Atonement, Part 3

I’ll continue to consider yehôvâh’s (יהוה) instruction to Moses: They[1] are to eat those things by which atonement (kâphar, כפר; Septuagint: ἡγιάσθησαν, a form of ἁγιάζω) was made to consecrate and to set them apart, but no one else may eat them, for they are holy.[2]

The Hebrew word translated to consecrate was למלא (mâlêʼ).  In the Septuagint למלא (mâlêʼ) was translated τελειῶσαι τὰς χεῖρας, “validate their hands” in an English translation of the Septuagint (NETS).  And τελειῶσαι (a form of τελειόω) was translated to perfect in: For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.[3]

There isn’t a lot of wiggle room in the meaning of τελειῶσαι here.  If the sacrifices had perfected those who came to worship, the sacrifices would have ceased to be offered long before the temple was destroyed: For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have no further consciousness of sin?[4]  John wrote (1 John 1:5-2:6 NET):

Now this is the gospel message[5] we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth.  But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus[6] his Son cleanses us from all sin.  If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us.  But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness.  If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us.  (My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.)  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.

Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep (τηρῶμεν, a form of τηρέω) his commandments.  The one who says “I have come to know God” and yet does not keep (τηρῶν, another form of τηρέω) his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person.  But whoever obeys (τηρῇ, another form of τηρέω) his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected (τετελείωται, another form of τελειόω).  By this we know that we are in him.  The one who says he resides in God ought (ὀφείλει,[7] a form of ὀφείλω) himself to walk[8] just as Jesus walked.

If I fall back on my own strength the obligation to walk just as Jesus walked will fill me first with fear, then defensiveness, anger and eventually a pervasive desire to “chuck this whole religion thing.”  So I plan to be very gentle with myself.  I want to keep foremost in my mind the two points from the previous essay: 1) By his will we have been made holy through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all;[9] and, 2) he will in fact do this:[10]make you completely holy and…[keep] your spirit and soul and bodyentirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.[11]

If I’m honest my fear stems from my offended pride when I fail to walk just as Jesus walked in my own strength.  So I want to consider that pride.  Aaron and his sons[12] were commanded to eat those things by which atonement was made to consecrate and to set them apart.  No one else could eat them, for they are holy.  For the moment it doesn’t really matter whether they meant the things by which atonement was made or Aaron and his sons or all of the above.  In any case Aaron and his sons were distinguished from everyone else in Israel by this holiness.  But how proud could they be about that?

Exodus 29:4-9 (NET)

Leviticus 8:6-13 (NET)

You are to present Aaron and his sons at the entrance of the tent of meeting.  You are to wash them with water… So Moses brought Aaron and his sons forward and washed them with water.
…and take the garments and clothe Aaron with the tunic, the robe of the ephod, the ephod, and the breastpiece; you are to fasten the ephod on him by using the skillfully woven waistband. Then he put the tunic on Aaron, wrapped the sash around him, and clothed him with the robe.  Next he put the ephod on him and placed on him the decorated band of the ephod, and fastened the ephod closely to him with the band.
Exodus 28:30 He then set the breastpiece on him and put the Urim and Thummim into the breastpiece.
You are to put the turban on his head and put the holy diadem on the turban. Finally, he set the turban on his head and attached the gold plate, the holy diadem, to the front of the turban just as the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) had commanded Moses.
Exodus 30:22-33 Then Moses took the anointing oil and anointed the tabernacle and everything in it, and so consecrated (qâdash, ויקדש; Septuagint: ἡγίασεν, another form of ἁγιάζω) them.
Next he sprinkled some of it on the altar seven times and so anointed the altar, all its vessels, and the wash basin and its stand to consecrate (qâdash, לקדשם; Septuagint: ἡγίασεν, another form of ἁγιάζω) them.
You are to take the anointing oil and pour it on his head and anoint him. He then poured some of the anointing oil on the head of Aaron and anointed him to consecrate (qâdash, לקדשו; Septuagint: ἡγίασεν, another form of ἁγιάζω) him.
You are to present his sons and clothe them with tunics… Moses also brought forward Aaron’s sons, clothed them with tunics, wrapped sashes around them, and wrapped headbands on them just as the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) had commanded Moses.
…and wrap the sashes around Aaron and his sons and put headbands on them, and so the ministry of priesthood will belong to them by a perpetual ordinance.  Thus you are to consecrate (mâlêʼ, ומלאת: Septuagint: τελειώσεις,[13] another form of τελειόω) Aaron and his sons.

Aaron and his sons were distinguished in holiness because they stood there while Moses performed yehôvâh’s prescribed rituals to them and around them.  Now to the one who works, Paul wrote believers in Rome, his pay is not credited due to grace but due to obligation (ὀφείλημα).  But to the one who does not work, but believes in the one who declares the ungodly righteous, his faith is credited as righteousness.[14]  The Pharisees on the other hand said, None of the rulers or the Pharisees have believed in [Jesus], have they?  But this rabble who do not know the law are accursed![15]

This is very interesting in this context.  The priests were made holy by atonement rituals prescribed by yehôvâhThe only holiness the Pharisees could legitimately[16] claim was atonement made by priests performing rituals prescribed by yehôvâh.  Yet they distinguished themselves from the rabble[17] (ὄχλος) here, not by these rituals, but by knowledge of the law.  To seek out some other distinction was a tacit acknowledgement that the law was completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.  So in a sense they were on the right track as it pertained to recognizing a need.

I don’t intend to minimize the value of knowing the law as a means to knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] sent.[18]  As the Psalmist wrote (Psalm 119:33-40 Tanakh):

Teach me, O LORD (yehôvâh,יהוה), the way of thy statutes; and I shall keep it unto the end.

Give me understanding, and I shall keep thy law; yea, I shall observe it with my whole heart.

Make me to go in the path of thy commandments; for therein do I delight.

Incline my heart unto thy testimonies, and not to covetousness.

Turn away mine eyes from beholding vanity; and quicken thou me in thy way.

Stablish thy word unto thy servant, who is devoted to thy fear.

Turn away my reproach which I fear: for thy judgments are good.

Behold, I have longed after thy precepts: quicken me in thy righteousness.

But to claim knowledge of the law as a means of distinction, rendering one more holy than one who does not know it, is to not know the law: For all who rely on doing the works of the law are under a curse, because it is written, Cursed is everyone who does not keep on doing everything written in the book of the law.[19]  Cursed be he that confirmeth not the words of this law to do them.  And all the people shall say: Amen.[20]  For all who have sinned apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.[21]

Cursed in the phrase Cursed is everyone was ἐπικατάρατος in Greek.  The Greek word translated accursed in this rabble who do not know the law are accursed was ἐπάρατοι (a form of ἐπικατάρατος).  In other words, those who know the law are as accursed as those who do not because… (Romans 3:10-18 NET):

…just as it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one, there is no one who understands, there is no one who seeks God.  All have turned away, together they have become worthless; there is no one who shows kindness, not even one.[22]

Their throats are open graves, they deceive with their tongues, the poison of asps is under their lips.[23]

Their mouths are full of cursing and bitterness.[24]

Their feet are swift to shed blood, ruin and misery are in their paths, and the way of peace they have not known.[25]

There is no fear of God before their eyes.[26]

So how proud should I, a Gentile, be, recognizing that: 1) by [Israel’s] transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make Israel jealous;[27] 2) They were broken off because of their unbelief, but [I] stand by faith; Do not be arrogant, but fear; For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare [me];[28] 3) [I] have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for [my] sins, and not only for [my] sins but also for the whole world;[29] and, 4) Jesus Christ the righteous One promised, “And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself”[30]?

It is past time that I give up my pride, quit trying to distinguish myself from others by some holiness I have achieved rather than received, and start gathering with Jesus rather than scattering (Matthew 12:30-32).  So then, it does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.[31]  Just as you were formerly disobedient to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience, so they too have now been disobedient in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.  For God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.[32]

The righteous never expected to keep the law in his or her own strength but in the power and presence of God (Psalm 51 Tanakh):

Have mercy upon me, O God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים), according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions.

Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.

Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.

Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me (Genesis 5:1-5; Romans 5:12-21).

Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.

Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.

Create in me a clean heart, O God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים); and renew a right spirit within me.

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.

Then will I teach transgressors thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto thee.

Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים), thou God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהי) of my salvation: and my tongue shall sing aloud of thy righteousness.

O Lord (ʼădônây, אדני), open thou my lips; and my mouth shall shew forth thy praise.

For thou desirest not sacrifice; else would I give it: thou delightest not in burnt offering.

The sacrifices of God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים) are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym, אלהים), thou wilt not despise.

Do good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou the walls of Jerusalem.

Then shalt thou be pleased with the sacrifices of righteousness, with burnt offering and whole burnt offering: then shall they offer bullocks upon thine altar.

A table comparing the NET and KJV translation of 1 John 1:5-2:6 follows.  I broke the table whenever the NET parallel Greek text differed from the Stephanus Textus Receptus or the Byzantine Majority Text.

1 John 1:5-2:6 (NET)

1 John 1:5-2:6 (KJV)

Now this is the gospel message we have heard from him and announce to you: God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Καὶ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ ἀγγελία ἣν ἀκηκόαμεν ἀπ᾿ αὐτοῦ καὶ ἀναγγέλλομεν ὑμῖν, ὅτι ὁ θεὸς φῶς ἐστιν καὶ σκοτία |ἐν αὐτῷ| οὐκ ἔστιν  οὐδεμία και αυτη εστιν η επαγγελια ην ακηκοαμεν απ αυτου και αναγγελλομεν υμιν οτι ο θεος φως εστιν και σκοτια εν αυτω ουκ εστιν ουδεμια και εστιν αυτη η αγγελια ην ακηκοαμεν απ αυτου και αναγγελλομεν υμιν οτι ο θεος φως εστιν και σκοτια εν αυτω ουκ εστιν ουδεμια
If we say we have fellowship with him and yet keep on walking in the darkness, we are lying and not practicing the truth. If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
But if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἐὰν δὲ ἐν τῷ φωτὶ περιπατῶμεν ὡς αὐτός ἐστιν ἐν τῷ φωτί, κοινωνίαν ἔχομεν μετ᾿ ἀλλήλων καὶ τὸ αἷμα Ἰησοῦ τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ καθαρίζει ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ πάσης ἁμαρτίας εαν δε εν τω φωτι περιπατωμεν ως αυτος εστιν εν τω φωτι κοινωνιαν εχομεν μετ αλληλων και το αιμα ιησου χριστου του υιου αυτου καθαριζει ημας απο πασης αμαρτιας εαν δε εν τω φωτι περιπατωμεν ως αυτος εστιν εν τω φωτι κοινωνιαν εχομεν μετ αλληλων και το αιμα ιησου χριστου του υιου αυτου καθαριζει ημας απο πασης αμαρτιας
If we say we do not bear the guilt of sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
But if we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous, forgiving us our sins and cleansing us from all unrighteousness. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.
(My little children, I am writing these things to you so that you may not sin.)  But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous One, My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not.  And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
and he himself is the atoning sacrifice (ἱλασμός) for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world. And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.
Now by this we know that we have come to know God: if we keep his commandments. And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.
The one who says “I have come to know God” and yet does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in such a person. He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
But whoever obeys his word, truly in this person the love of God has been perfected. By this we know that we are in him. But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him.
The one who says he resides in God ought himself to walk just as Jesus walked. He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.

 

[1] Aaron and his sons (Exodus 28:43 NET)

[2] Exodus 29:33 (NET)

[3] Hebrews 10:1 (NET)

[4] Hebrews 10:2 (NET)

[5] In the NET parallel Greek text and the Byzantine Majority Text the word translated gospel message was ἀγγελία while it was επαγγελια in the Stephanus Textus Receptus.

[6] The Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text had the word χριστου here, while the NET parallel Greek text did not.

[7] http://www.greekdoc.com/lexicon/of.html#ofeilw

[8] The Greek verbs translated walk and walked were περιπατεῖν and περιεπάτησεν respectively.  Both are forms of περιπατέω.  By simply tracking select forms of περιπατέω I found that Paul and the Holy Spirit left a fairly detailed description of what it means to walk just as Jesus walked: περιπατῆσαι, Colossians 1:9-14; περιπατήσωμεν, Romans 6:1-4; περιπατήσωμεν, Ephesians 2:4-10; περιπατῆτε, 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12; περιπατεῖτε, Ephesians 5:1-21, Colossians 2:6-23, Colossians 4:2-6; περιπατεῖν (also περιπατεῖτε), 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8; περιπατείτω, 1 Corinthians 7:17-24; περιπατοῦμεν, 2 Corinthians 5:1-10; περιπατοῦσιν, Romans 8:1-17.  Perhaps most to the point is Galatians 5:16But I say, live (περιπατεῖτε) by the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.

[9] Hebrews 10:10 (NET)

[10] 1 Thessalonians 5:24b (NET)

[11] 1 Thessalonians 5:23 (NET)

[12] Exodus 28:43 (NET)

[13] τελειώσεις τὰς χεῖρας, “validate the hands” (NETS)

[14] Romans 4:4, 5 (NET)

[15] John 7:48, 49 (NET)

[16] from Pharisees: “Emergence of the Pharisees
After defeating the Seleucid forces, Judas Maccabaeus’s nephew John Hyrcanus established a new monarchy in the form of the priestly Hasmonean dynasty in 152 BCE, thus establishing priests as political as well as religious authorities. Although the Hasmoneans were considered heroes for resisting the Seleucids, their reign lacked the legitimacy conferred by descent from the Davidic dynasty of the First Temple era.[16]
The Pharisee (“separatist”) party emerged largely out of the group of scribes and sages…
Sadducees rejected the Pharisaic tenet of an Oral Torah. In their personal lives this often meant an excessively stringent lifestyle from a Jewish perspective, as they did away with the oral tradition, and in turn the Pharisaic understanding of the Torah, creating two Jewish understandings of the Torah. An example of this differing approach is the interpretation of, “an eye in place of an eye”. The Pharisaic understanding was that the value of an eye was to be paid by the perpetrator.[20] In the Sadducees’ view the words were given a more literal interpretation, in which the offender’s eye would be removed.[21] From the point of view of the Pharisees, the Sadducees wished to change the Jewish understanding of the Torah, to a Greek understanding of the Torah. The Pharisees preserved the Pharisaical oral law in the form of the Talmud. They would become the foundation of Rabbinic Judaism…
The Hasmonean period
After the death of John Hyrcanus his younger son Alexander Jannaeus made himself king and openly sided with the Sadducees by adopting their rites in the Temple. His actions caused a riot in the Temple and led to a brief civil war that ended with a bloody repression of the Pharisees. However, on his deathbed Jannaeus advised his widow, Salome Alexandra, to seek reconciliation with the Pharisees.
The Roman period
According to Josephus, the Pharisees appeared before Pompey asking him to interfere and restore the old priesthood while abolishing the royalty of the Hasmoneans altogether (“Ant.” xiv. 3, § 2). Pharisees also opened Jerusalem’s gates to the Romans, and actively supported them against the Sadducean faction.[26] When the Romans finally broke the entrance to the Jerusalem’s Temple, the Pharisees killed the priests who were officiating the Temple services on Saturday.[27] They regarded Pompey’s defilement of the Temple in Jerusalem as a divine punishment of Sadducean misrule.

[17] In John 7:40 ὄχλου (a form of ὄχλος; translated of the crowd) was used without any pejorative connotation.  The translators may have added more emphasis to the distinction than the Pharisees actually intended.  The point still stands that they distinguished themselves from the crowd, not by yehôvâh’s prescribed rituals, but by their own knowledge of the law.

[18] John 17:3b (NET)

[19] Galatians 3:10 (NET)

[20] Deuteronomy 27:26 (Tanakh)

[21] Romans 2:12 (NET)

[22] The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God.  They are corrupt, they have done abominable works, there is none that doeth good.  The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.  They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one (Psalm 14:1-3 Tanakh).

[23] For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulchre; they flatter with their tongue (Psalm 5:9 Tanakh).  They have sharpened their tongues like a serpent; adders’ poison is under their lips.  Selah (Psalm 140:3 Tanakh).

[24] His mouth is full of cursing and deceit and fraud: under his tongue is mischief and vanity (Psalm 10:7 Tanakh).

[25] Their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity; wasting and destruction are in their paths.  The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace (Isaiah 59:7, 8 Tanakh).

[26] The transgression of the wicked saith within my heart, that there is no fear of God before his eyes (Psalm 36:1 Tanakh).

[27] Romans 11:11b (NET)

[28] Romans 11:20, 21 (NET)

[29] 1 John 2:1b, 2 (NET)

[30] John 12:32 (NET)

[31] Romans 9:16 (NET)

[32] Romans 11:30-32 (NET)

Atonement, Part 2

The next occurrence of כפר (kâphar), translated atonement, I want to consider on this pilgrimage is found in yehôvâh’s (יהוה) instruction to Moses (Exodus 29:33 NET):

[Aaron and his sons[1]] are to eat those things by which atonement was made to consecrate and to set them apart, but no one else may eat them, for they are holy.

In the Septuagint כפר (kâphar) was translated ἡγιάσθησαν (a form of ἁγιάζω).  Though ἡγιάσθησαν doesn’t occur in the New Testament, other forms of ἁγιάζω do.  I’ll try to be mindful of similarities between old covenant and new covenant atonement as well as differences.  So many concepts appear in this verse—to consecrate and to set them apartthey are holy—I want to back up and take a run at it.

The Hebrew word translated to set them apart was לקדש (qâdash). It was translated ἁγιάσαι (another form of ἁγιάζω) in the Septuagint“Now this is what you are to do for them to consecrate them,” yehôvâh instructed Moses, “so that they may minister as my priests.”[2]  The Hebrew word translated to consecrate was also לקדש, the very same form of qâdash as to set them apart above.  And in the Septuagint it was also translated ἁγιάσαι.  The new covenant is quite similar.

1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 (NET)

1 Thessalonians 5:23, 24 (KJV)

Now may the God of peace himself make you completely holy (ἁγιάσαι, another form of ἁγιάζω) and may your spirit and soul and body be kept entirely blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And the very God of peace sanctify (ἁγιάσαι, another form of ἁγιάζω) you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He who calls you is trustworthy, and he will in fact do this (ποιήσει, a form of ποιέω). Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Both ἁγιάσαι and τηρηθείη (a form of τηρέω; translated maybe kept [NET] and I pray Godbe preserved [KJV]) are in the optative mood, the “mood of possibility.”  Both verbs recognize that one’s actual state may be far removed from holiness, sanctification and blamelessness at a given moment.  But ποιήσει (translated he will in fact do [NET] and who also will do [KJV]) is in the indicative mood, “a statement of fact” based on the trustworthiness or faithfulness of God in Christ.  Even more precious to me, ποιήσει is future tense in the active voice.

I was one who misunderstood the “finished work of Christ” as an invitation to a do-it-yourself works religion.  Since Christ was finished working, I reasoned, the rest of the distance between my current condition and his holiness and blamelessness was up to me, a race for me to run.  I don’t think my pastor intended to enroll me in a works religion, except…I wonder if I, sitting idly “trusting” Jesus, could ever have understood the word of God.  Or was it the desire to do his will combined with my failure to do his will that opened my mind to it?  Jesus said, If anyone wants to do God’s will, he will know about my teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak from my own authority.[3]

This epistemological aspect intrigues the philosophical bent of my mind.  I earn a living on the fringes of a conference industry that, viewed economically or technologically, shouldn’t exist.  Gathering in one location wastes human resources, both time and money, now that the technology exists to meet virtually.  But viewed epistemologically conferences are extremely valuable.  A group of people pressed together, smelling one another, espousing the same or similar opinions can more easily convince themselves that their opinions are true.  The larger the group the “truer” their opinions are until that critical moment when the group fractures into disparate opinions.

