilty of what one is accused of…”[14]

                 In James 5:16, an examination is taking place.  The sick or infirmed are to examine themselves, see their sin, agree that it is so and declare it openly.  This way, hindrances and impediments to their healing are removed.  Does this guarantee a healing? No, as we see at the end of verse 16 “…The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much…”  Young translates this as “…Be confessing to one another the trespasses, and be praying for one another, that ye may be healed; very strong is a working supplication of a righteous man…”[15]  This “confession” then is the coming into agreement with the Word of Yahveh as to the nature of ourselves, to then make an open avowal, to agree with Yahveh that we are in need of a healing, and want our sins removed to clear the way for this to happen. 

Our first example is usually understood within the Catholic Church context.  “Confess your sins one to another…” is the embodiment of the Catholic confession, but it must be realized that it is not man that we are to be confessing to; we are coming into agreement with Yahveh over our sins.  Let me say one thing to this: no matter how transparent I or you attempt to be, some sins we just are not going to tell each other about.  Right or wrong, we consider these between the Father and ourselves.  If it needs be revealed, then the Spirit will direct us to do this, and no matter what, we will do it.  While I try to be as transparent as possible, I often ask why it is this way? Am I ashamed of my sin, or will the confession hurt another?  I do not know, but just look at Scripture if you do not believe this to be true.  Paul says he was buffeted by satan with a “thorn in his side” …  Scholars and commentators have speculated for 2000 years about what this “thorn” was, yet Paul, by lead of the Spirit, never revealed it to us.  If “confession” is so good for the soul as they say, why wasn’t Paul transparent to us?  Yahveh’s grace is truly sufficient my beloved.  That is all I need to know, and that is all you need to know also.

 In our second example, 1 John 1:9, we see the “confession” most associate with, but rightly just do not understand.  Go with me to Romans 10:9-10.

 Romans 10:9-10 (NASB95)

     9     1that aif you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and bbelieve in your heart that cGod raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; 10  for with the heart a person believes, 1resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, 2resulting in salvation. [16]

 

·         “…That if thou shalt confess…” Confess is the word homologeō; if we consent, if we agree that Jesus is Lord…  This is the agreeing.

 

·         “…and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved…”; this is the doing

 You see, the principle of agōnizomai is at work here.  We come into the recognition of something, we come into an agreement. Yet, if we stop here, then what is accomplished?  We then have to move into the next stage; we have to do.

                The words we use to say we are “confessing”, or to say we are “agonizing” are words not to be used lightly.  To whom do we profess [confess] or agree with? Yahveh.  What do we agree to?  We agree that we have sinned according to His Word.  What do we do then?  We agonize, we wrestle with ourselves and Yahveh – we strive against this nature of ours, to change darkness into light.  We repent, turning from ourselves back to the one who created us.  We return to Him.  We do something about it.

                 In Matthew 15:8, Messiah quoted Isa. 29:13: “…8This people draw nigh unto me with their mouth, and honor me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.…” [17] 

 It would also serve us well to look at Isaiah: 

 “…Isaiah 29:13 (1901 ASV) And the Lord said, forasmuch as this people draw nigh unto me, and with their mouth and with their lips to honor me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them…” [18] 

 If all we are doing is “confessing” – “O yes, I have sinned, and I have admitted it.  I am okay now, Yahveh has forgiven me!…” and then we go away and tomorrow do the same thing again, isn’t all that we are doing only “flappin’ our jaws”? 

 Look at Isaiah…  “their fear of me is a commandment of men which hath been taught them…”  We are told or taught to “confess” without actually knowing exactly what it is we are doing.  Man’s “confession” is simply recognition!  Yahveh’s “confession” is seeing our sin, agreeing with Yahveh we have sinned, and then doing something about it!  Do you fear confessing?  You should when you truly realize that it is just not a realization or recognition of wrong, you are entering a guilty plea before the Judge!  With that in mind do you see why we must throw ourselves upon the mercy and grace of the court?  If we only teach man’s “confession”, without teaching repentance and that we are to actively seek Yahveh’s help to change, then we have done nothing save condemn ourselves with our own words.  Our hearts are far from Him and hypocrites we are, not rightly judging ourselves.

                 We are to be winning this battle.  Consider this though; no war is won at once.  We gain ground slowly, inch by inch.  Sometimes the battle is over quickly, other times it is a slug fest; but what is important is that we are fighting, and we are moving forward, always taking ground.  There will even be times that we feel we are going backwards, but if we struggle and strive for the prize we will win.  We must though, have this agōn,  this struggle.  For us to be like Messiah, to conform to His image, we must be at war with the flesh.  To truly see this, we must again define terms, we must be able to define what the struggle is.

 Let us turn to Col. 2:1:

Colossians 2:1

1 For I would have you know what combat I have for you, and those in Laodicea, and as many as have not seen my face in flesh; [19]

 Darby here chooses to translate agōn as “combat”; in the King James Version it is translated as “conflict”.  No matter what English word is used, the Greek word Paul used to describe the struggle he was in for the beloved was agōn .  In Robinson’s Lexicon, this struggle is said to have been applied by Paul to “…describe the evangelical contest against the enemies of man’s salvation [1 Tim. 6:12; 2 Tim. 4:7]…As used in the N. T., it is presented as the life task of the Christian…”[20]

                Beloved, think for a minute about that statement.  “The life task of the Christian.”  To what do we, as men and women, usually associate as a “life task”? Well, there is the task of our education and our career; the task of raising a family; the task of providing for our retirement; the task of paying our bills and acquiring our stuff; I think you see the pattern.  How many people [“Christians” included] even for one minute consider the struggle, the agōn over sin to be their life task?  This conforming to the image of Messiah is just that – a struggle, a war against our flesh, against complacency and compromise, against heresy and for Truth, against sin.  It is not simply the recognition that we are sinners; the man at the bar can do that.  It is the daily doing something about it that we see Paul speaking of in Col. 2:1.  His struggle was not just for himself, but also for others to rise up into the same place and struggle he was.

                 Let us go onto 1 Thessalonians, Chapter 2.  I had planned only to pull 1 or 2 verses out for you, just to highlight Paul’s agōn, but as I’ve always stressed – context, context, context.  Chapter 2 of Thessalonians is a good example of a) the struggle, and b) how the struggle is to be waged. 

 1 Thessalonians 2 (ESV)

2 For you yourselves know, brothers,3 that our fcoming to you gwas not in vain. 2 But though we had already suffered and been shamefully treated hat Philippi, as you know, iwe had boldness in our God jto declare to you the gospel of God in the midst of much kconflict. 3 For lour appeal does not spring from merror or nimpurity or oany attempt to deceive, 4 but just as we have been approved by God pto be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not qto please man, but to please God rwho tests our hearts. 5 sFor we never came with words of flattery,4 as you know, nor with a pretext for greed—tGod is witness. 6 uNor did we seek glory from people, whether from you or from others, vthough we could have made wdemands as xapostles of Christ. 7 But we were ygentle5 among you, zlike a nursing mother taking care of her own children. 8 So, being affectionately desirous of you, we were ready to share with you not only the gospel of God abut also our own selves, because you had become very dear to us.

9 For you remember, brothers, bour labor and toil: we cworked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 10 You are witnesses, and dGod also, ehow holy and righteous and blameless was our conduct toward you believers. 11 For you know how, flike a father with his children, 12 we exhorted each one of you and encouraged you and gcharged hyou to walk in a manner worthy of God, iwho calls you into his own kingdom and glory.