I was born into evangelicalism as an established group, revealed truth.  But it grew to prominence in the U.S. from many streams:

According to religion scholar, social activist, and politician Randall Balmer, Evangelicalism resulted “from the confluence of Pietism, Presbyterianism, and the vestiges of Puritanism.  Evangelicalism picked up the peculiar characteristics from each strain – warmhearted spirituality from the Pietists (for instance), doctrinal precisionism from the Presbyterians, and individualistic introspection from the Puritans”.[40]  Historian Mark Noll adds to this list High Church Anglicanism, which contributed to Evangelicalism a legacy of “rigorous spirituality and innovative organization”.[41]

In the 1730s, Evangelicalism emerged as a distinct phenomenon out of religious revivals that began in Britain and New England.  While religious revivals had occurred within Protestant churches in the past, the evangelical revivals that marked the 18th century were more intense and radical.[48]  Evangelical revivalism imbued ordinary men and women with a confidence and enthusiasm for sharing the gospel and converting others outside of the control of established churches, a key discontinuity with the Protestantism of the previous era.[49]

It was developments in the doctrine of assurance that differentiated Evangelicalism from what went before.

Before his conversion to evangelicalism, which we evangelicals assume to be synonymous with a conversion to Christ, John Wesley wrote, “I hope he has died to save me.”[60]  “About a quarter before nine,” Wesley recalled his conversion, “while [the speaker] was describing the change which God works in the heart through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed.  I felt I did trust in Christ, Christ alone[4] for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.”[61]

Evangelical preachers emphasized personal salvation and piety more than ritual and tradition.  Pamphlets and printed sermons crisscrossed the Atlantic, encouraging the revivalists.[64]  The Awakening resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of deep personal revelation of their need of salvation by Jesus Christ.  Pulling away from ritual and ceremony, the Great Awakening made Christianity intensely personal to the average person by fostering a deep sense of spiritual conviction and redemption, and by encouraging introspection and a commitment to a new standard of personal morality.  It reached people who were already church members.  It changed their rituals, their piety and their self-awareness.

By the time I arrived on the scene those new rituals, piety and self-awareness were nothing more than the ritual and tradition of a bygone era.  And the critical epistemological moment had passed: evangelicalism had already fractured into many disparate opinions.  Though Berger and Luckmann denied[5] it for adults, the teachings of any given religious sect are as much a part of the paramount reality[6] for children who grew up in it as anything an adult does at work.[7]

Though the relatively mindless taken-for-granted-ness[8] of the reality of everyday life shares some of the same blindness (Isaiah 42:18-25) to alternatives as religious faith, it was not faith in Christ in my case.  And apparently, part of my attempt to reinsert myself into the church I had abandoned and the mindless-taken-for-granted-ness of my youth, what I have called “fighting my way back from atheism,”[9] was like Cypher’s (Joe Pantoliano) attempt to be reinserted into The Matrix.  When my pastor lamented that most people came to Christ as children rather than as adults I nodded my “Amen” despite my anomalous personal history.

Now it seems obvious that there is no intrinsic reason that God would be merciful to children but not to adults.  An eternal life knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] sent,[10] living his own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,[11] should be more appealing to those who have been around awhile and have had their fill of sin than to those for whom everything is still new and interesting.  I don’t doubt the accuracy of my pastor’s reflections on his experience.  But the truth behind that actuality seems to be that nearly three centuries of dumbing eternal life down to gaining heaven (or its corollary, escaping hell) has blunted the effectiveness of the gospel presented by evangelicalism.

“Evangelical revivalism” may have “imbued ordinary men and women with a confidence and enthusiasm for sharing the gospel” in its early days.  But by the time I was born into it “sharing the gospel” had become a necessary condition for belonging to the group.  As such, there were many aids, tips, tricks and techniques to make it easier for any Peter, Paul and Mary to “share the gospel.”  So we drowned the voices of God-gifted apostles and evangelists (Ephesians 4:11-16) in a sea of gospel peddlers promoting Jesus as a means to an end.  Even that end is now largely imaginary.  What is heaven, after all, but knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] sent, face to face, living his own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-controlforever?

In an opinion piece on Fox News Chris Sonksen cited Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s concept of a “wish dream” from his book Life Together:

Every human wish dream that is injected into the Christian community is a hindrance to genuine community and must be banished if genuine community is to survive.  He who loves his dream of a community more than the Christian community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter, even though his personal intentions may be ever so honest and earnest and sacrificial.

Bonhoeffer’s wish dream intrigues me because of my own running feud with “the pursuit of happiness.”  Pegging my happiness to a fantasy of my own mind—I will be happy if…—was at best nonsensical and at worst a diabolical prescription for unhappiness.  Even when I have achieved my goals happiness was no longer-lived than that which one should expect from such achievement.  It has proven far better to pursue Christ (Philippians 3:8-11) and his righteousness, and let happiness float freely with the ups and downs of life.  Now I’m mostly happy.

Pastor Sonksen’s point was:

God did not wire us to be alone.  We are truly better together.  It’s in community that we grow, are challenged, stretched, and inspired to truly live for Jesus.  It’s messy, difficult, and at times frustrating…but it’s so worth it.

All true, though I would tend to credit the Holy Spirit, filling me with God’s own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control toward others, over the mere fact of being in community with them.  Pastor Sonksen wasn’t referring to the communities most of us actually live and work in, however.  (Admittedly, my community is more transient and geographically dispersed than most.)  His plea was to the once a week, twice a week, thrice a week meetings (ἐπισυναγωγὴν, a form of ἐπισυναγωγή) of a contemporary church for the purpose of encouraging (παρακαλοῦντες, a form of παρακαλέω), inciting (παροξυσμὸν) one another on to love and [beautiful] (καλῶν, a form of καλός) works.[12]

One hopes that a pastor lives in that eternal life of knowing the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] sent, buoyed up in God’s own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control by the Holy Spirit and his own immersion in scripture.  As such, he may be the last to recognize that the church he pastors enforces—by its rituals and traditions, by the way things are done, by the relatively mindless taken-for-granted-ness of the reality of everyday life within its walls—a lesser form of spirituality than being led by the Holy Spirit.

I don’t know Pastor Sonksen or South Hills Church.  I can’t say this is the case there.  I’m recognizing the possibility from my own past.  But it is the wish dream of every pastor that God will make his congregation completely holy and keep their spirit and soul and body entirely blameless through the well-ordered operation of the church he pastors.

The similarity between the atonement of Aaron and his sons to consecrate and to set them apart and our atonement is that it required no work on Aaron’s part or of his sons, only submission to God’s word (Exodus 29) and Moses’ ministry of that word (Leviticus 8).  The difference is clearly stated in the text (Exodus 29:1b-3 NET):

Take a young bull and two rams without blemish; and bread made without yeast, and perforated cakes without yeast mixed with oil, and wafers without yeast spread with oil – you are to make them using fine wheat flour.  You are to put them in one basket and present them in the basket, along with the bull and the two rams.

We are no longer made holy, consecrated or set apart by bulls or rams or bread or cakes or wafers without yeast, mixed with oil or spread with oil (Hebrews 10:1-10 NET).

For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality (εἰκόνα, a form of εἰκών) itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect (τελειῶσαι, a form of τελειόω) those who come to worship.  For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have no further consciousness (συνείδησιν, a form of συνείδησις) of sin?  But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year.  For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away (ἀφαιρεῖν, a form of ἀφαιρέω) sins.  So when he came into the world, he said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me.

Whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you took no delight in.

Then I said, Here I am: I have come – it is written of me in the scroll of the book – to do your will, O God.’”

When he says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you did not desire nor did you take delight in them” (which are offered according to the law), then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.”  He does away (ἀναιρεῖ, a form of ἀναιρέω) with the first to establish (στήσῃ, a form of ἵστημι) the second.  By his will we have been made holy (ἡγιασμένοι, another form of ἁγιάζω) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

So the finished work of Christ is that we have been made holy through the offering of [his] bodyonce for all.  The ongoing work the God of peacewill in fact do because He is trustworthy seems to be the breaking down of my resistance (Hebrews 12:5-13) to Him and his will and the truth of his word, filling me instead with faith in Him and his word, so that the holiness I have been made through the offering of his body once for all is manifest to me, and to others, here and now.  That God will do (ποιήσει, a form of ποιέω) this is quite evocative of the doer (ποιηταὶ, a form of ποιητής) of the law and of the one who practices the truth [who] comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done (εἰργασμένα, a form of ἐργάζομαι) in God.[13]

A table comparing Hebrews 10:1-10 in the NET and KJV follows.  If the parallel Greek of the NET differs from the Stephanus Textus Receptus or the Byzantine Majority Text I broke the table to highlight that difference.

Hebrews 10:1-9 (NET)

Hebrews 10:1-9 (KJV)

For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship. For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.
For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have no further consciousness of sin? For then would they not have ceased to be offered? because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins.
But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year. But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year.
For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.
So when he came into the world, he said, “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me. Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me:
“Whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you took no delight in. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure.
“Then I said, ‘Here I am: I have come – it is written of me in the scroll of the book – to do your will, O God.’” Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God.
When he says above, “Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sin-offerings you did not desire nor did you take delight in them” (which are offered according to the law), Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law;

Net Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἀνώτερον λέγων ὅτι θυσίας[14] καὶ προσφορὰς[15] καὶ ὁλοκαυτώματα καὶ περὶ ἁμαρτίας οὐκ ἠθέλησας οὐδὲ εὐδόκησας (αἵτινες κατὰ νόμον προσφέρονται) ανωτερον λεγων οτι θυσιαν[16] και προσφοραν[17] και ολοκαυτωματα και περι αμαρτιας ουκ ηθελησας ουδε ευδοκησας αιτινες κατα τον νομον προσφερονται ανωτερον λεγων οτι θυσιαν και προσφοραν και ολοκαυτωματα και περι αμαρτιας ουκ ηθελησας ουδε ευδοκησας αιτινες κατα τον νομον προσφερονται
then he says, “Here I am: I have come to do your will.”  He does away with the first to establish the second. Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Net Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

τότε εἴρηκεν· ἰδοὺ ἥκω τοῦ ποιῆσαι τὸ θέλημα σου. ἀναιρεῖ τὸ πρῶτον ἵνα τὸ δεύτερον στήσῃ τοτε ειρηκεν ιδου ηκω του ποιησαι ο θεος το θελημα σου αναιρει το πρωτον ινα το δευτερον στηση τοτε ειρηκεν ιδου ηκω του ποιησαι ο θεος το θελημα σου αναιρει το πρωτον ινα το δευτερον στηση
Hebrews 10:10 (NET)

Hebrews 10:10 (KJV)

By his will we have been made holy (ἡγιασμένοι,[18] another form of ἁγιάζω) through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Net Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἐν ᾧ θελήματι ἡγιασμένοι ἐσμὲν διὰ τῆς προσφορᾶς τοῦ σώματος Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐφάπαξ εν ω θεληματι ηγιασμενοι εσμεν οι[19] δια της προσφορας του σωματος του[20] ιησου χριστου εφαπαξ εν ω θεληματι ηγιασμενοι εσμεν οι δια της προσφορας του σωματος ιησου χριστου εφαπαξ

[1] Exodus 28:43 (NET)

[2] Exodus 29:1a (NET)

[3] John 7:17 (NET)

[4] “Christ alone” is so much better an expression than “faith alone” with its scriptural association to dead faith: But would you like evidence, you empty fellow, that faith without works is useless?  Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar?  You see that his faith was working together with his works and his faith was perfected (ἐτελειώθη, a form of τελειόω) by works.  And the scripture was fulfilled (ἐπληρώθη, a form of πληρόω) that says, “Now Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness,” and he was called God’s friend.  You see that a person is justified by works and not by faith alone.  And similarly, was not Rahab the prostitute also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by another way?  For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead (James 2:20-26 NET).

[5] “All finite provinces of meaning are characterized by a turning away of attention from the reality of everyday life. While there are, of course, shifts in attention within everyday life, the shift to a finite province of meaning is of a much more radical kind. A radical change takes place in the tension of consciousness. In the context of religious experience this has been aptly called ‘leaping’. It is important to stress, however, that the reality of everyday life retains its paramount status even as such ‘leaps’ take place.”

Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, “The Social Construction of Reality: A Treatise in the Sociology of Knowledge,” 1966, p. 39

[6] “Compared to the reality of everyday life, other realities appear as finite provinces of meaning, enclaves within the paramount reality marked by circumscribed meanings and modes of experience. The paramount reality envelops them on all sides, as it were, and consciousness always returns to the paramount reality as from an excursion.”

Ibid., p. 39

[7] “Closest to me is the zone of everyday life that is directly accessible to my bodily manipulation. This zone contains the world within my reach, the world in which I act so as to modify its reality, or the world in which I work. In this world of working my consciousness is dominated by the pragmatic motive, that is, my attention to this world is mainly determined by what I am doing, have done or plan to do in it. In this way it is my world par excellence.”

Ibid., p. 36

[8] “The reality of everyday life is taken for granted as reality. It does not require additional verification over and beyond its simple presence. It is simply there, as self-evident and compelling facticity. I know that it is real. While I am capable of engaging in doubt about its reality, I am obliged to suspend such doubt as I routinely exist in everyday life. This suspension of doubt is so firm that to abandon it, as I might want to do, say, in theoretical or religious contemplation, I have to make an extreme transition. The world of everyday life proclaims itself and, when I want to challenge the proclamation, I must engage in a deliberate, by no means easy effort.”

Ibid., p. 37

[9] Solomon’s Wealth, Part 4; A Monotonous Cycle, Part 2; A Monotonous Cycle, Part 3; A Monotonous Cycle, Part 5; Who Am I? Part 1; Torture, Part 4

[10] John 17:3 (NET)

[11] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[12] Hebrews 10:24, 25 (NET)

[13] John 3:21 (NET)

[14] Accusative plural feminine  form of θυσία

[15] Accusative plural feminine form of προσφορά

[16] Accusative singular feminine form of θυσία

[17] Accusative singular feminine form of προσφορά

[18] Perfect passive participle nominative plural masculine form of ἁγιάζω

[19] http://www.greekdoc.com/lexicon/oi.html

[20] http://www.greekdoc.com/lexicon/to.html#tou

Forgiven or Passed Over? Part 6

In another essay I considered occurrences of sâlach (ונסלח) in Leviticus, translated will be forgiven.  The rabbis translation ἀφεθήσεται (a form of ἀφίημι) in the Septuagint (See Table1 below) impressed me and I compared those same passages of Leviticus to occurrences of ἀφεθήσεται in the New Testament as outlined below:

Will Be Forgiven

Leviticus 4:13-21 For the Whole Congregation sâlach, ונסלח; Septuagint: ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι Matthew 12:31
Leviticus 4:22-26 For the Leader Matthew 12:32
Leviticus 4:27-31 For the Common Person Mark 3:28
Leviticus 4:32-35 Luke 12:10

I was surprised, however, by kâphar (וכפר), translated atonement in English and ἐξιλάσεται (a form of ἐξιλάσκομαι) in the Septuagint (See Table2 below).  None of the writers of the New Testament was led by the Holy Spirit to use any form of ἐξιλάσκομαι in any descriptions of Jesus’ ministry or of new life in Christ.  My surprise reminds me where I began this trajectory, believing that the differences between one who has received (John 1:11-13) Jesus and the Judeans who had believed him (John 8:31-45) was primarily cosmetic rather than organic (John 3:7; Romans 8:14; Galatians 5:22-26).  This is another area where I haven’t fully appreciated the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31, 32a NET):

“Indeed, a time is coming,” says the Lord, “when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and Judah.  It will not be like the old covenant that I made with their ancestors when I delivered them from Egypt.”

To highlight how the new covenant is notlike the old covenant I’ll contrast old and new covenant forgiveness.  Under the old covenant forgiveness (sâlach, ונסלח: Septuagint: ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι) was the end result of an exacting procedure of atonement (kâphar, וכפר; Septuagint: ἐξιλάσεται, a form of ἐξιλάσκομαι) officiated by priests performing rituals ordained in the law.  And I call it exacting because death was a very real possibility for priests who didn’t follow the rituals to the letter (Exodus 28:42, 43; Leviticus 10:1-3).[1]  New covenant forgiveness is more in keeping with Jesus’ Spirit: Freely you received, freely give.[2]

Under the new covenant the Son of Man (ἀνθρώπου, a form of ἄνθρωπος) [and, presumably, the daughter of humanity, too] has authority (ἐξουσίαν, a form of ἐξουσία) on earth to forgive (ἀφιέναι, another form of ἀφίημι) sins (ἁμαρτίας, a form of ἁμαρτία)…[3]  So Jesus said to them again (John 20:21-23 NET):

“Peace be with you.  Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.”  And after he said this, he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.  If you forgive (ἀφῆτε, another form of ἀφίημι) anyone’s sins (ἁμαρτίας, a form of ἁμαρτία), they are forgiven (ἀφέωνται,[4] another form of ἀφίημι); if you retain (κρατῆτε, a form of κρατέω) anyone’s sins, they are retained (κεκράτηνται, another form of κρατέω).”[5]

Anyone who prays as Jesus instructed links his or her own forgiveness, not to priests and rituals but, to the forgiveness of others: and forgive (ἄφες, another form of ἀφίημι) us our debts (ὀφειλήματα, a form of ὀφείλημα), as we ourselves have forgiven (ἀφήκαμεν,[6] another form of ἀφίημι) our debtors (ὀφειλέταις, a form of ὀφειλέτης).[7]  Jesus was explicit in his explanation: For if you forgive (ἀφῆτε, another form of ἀφίημι) others (ἀνθρώποις, another form of ἄνθρωπος) their sins (παραπτώματα, a form of παράπτωμα), your heavenly Father will also forgive (ἀφήσει, another form of ἀφίημι) you.  But if you do not forgive (ἀφῆτε, another form of ἀφίημι) others (ἀνθρώποις, another form of ἄνθρωπος),[8] your Father will not forgive (ἀφήσει, another form of ἀφίημι) you your sins (παραπτώματα, a form of παράπτωμα).[9]

I was socialized among people who, though we would never say we reject Jesus’ teaching we, have encumbered this particular teaching with so many caveats it only means that one should forgive a fellow believer in good standing with one’s local church who comes to formally seek forgiveness through repentance.  Granted, at the end of the parable of the unforgiving slave (Matthew 18:23-35) Jesus said ἀδελφῷ, brother: And in anger his lord turned him over to the prison guards to torture (βασανισταῖς, a form of βασανιστής) him until he repaid all he owed.[10]  So also my heavenly[11] Father will do to you, if each of you does not forgive (ἀφῆτε, another form of ἀφίημι) your brother (ἀδελφῷ, a form of ἀδελφός) from your heart.[12]

In his essay, “Should I Forgive Those Who Don’t Ask for Forgiveness?Julian Freeman wrote an interesting response to my socialization:

When we view ourselves as the ‘God’ figure in the relationship, we’re missing something. The reality is that we are servants, compelled by the mercy we’ve been shown, to forgive other (equal) servants. That’s different than God’s forgiveness. Our forgiveness displays the reality and power of God’s forgiveness, but it’s different. We are commanded to forgive; God does so of his own character. When God forgives it is a superior showing mercy on an inferior; when we forgive it is servant to servant. The connection between God forgiving us and us forgiving each other is a little more nuanced than some like to admit…

All things considered, I think that what Christ is calling us to is a stance, a posture of forgiveness. He’s calling us to a readiness to forgive in a moment. I think he is calling us to treat people with love and mercy, with humility and compassion. He is calling us to remember that if someone has sinned against me, I should be quicker to identify with them (‘I have sinned this way too…’) than to identify with God (‘I have been offended without cause…’). When we realize that it could have just as easily been me offending as me offended, I’m much slower to hold offences against other people.

To forgive others for being less than Christlike is a natural expression of God’s own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control[13] springing up to eternal life[14]  I take some issue with the assertion that, “Offering forgiveness really means next to nothing if the offender doesn’t believe they need forgiveness in the first place.”  Mr. Freeman stated obliquely that the purpose of our forgiveness of others is reconciliation with them—“how can there be true reconciliation in relationships if the offending party doesn’t admit wrong?”—and implied that forgiveness is just another tool to manipulate others’ behavior.