13 And jwe also thank God constantly1 for this, that when you received kthe word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it lnot as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, mwhich is at work in you believers. 14 For you, brothers, nbecame imitators of othe churches of God in Christ Jesus that are in Judea. For pyou suffered the same things from your own countrymen qas they did from the Jews, 15 rwho killed both the Lord Jesus and sthe prophets, and drove us out, and displease God and toppose all mankind 16 uby hindering us from speaking to the Gentiles that they might be saved—so as always vto fill up the measure of their sins. But wGod’s wrath has come upon them at last!2

Paul’s Longing to See Them Again

17 But since we were torn away from you, brothers, for a short time, xin person not in heart, we endeavored the more eagerly and with great desire yto see you face to face, 18 because we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, again and again—but Satan zhindered us. 19 For what is our hope or ajoy or crown of boasting bbefore our Lord Jesus at his ccoming? Is it not you? 20 For you are our glory and joy. [21]

 Paul speaks of how his visits to the Thessalonians was not in vain.  “Vain” is the Greek word (G2756) κενός kenos (ken-os'), denoting here “…metaphorically of endeavors, labors, acts, which result in nothing, vain, fruitless, without effect…” [22] 

Brethren, does the preaching of Yahveh’s Word ever seem ineffective or foolish to you?  Do you shrink back from it because you wonder “What’s the use? These people won’t listen anyway…” Why would you even think this way?  Paul preached, even when the crowds were hostile, even when it appeared foolish to do so.  Yahveh’s word does not go out void with no return.  We will encounter resistance and even hatred when the truth is pronounced.  Should this hold back the eternal Words of life?  If you are truly agonizing over sin, that means you are engaged in mortal combat with it my friends; it will fight back.  Paul tells of this in verse 2, when he tells how he and his companions had “suffered” before at Philippi [Acts 14:5; 16:19-24].  You see beloved, this is a truth you have to get around; if you are going to speak Yahveh’s Word, if you are going to preach, then you will agōnizomai.  What?  You say you are not a preacher, that this is not your calling?  Friends, we are all preachers, kings, and priests, giving a sermon wherever we go simply spoken by the way we live.  If you are living a righteous life – you are struggling.  In this struggle you wrestle with powers and principalities, you wrestle with the flesh, wrestle with Yahveh’s Word and wrestle with your affections as you strive to be Messiah-like.  Make no mistake about it either, you are on display.

                 Briefly now, let us look at how this battle is waged.  Paul says in verse 3 it is not waged in “deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor guile” or (verse 4) “…not as pleasing men…”  This is the point where, I dare say approximately 90% of all Christians cease their struggles, cease the fight, and draw themselves away to the comfort of the pew.  From this vantage point they sit back, content to let the pastor/preacher/teacher pick up the gauntlet.  Christianity today wants to be liked.  We want to be “friendly”, seen as an “open-door”.  We are not to be “judgmental”; we are to be “tolerant”.   We are not “confrontational”, we are “engaging”.  We seek not to uphold sin to the light, but instead seek to help people “recognize” their need to change.  Repentance?  Well, perhaps, but let us get you down the aisle first, get that “conversion” thing going.  Bear your cross?  O save that for another day.  Die to self?  Why, that goes against our classes that are teaching self-esteem…  We are seeker friendly – you know, we know you are shopping, looking for that word that fits your ear, the décor that fits your eye, the songs that give your emotions a lift.  Never mind that hellfire and brimstone preaching.  Why that stuff hurts! [Can’t be calling sin a sin, now can we?]  We want to be “pleasing to men”.  Paul says in verse 5 he used not “…flattering words…nor…a cloak of covetousness…” […move over prosperity…].  He also spoke that it was “…nor of men sought we glory…”  No cult of personality for these preachers, no standing ovations when they walked in the door and no talk show appearances.

                 What were they then?  They were “gentle among you (verse 7)”, “[v8] affectionately desirous of you…” willing “…to have imparted…the gospel of Yahveh only…also our own souls…”   They put forth “[v9] labor and travail [toil and work]”, they “…preached unto you the gospel of Yahveh…”.  They conducted themselves “[v10]…holily and justly and unblameably…”. They “[v11]…exhorted and comforted and charged (implored) everyone…”, calling them to “[v12] walk worthy of Yahveh.”  For this cause “[v13] thank we Yahveh without ceasing…” for “ye received the word of Yahveh…not the word of man…” but in “…truth, the word of Yahveh…”  The brethren then “[v14]…became followers of the ekkelesia of Yahveh which is in Judea are in Messiah Yeshua…”  And what then happened to these believers?  They “…also have suffered[23] [ the agōn] like things of your own countrymen…” those that “[v15]…please not Yahveh and are contrary to all men…”

                 Life task.  To suffer; too agōn; to be persecuted; to be hated for His sake; to be reviled; to be cursed by men.  Go preach that on any Sabbath and see where it gets you; but this is what should be expected in the life of a true believer that speaks the Truth.  He is to be fighting sin, in himself, and in what he sees.

                 Next we go to 1 Timothy 6:8.  Before we turn to this passage, let us set the stage here.  What is the theme behind this verse?  Paul says, “let us be content.”  What is the opposite of contentment?  Covetousness: the word used in the Greek is πλεονεξία pleonexia (pleh-on-ex-ee'-ah), from πλείων pleiōn  (pli'-own) meaning “more” and ἔχω echō (ekh'-o) meaning “to have or to hold”.  Covetousness therefore is “to have more”.  Robinson describes it as “…the longing of the creature which has forsaken Yahveh to fill itself with the lower objects of nature…” [24]  If we take a look now at our verse we can see the contrasts between these two positions.

1 Timothy 6:8 (KJV)
8And having food and raiment let us be therewith content. [25] Young renders this verse as follows:

1Ti 6:8 YLT

(8)     but having food and raiment--with these we shall suffice ourselves;[26]

 Can you see the contrasts? The man who rejects Yahveh seeks to fill the void in his heart with that which cannot satisfy, with that which moth and rust can corrupt, or man can steal.  The man who is His, is satisfied with what Yahveh gives, he is content. He shall not “want” (Ps. 23:1).  In the Hebrew, the word used for “want” is חסר châsêr (khaw-sare').

Gesenius translates this as “not to suffer want [lack, harm or loss]. [27]  Keil and Delitzsch put it as this:

 “He who has Jahve, the possessor of all things, himself has all things, he lacks nothing; viz., כּ־טוב, whatever is good in itself and would be good for him, Psa_34:11; Psa_84:12…” [28] 

Friends let me depart from here for a moment.  We in the western church are at ease.  The studies I do show me how simpler it is for me to study the Word of Yahveh.  At my fingertips I can access information that took someone the work of a lifetime to compile, yet in seconds I can do the type of research that used to be only found in the best seminaries in the world.  You can walk into WalMart® or K-Mart® and buy Bibles right off the shelf, books mass produced that took hundreds of man-hours in times past to type-set and print.  Tyndale lost his life for this cause in 1536:

 “…Master Tyndale, remaining in prison, was proffered an advocate and a procurator; the which he refused, saying that he would make answer for himself. He had so preached to them who had him in charge, and such as was there conversant with him in the Castle that they reported of him, that if he were not a good Christian man, they knew not whom they might take to be one. At last, after much reasoning, when no reason would serve, although he deserved no death, he was condemned by virtue of the emperor's decree, made in the assembly at Augsburg. Brought forth to the place of execution, he was tied to the stake, strangled by the hangman, and afterwards consumed with fire, at the town of Vilvorde, A.D. 1536; crying at the stake with a fervent zeal, and a loud voice, "Lord! open the king of England's eyes.…” [29]

 One only need to see the leisure that we have, to know today’s Christian is at ease.  Yet is this a good thing?  Does our ease make for a better Christian or a lazy one?  Consider this:

…Lazy Christians…

“Matthew 25:21 -- thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things

    * few - Greek: oligos - puny in degree, number, duration or value; "a little""

Galatians 6:9 -- let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap if we faint not

    * faint - Greek: ekluo - to "relax"