The Holy Spirit (John 14:16, 17; John 14:26) convinces, convicts, reproves, proves the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment, as Jesus taught (John 16:7-11 NET):

But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I am going away.  For if I[15] do not go away, the Advocate will not come to you, but if I go, I will send him to you.  And when he comes, he will prove the world wrong concerning sin and righteousness and judgment – concerning sin, because they do not believe in me; concerning righteousness, because I am going to the Father[16] and you will see me no longer; and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world has been condemned (κέκριται, a form of κρίνω).

Forgiving others demonstrates faith in Jesus’ word, as does linking our own forgiveness to forgiving others when we pray.  To my mind whether we forgive humanity (ἀνθρώποις, another form of ἄνθρωπος; translated others) in general or only repentant believers comes down to one’s interpretation of: And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people (πάντας, a form of πᾶς) to myself.[17]

I think one who believes that πάντας here means all will be more open to forgiving all than those who believe that πάντας (and any other form of πᾶς) is “generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts — some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile…”[18]  Paul wrote believers in Colossae that God was pleased to have all (πᾶν, another form of πᾶς) his fullness dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things (πάντα, another form of πᾶς) to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.[19]  But, admittedly, my acceptance of forms of πᾶς as all, when there is no obvious limit in the text, is a strategy.

With no offense intended to C.H. Spurgeon I would rather that Jesus ask me, “Why did you believe that I would draw all to myself?”  I can defend that with a lifetime of mistakes made by under-valuing the truth of Jesus’ words.  The alternative—“Why did you believe that πάντας meant I would draw some (τινες, a form of τίς) to myself?”—is harder to defend.  “Well, C.H. Spurgeon said…” would not have worked on my mother.  I don’t expect it to be a reasonable defense before Jesus Christ.  I tend to think more about what to forgive than who to forgive (Matthew 12:30-32 NET):

Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.  For this reason (Διὰ τοῦτο) I tell you, people (ἀνθρώποις, another form of ἄνθρωπος) will be forgiven (ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι) for every (πᾶσα, another form of πᾶς) sin (ἁμαρτία) and blasphemy (βλασφημία), but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven (ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι).[20]  Whoever[21] speaks a word against the Son of Man (ἀνθρώπου, a form of ἄνθρωπος) will be forgiven (ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι).  But whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven (ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι), either in this[22] age or in the age to come.

I try to interpret blasphemy against the Holy Spirit narrowly enough that it doesn’t become another loophole for my judgmental hatred[23] of others.  Since May[24] I’ve added Ephesians 3:14-19 back into my daily prayers.  I prayed it years ago for myself, desperately, selfishly.  Now I can pray it for all who believe, have believed and will believe in Jesus for eternal life.  Following Romans 9:16 and 11:32, my persistent prayer for justice (Luke 18:1-8), and preceding 1 Timothy 2:1-4, it has given me both the place and the presence to laugh at myself when that judgmental hatred rears its ugly head in my consciousness.  I’m like Crocodile Dundee (Paul Hogan) scarcely missing a beat as he wrings the snake’s neck.  Regardless of my personal strategy I concede that forgiving even fellow believers in faithfulness to Jesus’ teaching is a positive step toward the new covenant.

Now I want to turn briefly to a potential error.  In another essay I included Leviticus 5:1 together with verses 2-6.  Here is the entire passage (Leviticus 5:1-6 NET):

“‘When a person sins in that he hears a public curse against one who fails to testify and he is a witness (he either saw or knew what had happened) and he does not make it known, then he will bear (nâśâʼ, ונשׁא; Septuagint: λήμψεται, a form of λαμβάνω) his punishment for iniquity (ʽâvôn, עונו; Septuagint: ἁμαρτίαν, a form of ἁμαρτία).  Or when there is a person who touches anything ceremonially unclean, whether the carcass of an unclean wild animal, or the carcass of an unclean domesticated animal, or the carcass of an unclean creeping thing, even if he did not realize it, but he himself has become unclean and is guilty; or when he touches human uncleanness with regard to anything by which he can become unclean, even if he did not realize it, but he himself has later come to know it and is guilty; or when a person swears an oath, speaking thoughtlessly with his lips, whether to do evil or to do good, with regard to anything which the individual might speak thoughtlessly in an oath, even if he did not realize it, but he himself has later come to know it and is guilty with regard to one of these oaths – when an individual becomes guilty with regard to one of these things he must confess how he has sinned, and he must bring his penalty for guilt to the Lord for his sin that he has committed, a female from the flock, whether a female sheep or a female goat, for a sin offering.  So the priest will make atonement (kâphar, וכפר) on his behalf for his sin.

In the NET עונו (ʽâvôn) was translated his punishment for iniquityAaron and his sons were commanded to wear linen undergarments when they enter to the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they bear (nâśâʼ, ישׁאו; Septuagint: ἐπάξονται, a form of ἐπάγω) no iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון; Septuagint: ἁμαρτίαν, a form of ἁμαρτία) and die.[25]  I acknowledged that “I would consider death an extreme punishment for bearing iniquity.”  The punishment for a witness who fails to testify and thus bears iniquity would, I assume, be the public curse.  Here is an example of a public curse (Ezra 10:7, 8 NET):

A proclamation was circulated throughout Judah and Jerusalem that all the exiles were to be assembled in Jerusalem.  Everyone who did not come within three days would thereby forfeit all his property, in keeping with the counsel of the officials and the elders.  Furthermore, he himself would be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.

So the punishments for noncompliance would be to forfeit all his property and to be excluded from the assembly of the exiles.

I’m not sure whether the person who failed to testify could still receive atonement (though the curse penalty would still be paid) or was completely exempt from the possibility of atonement.  In other words, I’m willing to consider whether this was one of the offenses from which the law of Moses could not justify: Therefore let it be known to you, brothers, Paul preached in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, that through this one forgiveness (ἄφεσις, a form of ἄφεσις) of sins (ἁμαρτιῶν, another form of ἁμαρτία) is proclaimed to you, and by this one everyone who believes is justified from everything from which the law of Moses could not justify you.[26]  Even One of the criminals (Luke 23:39-43) on the cross, justified by grace through faith in Jesus, still died (John 19:31-37) for his crimes.

I want to compare/contrast this to the person who violates any of the Lord’s commandments but did not know it at the time (Leviticus 5:17-19 NET):

“If a person sins and violates any of the Lord’s commandments which must not be violated (although he did not know it at the time, but later realizes he is guilty [ʼâsham, ואשם]), then he will bear (nâśâʼ, ונשׁא; Septuagint: λάβῃ, another form of λαμβάνω) his punishment for iniquity (ʽâvôn, עונו; Septuagint: ἁμαρτίαν, a form of ἁμαρτία) and must bring a flawless ram from the flock, convertible into silver shekels, for a guilt offering to the priest. So the priest will make atonement (kâphar, וכפר; Septuagint: ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι) on his behalf for his error which he committed (although he himself had not known it) and he will be forgiven (sâlach, ונסלח; Septuagint: ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι).  It is a guilt offering; he was surely (ʼâsham, אשם) guilty (ʼâsham, אשם) before the Lord.”

So did the translators consider bringing a flawless ram from the flock a punishment for iniquity?  And I ask this because they also translated אשמו (ʼâshâm) his penalty for guilt in Leviticus 5:15.

Form of ʼâshâm

Reference KJV NET Septuagint
אשמו Leviticus 5:15 …then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD… …then he must bring his penalty for guilt to the Lord… πλημμελείας, a form of πλημμέλεια[27]
לאשם …after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering …according to the standard of the sanctuary shekel, for a guilt offering. ἐπλημμέλησεν, a form of πλημμελέω[28]
Leviticus 5:18 …with thy estimation, for a trespass offering …convertible into silver shekels, for a guilt offering πλημμέλειαν, another form of πλημμέλεια
האשם Leviticus 5:16 …an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering …make atonement on his behalf with the guilt offering ram… πλημμελείας, a form of πλημμέλεια
אשם Leviticus 5:19 It is a trespass offering: It is a guilt offering ἐπλημμέλησεν, a form of πλημμελέω

Or is it simply an assertion that ignorance of the law or of one’s own violation of the law is no excuse?  Or is it an example of some unspecified punishment added to atonement?  I’m glad that my responsibility is to forgive our ὀφειλέταις (debtors), both ἁμαρτία (sin) and παράπτωμα (sin), because I have been forgiven, rather than to act as a priest adjudicating these laws.  And here I’m reminded to keep the stakes in focus (Matthew 5:18, 19 NET):

I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth pass away not the smallest letter or stroke of a letter will pass from the law until everything takes place.  So anyone who breaks one of the least of these commands and teaches others (ἀνθρώπους, another form of ἄνθρωπος) to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever obeys[29] (ποιήσῃ, a form of ποιέω; e.g., the doers [ποιηταὶ, a form of ποιητής] of the law shall be justified) them and teaches others to do so will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor, Paul wrote believers in Rome.  Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.[30]  Two tables of occurrences of forms of sâlach and kâphar in Leviticus follow.

Form of sâlach

Reference KJV NET Septuagint
ונסלח Leviticus 4:20 …make an atonement for them, and it shall be forgiven them. …make atonement on their behalf and they will be forgiven. ἀφεθήσεται, a form of ἀφίημι
Leviticus 4:26 …make an atonement for him as concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him. …make atonement on his behalf for his sin and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 4:31 …make an atonement for him, and it shall be forgiven him. …make atonement on his behalf and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 4:35 …his sin that he hath committed, and it shall be forgiven him. …his sin which he has committed and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 5:10 …his sin which he hath sinned, and it shall be forgiven him. …his sin which he has committed, and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 5:13 …in one of these, and it shall be forgiven him: …by doing one of these things, and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 5:16 …with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him. …with the guilt offering ram and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 5:18 …and wist it not, and it shall be forgiven him. …(although he himself had not known it) and he will be forgiven.
Leviticus 6:7 …for him before the LORD: and it shall be forgiven him… …on his behalf before the Lord and he will be forgiven
Leviticus 19:22 and the sin which he hath done shall be forgiven him. …his sin that he has committed, and he will be forgiven

Form of kâphar

Reference KJV NET Septuagint
יכפר Leviticus 5:16 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι[31]
Leviticus 7:7 …the priest that maketh atonement therewith shall have it. …it belongs to the priest who makes atonement with it.
Leviticus 16:30 For on that day shall the priest make an atonement for you… …for on this day atonement is to be made for you…
Leviticus 16:33 and he shall make an atonement for the tabernacle of the congregation, and for the altar… he is to purify the Meeting Tent and the altar… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι; “ritually acceptable”
and he shall make an atonement for the priests… and he is to make atonement for the priests… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 17:11 …for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul. …for the blood makes atonement by means of the life.
וכפר Leviticus 4:20 and the priest shall make an atonement for them… So the priest will make atonement on their behalf… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 4:26 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf…
Leviticus 4:31 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf…
Leviticus 4:35 and the priest shall make an atonement for his sin… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf…
Leviticus 5:6 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf…
Leviticus 5:10 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on behalf of this person…
Leviticus 5:13 And the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf…
Leviticus 5:18 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf…
Leviticus 6:7 And the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest will make atonement on his behalf…
Leviticus 9:7 …thy burnt offering, and make an atonement for thyself… …your burnt offering, and make atonement on behalf of yourself… ἐξίλασαι, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
…the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them… …the people’s offering and make atonement on behalf of them…
Leviticus 12:7 …offer it before the LORD, and make an atonement for her… …present it before the Lord and make atonement on her behalf… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 12:8 and the priest shall make an atonement for her… and the priest is to make atonement on her behalf…
Leviticus 14:18 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest is to make atonement for him…
Leviticus 14:19 …the sin offering, and make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed… …the sin offering and make atonement for the one being cleansed…
Leviticus 14:20 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest is to make atonement for him…
Leviticus 14:31 and the priest shall make an atonement for him that is to be cleansed… So the priest is to make atonement for the one being cleansed…
Leviticus 14:53 and make an atonement for the house: So he is to make atonement for the house…
Leviticus 15:15 and the priest shall make an atonement for him… So the priest is to make atonement for him…
Leviticus 15:30 and the priest shall make an atonement for her… So the priest is to make atonement for her…
Leviticus 16:6 …sin offering, which is for himself, and make an atonement for himself… …bull which is for himself and is to make atonement on behalf of himself…
Leviticus 16:11 …offering, which is for himself, and shall make an atonement for himself… …bull which is for himself, and he is to make atonement on behalf of himself…
Leviticus 16:16 And he shall make an atonement for the holy place… So he is to make atonement for the holy place… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι; “ritually acceptable”
Leviticus 16:17 and have made an atonement for himself… and he has made atonement on his behalf… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 16:18 …the altar that is before the LORD, and make an atonement for it… …the altar which is before the Lord and make atonement for it.
Leviticus 16:24 and make an atonement for himself… So he is to make atonement on behalf of himself…
Leviticus 16:32 …to minister in the priest’s office in his father’s stead, shall make the atonement …to act as high priest in place of his father is to make atonement.
Leviticus 16:33 And he shall make an atonement for the holy sanctuary… and he is to purify the Most Holy Place… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι; “ritually acceptable”
Leviticus 19:22 And the priest shall make an atonement for him… and the priest is to make atonement for him… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
לכפר Leviticus 1:4 …and it shall be accepted for him to make atonement for him. …and it will be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf. ἐξιλάσασθαι, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 6:30 …brought into the tabernacle of the congregation to reconcile withal… …brought into the Meeting Tent to make atonement in the sanctuary…
Leviticus 8:15 …and sanctified it, to make reconciliation upon it. …and so consecrated it to make atonement on it.
Leviticus 8:34 …commanded to do, to make an atonement for you. …commanded to be done to make atonement for you.
Leviticus 10:17 …to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement for them… …to bear the iniquity of the congregation, to make atonement on their behalf… ἐξιλάσησθε, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 14:21 …a trespass offering to be waved, to make an atonement for him… …a wave offering to make atonement for himself… ἐξιλάσασθαι, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 14:29 …that is to be cleansed, to make an atonement for him… …the one being cleansed to make atonement for him… ἐξιλάσεται, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 16:10 to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat… to make atonement on it by sending it away to Azazel… ἐξιλάσασθαι, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 16:17 …when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place… …when he enters to make atonement in the holy place…
Leviticus 16:27 …whose blood was brought in to make atonement in the holy place… …whose blood was brought to make atonement in the holy place…
Leviticus 16:34 And this shall be an everlasting statute unto you, to make an atonement for the children of… This is to be a perpetual statute for you to make atonement for the Israelites…
Leviticus 17:11 I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls… I myself have assigned it to you on the altar to make atonement for your lives… ἐξιλάσκεσθαι, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
Leviticus 23:28 …a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you… …a day of atonement[32] to make atonement for yourselves… ἐξιλάσασθαι, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι
מכפר Leviticus 16:20 And when he hath made an end of reconciling the holy place… When he has finished purifying the holy place… ἐξιλασκόμενος, another form of ἐξιλάσκομαι; “ritually acceptable”

 

[1] Leviticus 10:16-20 is an interesting exception which offers a model for a λόγον (a form of λόγος) made to God (Romans 14:12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

[2] Matthew 10:8b (NET)

[3] Matthew 9:6a (NET)

[4] This verb is a perfect tense in the indicative mood.  In the Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text the word is αφιενται, still in the indicative mood but present tense.

[5] Here are some other interpretations: Commentary on John 20:19-23; What is the correct interpretation of John 20:23?; Bible Hub

[6] The verb is singular; ἀφῆκαν is the plural form according to the Koine Greek Lexicon.  Both the Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text have αφιεμεν here.  It is plural but in the present tense rather than aorist as ἀφήκαμεν and ἀφῆκαν are.  And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors (Matthew 6:12 KJV).

[7] Matthew 6:12 (NET)

[8] The Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text include the words τα παραπτωματα αυτων here: But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses (Matthew 6:15 KJV).

[9] Matthew 6:14, 15 (NET)

[10] The Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text include the word αυτω here: And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him (Matthew 18:34 KJV).

[11] Where the NET parallel Greek has οὐράνιος the Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text have επουρανιος.

[12] Matthew 18:34, 35 (NET) The Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text include the words τα παραπτωματα αυτων here: So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses (Matthew 18:35 KJV).

[13] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[14] John 4:14b (NET)

[15] The Byzantine Majority Text includes another εγω here.  In the NET parallel Greek text and the Stephanus Textus Receptus the I is understood from the verb απελθω which is 1st person singular.

[16] The Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text include the word μου here: Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more (John 16:10 KJV).

[17] John 12:32 (NET)

[18] From a C.H. Spurgeon quote included in the NET definition of πᾶς [select “Grk/Heb” at the top of the right column, then highlight and click all people in verse 32 in the left column and scroll down to “Definition:”].

[19] Colossians 1:19, 20 (NET)

[20] The Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text include the words τοις ανθρωποις here: Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men (Matthew 12:31 KJV).

[21] The NET parallel Greek Text and the Byzantine Majority Text have ἐὰν here where the Stephanus Textus Receptus has αν.

[22] The NET parallel Greek Text and the Stephanus Textus Receptus have τούτῳ here where the Byzantine Majority Text has νυν; literally, “the now (present) age.”

[23] I use hatred specifically here.  Jacob’s sexual preference for Rachel was described as Leah being שׁנואה (śânêʼ; KJV: hated; NET: unloved).  That had a profound impact on me since I doubt that Jacob consciously intended to hurt Leah.  Sleeping with the beautiful Rachel was kind of a no-brainer.

[24] Romans, Part 90; Believers; Cobwebs

[25] Exodus 28:43 (NET)

[26] Acts 13:38, 39 (NET)

[27] http://www.greekdoc.com/lexicon/plh.html#plhmmeleia

[28] http://www.greekdoc.com/lexicon/plh.html#plhmmelew

[29] Jedidiah, Part 5; Romans, Part 9; Romans, Part 12; Fear – Leviticus; Fear – Exodus, Part 5; Romans, Part 22; Romans, Part 49; Condemnation or Judgment? Part 7; Romans, Part 70; Romans, Part 82

[30] Romanas 13:10 (NET)

[31] http://www.greekdoc.com/lexicon/exi.html#exilaskomai

[32] kippûr, כפרים

To Make Holy, Part 5

The next form of ἁγιάζω I want to consider is found in Jesus’ prayer to his Father: Set them apart (ἁγίασον, a form of ἁγιάζω) in the truth; your word is truth.[1]  But I’m making a slow pilgrimage through his prayer because I believe I can know his holiness here.  I have revealed your name, Jesus prayed, to the [people] you gave me out of the world.  They belonged to you, and you gave them to me, and they have obeyed (τετήρηκαν, a form of τηρέω) your word.[2]

Jesus came into the world to be despised and rejected by people.[3]  And though the Greek word κόσμου (a form of κόσμος), translated of the world, does not exclude the larger Gentile world necessarily, at this particular time He was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel[4] rather than Gentile sinnersYou people are from your father the devil,[5] Jesus said of Israel’s religious leaders.  A disciple is not greater than his teacher, but everyone when fully trained will be like his teacher[6] serves as a fair assessment of those who followed Israel’s teachers.  You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves[7] is certainly more explicit.  This gives me some context, how precious the people you gave me out of the world were to Jesus.

He came to what was his own (ἴδια, a form of ἴδιος), but his own people (ἴδιοι, another form of ἴδιος) did not receive him.[8]  He knew this would happen.  Isaiah prophesied it: He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.[9]  And in a very real sense their rejection was part of the plan and purpose of salvation (Romans 11:11-33 NET).

I ask then, they did not stumble into an irrevocable fall, did they?  Absolutely not!  But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles (ἔθνεσιν, a form of ἔθνος), to make Israel jealous.  Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles (ἐθνῶν, another form of ἔθνος), how much more will their full restoration bring?

Now I am speaking to you Gentiles (ἔθνεσιν, a form of ἔθνος).  Seeing that I am an apostle to the Gentiles (ἐθνῶν, another form of ἔθνος), I magnify my ministry, if somehow I could provoke my people to jealousy and save some of them.  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  If the first portion of the dough offered is holy (ἁγία, a form of ἅγιος), then the whole batch is holy, and if the root is holy (ἁγία, a form of ἅγιος), so too are the branches.