 God is not looking for "Superstars" in His work. If we are not willing to be missionaries to our friends in the streets of our hometown, God has no place for us in Africa. If we are not willing to say the truth of God's word to our families and business associates, daily, we cannot truly serve the Lord in any ministry. Most people are waiting for a "big calling" from God. It never comes because they stop in their "little tasks". They say, "God has bigger things for me." God wants people who are willing to tend to a lot of little details. When we "relax" and cease doing the "few" (small) things, then we stop short of God completing His work in us. The "little things" never stop in the work of the Lord. The thing that keeps Christians from serving Messiah faithfully: they do not like the menial tasks; they want the big, "more important" jobs. When a man does not give because he cannot give a hundred dollars instead of only five dollars, then he is unfaithful because he considers the small amount unimportant. If a man is unwilling to pass out a tract because he "thinks" it will do no good, then he is unfaithful. If he will not read his Bible because he says, "I can't understand it and it's just not important right now in my life", he is unfaithful and unwilling to do the little things. He will not reap the crop when he is unwilling to continually sow the seed. God wants our bodies as living sacrifices (Rom. 12:1). He will take the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. (I Cor. 1:27). Only lazy Christians will not do "little things".” [30]

 We truly do no one any service by being at ease, by being comfortable.  We sit and wait for the “rapture”, without doing the work of Him who we wait for.  No wonder Messiah asks in Luke 18:7-8 (KJV): 

7And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him, though he bear long with them? 8I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? [31]

 Notice what the Lord says here?  “…his own elect, which cry day and night unto him…” This, my beloved, is the agōn, this is the agōnizomai over sin.  The lazy man or the man at ease and comfort will not be crying out to Yahveh day and night, but he will be fretting over his stock portfolio or his 401K, or who his choice of president will be.  He will fret and worry about the price of gas and food and look around to see who there is left to blame for all these problems yet won’t pause for a second to realize that he is part of the problem.  If we identify ourselves as “Christian or a believer” and we have not repented of our wicked ways, and agōnizomai over not only our sin, but also that of our land’s, we are the problem.  Remember what must be done – crucify our affections, our wants, our desires, our favoritism, our emotions – so that we get down to the “bottom line”, Yahveh’s Word and it alone.  We are to be content with what we are given, but not content with our sin.  The greatest sins of the believer today are pride and covetousness.

 “Covetousness” is synonymous with (G1939) ἐπιθυμία epithumia (ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah), which is “…a longing (especially for what is forbidden): - concupiscence, desire, lust (after)…”[32]; (G3715) ὄρεξις  orexis (or'-ex-is)- [“…2a) used both in a good and a bad sense, as well of natural and lawful and even of proper cravings (of appetite for food), also of corrupt and unlawful desires…”] [33]; or (G3730) ὁρμή hormē (hor-may'), a “…a violent motion, or impulse…” [34]  When we desire more, no matter the context of that desire - be it more comfort, more money, more love to or from our family, more increase – when these are the things we desire, what have we truly done?  We have forsaken Yahveh, replaced Him as our provider and placed ourselves above Him.

                What then do these wants and desires then become?  Idolatry.  Idolatry is the Greek word (G1495) εἰδωλολατρεία eidōlolatreia (i-do-lol-at-ri'-ah), which comes from the words:

(G1497) εἴδωλον eidōlon (i'-do-lon)  an object to be worshipped and (G2999) λατρεία latreia (lat-ri'-ah                                                 …to worship;service… [35]

 And from (G1492) εἴδω eidō (i'-do) meaning to see… [36]

 Thus, one definition of eidōlolatreia then could be “to serve what we see”.

Now one caveat: there are those in the intelligentsia, the scholars, who say words cannot be broken down into their roots or by their roots to define meaning.  I mention this as an aside, for you will do your own digging into the Sacred tongues [O and I pray you will!] and come to a different conclusion than do I.  Well, if you hold to this view, then all I can say is every language in the world has just become muddled and harder to understand.  Everything is defined by its root – plants, animals, weather, science, economics, etc. etc.  To know something about anything, we must get to the “root” of it.  So, therefore I dissect the words as I do, for to understand the Word of Yahveh, we must define the terms.  Once the terms are defined, then we look at the context, how the word (words) are used, the voice, the tense [hence, if any are to be “diggers”, I recommend a parsing guide which will help you to understand how the Greek and Hebrew languages are structured] and so on. 

 O I have read the scholars and the purists, how they insist that only this word means this, or that this can only mean that (or was it this? That? Maybe…); all I know is that Yahveh preserved His Scriptures in the languages He chose and gave us the tools needed so that we might be able to discern His True Intent.  Again, I am not a scholar, I am just a seeker not trying to make a name for himself or become the next great “Greek or Hebrew linguist”. I search, and what I find, I share with you, and encourage you to search for yourself.  Understand this, that I am not out to redefine anything; Yahveh’s word is too precious to me to handle it with anything but reverence and loving care.  All I want is what He hopefully wants, His Truth brought forth…

                 Now back to our translation.  “To serve what you see”.  This is idolatry in its most basic form.  If I see my family engaged in sin and I withhold Yahveh’s pronouncement of their iniquity according to His word but I’m ready to judge others of the same – then I have compromised my walk with the covetousness of my heart [I have favored them] and the idolatry of my affections.  I hold them above the Word of Yahveh.  Do you, can you see this my beloved?  Therefore, Yahveh says He is no respecter of persons.  He holds no favoritism, no partiality.  If this is His standard, then why is it not ours?  When you harbor something in your life when you shelter it -say the affections of or toward your family- then you are coveting more.  The reason we do not speak the truth to them is that it might cause us to lose some of that affection; and loss is not what we want, we want more.  Are you beginning to see why Messiah said in Matthew 10:37:

 

If you love your father or mother more than you love me, you are not worthy of being mine; or if you love your son or daughter more than me, you are not worthy of being mine. [37]

 These are harsh words, yet they are the precept that we must begin to understand as we agōnizomai after sin and come to the place of judging in righteousness.  Remember, the judgement starts with us. To withhold correction from those we love is covetousness; we desire peace for ourselves and more of our own way than the rod of Yahveh which is the Living Word.  To be like Messiah is to back away from this partiality, this idolatry of self.  For Truth, what good are we doing by withholding righteous judgement?  Do we help the one in need of correction find their way to the redeeming quality of Messiah?  If we withhold the pronouncement of sin, how can one that is blind recognize the need for the Savior if the conviction and weight of sin is not realized?  Think about it.  Did you bow your knees to Messiah because you were oblivious to your sin, or was it because you felt the crushing weight of it, with the prospect of eternal separation and punishment heavy upon your soul?  Why do we want to deny others of that simply because we do not want confrontation?  Will we deny the Holy Spirit His witness simply because we want peace; “Oh that isn’t for me to judge, to call sin, sin; that’s the preacher’s job!”  O man read Ezekiel again!  We who know are charged with being a watchman.  Danger and trouble come in several forms, but it always is due to sin.  If we do not sound out the warning to those we love, then, do we really love them?  Is the love of Jesus Messiah truly within us if we allow our brethren to go to hell because we do not want to be bothered, because we covet peace over their salvation?  This is a lot to think about isn’t it?

 With this, we must again break. I hope you all were able to read it to this point. Please do not be put off by the long post: it all is necessary.

 

Till we see each other again brethren

May YHVH richly bless you all, my beloved.

Amein.

 


[1]NOTICE OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY RIGHTS: Unless otherwise cited, all material found on this blogsite (original text, opinions, conclusions, and other material not related to cited sources remains the collected intellectual property of the author of this site, David E. Robinson, Elder Teacher, and are owned and controlled by myself and are protected by copyright and trademark laws and various other intellectual property rights and unfair competition laws of the United States, foreign jurisdictions, and international conventions. Any errors found within, rest solely upon me; please do not blame the Father for my mistakes. I am teachable and correctable, not infallible. 😊

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[3] Author’s note: This site is for education only and is not affiliated with any institution, organization, or religious group. It is the sole production of its editor. Use of information from Jewish-themed websites (or any other source material) should not be construed as these sites endorsing or confirming any thesis introduced by the author of this epistle. I present the information from their respective sites for instructional purposes only and/or to aid in the readers understanding of the subjects discussed.