Now if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among them and participated in the richness of the olive root, do not boast over the branches.  But if you boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you.  Then you will say, “The branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”  Granted!  They were broken off because of their unbelief (ἀπιστίᾳ), but you stand by faith (πίστει, a form of πίστις).  Do not be arrogant, but fear!  For if God did not spare the natural branches, perhaps he will not spare you.  Notice therefore the kindness and harshness of God – harshness toward those who have fallen, but God’s kindness toward you, provided you continue in his kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off.  And even they – if they do not continue in their unbelief (ἀπιστίᾳ)– will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  For if you were cut off from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these natural branches be grafted back into their own olive tree?

For I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers and sisters, so that you may not be conceited: A partial hardening has happened to Israel until the full number of the Gentiles (ἐθνῶν, another form of ἔθνος) has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion; he will remove ungodliness from Jacob.  And this is my covenant with them, when I take away their sins.”

In regard to the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but in regard to election they are dearly loved for the sake of the fathers.  For the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable.  Just as you were formerly disobedient (ἠπειθήσατε, a form of ἀπειθέω) to God, but have now received mercy due to their disobedience (ἀπειθείᾳ), so they too have now been disobedient (ἠπείθησαν, another form of ἀπειθέω) in order that, by the mercy shown to you, they too may now receive mercy.  For God has consigned all people to disobedience (ἀπείθειαν, a form of ἀπείθεια) so that he may show mercy to them all.

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God!  How unsearchable are his judgments and how fathomless his ways!

I’m ignoring for the moment the more traditional interpretation of this verse, the importance and instrumentality of the eleven apostles carrying on Jesus’ message and building the church, in favor of the comfort God the Father gave to Jesus on a mission of rejection.  My current focus is Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.  She comforted Him in a way the apostles could not.

She has kept it for the day of my burial,[10] Jesus said of the three quarters of a pound of expensive aromatic oil from pure nard[11] she had “wasted” on his feet.  She had sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to what he said[12] and apparently believed Him while the eleven (all twelve, in fact) were still full of their own understanding, hoping for (or fearing) the overthrow of the Roman government and their own domination of the world.  Taking Jesus at his word is still a great comfort in a world full of rejection as He draws all to Himself.

They belonged to you (KJV: thine they were), Jesus’ prayer continued.  I don’t want to speculate too much about this beyond Jesus’ own words: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.[13]  Most translators have understood the next clause καμοὶ αὐτοὺς ἔδωκας as a reiteration of people the Father gave to Jesus.  But consider the following table:

King James Version Darby Bible Translation

American King James Version

…and thou gavest them me… …and thou gavest them me… …and you gave them me…

Here it sounds reciprocal: the Father also gave Jesus to them.  But I admit it is possible, probably likely, that this is just King James’ English for a reiteration of the Father gave them to Jesus.  You gave them to Me, the NKJV reads.  The Greek word καμοὶ (and me, me also) is a dative pronoun according to the Koine Greek Lexicon as is μοι (me) in the phrase you gave me out of the world:

Dative Case
The dative is the case of the indirect object, or may also indicate the means by which something is done. The dative case also has a wide variety of uses, with the root idea being that of “personal interest” or “reference”. It is used most often in one of three general categories: Indirect objectInstrument (means), or Location. Most commonly it is used as the indirect object of a sentence. It may also indicate the means by which something is done or accomplished. Used as a dative of location, it can show the “place”, “time”, or “sphere” in which something may happen. 
For example: (Indirect object): “Jesus said to them“, or “he will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask” (Luke 11:13). 
(Instrument or Means): “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by (by means of) prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6). In this sentence, there is a single Greek word translated into the phrase “by prayer” showing the means by which to let our requests be made known to God. 
(Location): “… and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matt 20:19). The phrase “the third day” is in the dative case, showing the time in which Jesus will be raised. In this sentence, there is no Greek word present that is translated into the English word “on”; it is added to show the meaning of the dative of location.

The Greek word αὐτοὺς (them) is an accusative pronoun as is οὓς the untranslated relative pronoun which precedes you gave in the prior phrase:

Accusative Case
The accusative case is the case of the direct object, receiving the action of the verb. Like the other cases, the accusative has a wide variety of uses, but its main function is as the direct object of a transitive verb. The direct object will most often be in the accusative case. 
For example: “As newborn babes, long for the guiless milk of the word” (1 Peter 2:2). The word “milk” is in the accusative case and is functioning as the direct object of the transitive verb “long for” (or “desire”).

The only reason I want this giving to be reciprocal is to make it clearer that God the Father gave them Jesus and thus they have kept[14] his word, rather than too appear as if they obeyed his word so God the Father gave them to Jesus.

Now they understand, Jesus’ continued, that everything you have given me comes from you.[15]  In other words, Jesus relied on his Father’s supply, not his own godliness.  And those who had been given to Him knew (ἔγνωκαν, a form of γινώσκω; translated understand) this.  The verb ἔγνωκαν is in the perfect tense: “The basic thought of the perfect tense is that the progress of an action has been completed and the results of the action are continuing on, in full effect.  In other words, the progress of the action has reached its culmination and the finished results are now in existence.”[16]  And though it is obvious to me here and now that everything you have given me comes from you means that Jesus relied on his Father’s supply rather than his own godliness, it just became obvious to me here and now.

“It’s axiomatic to me,” I wrote in another essay, “that Jesus didn’t utilize his own godliness, but trusted the Holy Spirit that descended like a dove from heaven, and…remained on him.[11] Otherwise, Jesus’ invitation and command, Follow me,[12] is little more than a cruel joke.”

“As I’ve written before it is axiomatic to me that the way Jesus loved us,” I wrote in another essay, “was through that same love He received from the Holy Spirit that descended like a dove from heaven, and…remained on him.[43] He prayed as much to his Father if one has ears to hear: I made known your name to them, and I will continue to make it known, so that the love (ἀγάπη) you have loved (ἠγάπησας, a form of ἀγαπάω) me with may be in them, and I may be in them.”[44]

“As I’ve written before,[20] it is axiomatic to me that Jesus’ holiness was from the Holy Spirit rather than his own divine nature” I wrote elsewhere.  “Otherwise, his command and invitation, Follow me, would be meaningless to sinful human beings.”

I acknowledged that my axiom in the beginning was little more than a confidence that “Jesus wasn’t commanding us to follow Him somewhere we couldn’t go…Over time,” I confessed, “my ‘axiom’ has come to mean so much more: When I am anything less than Christlike I no longer think: ‘Oh, He is God and I am not.’  Instead, I know that I am living according to the flesh (Romans 8:5-11), that I’ve fallen away from grace.  One would think I would know better by now but apparently I do not.  It alerts me that it is time to stop relying on myself and get back to trusting Jesus, relying on his Spirit.  But that weight deserves something weightier than an axiom.”[17]  But when did it become axiomatic?  It wasn’t axiomatic when I turned again to obey his rules in my own strength.

I asked a friend I knew from church to sing this prayer as a demo after I had set it to music.  It was beyond his vocal ability.  Twice in the piece Jesus strikes a dissonant pedal tone until the rest of the music resolves and conforms to that note.  My friend recommended a better trained singer, a younger man nearer my age.  And he did this without criticizing my living arrangements or commenting on my unworthiness to write an opera about Jesus.

As this younger more skilful singer and I rehearsed we talked.  I acknowledged the trouble I was having not sinning.  He said that whatever was too difficult for him became easy when he “turned it over to the Lord.”  It was apparent to me that he was describing actual experience, but I failed to ask what he meant by turning it over to the Lord.  I assumed he meant prayer.  When I prayed for Jesus’ help to overcome my sin I got nothing.  (Or I got everything one reads about in these essays.)  At the time I assumed I wasn’t holy enough to merit God’s help.

So I strove with all my might to make myself holy enough to earn his blessing, by which I meant becoming a famous (and hopefully rich) composer.  I clearly didn’t grasp that since Jesus is holy everyone who abides (John 15:1-8) in Him is holy (Romans 11:16-24).  I saw my task as one of becoming holy rather than one of allowing Jesus’ holiness to shine through me; namely, the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control that is the fruit of his Holy Spirit.[18]  And I didn’t understand that Jesus was led by the Holy Spirit.

In my ignorance I attempted to use Him as my personal demon to achieve my own purposes.  I was a lot like Nikolai (Adam Brody), the lead singer of the band Low Shoulder, in Jason Reitman’s and Diablo Cody’s movie Jennifer’s Body.  “Do you know how hard it is to make it as an indie band these days?” he asked Jennifer (Megan Fox).  “There’s so many of us, and we’re all so cute, and it’s like, if you don’t get on Letterman or some retarded soundtrack, you’re screwed, okay?  Satan is our only hope.  We’re in league with the beast now, and we have to make a really big impression on him.  And to do that, we’re going to have to butcher you and bleed you.”  And he does.

Granted, I tried to make an impression on Jesus by attempting to obey his laws in my own strength, laws that included not butchering or bleeding young women.  So what would I say to myself now about overcoming sin by turning it over to the Lord?

It was a bit like being caught in Devil’s Snare from the movie Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.  Hermione (Emma Watson), who “pays attention in Herbology” at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, recognizes the plant and knows how to escape it.  “Stop moving, both of you,” she yells to Ron (Rupert Grint) and Harry (Daniel Radcliffe).  “You have to relax.  If you don’t, it will only kill you faster.”

For when we were in the flesh, (as opposed to being led by the Holy Spirit) Paul wrote believers in Rome, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death.  But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.[19]  My striving to obey rules only strengthened sin’s hold on me: the power of sin is the law.[20]  Rather than living in the flesh, striving to obey laws, I should have given more heed to Paul’s explanation: So, my brothers and sisters, you also died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you could be joined to another, to the one who was raised from the dead, to bear fruit to God.[21]

In the movie Ron doesn’t respond well to Hermione’s words: “Kill us faster?” he exclaims.  “Oh, now I can relax.”  But Hermione relaxes and falls through the bottom of the plant.  Harry is able to follow her example and disappears as well.  Poor Ron is left alone, struggling, thinking his friends have been swallowed whole by the Devil’s Snare.

Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen (gôy, בגוים; Septuagint: ἔθνεσιν, a form of ἔθνος), I will be exalted in the earth.[22]  In that quiet place of trust I began to find that seemingly inexhaustible supply of God’s own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control like a fountain of water springing up to eternal life.[23]  Ironically, even my striving to obey laws was fueled by his Holy Spirit channeled through my own ignorance of Him, my ignorance of the Bible which reveals Him to all who have ears to hear.

 

[1] John 17:17 (NET)

[2] John 17:6 (NET)

[3] Isaiah 53:3a (NET)

[4] Matthew 15:24 (NET)

[5] John 8:44a (NET)

[6] Luke 6:40 (NET)

[7] Matthew 23:15b (NET)

[8] John 1:11 (NET)

[9] Isaiah 53:3 (Tanakh)

[10] John 12:7b (NET)

[11] John 12:3 (NET)

[12] Luke 10:39b (NET)

[13] John 6:44 (NET)

[14] I have written enough about forms of τηρέω (τετήρηκαν is a form of τηρέω) elsewhere: Everyone Fathered by God Does Not Sin; Antichrist, Part 2; Son of God – 1 John, Part 3; Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 3; My Deeds, Part 1; My Deeds, Part 2; My Deeds, Part 3

[15] John 17:7 (NET)

[16] https://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#TENSE

[17] Who Am I? Part 6

[18] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[19] Romans 7:5, 6 (NET)

[20] 1 Corinthians 15:56b (NET)

[21] Romans 7:4 (NET)

[22] Psalm 46:10 (Tanakh)

[23] John4:14b (NET)

Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 12

I’ve been considering yehôvâh’s fearful pronouncement: I punish (pâqadפקדthe sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons for the sin of the fathers who reject me[1]  By way of review, I didn’t find anything about the Hebrew word itself that would compel anyone to translate פקד (pâqad) I punish.  While I don’t have any particular quarrel with calling the plague of Exodus 32:35 a punishment, I’m not convinced it justifies translating pâqad I punish (פקדי) and I will indeed punish (ופקדתי) beyond this limited context.[2]

After a kind of thought experiment I concluded that the translation of פקד (pâqad) as I punish in Deuteronomy 5:9 was a perpetuation of an erroneous popular notion of religious minds that was clearly corrected in Ezekiel 18.[3]   Though the fixation on punishment in Leviticus 18:25 is difficult for me to unravel, it hasn’t really dissuaded me from the idea that yehôvâh visits iniquity itself upon descendants to consign all to disobedience, so that he may show mercy to them all.[4]

Here I’ll focus on ʽâvôn in Exodus, and though I’ve already considered Exodus 20:5 I want to start there again from a slightly different perspective.  I’m comparing/contrasting the NET and Tanakh as relatively contemporary translations of the Hebrew from Christian and Jewish perspectives respectively, and the Septuagint as a more ancient Jewish perspective.

Exodus 20:3-6 (NET)

Exodus 20:3-6 (Tanakh)

You shall have no other gods before me. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.
You shall not make for yourself a carved image or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above or that is on the earth beneath or that is in the water below. Thou shalt not make unto thee a graven image, nor any manner of likeness, of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;
You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I, the Lord, your God, am a jealous God, responding (pâqad, פקד) to the transgression (ʽâvôn, עון) of fathers by dealing with children to the third and fourth generations of those who reject me, thou shalt not bow down unto them, nor serve them; for I HaShem thy G-d am a jealous G-d, visiting (pâqad, פקד) the iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון) of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate Me;
and showing covenant faithfulness to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments. and showing mercy unto the thousandth generation of them that love Me and keep My commandments.

The translators of the NET would not quite enshrine the idea that yehôvâh punishes children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren for the sins of the father in the ten commandments.  Though one might argue that—responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing—is scarcely different if one already has that idea in mind, it is a move away from: punishing the children for the sin of the parents (NIV), punishing the children for the fathers’ iniquity (CSB), I will punish your families (CEV), I bring punishment on those who hate me and on their descendants (GNT), punishing the children for the fathers’ sin (HCSB), punishing the children for the iniquity of the parents (ISV) or I punish children for their parents’ sins (GWT).[5]  All of these translations follow the idea in the Septuagint that visiting (פקד) iniquity (עון) is equivalent to “repaying” (ἀποδιδοὺς, a form of ἀποδίδωμι) “sins” (ἁμαρτίας, a form of ἁμαρτία).

Exodus 20:3-6 (Septuagint)

Exodus 20:3-6 (NETS)

οὐκ ἔσονταί σοι θεοὶ ἕτεροι πλὴν ἐμοῦ You shall have no other gods besides Me.
οὐ ποιήσεις σεαυτῷ εἴδωλον οὐδὲ παντὸς ὁμοίωμα ὅσα ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἄνω καὶ ὅσα ἐν τῇ γῇ κάτω καὶ ὅσα ἐν τοῖς ὕδασιν ὑποκάτω τῆς γῆς You shall not make for yourself an idol or likeness of anything whatever is in heaven above and whatever is in the earth beneath and whatever is in the waters beneath the earth.
οὐ προσκυνήσεις αὐτοῖς οὐδὲ μὴ λατρεύσῃς αὐτοῖς ἐγὼ γάρ εἰμι κύριος ὁ θεός σου θεὸς ζηλωτὴς ἀποδιδοὺς ἁμαρτίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα ἕως τρίτης καὶ τετάρτης γενεᾶς τοῖς μισοῦσίν με You shall not do obeisance to them, nor are you to serve them, for I am the Lord your God, a jealous god, repaying (ἀποδιδοὺς, a form of ἀποδίδωμι) sins (ἁμαρτίας, a form of ἁμαρτία) of fathers upon children up to the third and fourth generation to those who hate me,
καὶ ποιῶν ἔλεος εἰς χιλιάδας τοῖς ἀγαπῶσίν με καὶ τοῖς φυλάσσουσιν τὰ προστάγματά μου and doing mercy unto thousands, for those who love me and keep my ordinances.

Admittedly, my own idea is more like I lay the sins of the parents upon their children; the entire family is affected in the New Living Translation.  But I didn’t come to it by reading the NLT, and I’m way too snobby to cite it as support.  The next occurrence of ʽâvôn includes an occurrence of nâśâʼ.

Exodus 28:36-38 (NET)

Exodus 28:36-38 (Tanakh)

“You are to make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it the way a seal is engraved: “Holiness to the Lord.” And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and engrave upon it, like the engravings of a signet: HOLY TO THE HaShem.
You are to attach to it a blue cord so that it will be on the turban; it is to be on the front of the turban, And thou shalt put it on a thread of blue, and it shall be upon the mitre; upon the forefront of the mitre it shall be.
It will be on Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron will bear (nâśâʼ, ונשׁא) the iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון) of the holy things, which the Israelites are to sanctify by all their holy gifts; it will always be on his forehead, for their acceptance before the Lord. And it shall be upon Aaron’s forehead, and Aaron shall bear the iniquity committed in the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow, even in all their holy gifts; and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before HaShem.

I won’t pretend that I understand the iniquity of the holy things or the iniquity committed in the holy things.  Nor will I chase that rabbit.  I want to stay focused.  The translators of the Septuagint took a different tack that actually makes more sense when considering the next occurrence of ʽâvôn also rather than this one alone.

Exodus 28:36-38 (Septuagint)

Exodus 28:32-34 (NETS)

καὶ ποιήσεις πέταλον χρυσοῦν καθαρὸν καὶ ἐκτυπώσεις ἐν αὐτῷ ἐκτύπωμα σφραγῖδος ἁγίασμα κυρίου And you shall make a pure gold thin plate and shall put in relief in it the relief of the seal “Holiness of the Lord.”
καὶ ἐπιθήσεις αὐτὸ ἐπὶ ὑακίνθου κεκλωσμένης καὶ ἔσται ἐπὶ τῆς μίτρας κατὰ πρόσωπον τῆς μίτρας ἔσται And you shall place it on twisted blue, and it shall be on the headdress. It shall be at the front of the headdress.
καὶ ἔσται ἐπὶ τοῦ μετώπου Ααρων καὶ ἐξαρεῖ Ααρων τὰ ἁμαρτήματα τῶν ἁγίων ὅσα ἂν ἁγιάσωσιν οἱ υἱοὶ Ισραηλ παντὸς δόματος τῶν ἁγίων αὐτῶν καὶ ἔσται ἐπὶ τοῦ μετώπου Ααρων διὰ παντός δεκτὸν αὐτοῖς ἔναντι κυρίου And it shall be on the forehead of Aaron, and Aaron shall take away (ἐξαρεῖ, a form of ἐξαίρω) the sins (ἁμαρτήματα, a form of ἁμάρτημα) of the holy things, whichever the sons of Israel have consecrated, every donation of their holy things.  And it shall be on Aaron’s forehead always, making them acceptable before the Lord.
Exodus 28: 42, 43 (NET)

Exodus 28:42, 43 (Tanakh)

Make for them linen undergarments to cover their naked bodies; they must cover from the waist to the thighs. And thou shalt make them linen breeches to cover the flesh of their nakedness; from the loins even unto the thighs they shall reach.
These must be on Aaron and his sons when they enter to the tent of meeting, or when they approach the altar to minister in the Holy Place, so that they bear (nâśâʼ, ישׁאו) no iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון) and die. It is to be a perpetual ordinance for him and for his descendants after him. And they shall be upon Aaron, and upon his sons, when they go in unto the tent of meeting, or when they come near unto the altar to minister in the holy place; that they bear not iniquity, and die; it shall be a statute for ever unto him and unto his seed after him.

In the former example Aaron will bear (nâśâʼ, ונשׁא) the iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון) of the holy things.  In the latter example Aaron and his sons wear underwear so that they bear (nâśâʼ, ישׁאו) no iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון) and die.  The translators of the Septuagint resolved this dilemma by translating ונשׁא (nâśâʼ) ἐξαρεῖ (a form of ἐξαίρω; NETS: “shall take away”) and ישׁאו (nâśâʼ) ἐπάξονται (a form of ἐπάγω; NETS: “shall…bring onto”).