[4] Author’s note:  Throughout this study I will be using the NET Bible® and the NET Notes®: within the notes you will see symbols like this: ( א B Ψ 892* 2427 sys). These are abbreviations used by the NET Bible® for identifying the principal manuscript evidence that they (authors and translators of the NET Bible®) used in translating the New Testament. Please go to https://bible.org/netbible/ and see their section labeled “NET Bible Principals of Translation” for a more complete explanation on these symbols and other items pertinent to the way the NET Bible uses them.

[5] Author’s Note: In these studies, I have used the notes that come along with the passages I cite from the sources that I cite: these need a bit of a disclaimer though. As in all things, not everything that is footnoted is something that I necessarily agree with, especially if it contradicts what I believe pertains to any matters of the Torah or the commandments of God. I give you the notes as they are written by the authors of the material I cite from, so that you can see the information contained within them. It truly is not my place to edit or correct them; if they state anything that is in opposition to what I teach, then so be it. I will address these issues if requested. That is not to say I should not challenge something I believe, in my humble opinion, might contradict the truth of God’s word; that I will do in the main body of my epistles for that is where my gentle dissent belongs. Most (but not all) of the differences will come when I quote from a source that displays a decidedly Western/Greek mindset, as opposed to a Hebraic perspective. I have to be intellectually honest – I am biased toward the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and His son, Yeshua the Messiah. I pray then we all can find common ground as we study the Scriptures.

  2.6 Gn 19.24

b  2.6 Sodom and Gomorrah: During the time of Abraham the Lord destroyed these cities because the people there were so evil (see Genesis 19.24).

  2.7 Gn 19.1-16

c  2.11 evil beings: Or “evil teachers.”

d  2.13 and the meals they eat with you are spoiled by the shameful and selfish way they carry on: Some manuscripts have “and the meals they eat with you are spoiled by the shameful way they carry on during your feasts of Christian love.”

  2.15, 16 Nu 22.4-35

[6]  The Contemporary English Version : With Apocrypha. 1997, c1995 (electronic ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[7]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[8] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company

 

[9] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company

[10]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[11] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company

[12] Strong numbers for WHNA (only NA part) v2.0 ● Copyright © 2007 Scripture4all Foundation

[13] American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[14] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company

[15] Young’s 1894 Literal Translation of the Bible, by Robert Young, ©2004 Greater Truth Publications

1  Or because

a  Matt 10:32; Luke 12:8; Rom 14:9; 1 Cor 12:3; Phil 2:11

b  Acts 16:31; Rom 4:24

c  Acts 2:24

1  Lit to righteousness

2  Lit to salvation

[16]  New American Standard Bible : 1995 update. 1995. LaHabra, CA: The Lockman Foundation.

[17]  The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[18]  American Standard Version. 1995 (Electronic edition.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[19] Darby, J. N., 1890 Darby Bible, (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.) 1995.

[20] The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, (Formerly Robinson’s Lexicon), by Spiros Zidhiates ©1992 AMG International

3  Or brothers and sisters; also verses 9, 14, 17

f  ch. 1:9

g  [2 Thess. 1:10]

h  Acts 16:22-24

i  See Acts 4:13

j  Acts 17:2-9

k  Phil. 1:30

l  [2 Cor. 2:17]

m  2 Thess. 2:11

n  ch. 4:7

o  2 Cor. 4:2

p  See Gal. 2:7

q  See Gal. 1:10

r  Ps. 17:3; See Rom. 8:27

s  See Acts 20:33

4  Or with a flattering speech

t  ver. 10; See Rom. 1:9

u  [2 Cor. 4:5]; See John 5:41

v  1 Cor. 9:4; 2 Thess. 3:9; [Philem. 8, 9]

w  [ver. 9; 2 Cor. 11:9]

x  See 1 Cor. 9:1

y  2 Tim. 2:24; [1 Cor. 14:20]