Exodus 28: 42, 43 (Septuagint)

Exodus 28:38, 39 (NETS)

καὶ ποιήσεις αὐτοῖς περισκελῆ λινᾶ καλύψαι ἀσχημοσύνην χρωτὸς αὐτῶν ἀπὸ ὀσφύος ἕως μηρῶν ἔσται And you shall make for them linen drawers to hide the shame of their flesh; from hip to thighs they shall be.
καὶ ἕξει Ααρων αὐτὰ καὶ οἱ υἱοὶ αὐτοῦ ὡς ἂν εἰσπορεύωνται εἰς τὴν σκηνὴν τοῦ μαρτυρίου ἢ ὅταν προσπορεύωνται λειτουργεῖν πρὸς τὸ θυσιαστήριον τοῦ ἁγίου καὶ οὐκ ἐπάξονται πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς ἁμαρτίαν ἵνα μὴ ἀποθάνωσιν νόμιμον αἰώνιον αὐτῷ καὶ τῷ σπέρματι αὐτοῦ μετ᾽ αὐτόν And Aaron and his sons shall wear them, whenever they enter the tent of witness or whenever they come near the altar of the holy place to minister, and they shall not bring onto (ἐπάξονται, a form of ἐπάγω) themselves sin (ἁμαρτίαν, another form of ἁμαρτία), lest they die: a perpetual precept for him and his seed after him.

And I would consider death an extreme punishment for bearing iniquity.  The next occurrences of ʽâvôn also include an occurrence of nâśâʼ.

Exodus 34:5-7 (NET)

Exodus 34:5-7 (Tanakh)

The Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) descended in the cloud and stood with him there and proclaimed the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) by name. And HaShem descended in the cloud, and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of HaShem.
The Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) passed by before him and proclaimed: “The Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה), the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה), the compassionate and gracious God (ʼêl, אל), slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, And HaShem passed by before him, and proclaimed: ‘The HaShem, HaShem, G-d, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth;
keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving (nâśâʼ, נשׁא) iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון) and transgression and sin. But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding (pâqad, פקד) to the transgression (ʽâvôn, עון) of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.” keeping mercy unto the thousandth generation, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin; and that will by no means clear the guilty;[6] visiting (pâqad, פקד) the iniquity (ʽâvôn, עון) of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and unto the fourth generation.’

Exodus 34:5-7 (Septuagint)

Exodus 34:5-7 (NETS)

καὶ κατέβη κύριος ἐν νεφέλῃ καὶ παρέστη αὐτῷ ἐκεῖ καὶ ἐκάλεσεν τῷ ὀνόματι κυρίου And the Lord descended in a cloud, and he stood beside him there, and he called in the name of the Lord.
καὶ παρῆλθεν κύριος πρὸ προσώπου αὐτοῦ καὶ ἐκάλεσεν κύριος ὁ θεὸς οἰκτίρμων καὶ ἐλεήμων μακρόθυμος καὶ πολυέλεος καὶ ἀληθινὸς And the Lord passed by before his face, and he called, “The Lord, the Lord God is compassionate and merciful, patient and very merciful and truthful
καὶ δικαιοσύνην διατηρῶν καὶ ποιῶν ἔλεος εἰς χιλιάδας ἀφαιρῶν ἀνομίας καὶ ἀδικίας καὶ ἁμαρτίας καὶ οὐ καθαριεῖ τὸν ἔνοχον ἐπάγων ἀνομίας πατέρων ἐπὶ τέκνα καὶ ἐπὶ τέκνα τέκνων ἐπὶ τρίτην καὶ τετάρτην γενεάν and preserving righteousness and doing mercy for thousands, taking away (ἀφαιρῶν, a form of ἀφαιρέω) acts of lawlessness (ἀνομίας, a form of ἀνομία) and of injustice and sins, and he will not acquit the guilty person, bringing (ἐπάγων, another form of ἐπάγω) lawless acts (ἀνομίας, a form of ἀνομία) of fathers upon children and upon children of children, upon the third and fourth generation.”

Here the translators of the NET and Tanakh agreed that נשׁא (nâśâʼ) should be translated forgiving, while the translators of the Septuagint chose ἀφαιρῶν (a form of ἀφαιρέω; NETS: “taking away”).  One can appreciate the problem: How could yehôvâh bear iniquity (not to mention transgression and sin) if that made Aaron and his sons liable to death?  Of course, if I let the Hebrew words stand as is and learn from them, and believe that yehôvâh took on human flesh and became Jesus the Christ, I have a gospel message foretold to Moses in the long name of God.

So what did Moses know and when did he know it?  Following yehôvâh’s self-revelation Moses didn’t ask Him to bear (nâśâʼ) Israel’s iniquity.

Exodus 34: 8, 9 (NET)

Exodus 34: 8, 9 (Tanakh)

Moses quickly bowed to the ground and worshiped And Moses made haste, and bowed his head toward the earth, and worshipped.
and said, “If now I have found favor in your sight, O Lord, let my Lord go among us, for we are a stiff-necked people; pardon (sâlach, וסלחת) our iniquity (ʽâvôn, לעוננו) and our sin, and take us for your inheritance.” And he said: ‘If now I have found grace in Thy sight, O L-rd, let the L-rd, I pray Thee, go in the midst of us; for it is a stiffnecked people; and pardon our iniquity and our sin, and take us for Thine inheritance.’

Moses asked for וסלחת (sâlach) instead.  And yehôvâh gave them rules and rituals (Exodus 34:10-27) that when they transgressed them they might seek a remedy through confession, sacrifice and other rituals to receive sâlach.  The translators of the Septuagint, on the other hand, turned Moses’ request into a prophecy of the new covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Exodus 34: 8, 9 (Septuagint)

Exodus 34: 8, 9 (NETS)

καὶ σπεύσας Μωυσῆς κύψας ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν προσεκύνησεν And quickly, bowing down to the earth, Moyses did obeisance
καὶ εἶπεν εἰ εὕρηκα χάριν ἐνώπιόν σου συμπορευθήτω ὁ κύριός μου μεθ᾽ ἡμῶν ὁ λαὸς γὰρ σκληροτράχηλός ἐστιν καὶ ἀφελεῖς σὺ τὰς ἁμαρτίας ἡμῶν καὶ τὰς ἀνομίας ἡμῶν καὶ ἐσόμεθα σοί and said, “If I have found favor before you, let my Lord go together with us. For the people are stiff-necked, and you shall take away (ἀφελεῖς, another form of ἀφαιρέω) our sins (ἁμαρτίας, a form of ἁμαρτία) and lawless acts (ἀνομίας, a form of ἀνομία), and we will be yours.”

If they had the law, the rituals and the sacrifices in mind, hear what may well be Jesus’ teaching to his disciples in the days between his resurrection and ascension (Hebrews 10:1-4 NET):

For the law possesses a shadow of the good things to come but not the reality itself, and is therefore completely unable, by the same sacrifices offered continually, year after year, to perfect those who come to worship.  For otherwise would they not have ceased to be offered, since the worshipers would have been purified once for all and so have no further consciousness of sin?  But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year after year.  For the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away (ἀφαιρεῖν, another form ἀφαιρέω) sins (ἁμαρτίας, a form of ἁμαρτία).

A table of forms of ʽâvôn in Exodus and their translations in the KJV and NET follows.

Form of ʽâvôn

Reference

KJV

NET

עון Exodus 20:5 …visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children… …responding to the transgression of fathers…
Exodus 28:38 …that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things… …and Aaron will bear the iniquity of the holy things…
Exodus 28:43 …that they bear not iniquity, and die… …so that they bear no iniquity and die.
Exodus 34:7 …forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin… …forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.
Exodus 34:7 …visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children… …responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children…
לעוננו Exodus 34:9 …and pardon our iniquity and our sin… …pardon our iniquity and our sin…

[1] Deuteronomy 5:9b (NET)

[2] Exodus 32:34b (NET)

[3] Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 9

[4] Romans 11:32b (NET)

[5] See: Bible Hub

[6] The clauses: But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, and, and that will by no means clear the guilty are translations of three Hebrew words, two of which are forms of nâqâh.  First, ונקה (nâqâh), second, לא (lôʼ); third, ינקה (nâqâh).

Will, Areté and Troy

An article in the Washington Post by Mark Berman and Marwa Eltagouri, entitled “Parkland suspect detailed plans in chilling videos: ‘I’m going to be the next school shooter’” caught my ear.  Two excerpts from it are contrasted below:

He announced plans to become a school shooter, detailed how many people he hoped to murder and gloated about the infamy he would gain from such a massacre.

“When you see me on the news, you’ll all know who I am,” he says before laughing. “You’re all going to die!”

Yet even as it emerged after the massacre that he was a troubled young man with a pattern of disturbing behavior and alleged violence, what motivated him to open fire remains unanswered.

Though the journalists’ apparent deafness, whether real or feigned, to the shooter’s own words aroused my curiosity, it’s not really the subject of this essay.  I want to consider the persistence of ancient heroic areté in the contemporary world.

In Homer the word applied to men capable of fighting—able warriors.  They had to possess the best weapons, and their wealth guaranteed the quality of these weapons.  The [men] capable of effectively defending the group united in themselves strength, courage, good birth, and martial skills.  Moral or spiritual values were rarely mentioned.  Areté primarily meant the strength and skill of a warrior or wrestler, and especially heroic virtue.  It was inseparable from a spirit of competition and pride that involved a feeling of duty and responsibility toward the idea of areté.  Over time the concept of areté was extended to prudence and cunning, advantageous traits in war.  The desire to win the crown of areté is the essence of heroism.

Zbigniew Pańpuch’s definition of heroic areté above may not seem at first to describe a school shooter’s psyche unless one considers the question: “effectively defending the group” from whom?  I’m starting here because I think his brief treatise on the ethical problems of areté through time, though otherwise quite able and compelling, misses one key element—the desire (will) that animates it: glory, honor and immortality.  “The probable cause affidavit,” of another school shooter arrested recently, “says he told an investigator he spared people he liked because he wanted his story told.”[1]

Mr. Pańpuch has given me a fresh appreciation for Wolfgang Petersen’s and David Benioff’s Troy.  This desire to be remembered is cited in the opening narration of the movie:

Men are haunted by the vastness of eternity.  And so we ask ourselves will our actions echo across the centuries?  Will strangers hear our names long after we’re gone and wonder who we were…

Though the film was criticized for not adhering to the standard myths it does an excellent job of exploring the ethical issues of areté in dramatic form.  I think Homer may have approved.  Surely, the poets of a later epoch would have understood.

The movie begins in Thessaly.  Agamemnon’s (Brian Cox) will to power over the Greek city states has led him to confront Triopas (Julian Glover), the last free king of Thessaly.  “I brought all the Greek kingdoms together,” Agamemnon extols his own areté later in the film.  “I created a nation out of fire worshippers and snake eaters!  I build the future.”  He proposes a battle of champions to Triopas, but his own champion Achilles (Brad Pitt) is AWOL.

A boy finds Achilles back in camp, sleeping off a drunken orgy with two beautiful naked women.  “I want what all men want,” Achilles admits later in the film.  “I just want it more.”

As Achilles prepares to leave for battle, the boy says, “The Thessalonian you’re fighting, he’s the biggest man I’ve ever seen.  I wouldn’t want to fight him.”

“That’s why no one will remember your name,” Achilles replies.

When Achilles arrives at the front Agamemnon doesn’t honor him as he feels he deserves.  He turns to leave.  But Nestor (John Shrapnel), full of “prudence and cunning,” knows how to manipulate him.

“Achilles, Achilles,” Nestor calls his name to salve his wounded pride, “Look at the men’s faces.  You can save hundreds of them.  You can end this war with a swing of your sword.  Let them go home to their wives.”  And Achilles obeys Nestor.

After Paris (Orlando Bloom) takes Helen (Diane Kruger) with him back to Troy, her husband Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson) asks his brother Agamemnon for help to regain his honor.  “I want her back,” he says, “so I can kill her with my own two hands.  I won’t rest till I’ve burned Troy to the ground.”

“I thought you wanted peace with Troy,” Agamemnon says.

“I should have listened to you.”

“Peace is for the women and the weak,” Agamemnon consoles his brother.

Thus Mr. Pańpuch described the “Areté of mores…the mores and culture of the ordinary life, mentality, and way of life of ‘the best people’—’αριστοι [aristoi].”[2]

They were aware of their privileged and exclusive position.  They had refined manners and knew how to act in every situation.  They showed great hospitality, composure in their response to unexpected situations, and were natural in ordinary life.  They typically acted with irreproachable courtesy toward those who acted wickedly.  Forbearance and admonitions always came before the meting out of just punishment.  The role of the woman and the womanly areté was an essential element of their mores.  Beauty was part of feminine areté, just as a man was judged according to his intellectual and physical virtues.  A woman’s areté was also measured by the purity of her manners, and provident economic management.  This was connected with the social and legal status of women as mistresses of the home, the guardians of every good custom, and the teachers of tradition and culture.

The woman with her specific areté had a moderating influence on the ways of men.

“Old King Priam thinks he’s untouchable behind his high walls,” Agamemnon argues with his counselor Nestor.  “He thinks the sun god will protect him.  But the gods protect only the strong!  If Troy falls I will control the Aegean.”  When he cannot dissuade him from attacking Troy Nestor encourages Agamemnon to call on Achilles and his Myrmidons.  “He can’t be controlled,” Agamemnon laments.  “He’s as likely to fight us as the Trojans.”

“We don’t need to control him, we need to unleash him.  That man was born to end lives.”

Nestor’s plot to use Achilles to achieve Agamemnon’s dream of a unified Greece dramatizes the evolution of areté as described by Mr. Pańpuch, a further moderation of the heroic areté of the sons of disobedience (ἀπειθείας, a form of ἀπείθεια) :

The fight for heroic areté earlier was a fight for personal glory, but with time it was replaced by the motive of heroic love of the fatherland.  Fortitude understood as military skill became areté.  The πολις and what was of benefit or harm to it was the measure of true areté.  It was shameful and blameworthy for a man to refuse to sacrifice his health, property, or life for the fatherland.  The ethics of the state replaced aristocratic ethics.  This process became clearer yet as the conception of justice and the ideal of the state under the rule of law took shape.

This definition mirrors an argument which attempts to wrest Nietzsche’s will to power from Nazis: “Some of the misconceptions of the will to power, including Nazi appropriation of Nietzsche’s philosophy, arise from overlooking Nietzsche’s distinction between Kraft (force) and Macht (power).[2]  Kraft is primordial strength that may be exercised by anything possessing it, while Macht is, within Nietzsche’s philosophy, closely tied to sublimation and ‘self-overcoming’, the conscious channeling of Kraft for creative purposes.”

Odysseus (Sean Bean), the “one man he’ll listen to,” is dispatched to channel Achilles’ Kraft for Agamemnon’s creative purposes.  “Let Achilles fight for honor,” Odysseus pleads.  “Let Agamemnon fight for power.  And let the gods decide which man to glorify…We’re sending the largest fleet that ever sailed, a thousand ships…This war will never be forgotten.  Nor will the heroes who fight in it.”

As he considers whether to swallow his contempt for Agamemnon’s Macht, Achilles’ mother, the sea nymph Thetis (Julie Christie), prophesies his fate:

If you stay in Larisa you will find peace.  You will find a wonderful woman.  You will have sons and daughters, and they will have children.  And they will love you.  When you are gone, they will remember you.  But when your children are dead and their children after them your name will be lost. 

If you go to Troy glory will be yours.  They will write stories about your victories for thousands of years.  The world will remember your name.  But if you go to Troy you will never come home.  For your glory walks hand in hand with your doom.  And I shall never see you again.

“Everyone dies,” Achilles’ expresses his own attitude toward death—and life—later in the film, “today or fifty years from now.  What does it matter?”  And so he encourages his Myrmidons as they approach the beach of Troy with the words, “You know what’s there, waiting, beyond that beach—immortality!  Take it!  It’s yours!”

Hector (Eric Bana) confronts Achilles in the Trojan temple of Apollo over the dead bodies of his priests.  “These priests weren’t armed,” he shouts.  “Fight me!”

“Why kill you now, prince of Troy,” Achilles smirks, “with no one here to see you fall?”

“Why did you come here?”

“They’ll be talking about this war for a thousand years.”

“In a thousand years the dust from our bones will be gone.”

“Yes, prince, but our names will remain.”

Over time areté took on a more moral, even a religious, meaning.  Zbigniew Pańpuch wrote this of “Areté in realization”:

A man’s conscious efforts play an essential role in his achievement of areté.  By nature we are capable of acquiring permanent dispositions and developing them in ourselves by habituation.  These dispositions are not innate.  We only possess predispositions to acquire them because natural operations are not subject to change by habituation, “we acquire the virtues by first having actually practiced them, just as we do the arts”…

Aristotle also stated that there was a converse dependence: there is no prudence without areté.  The idea that happiness can only become fully real in the presence of the transcendent good, God, was revolutionary compared to the ancient conception of happiness.  St. Thomas Aquinas created a great synthesis of the ancient conception of areté and Christian doctrine.  He incorporated into his system the inheritance of great ancient conceptions (Aristotelian, Stoic, and neo-Platonic) and the content of Christian revelation.

Areté it seems has always been a religious attempt to tame the will, to rechannel the desires, of the sons of disobedience.  Paul wrote (Ephesians 2:1-3 NET):

And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing the sons of disobedience, among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest…

Ancient “heroic” areté persists because the ruler of the kingdom of the air still whispers sweetly to the deceitful heart of the old human in virile young men, “glory, honor, immortality.”  Clint Eastwood proposed an alternative to the willful self-aggrandizing pursuit of chimeric areté in his movie The 15:17 to Paris.

Young Spencer Stone (William Jennings) gets in a lot of trouble at his smug religious school.  His fiercely loyal mother Joyce Erskel (Judy Greer) confronts him in his bedroom after a report that he toilet-papered a neighbors’ house.  “I am mortified, Spencer.  Mortified,” she repeats after he acknowledges it.  “What am I gonna tell Anthony’s father?”

“I don’t think you should tell…”

“No, you don’t think.  The constant calls from the principal, all the trouble you’ve been causing, it’s too much.  It’s too much Spencer.”

“Mom, I’m sorry.”

“And it is getting harder and harder to come in here because every time I do, I just leave disappointed.”  She slams his bedroom door as she leaves.

That night Spencer prayed what apparently became his life-long prayer, a prayer attributed to St. Francis of Assissi:

Lord, make me an instrument of Your peace.  Where there is hatred, let me sow love.  Where there is injury, pardon.  Where there is darkness, light.  And where there is sadness, joy.  For it is in giving that we receive.  It is in pardoning that we are pardoned.  And it is in dying that we are born into eternal life.  Amen. 

My own bungled lifetime, seeking any and every other remedy, caused me to marvel at the boy.  “Where? How? Such genius,” I sputtered in amazement.  The Holy Spirit’s answer was immediate, and came in the form of Jesus’ couplet on ἑλκύω, which both exalts… (John 6:44a NET)

No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws (ἑλκύσῃ, a form of ἑλκύω) him…

…and humbles (John 12:32 NET):

And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw (ἑλκύσω, another form of ἑλκύω) all people to myself.

Cobwebs

I think I can finally wipe some sticky filaments of ideas from my face and roll them up into something like a little cotton candy ball:

I have dual citizenship in the rarefied and pampered world of resort hotels, both as a guest and as a servant working along with those who make the resort conference experience what it is.  As a servant I’m expected to express love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.  And since I’m never a paying guest, the fruit of the Holy Spirit maintains my dual citizenship in this world.

I frequent the backrooms and service corridors of venues often enough to know that sometimes the expression of these “virtues” is less than genuine.  In other words, it’s the work of actors, hypocrites.  But then I walk out again into a ballroom where a keynote speaker extols the value of some aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit for effective servant-leadership.  Of course, no one calls it the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Hotel management and keynote speakers alike expect servants and effective leaders to generate love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control out from themselves, on their own, or with tips and techniques that have been developed and written about in books for sale in the lobby.  None offers a fountain of water springing up to eternal life,[1] though all seem to recognize that even an actor’s imitation of the fruit of the Holy Spirit is what makes resort life viable.

A friend called a while back seeking my opinion on the idea that Jesus was an alien lifted up by some sort of tractor beam into a spacecraft hidden in the clouds.  I get it, I suppose.  If Jesus is a magical being from another planet no one can expect us to be anything like Him.

Believing that God has provided us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence,[2] does pose an immediate and insistent question: Why am I not more like Him?  My go-to answer is that my faith in, measured as a function of my reliance upon, his supply is not all it might be.  But that really chafes since I claim to believe that this faith, or faithfulness, is also supplied through his Holy Spirit.

In April this year, working almost every day, I began to earn my two-month-long Christmas vacation.  If I wasn’t working I was driving to the next show.  I put a little over 6,000 miles on my company vehicle.  While driving I listened to some sermons on the radio.  One in particular rang “true” and familiar, similar to sermons I had heard before.  The gist was: “God has supplied everything you need for salvation in Jesus Christ.  All he requires from you is faith and obedience.”

In the past I resolved the irrationality of these statements by assuming that everything didn’t mean everything.  So I set out to supply my own faith and my own obedience by hearing and obeying rules.

May grace and peace be lavished on you, Peter wrote, as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord!  I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything  necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.[3]  The Greek word translated everything was πάντα (a form of πᾶς).  The definition of πᾶς in the NET contains an excerpt from a sermon by C.H. Spurgeon:

…”the whole world has gone after him” Did all the world go after Christ? “then went all Judea, and were baptized of him in Jordan.”  Was all Judea, or all Jerusalem, baptized in Jordan?  “Ye are of God, little children”, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one”.  Does the whole world there mean everybody? The words “world” and “all” are used in some seven or eight senses in Scripture, and it is very rarely the “all” means all persons, taken individually.  The words are generally used to signify that Christ has redeemed some of all sorts — some Jews, some Gentiles, some rich, some poor, and has not restricted His redemption to either Jew or Gentile … (C.H. Spurgeon from a sermon on Particular Redemption)

I grew up in the same religious milieu as the translators of the NET.  I, too, thought God had bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness except faith and obedience.  What was that everything?  After all, that seems to be Spurgeon’s point, to look for the limitations implicit in the text.  In my case everything was a second chance[4] to become the best Pharisee I could be, another opportunity to have my own righteousness derived from the law.[5]  But at what point does this obsessive caution in interpretation reduce forms of πᾶς from the pen of the New Testament writers to the written equivalent of uh or uhm?

So did Peter mean everything?  Well, even he had a long list of things for me to add to my faith in God through Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:5-11 NET):

For this very reason, make every effort to add (ἐπιχορηγήσατε, a form of ἐπιχορηγέω) to your faith excellence, to excellence, knowledge; to knowledge, self-control; to self-control, perseverance; to perseverance, godliness; to godliness, brotherly affection; to brotherly affection, unselfish love.  For if these things are really yours and are continually increasing, they will keep you from becoming ineffective and unproductive in your pursuit of knowing our Lord Jesus Christ more intimately.  But concerning the one who lacks such things – he is blind.  That is to say, he is nearsighted, since he has forgotten about the cleansing of his past sins.  Therefore, brothers and sisters, make every effort to be sure of your calling and election.  For by doing this you will never stumble into sin.  For thus an entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be richly provided (ἐπιχορηγηθήσεται, another form of ἐπιχορηγέω) for you.

According to the Koine Greek Lexicon ἐπιχορηγήσατε is an aorist active imperative 2nd person plural verb.  The primary definition in the lexicon is “to furnish, provide for (at one’s own expense).”  So I can’t fault the translators here.  And I find no discrepancy in the Greek texts.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Καὶ αὐτὸ τοῦτο δὲ σπουδὴν πᾶσαν παρεισενέγκαντες ἐπιχορηγήσατε ἐν τῇ πίστει ὑμῶν τὴν ἀρετήν, ἐν δὲ τῇ ἀρετῇ τὴν γνῶσιν και αυτο τουτο δε σπουδην πασαν παρεισενεγκαντες επιχορηγησατε εν τη πιστει υμων την αρετην εν δε τη αρετη την γνωσιν και αυτο τουτο δε σπουδην πασαν παρεισενεγκαντες επιχορηγησατε εν τη πιστει υμων την αρετην εν δε τη αρετη την γνωσιν

Granted, Peter may have admonished me to add these things in or by (ἐν) my faith rather than to it.  Faith here is πίστει (a form of πίστις), a noun in the dative case which “may also indicate the means by which something is done.”[6]  But in English translation I’m left with the disconcerting conclusion that the Holy Spirit wanted to wear me out striving to obey Peter until my ears were opened to hear Paul and then, at last, Jesus (Matthew 11:25-30 NET):

At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intelligent, and revealed them to little children.  Yes, Father, for this was your gracious will.  All things have been handed over to me by my Father.  No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son decides (βούληται, a form of βούλομαι) to reveal him.  Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

In another essay I referenced John Piper’s essay “A Whole World Hangs on a Word” without any reference to opposing views.  So I typed “faith is not a gift Ephesians 2” into Google to consider some.  Wayne Jackson’s essay “Is Faith the Gift of Ephesians 2:8?” on Christian Courier was top of the list.

My purpose here is not to pick on Wayne Jackson.  He had a particular point of contention with followers of John Calvin.  My own relationship with John Calvin ended abruptly at Chapter 13 of the Institutes when the paperback copy of the book dented the wall of my apartment.  Something about his discussion of the “essence” of God so early in his book irritated me, and I’ve never looked back (except for today to recall how far I’d gotten).  Now, of course, if he meant God is love, my apologies to John Calvin and my landlord.  If not, it still seems pretentious to me.  Admittedly, I was reading in English translation with little appreciation for how problematic that might be.

What Wayne Jackson has done for me is to remind me how arguments against faith as a gift of God’s grace go.  Below is a table quoting two paragraphs from his essay under the heading: “God’s Sovereignty Does Not Negate Man’s Free Will.”

…since God is a Being of absolute truth (Dt. 32:4; “faithfulness,” ASV), he cannot do that which would violate his own nature, e.g., practice lying.  It thus is impossible for God to lie (Num. 23:19; Tit. 1:2; Heb. 6:18).  The Lord’s sovereignty is not compromised by his inability to lie.  His sovereignty is limited, however, by his own holy nature. Similarly, if it is the case that the Almighty granted man the ability to exercise free will, then the divine requirement that this free will be exercised responsibly (requiring obedience) is not a violation of Heaven’s sovereignty; rather, it is an example of the exercise thereof.

I didn’t quote these paragraphs to engage Mr. Jackson in philosophical debate but simply to highlight the contrast between them: One is stated with confidence, conviction and Bible references, the other (quite honestly, I think) is more speculative in nature with no Bible references.  I am well aware that something inhibits and impedes my expression of Christ-likeness, but is there any practical value to calling it free will over, say, the old human or sin in my flesh?

I realize that those who promote free will do so more positively, as the proximate cause of both faith and obedience.  If anyone wants (θέλῃ, a form of θέλω) to do God’s will (θέλημα), he will know about my teaching, whether it is from God or whether I speak from my own authority.[7]  Notice what Jesus did not say: If anyone wants to do God’s will, he will succeed thereby.  My failure to accomplish God’s will in my own strength was part of the confirmation that it was, in fact, God’s will rather than my own.  Jesus’ own attitude was not my will (θέλημα) but yours be done.[8]  But I don’t want to invalidate Mr. Jackson’s point entirely because Jesus’ called those who are weary and burdened.

I worked the hardest to will myself into doing God’s will when I turned Paul’s definition of love into rules I repeated as a mantra so as to obey them.  The highest achievement of that effort was that I didn’t murder my wife in her sleep.  It’s not much of a righteousness résumé but it is still a world removed from “I murdered my wife in her sleep.”  Perhaps I should patent this technique, so to speak, by writing it in a book as a kind of crisis intervention for those who are considering taking high-powered weapons to school to murder their classmates.

But the moment I consider how to market such a book to the young men I imagine them to be is also the moment I wonder if I haven’t overindulged my will even in this.  Some life-changing work had already been accomplished in me that I even cared enough to treat Paul’s definition of love as rules to obey.  And life-changing is a very poor way to characterize what Paul wrote the Ephesians (Ephesians 2:1-10 NET):

And although you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you formerly lived according to this world’s present path, according to the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the ruler of the spirit that is now energizing (ἐνεργοῦντος, a form of ἐνεργέω) the sons of disobedience (ἀπειθείας, a form of ἀπείθεια), among whom all of us also formerly lived out our lives in the cravings of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath even as the rest…

But God, being rich in mercy, because of his great love with which he loved us, even though we were dead in transgressions, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you are saved! – and he raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, to demonstrate in the coming ages the surpassing wealth of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.  For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.  For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.

Love is patient, but did I by my will alone believe it to be true and obey it more or less as a commandment—thou shalt be patient—with a wife who wanted to divorce me?  Love is kind, but did I by my will alone believe it to be true and obey it more or less as a commandment—thou shalt be kind—when her daily existence rejecting me was like a knife twisting in my heart?

Or was God, the Father, according to the wealth of his glory granting me to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ was dwelling in my heart through faith, so that, because I had been rooted and grounded in love, I would be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that I could be filled up to all the fullness of God[9] because I had a pastor who taught and prayed this prayer?

Is that what was really happening as I invented a rather stupid rationalization about turning definitions into rules to obey in my own strength?  Yeah, I think so.  As Paul wrote believers in Philippi, continue working out your salvation with awe (φόβου, a form of φόβος) and reverence (τρόμου, a form of τρόμος), for the one bringing forth (ἐνεργῶν, another form of ἐνεργέω) in you both the desire (θέλειν, another form of θέλω) and the effort (ἐνεργεῖν, another form of ἐνεργέω) – for the sake of his good pleasure – is God.[10]

But I’m not sure I could have gotten from there to here without that rationalization and its utter refutation by my persistent sinful behavior.  And I’m certain I couldn’t have gotten here apart from the overwhelming power of the indwelling Holy Spirit who has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.  And here is no way station from which to backslide but an excellent place from which to strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,[11] not in my own strength but in the faith and obedience that flow from his Holy Spirit, that fountain of water springing up to eternal life that Jesus promised the Samaritan woman[12] at Jacob’s well (John 4:4-42).

[1] John 4:14b (NET)

[2] 2 Peter 1:3 (NET)

[3] 2 Peter 1:2, 3 (NET)

[4] Who Am I? Part 3; Jesus the Leg-breaker, Part 1; Romans, Part 55

[5] Philippians 3:9 (NET)

[6] See Dative Case on Resources for Learning New Testament Greek

[7] John 7:17 (NET)

[8] Luke 22:42b (NET)

[9] Ephesians 3:16-19 (NET)

[10] Philippians 2:12b, 13 (NET)

[11] Philippians 3:14b (NET)

[12] My Reasons and My Reason, Part 6; Fear – Exodus, Part 9

Believers

I tend to use the word believers for ἐκκλησία primarily because the word church had become a not-for-profit corporation managed and operated by believers.  It helps me study the Bible as if it pertains to me, rather than as a search for bylaws and provisions for the charter of a local not-for-profit corporation.  But suddenly the line I wrote in another essay jumped out at me—“I kneel before the Father, he wrote believers in Ephesus”—and caused me to wonder.

Was I fooling myself?  Did Paul really mean that individual believers may be filled up to all the fullness of God?  Or did he mean the ἐκκλησία corporately?  If so, was that the ἐκκλησία universally or locally?

Paul’s letter to the Ephesians[1] was addressed to the saints (ἁγίοις, a form of ἅγιος).[2]  These were individuals designated by two plural adjectives, holy and faithful (πιστοῖς, a form of πιστός) in Jesus Christ.  But it was through the singular church (ἐκκλησίας,[3] a form of ἐκκλησία) that the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms.[4]

Ephesians 3:10-12 (NET)

Ephesians 3:10-12 (KJV)

The purpose of this enlightenment is that through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly realms. To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God…
This was according to the eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord… According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
…in whom we have boldness and confident access to God because of Christ’s faithfulness. In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἐν ᾧ ἔχομεν τὴν παρρησίαν καὶ προσαγωγὴν ἐν πεποιθήσει διὰ τῆς πίστεως αὐτοῦ. εν ω εχομεν την παρρησιαν και την προσαγωγην εν πεποιθησει δια της πιστεως αυτου εν ω εχομεν την παρρησιαν και την προσαγωγην εν πεποιθησει δια της πιστεως αυτου

The Greek word πίστεως (a form of πίστις), translated faithfulness (NET) and faith (KJV), is a genitive singular feminine noun according to the Koine Greek Lexicon online.  The Greek word αὐτοῦ (a form of αὐτός), translated of Christ’s (NET) and of him (KJV), is a genitive singular masculine / neuter personal pronoun according to the same lexicon.  I assume the NET translators assumed that his faith (or, faithfulness) meant Christ’s faith or faithfulness because Christ Jesus our Lord (τῷ Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν) is the nearest antecedent.  But the fruit of the Spirit is… πίστις,[5] translated faithfulness (NET) and faith (KJV), a nominative singular feminine noun according to the Koine Greek Lexicon.

This faith or faithfulness is not my doing but neither is it so alien to me that I can ignore it to pursue my fleshly desires as if it weren’t given to me.  It is an aspect of the fruit of the Holy Spirit given to those who are led by the Spirit, the children of God, the holy and faithful (πιστοῖς, a form of πιστός) in Jesus ChristFor by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.  For we are his workmanship, having been created in Christ Jesus for good works that God prepared beforehand so we may do them.[6]

Ephesians 3:13 (NET)

Ephesians 3:13 (KJV)

For this reason I ask you not to lose heart because of what I am suffering for you, which is your glory. Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

διὸ αἰτοῦμαι μὴ ἐγκακεῖν ἐν ταῖς θλίψεσιν μου ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν, ἥτις ἐστὶν δόξα ὑμῶν. διο αιτουμαι μη εκκακειν εν ταις θλιψεσιν μου υπερ υμων ητις εστιν δοξα υμων διο αιτουμαι μη εκκακειν εν ταις θλιψεσιν μου υπερ υμων ητις εστιν δοξα υμων

So was Paul addressing a singular church or plural individuals?  The first you (NET) and ye (KJV) were implied by the verbs ἐγκακεῖν (a form of ἐκκακέω) or εκκακειν (another form of ἐκκακέω) both of which are infinitives according to the Koine Greek Lexicon, not clearly singular or plural.  But Paul was suffering for individuals: ὑμῶν (a form of ὑμείς), translated you and your (NET, KJV), is plural.

Ephesians 3:14 (NET)

Ephesians 3:14 (KJV)

For this reason I kneel before the Father… For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ…
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Τούτου χάριν κάμπτω τὰ γόνατα μου πρὸς τὸν πατέρα τουτου χαριν καμπτω τα γονατα μου προς τον πατερα του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου τουτου χαριν καμπτω τα γονατα μου προς τον πατερα του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου

Ephesians 3:15, 16 (NET)

Ephesians 3:15, 16 (KJV)

…from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named. Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named…
I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person… That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἵνα δῷ ὑμῖν κατὰ τὸ πλοῦτος τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ δυνάμει κραταιωθῆναι διὰ τοῦ πνεύματος αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸν ἔσω ἄνθρωπον ινα δωη υμιν κατα τον πλουτον της δοξης αυτου δυναμει κραταιωθηναι δια του πνευματος αυτου εις τον εσω ανθρωπον ινα δωη υμιν κατα τον πλουτον της δοξης αυτου δυναμει κραταιωθηναι δια του πνευματος αυτου εις τον εσω ανθρωπον

Paul prayed for individuals: ὑμῖν is also plural.  The Greek word δῷ (a form of δίδωμι) is a verb in the subjunctive mood according to the lexicon, hence the translation he may grant (NET).  But since it was a result[7] of Paul’s prayer and the wealth of God’s glory I wonder if the may might be dropped.  The word translated he would grant (KJV) δωη (another form of δίδωμι), however, could be in the optative or subjunctive moods depending on diacritical marks that are absent from the texts of the Stephanus Textus Receptus and Byzantine Majority Text I’m using.

Ephesians 3:17 (NET)

Ephesians 3:17 (KJV)

…that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love… That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love…

The verb translated may dwell, κατοικῆσαι (a form of κατοικέω), is an aorist active infinitive verb so I assume the word may is stylistic.  The words your hearts are clear and accurate in English translation.  The verb ἐρριζωμένοι (a form of ῥιζόω), translated you have been rooted (NET) or being rooted (KJV), is plural as is τεθεμελιωμένοι (a form of θεμελιόω), translated grounded.

Ephesians 3:18 (NET)

Ephesians 3:18 (KJV)

…you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth… May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height…

The verb translated you may be able (NET) or May be able (KJV) is ἐξισχύσητε the second person plural form of ἐξισχύω.  It is subjunctive but as a result clause preceded by ἵνα the word may is more stylistic than accurate.  The verb καταλαβέσθαι (a form of καταλαμβάνω), translated to comprehend, is an infinitive.  This ability to comprehend is the birthright of all the saints (πᾶσιν τοῖς ἁγίοις).

Ephesians 3:19 (NET)

Ephesians 3:19 (KJV)

…and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. …to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

The verb translated to know is γνῶναι the infinitive form of γινώσκω.  But πληρωθῆτε (a form of πληρόω), translated you may be filled (NET) or ye might be filled (KJV), is definitely plural.  It is also subjunctive but again preceded by ἵνα.  It is a result clause.  One could argue that this entire passage should be translated with more conviction.  As one of the believers who has found it difficult to “understand or experience…the fullness of the Holy Spirit in their lives,”[8] I suppose I can understand why it was not.

Even now, knowing that Paul addressed individual believers and that all the fullness of God (πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ θεοῦ) was limited here to knowledge and love, I still have some incredulity.  It’s time to drown out that incredulity in the praise of Him who is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think.

Ephesians 3:20, 21 (NET)

Ephesians 3:20, 21 (KJV)

Now to him who by the power that is working within us is able to do far beyond all that we ask or think… Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us…
…to him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever.  Amen. Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.  Amen.

When Paul wrote of the ἀγάπην τοῦ Χριστοῦ (love of Christ) I think the Holy Spirit meant the fruit of the Spirit since the definition of God’s love entails every aspect of the fruit of the Spirit.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (NET)

1 Corinthians 13:4-8a (KJV)

Love is patient, love is kind, it is not envious.  Love does not brag, it is not puffed up. Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,
It is not rude, it is not self-serving, it is not easily angered or resentful. Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
It is not glad about injustice, but rejoices in the truth. Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth;
It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.
Love never ends. Charity never faileth:

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε πίπτει η αγαπη ουδεποτε εκπιπτει η αγαπη ουδεποτε εκπιπτει

The iffy part of Paul’s prayer is not the wealth of God’s glory, the power of the Holy Spirit or the love of Christ.  The iffy part is my faith.  But then I don’t want to rely on my faith.  I want the faith that comes from the fruit of the Spirit, the faith of Jesus Christ, because He “had the faith to stand on the water and hold Peter (Matthew 14:25-33) up as well.”  And Peter wrote:

2 Peter 1:2, 3 (NET)

2 Peter 1:2, 3 (KJV)

May grace and peace be lavished on you as you grow in the rich knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord! Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord,
I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ὡς πάντα ἡμῖν τῆς θείας δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ τὰ πρὸς ζωὴν καὶ εὐσέβειαν δεδωρημένης διὰ τῆς ἐπιγνώσεως τοῦ καλέσαντος ἡμᾶς |ἰδίᾳ δόξῃ | καὶ |ἀρετῇ| ως παντα ημιν της θειας δυναμεως αυτου τα προς ζωην και ευσεβειαν δεδωρημενης δια της επιγνωσεως του καλεσαντος ημας δια δοξης και αρετης ως παντα ημιν της θειας δυναμεως αυτου τα προς ζωην και ευσεβειαν δεδωρημενης δια της επιγνωσεως του καλεσαντος ημας δια δοξης και αρετης

2 Peter 1:4 (NET)

2 Peter 1:4 (KJV)

Through these things he has bestowed on us his precious and most magnificent promises, so that by means of what was promised you may become partakers of the divine nature, after escaping the worldly corruption that is produced by evil desire. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

δι᾿ ὧν τὰ τίμια καὶ μέγιστα ἡμῖν ἐπαγγέλματα δεδώρηται, ἵνα διὰ τούτων γένησθε θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως ἀποφυγόντες τῆς ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἐν ἐπιθυμίᾳ φθορᾶς. δι ων τα μεγιστα ημιν και τιμια επαγγελματα δεδωρηται ινα δια τουτων γενησθε θειας κοινωνοι φυσεως αποφυγοντες της εν κοσμω εν επιθυμια φθορας δι ων τα τιμια ημιν και μεγιστα επαγγελματα δεδωρηται ινα δια τουτων γενησθε θειας κοινωνοι φυσεως αποφυγοντες της εν κοσμω εν επιθυμια φθορας

To know (γινώσκωσιν, another form of γινώσκω) the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom [He] sent[9] is eternal life.  To know his love to be filled up to all the fullness of God may require some patience as well.  Fortunately, love is patient (μακροθυμεῖ, a form of μακροθυμέω) and the fruit of the Spirit is…patience (μακροθυμία).