5  Some manuscripts infants

z  [ver. 11; Isai. 49:23; 60:16]

a  See 2 Cor. 12:15

b  2 Thess. 3:8; [Phil. 4:16]

c  See Acts 18:3

d  ver. 5

e  See ch. 1:5

f  [ver. 7]; See 1 Cor. 4:14

g  Eph. 4:17

h  See Eph. 4:1

i  ch. 5:24; 2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Pet. 5:10; See Rom. 8:28

j  See ch. 1:2, 3

1  Or without ceasing

k  [Rom. 10:17]

l  [Gal. 4:14]; See Matt. 10:20

m  Heb. 4:12

n  See ch. 1:6

o  See 1 Cor. 7:17

p  ch. 3:4; Acts 17:5; 2 Thess. 1:4, 5

q  [Heb. 10:33, 34]

r  See Luke 24:20

s  Jer. 2:30; Matt. 23:29-34; See Matt. 5:12

t  [Esth. 3:8]

u  Acts 13:45, 50; 14:2, 19; 17:5, 13; 18:12; 22:21, 22

v  See Gen. 15:16

w  See ch. 1:10

2  Or completely, or forever

x  1 Cor. 5:3; Col. 2:5

y  ch. 8:10

z  Rom. 15:22; [Rom. 1:13]

a  See Phil. 4:1

b  1 Cor. 15:31; [2 Thess. 1:4]; See 2 Cor. 1:14

c  ch. 3:13; 4:15; 5:23; Matt. 24:3; 1 Cor. 15:23; 2 Thess. 2:1, 8; James 5:7, 8; 2 Pet. 1:16; 3:4, 12; 1 John 2:28

[21]  The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

[22] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company

[23] “suffered” here is the word (G3958) πάσχω, πάθω, πένθω  paschō  pathō  penthō (pas'-kho, path'-o, pen'-tho) Apparently a primary verb (the third form used only in certain tenses for it); to experience a sensation or impression (usually painful): - feel, passion, suffer, vex.  From Strong’s Dictionary,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.5.1,  copyright ©2000-2009 by Rick Myers

[24] The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the New Testament, (Formerly Robinson’s Lexicon), by Spiros Zidhiates ©1992 AMG International

[25] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

(JFB)  1Ti 6:8  AndGreek, “But.” In contrast to the greedy gain-seekers (1Ti_6:5).

having — so long as we have food. (The Greek expresses “food sufficient in each case for our continually recurring wants” [Alford]). It is implied that we, as believers, shall have this (Isa_23:16).

raimentGreek, “covering”; according to some including a roof to cover us, that is, a dwelling, as well as clothing.let us be therewith content — literally, “we shall be sufficiently provided”; “we shall be sufficed” [Alford]. (notes from Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary on the Bible, ,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.5.1,  copyright ©2000-2009 by Rick Myers

[26] Young’s 1894 Literal Translation of the Bible, by Robert Young, ©2004 Greater Truth Publications

[27] Gesenius’ Hebrew and Chaldee Lexicon of the Old Testament (1847 Edition), by Dr. William Gesenius, ©1979 by Baker Book House Company

[28] Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament, ,(electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.5.1,  copyright ©2000-2009 by Rick Myers 

[29] Fox’s Book of Martyrs, by John Fox, Chapter XII, ,(electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.5.1,  copyright ©2000-2009 by Rick Myers 

 

[30] From Thoughts of the Week, Pastor Jim Brown, Grace and Truth Ministries, Hendersonville, TN, www.graceandtruth.net

[31] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (Electronic edition of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[32] Strong’s Dictionary,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.5.1,  copyright ©2000-2009 by Rick Myers

[33] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company

[34]ibid…

[35] Strong’s Dictionary,( electronic edition), e-Sword®, ver. 9.5.1,  copyright ©2000-2009 by Rick Myers

[36] A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, by Joseph H. Thayer, Copyright ©1977, Baker Book House Company

[37]  Holy Bible : New Living Translation. 1997, c1996 (electronic ed.). Wheaton: Tyndale House.