[1] According to a note (2) in the NET this “was an encyclical letter, intended for more than one audience.”  In other words there was a blank space to be filled in by the receiving church: “this letter would first come to Ephesus, the port of entry, then to Laodicea, then Colossae.”

[2] Ephesians 1:1 (NET)

[3] Here ἐκκλησίας would be genitive and singular rather than accusative and plural.

[4] Ephesians 3:10 (NET)

[5] Galatians 5:22 (NET)

[6] Ephesians 2:8-10 (NET)  John Piper probably explained these verses the best I have heard in his essay, “A Whole World Hangs on a Word,” on Desiring God online.

[7] “However if the subjunctive mood is used in a purpose or result clause, then the action should not be thought of as a possible result, but should be viewed as a definite outcome that will happen as a result of another stated action.” From Resources for Learning New Testament Greek

[8] Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 3

[9] John 17:3 (NET)

Romans, Part 90

Paul wrote believers in Rome (Romans 15:28, 29 NET):

Therefore after I have completed this [contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem[1]] and have safely delivered this bounty to them, I will set out for Spain by way of you, and I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing.

The Greek word translated fullness was πληρώματι (a form of πλήρωμα).  Paul had written about his fellow countrymen: Now if their transgression means riches for the world and their defeat means riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full restoration (πλήρωμα; KJV: fulness) bring?[2]  For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?[3]

Elsewhere he wrote, when the appropriate (πλήρωμα; KJV: fulness) time had come, God sent out his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we may be adopted as sons with full rights.  And because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, who calls “Abba! Father!”[4]  For God was pleased to have all his fullness (πλήρωμα; KJV: fulness) dwell in the Son and through him to reconcile all things to himself by making peace through the blood of his cross – through him, whether things on earth or things in heaven.[5]

Paul continued his letter to the Colossians (Colossians 2:6-14 NET):

Therefore, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and firm in your faith just as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.  Be careful not to allow anyone to captivate you through an empty, deceitful philosophy that is according to human traditions and the elemental spirits of the world, and not according to Christ.  For in him all the fullness (πλήρωμα; KJV: fulness) of deity lives in bodily form, and you have been filled (πεπληρωμένοι, a form of πληρόω) in him, who is the head over every ruler and authority.  In him you also were circumcised – not, however, with a circumcision performed by human hands, but by the removal of the fleshly body, that is, through the circumcision done by Christ.  Having been buried with him in baptism, you also have been raised with him through your faith in the power of God who raised him from the dead.  And even though you were dead in your transgressions and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, he nevertheless made you alive with him, having forgiven all your transgressions.  He has destroyed what was against us, a certificate of indebtedness (χειρόγραφον) expressed in decrees opposed to us.  He has taken it away by nailing it to the cross.

I kneel before the Father, he wrote believers in Ephesus, from whom every family in heaven and on the earth is named.  I pray that according to the wealth of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner person, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, so that, because you have been rooted and grounded in love, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and thus to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled up (πληρωθῆτε, another form of πληρόω) to all the fullness (πλήρωμα; KJV: fulness) of God.[6]

The love Paul prayed that they may know (γνῶναι, a form of γινώσκω), that they had been rooted and grounded in, the fruit of the Holy Spirit, all the fullness of God, is the fulfillment (πλήρωμα; KJV: is the fulfilling) of the law.[7]  So I came to Paul’s declaration—I will come in the fullness (πληρώματι, a form of πλήρωμα) of Christ’s blessing—with high expectations.  But Paul came to Rome as a prisoner in chains (Acts 26:29-32).

Though the words do not appear in the parallel Greek text of the NET online and Bible Hub doesn’t recognize them,[8] both the Stephanus Textus Receptus and the Byzantine Majority Text contain the words τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (a form of εὐαγγέλιον) translated of the gospel: And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.[9]

I’m a little embarrassed to admit that the addition of τοῦ εὐαγγελίου (of the gospel) to this word string lowers my expectations concerning Paul’s triumphal entry into Rome, especially in light of his attitude toward εὐαγγελίου elsewhere (See Table2 below).  But my own higher or lower expectations are not very fruitful ways to understand his words.  By bringing my attention back to the gospel of Christ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου has refocused my attention on Jesus’ teaching (John 15:20, 21 NET):

Remember what I told you, ‘A slave is not greater than his master.’  If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you.  If they obeyed (ἐτήρησαν, a form of τηρέω) my word, they will obey[10] (τηρήσουσιν, another form of τηρέω) yours too.  But they will do all these things to you on account of my name, because they do not know the one who sent me.

It opens my ears to Paul’s own assessment of his situation (Philippians 1:12-14 NET):

I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel (εὐαγγελίου, a form of εὐαγγέλιον): The whole imperial guard and everyone else knows that I am in prison for the sake of Christ, and most of the brothers and sisters, having confidence in the Lord because of my imprisonment, now more than ever dare to speak the word fearlessly.

My young religious mind preferred Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem to his crucifixion, his resurrection notwithstanding.  Resurrection never seemed to be quite enough to make up for crucifixion.  I wished with all my heart that Jesus’ crucifixion story had turned out differently.  Yes, his triumphal entry into Jerusalem, like everything He did and said, fulfilled scripture (See the Gospel Harmony below).  But its main tactical achievement was to exacerbate the Pharisees’ fear: Thus the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing.  Look, the world has run off after him!”[11]

If Paul had entered triumphantly into Rome would we read about the saints who belong to Caesar’s household or would we read about Paul’s premature death?  With my mind set on God’s interests rather than man’s I can see how coming to Rome as a prisoner in chains was in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.  In fact, I can see the same thing for Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem since the fear it caused among the Pharisees made them deaf to his teaching in their streets and in the temple (Matthew 21:12-25:46; Mark 11:12-13:37; Luke 19:45-21:38; John 12:20-50), and strengthened their earlier resolve to kill him (John 11:45-53).  As Isaiah prophesied (Isaiah 53 Tanakh):

Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD (yehôvâh, יהוה) revealed?  For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.  He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.  All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD (yehôvâh, ויהוה) hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.  He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

Yet it pleased the LORD (yehôvâh, ויהוה) to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD (yehôvâh, יהוה) shall prosper in his hand.  He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.

As I began to believe[12] that every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is yehôvâh[13] this prophecy took on a whole new life for me.  Paul wrote believers in Philippi (Philippians 2:5-11 NET):

You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature.  He humbled himself, by becoming obedient (ὑπήκοος, a form ὑπήκοος) to the point of death – even death on a cross!  As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.

Considering the Greek word εὐλογίας (a form of εὐλογία), translated blessing, however, another potential interpretation of Paul’s words came to mind.  Though blessing seemed to be a perfectly suitable translation for most of the occurrences of forms of εὐλογία in most of Paul’s writings (See Table3 below), it is possible he had something else in mind in his letter to the Romans.  Romans 15:29 was one of two occurrences of εὐλογίας (or any form of εὐλογία) in this letter.  The other occurred in a description of those Paul wanted Roman believers to avoid (Romans 16:17, 18 NET):

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who create dissensions and obstacles contrary to the teaching that you learned.  Avoid them!  For these are the kind who do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites.  By their smooth talk and flattery (εὐλογίας, a form of εὐλογία) they deceive the minds of the naive.

Obviously, this usage of εὐλογίας was on Paul’s mind near the end of his letter to believers in Rome.  So I think it is possible that he meant: “I know that when I come to you I will come in the fullness of ‘fine speaking, fine discourse, polished language, the elegance of language’ of the gospel of Christ,” as opposed to smooth talk and flattery.  He was confidant of it.  And journeying to Rome as a prisoner in chains didn’t shake his confidence (Acts 27-28).

He was in no way burdened excessively, beyond [his] strength, so that [he] despaired even of living.[14]  He had not decided (ἔκρινα, a form of κρίνω) to be concerned about nothing among [those in Rome] except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.[15]  From morning until evening he explained things to [the local Jewish leaders], testifying about the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus from both the law of Moses and the prophets.[16]  This led me to a final insight.

Before I did this study I wondered from time to time if Paul had been too proud to heed the Holy Spirit’s prophecy given to Agabus.  And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem without knowing what will happen to me there, Paul told the leaders of the Ephesian church, except that the Holy Spirit warns me in town after town that imprisonment and persecutions are waiting for me.[17]  Agabus came to Paul with explicit insight (Acts 21:10-14 NET):

While we remained [in Caesarea, at the house of Philip the evangelist] for a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.  He came to us, took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it, and said, “The Holy Spirit says this: ‘This is the way the Jews in Jerusalem will tie up the man whose belt this is, and will hand him over to the Gentiles.’”  When we heard this, both we and the local people begged him not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul replied, “What are you doing, weeping and breaking my heart?  For I am ready not only to be tied up, but even to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  Because he could not be persuaded, we said no more except, “The Lord’s will be done.”

I can see now that the Holy Spirit’s prophetic word wasn’t given so that Paul might flee and thwart it.  It was given so that when it came to pass those in Philip’s house in Caesarea and Paul’s companions and I and anyone else who will hear would know that the Lord’s will had been done.

Now I urge you, brothers and sisters, Paul continued his letter to believers in Rome, through our Lord Jesus Christ and through the love of the Spirit, to join fervently with me in prayer to God on my behalf.  Pray that I may be rescued from those who are disobedient (ἀπειθούντων, a form of ἀπειθέω) in Judea and that my ministry in Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints, so that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.  Now may the God of peace be with all of you.  Amen.[18]

Paul was rescued from the unbelieving in Judea, bent over backwards to make his ministry acceptable to the saints in Jerusalem (Acts 21:17-26) and by God’s will came at last to Rome.

A gospel harmony of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem follows.  The temporal arrangement of individual elements may be arguable.  Then there are three other tables listing Paul’s usage of forms of πλήρωμα and εὐαγγελίου (a form of εὐαγγέλιον) and forms of εὐλογία with their translations in the KJV and NET.  If the parallel Greek of the NET differed from the Stephanus Textus Receptus I broke the tables to contrast those differences, along with the Byzantine Majority Text.

Jesus’ Triumphal Entry Into Jerusalem – Gospel Harmony

Matthew

Mark Luke

John

The next day the large crowd that had come to the feast heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem.

John 12:12 (NET)

Now when they approached Jerusalem and came to Bethphage, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two disciples, telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you.  Right away you will find a donkey tied there, and a colt with her.  Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone says anything to you, you are to say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will send them at once.”

Matthew 21:1-3 (NET)

Now as they approached Jerusalem, near Bethphage and Bethany, at the Mount of Olives, Jesus sent two of his disciples and said to them, “Go to the village ahead of you.  As soon as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden.  Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone says to you, ‘Why are you doing this?’ say, ‘The Lord needs it and will send it back here soon.’”

Mark 11:1-3 (NET)

Now when he approached Bethphage and Bethany, at the place called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of the disciples, telling them, “Go to the village ahead of you.  When you enter it, you will find a colt tied there that has never been ridden.  Untie it and bring it here.  If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’”

Luke 19:29-31 (NET)

This took place to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:  “Tell the people of Zion, Look, your king is coming to you, unassuming and seated on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey (Zechariah 9:9).’”

Matthew 21:4, 5 (NET)

So the disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them.

Matthew 21:6 (NET)

So they went and found a colt tied at a door, outside in the street, and untied it.

Mark 11:4 (NET)

So those who were sent ahead found it exactly as he had told them.

Luke 19:32 (NET)

Some people standing there said to them, “What are you doing, untying that colt?”  They replied as Jesus had told them, and the bystanders let them go.

Mark 11:5, 6 (NET)

As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?”  They replied, “The Lord needs it.”

Luke 19:33, 34 (NET)

They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them, and he sat on them.

Matthew 21:7 (NET)

Then they brought the colt to Jesus, threw their cloaks on it, and he sat on it.

Mark 11:7 (NET)

Then they brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt, and had Jesus get on it.

Luke 19:35 (NET)

Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it…

John 12:14a (NET)

…just as it is written, “Do not be afraid, people of Zion; look, your king is coming, seated on a donkeys colt (Zechariah 9:9)!

John 12:14b, 15 (NET)

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road.

Matthew 21:8a (NET)

Many spread their cloaks on the road…

Mark 11:8a (NET)

As he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road.

Luke 19:36 (NET)

Others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

Matthew 21:8b (NET)

…and others spread branches they had cut in the fields.

Mark 11:8b (NET)

So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him.

John 12:13a (NET)

As he approached the road leading down from the Mount of Olives…

Luke 19:37a (NET)

The crowds that went ahead of him and those following kept shouting…

Matthew 21:9a (NET)

Both those who went ahead and those who followed kept shouting…

Mark 11:9a (NET)

…the whole crowd of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice…

Luke 19:37b (NET)

They began to shout…

John 12:13b (NET)

…for all the mighty works they had seen:

Luke 19:37c (NET)

Hosanna to the Son of David!

Matthew 21:9b (NET)

Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:25, 26)!  

Matthew 21:9c (NET)

Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

Mark 11:9b (NET)

Hosanna!  Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord!

John 12:13c (NET)

Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!

Mark 11:10a (NET)

Blessed is the king of Israel!”

John 12:13d (NET)

Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord (Psalm 118:26)!  Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!”

Luke 19:38 (NET)

Hosanna in the highest!”

Matthew 21:9d (NET)

Hosanna in the highest!”

Mark 11:10b (NET)

  (His disciples did not understand these things when they first happened, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about him and that these things had happened to him.)

So the crowd who had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead were continuing to testify about it.  Because they had heard that Jesus had performed this miraculous sign, the crowd went out to meet him.

John 12:16-18 (NET)

  But some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.”  He answered, “I tell you, if they keep silent, the very stones will cry out!”

Luke 19:39, 40 (NET)

  Thus the Pharisees said to one another, “You see that you can do nothing.  Look, the world has run off after him!”

John 12:19 (NET)

  Now when Jesus approached and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “If you had only known on this day, even you, the things that make for peace!  But now they are hidden from your eyes.  For the days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and surround you and close in on you from every side.  They will demolish you – you and your children within your walls – and they will not leave within you one stone on top of another, because you did not recognize the time of your visitation from God.”

Luke 19:41-44 (NET)

As he entered Jerusalem…

Matthew 21:10a (NET)

Then Jesus entered Jerusalem…

Mark 11:11a (NET)

…the whole city was thrown into an uproar, saying, “Who is this?”  And the crowds were saying, “This is the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Matthew 21:10b, 11 (NET)

…and went to the temple.  And after looking around at everything, he went out to Bethany with the twelve since it was already late.

Mark 11:11b (NET)

Form of πλήρωμα

Reference

KJV

NET

πλήρωμα Romans 11:12 …how much more their fulness? …how much more will their full restoration bring?
Romans 11:25 …until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. …until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Οὐ γὰρ θέλω ὑμᾶς ἀγνοεῖν, ἀδελφοί, τὸ μυστήριον τοῦτο, ἵνα μὴ ἦτε [παρ᾿] ἑαυτοῖς φρόνιμοι, ὅτι πώρωσις ἀπὸ μέρους τῷ Ἰσραὴλ γέγονεν ἄχρι οὗ τὸ πλήρωμα τῶν ἐθνῶν εἰσέλθῃ ου γαρ θελω υμας αγνοειν αδελφοι το μυστηριον τουτο ινα μη ητε παρ εαυτοις φρονιμοι οτι πωρωσις απο μερους τω ισραηλ γεγονεν αχρις ου το πληρωμα των εθνων εισελθη ου γαρ θελω υμας αγνοειν αδελφοι το μυστηριον τουτο ινα μη ητε παρ εαυτοις φρονιμοι οτι πωρωσις απο μερους τω ισραηλ γεγονεν αχρις ου το πληρωμα των εθνων εισελθη
πλήρωμα Romans 13:10 …therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
1 Corinthians 10:26 …the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof. …the earth and its abundance are the Lord’s.
1 Corinthians 10:28 …for the earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof: Not included
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἐὰν δέ τις ὑμῖν εἴπῃ· τοῦτο ἱερόθυτον ἐστιν, μὴ ἐσθίετε δι᾿ ἐκεῖνον τὸν μηνύσαντα καὶ τὴν συνείδησιν εαν δε τις υμιν ειπη τουτο ειδωλοθυτον εστιν μη εσθιετε δι εκεινον τον μηνυσαντα και την συνειδησιν του γαρ κυριου η γη και το πληρωμα αυτης εαν δε τις υμιν ειπη τουτο ειδωλοθυτον εστιν μη εσθιετε δι εκεινον τον μηνυσαντα και την συνειδησιν του γαρ κυριου η γη και το πληρωμα αυτης
πλήρωμα Galatians 4:4 But when the fulness of the time was come… But when the appropriate time had come…
Ephesians 1:23 the fulness of him that filleth all in all. the fullness of him who fills all in all.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἥτις ἐστὶν τὸ σῶμα αὐτοῦ, τὸ πλήρωμα τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐν πᾶσιν πληρουμένου ητις εστιν το σωμα αυτου το πληρωμα του παντα εν πασιν πληρουμενου ητις εστιν το σωμα αυτου το πληρωμα του τα παντα εν πασιν πληρουμενου
πλήρωμα Ephesians 3:19 …that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. …that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God.
Colossians 1:19 …that in him should all fulness dwell… …to have all his fullness dwell in the Son…
Colossians 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. For in him all the fullness of deity lives in bodily form…
πληρώματι Romans 15:29 …I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. …I will come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οἶδα δὲ ὅτι ἐρχόμενος πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν πληρώματι εὐλογίας Χριστοῦ ἐλεύσομαι οιδα δε οτι ερχομενος προς υμας εν πληρωματι ευλογιας του ευαγγελιου του χριστου ελευσομαι οιδα δε οτι ερχομενος προς υμας εν πληρωματι ευλογιας του ευαγγελιου του χριστου ελευσομαι
πληρώματος Ephesians 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fulness of times… …toward the administration of the fullness of the times…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

εἰς οἰκονομίαν τοῦ πληρώματος τῶν καιρῶν, ἀνακεφαλαιώσασθαι τὰ πάντα ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ, τὰ ἐπὶ τοῖς οὐρανοῖς καὶ τὰ ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς ἐν αὐτῷ εις οικονομιαν του πληρωματος των καιρων ανακεφαλαιωσασθαι τα παντα εν τω χριστω τα τε εν τοις ουρανοις και τα επι της γης (1:11) εν αυτω εις οικονομιαν του πληρωματος των καιρων ανακεφαλαιωσασθαι τα παντα εν τω χριστω τα επι τοις ουρανοις και τα επι της γης (1:11) εν αυτω
πληρώματος Ephesians 4:13 …unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: …attaining to the measure of Christ’s full stature.

εὐαγγελίου (a form of εὐαγγέλιον)

Reference

KJV

NET

εὐαγγελίου 1 Corinthians 4:15 …for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. …I became your father[19] in Christ Jesus through the gospel.
1 Corinthians 9:14 …should live of the gospel. …to receive their living by the gospel.
2 Corinthians 4:4 …the light of the glorious gospel of Christ… …the light of the glorious gospel of Christ…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἐν οἷς ὁ θεὸς τοῦ αἰῶνος τούτου ἐτύφλωσεν τὰ νοήματα τῶν ἀπίστων εἰς τὸ μὴ αὐγάσαι τὸν φωτισμὸν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τῆς δόξης τοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ θεοῦ εν οις ο θεος του αιωνος τουτου ετυφλωσεν τα νοηματα των απιστων εις το μη αυγασαι αυτοις τον φωτισμον του ευαγγελιου της δοξης του χριστου ος εστιν εικων του θεου εν οις ο θεος του αιωνος τουτου ετυφλωσεν τα νοηματα των απιστων εις το μη αυγασαι αυτοις τον φωτισμον του ευαγγελιου της δοξης του χριστου ος εστιν εικων του θεου
εὐαγγελίου Galatians 2:5 …that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. …in order that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
Galatians 2:14 …they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel …they were not behaving consistently with the truth of the gospel
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἀλλ᾿ ὅτε εἶδον ὅτι οὐκ ὀρθοποδοῦσιν πρὸς τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, εἶπον τῷ Κηφᾷ ἔμπροσθεν πάντων· εἰ σὺ Ἰουδαῖος ὑπάρχων ἐθνικῶς καὶ |οὐχὶ | Ἰουδαϊκῶς ζῇς, πῶς τὰ ἔθνη ἀναγκάζεις ἰουδαΐζειν αλλ οτε ειδον οτι ουκ ορθοποδουσιν προς την αληθειαν του ευαγγελιου ειπον τω πετρω εμπροσθεν παντων ει συ ιουδαιος υπαρχων εθνικως ζης και ουκ ιουδαικως τι τα εθνη αναγκαζεις ιουδαιζειν αλλ οτε ειδον οτι ουκ ορθοποδουσιν προς την αληθειαν του ευαγγελιου ειπον τω πετρω εμπροσθεν παντων ει συ ιουδαιος υπαρχων εθνικως ζης και ουκ ιουδαικως τι τα εθνη αναγκαζεις ιουδαιζειν
εὐαγγελίου Ephesians 3:6 …partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: …through the gospel the Gentiles are fellow heirs…
Ephesians 6:15 …the preparation of the gospel of peace… …the preparation that comes from the good news of peace…
Ephesians 6:19 …to make known the mystery of the gospel …that I may confidently make known the mystery of the gospel

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

καὶ ὑπὲρ ἐμοῦ, ἵνα μοι δοθῇ λόγος ἐν ἀνοίξει τοῦ στόματος μου, ἐν παρρησίᾳ γνωρίσαι τὸ μυστήριον |τοῦ εὐαγγελίου| και υπερ εμου ινα μοι δοθειη λογος εν ανοιξει του στοματος μου εν παρρησια γνωρισαι το μυστηριον του ευαγγελιου και υπερ εμου ινα μοι δοθη λογος εν ανοιξει του στοματος μου εν παρρησια γνωρισαι το μυστηριον του ευαγγελιου
εὐαγγελίου Philippians 1:7 …in the defence and confirmation of the gospel …in the defense and confirmation of the gospel

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Καθώς ἐστιν δίκαιον ἐμοὶ τοῦτο φρονεῖν ὑπὲρ πάντων ὑμῶν διὰ τὸ ἔχειν με ἐν τῇ καρδίᾳ ὑμᾶς, ἔν τε τοῖς δεσμοῖς μου καὶ ἐν τῇ ἀπολογίᾳ καὶ βεβαιώσει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου συγκοινωνούς μου τῆς χάριτος πάντας ὑμᾶς ὄντας καθως εστιν δικαιον εμοι τουτο φρονειν υπερ παντων υμων δια το εχειν με εν τη καρδια υμας εν τε τοις δεσμοις μου και τη απολογια και βεβαιωσει του ευαγγελιου συγκοινωνους μου της χαριτος παντας υμας οντας καθως εστιν δικαιον εμοι τουτο φρονειν υπερ παντων υμων δια το εχειν με εν τη καρδια υμας εν τε τοις δεσμοις μου και εν τη απολογια και βεβαιωσει του ευαγγελιου συγκοινωνους μου της χαριτος παντας υμας οντας
εὐαγγελίου Philippians 1:12 …the things which happened unto me have fallen out rather unto the furtherance of the gospel …my situation has actually turned out to advance the gospel:
Philippians 1:16 (KJV: verse 17) …I am set for the defence of the gospel. …I am placed here for the defense of the gospel.
Philippians 1:27 …let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: …conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…
…striving together for the faith of the gospel …by contending side by side for the faith of the gospel

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Μόνον ἀξίως τοῦ εὐαγγελίου τοῦ Χριστοῦ πολιτεύεσθε, ἵνα εἴτε ἐλθὼν καὶ ἰδὼν ὑμᾶς εἴτε ἀπὼν ἀκούω τὰ περὶ ὑμῶν, ὅτι στήκετε ἐν ἑνὶ πνεύματι, μιᾷ ψυχῇ συναθλοῦντες τῇ πίστει τοῦ εὐαγγελίου μονον αξιως του ευαγγελιου του χριστου πολιτευεσθε ινα ειτε ελθων και ιδων υμας ειτε απων ακουσω τα περι υμων οτι στηκετε εν ενι πνευματι μια ψυχη συναθλουντες τη πιστει του ευαγγελιου μονον αξιως του ευαγγελιου του χριστου πολιτευεσθε ινα ειτε ελθων και ιδων υμας ειτε απων ακουσω τα περι υμων οτι στηκετε εν ενι πνευματι μια ψυχη συναθλουντες τη πιστει του ευαγγελιου
εὐαγγελίου Philippians 4:15 …that in the beginning of the gospel …at the beginning of my gospel ministry
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οἴδατε δὲ καὶ ὑμεῖς, Φιλιππήσιοι, ὅτι ἐν ἀρχῇ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου, ὅτε ἐξῆλθον ἀπὸ Μακεδονίας, οὐδεμία μοι ἐκκλησία ἐκοινώνησεν εἰς λόγον δόσεως καὶ λήμψεως εἰ μὴ ὑμεῖς μόνοι οιδατε δε και υμεις φιλιππησιοι οτι εν αρχη του ευαγγελιου οτε εξηλθον απο μακεδονιας ουδεμια μοι εκκλησια εκοινωνησεν εις λογον δοσεως και ληψεως ει μη υμεις μονοι οιδατε δε και υμεις φιλιππησιοι οτι εν αρχη του ευαγγελιου οτε εξηλθον απο μακεδονιας ουδεμια μοι εκκλησια εκοινωνησεν εις λογον δοσεως και ληψεως ει μη υμεις μονοι
εὐαγγελίου Colossians1:5 …the word of the truth of the gospel …the message of truth, the gospel
Colossians 1:23 …and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard… …without shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

εἴ γε ἐπιμένετε τῇ πίστει τεθεμελιωμένοι καὶ ἑδραῖοι καὶ μὴ μετακινούμενοι ἀπὸ τῆς ἐλπίδος τοῦ εὐαγγελίου οὗ ἠκούσατε, τοῦ κηρυχθέντος ἐν πάσῃ κτίσει τῇ ὑπὸ τὸν οὐρανόν, οὗ ἐγενόμην ἐγὼ Παῦλος διάκονος ειγε επιμενετε τη πιστει τεθεμελιωμενοι και εδραιοι και μη μετακινουμενοι απο της ελπιδος του ευαγγελιου ου ηκουσατε του κηρυχθεντος εν παση τη κτισει τη υπο τον ουρανον ου εγενομην εγω παυλος διακονος ειγε επιμενετε τη πιστει τεθεμελιωμενοι και εδραιοι και μη μετακινουμενοι απο της ελπιδος του ευαγγελιου ου ηκουσατε του κηρυχθεντος εν παση τη κτισει τη υπο τον ουρανον ου εγενομην εγω παυλος διακονος
εὐαγγελίου 2 Thessalonians 2:14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel He called you to this salvation through our gospel
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

εἰς ὃ [καὶ ]ἐκάλεσεν ὑμᾶς διὰ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου ἡμῶν εἰς περιποίησιν δόξης τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ εις ο εκαλεσεν υμας δια του ευαγγελιου ημων εις περιποιησιν δοξης του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου εις ο εκαλεσεν υμας δια του ευαγγελιου ημων εις περιποιησιν δοξης του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου
εὐαγγελίου 2 Timothy 1:10 …hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: …brought life and immortality to light through the gospel!
Philemon 1:13 …in the bonds of the gospel: …my imprisonment for the sake of the gospel.

Form of εὐλογία

Reference

KJV

NET

εὐλογία Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ… …that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham would come to the Gentiles…
εὐλογίᾳ Ephesians 1:3 …who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: …who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms in Christ.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ εὐλογήσας ἡμᾶς ἐν πάσῃ εὐλογίᾳ πνευματικῇ ἐν τοῖς ἐπουρανίοις ἐν Χριστῷ ευλογητος ο θεος και πατηρ του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου ο ευλογησας ημας εν παση ευλογια πνευματικη εν τοις επουρανιοις χριστω ευλογητος ο θεος και πατηρ του κυριου ημων ιησου χριστου ο ευλογησας ημας εν παση ευλογια πνευματικη εν τοις επουρανιοις εν χριστω
εὐλογίαις 2 Corinthians 9:6 …he which soweth bountifully …the person who sows generously[20]
…shall reap also bountifully. …will also reap generously.
εὐλογίαν 2 Corinthians 9:5 …make up before hand your bounty, whereof ye had notice before… …to arrange ahead of time the generous contribution you had promised…
…that the same might be ready, as a matter of bounty, and not as of covetousness. …so this may be ready as a generous gift and not as something you feel forced to do.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἀναγκαῖον οὖν ἡγησάμην παρακαλέσαι τοὺς ἀδελφούς, ἵνα προέλθωσιν εἰς ὑμᾶς καὶ προκαταρτίσωσιν τὴν προεπηγγελμένην εὐλογίαν ὑμῶν, ταύτην ἑτοίμην εἶναι οὕτως ὡς εὐλογίαν καὶ μὴ ὡς πλεονεξίαν αναγκαιον ουν ηγησαμην παρακαλεσαι τους αδελφους ινα προελθωσιν εις υμας και προκαταρτισωσιν την προκατηγγελμενην ευλογιαν υμων ταυτην ετοιμην ειναι ουτως ως ευλογιαν και μη ωσπερ πλεονεξιαν αναγκαιον ουν ηγησαμην παρακαλεσαι τους αδελφους ινα προελθωσιν εις υμας και προκαταρτισωσιν την προκατηγγελμενην ευλογιαν υμων ταυτην ετοιμην ειναι ουτως ως ευλογιαν και μη ως πλεονεξιαν
εὐλογίας Romans 15:29 …I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. …I will come in the fullness of Christ’s blessing.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οἶδα δὲ ὅτι ἐρχόμενος πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐν πληρώματι εὐλογίας Χριστοῦ ἐλεύσομαι οιδα δε οτι ερχομενος προς υμας εν πληρωματι ευλογιας του ευαγγελιου του χριστου ελευσομαι οιδα δε οτι ερχομενος προς υμας εν πληρωματι ευλογιας του ευαγγελιου του χριστου ελευσομαι
εὐλογίας Romans 16:18 …by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. By their smooth talk and flattery they deceive the minds of the naive.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οἱ γὰρ τοιοῦτοι τῷ κυρίῳ ἡμῶν Χριστῷ οὐ δουλεύουσιν ἀλλὰ τῇ ἑαυτῶν κοιλίᾳ, καὶ διὰ τῆς χρηστολογίας καὶ εὐλογίας ἐξαπατῶσιν τὰς καρδίας τῶν ἀκάκων οι γαρ τοιουτοι τω κυριω ημων ιησου χριστω ου δουλευουσιν αλλα τη εαυτων κοιλια και δια της χρηστολογιας και ευλογιας εξαπατωσιν τας καρδιας των ακακων οι γαρ τοιουτοι τω κυριω ημων ιησου χριστω ου δουλευουσιν αλλα τη εαυτων κοιλια και δια της χρηστολογιας και ευλογιας εξαπατωσιν τας καρδιας των ακακων
εὐλογίας 1 Corinthians 10:16 The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? Is not the cup of blessing that we bless a sharing in the blood of Christ?

[1] Romans 15:26b (NET)

[2] Romans 11:12 (NET)

[3] Romans 11:15 (NET)

[4] Galatians 4:4-6 (NET)

[5] Colossians 1:19, 20 (NET)

[6] Ephesians 3:14-19 (NET)

[7] Romans 13:10b (NET)

[8] This is only partly true: the word εὐαγγελίου doesn’t appear in the list of Greek words in the New Testament but some discussion of its presence in, or absence from, the text does appear in the commentaries.

[9] Romans 15:29 (KJV)

[10] Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 3; My Deeds, Part 1

[11] John 12:19 (NET)

[12] My Reasons and My Reason, Part 5; Romans, Part 76; Romans, Part 69

[13] Who Am I? Part 2; My Reasons and My Reason, Part 5

[14] 2 Corinthians 1:8b (NET)

[15] 1 Corinthians 2:2 (NET)

[16] Acts 28:23b (NET)

[17] Acts 20:22, 23 (NET)

[18] Romans 15:30-33 (NET)

[19] The NET translation of ἐγέννησα (a form of γεννάω) becamefather poses the question in my mind whether Paul overstated his affection and concern: And call no one your ‘father’ (πατέρα, a form of πατήρ) on earth, Jesus said, for you have one Father (πατὴρ), who is in heaven (Matthew 23:9 NET).

[20] Romans, Part 47

Father, Forgive Them – Part 4

I have attempted to cleanse Jesus’ words of the crime/punishment motif I think the translators of the NET and NASB superimposed upon them, so that his mercyplanning the offspring of vipers’ escape from being condemned to hell—shines through (Matthew 23:33-35 NET; Matthew 23:36 NASB):

You snakes, you offspring of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to hell?

For this reason I am sending you prophets and wise men and experts in the law, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and pursue from town to town, so that on you will come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Truly I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.

It is possible that the translators shaded Matthew’s Gospel account some to make it conform better to Luke’s parallel account:

Luke 11:46-48 (NET) Luke 11:46-48 (NASB)

Luke 11:46-48 (KJV)

But Jesus replied, “Woe to you experts in religious law as well!  You load people down with burdens difficult to bear, yet you yourselves refuse to touch the burdens with even one of your fingers! But He said, “Woe to you lawyers as well!  For you weigh men down with burdens hard to bear, while you yourselves will not even touch the burdens with one of your fingers. And he said, Woe unto you also, ye lawyers! for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne, and ye yourselves touch not the burdens with one of your fingers.
Woe to you!  You build the tombs of the prophets whom your ancestors killed. Woe to you!  For you build the tombs of the prophets, and it was your fathers who killed them. Woe unto you! for ye build the sepulchres of the prophets, and your fathers killed them.
So you testify that you approve of the deeds of your ancestors, because they killed the prophets and you build their tombs! So you are witnesses and approve the deeds of your fathers; because it was they who killed them, and you build their tombs. Truly ye bear witness that ye allow the deeds of your fathers: for they indeed killed them, and ye build their sepulchres.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἄρα μάρτυρες ἐστε καὶ συνευδοκεῖτε τοῖς ἔργοις τῶν πατέρων ὑμῶν, ὅτι αὐτοὶ μὲν ἀπέκτειναν αὐτούς, ὑμεῖς δὲ οἰκοδομεῖτε αρα μαρτυρειτε και συνευδοκειτε τοις εργοις των πατερων υμων οτι αυτοι μεν απεκτειναν αυτους υμεις δε οικοδομειτε αυτων τα μνημεια αρα μαρτυρειτε και συνευδοκειτε τοις εργοις των πατερων υμων οτι αυτοι μεν απεκτειναν αυτους υμεις δε οικοδομειτε αυτων τα μνημεια
Luke 11:49 (NET) Luke 11:49 (NASB)

Luke 11:49 (KJV)

For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute, Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute:

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ εἶπεν· ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσιν καὶ διώξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν
Luke 11:50, 51 (NET) Luke 11:50, 51 (NASB)

Luke 11:50, 51 (KJV)

so that this generation may be held accountable (ἐκζητηθῇ, a form of ἐκζητέω) for the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world, so that the blood of all the prophets, shed since the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;
from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the sanctuary.  Yes, I tell you, it will be charged (ἐκζητηθήσεται, another form of ἐκζητέω) against this generation. from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.’ From the blood of Abel unto the blood of Zacharias, which perished between the altar and the temple: verily I say unto you, It shall be required of this generation.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναὶ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης
Luke 11:52 (NET) Luke 11:52 (NASB)

Luke 11:52 (KJV)

Woe to you experts in religious law!  You have taken away the key to knowledge!  You did not go in yourselves, and you hindered those who were going in.” Woe to you lawyers!  For you have taken away the key of knowledge; you yourselves did not enter, and you hindered those who were entering.” Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Οὐαὶ ὑμῖν τοῖς νομικοῖς, ὅτι ἤρατε τὴν κλεῖδα τῆς γνώσεως· αὐτοὶ οὐκ εἰσήλθατε καὶ τοὺς εἰσερχομένους ἐκωλύσατε ουαι υμιν τοις νομικοις οτι ηρατε την κλειδα της γνωσεως αυτοι ουκ εισηλθετε και τους εισερχομενους εκωλυσατε ουαι υμιν τοις νομικοις οτι ηρατε την κλειδα της γνωσεως αυτοι ουκ εισηλθετε και τους εισερχομενους εκωλυσατε

Here the crime/punishment motif wasn’t superimposed upon ἥξει (a form of ἥκω), translated will be held responsible (See: Table), or ἔλθῃ (a form of ἔρχομαι), translated may fall the guilt (See: Table).  Rather, the Greek words ἐκζητηθῇ, translated may be held accountable, and ἐκζητηθήσεται, translated it will be charged, are both forms of ἐκζητέω (See Table1 below).  And again this subject matter was spun by translating a word in a unique way, radically different from any of its other occurrences in the New Testament.

According to the Koine Greek Lexicon online ἐκζητηθῇ is an aorist passive subjunctive 3rd person singular verb.  Since αἷμα, translated for the blood, is a nominative / accusative singular neuter noun according to the Koine Greek Lexicon and γενεᾶς (a form of γενεά), translated generation, is a genitive singular feminine noun according to the same lexicon, I assume that blood is the more likely subject of the sentence: “so that the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world may be sought by this generation.”

Perhaps one could take it to mean that God sought the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world against this generation—in other words, He would hold them accountable for sins they didn’t commit—but I don’t see that in the text, and the verb is passive.  To my ear the translations—may be held accountable (NET), may be charged (NASB) and even may be required (KJV)—sound more like interpretations.  So I offer the following alternative interpretation.

The experts in the law and the Pharisees didn’t think building tombs for the prophets meant that they approved of their fathers’ deeds: And you say, ‘If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have participated with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.[1]  For this reason also the wisdom of God said, ‘I will send to them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and some they will persecute[2]  God gave them their own prophets to do with as they pleased, to demonstrate to themselves how sinful they actually were.  So that the blood of all the prophets that has been shed since the beginning of the world may be sought by this generation in the persons of the prophets and apostles sent to them in their own time.

I can dispense with the word may: “if the subjunctive mood is used in a purpose or result clause, then the action should not be thought of as a possible result, but should be viewed as a definite outcome that will happen as a result of another stated action.”[3]  And the Greek word ἐκζητηθήσεται, translated it will be charged, is a future passive indicative 3rd person singular verb according to the Koine Greek Lexicon.  And so Jesus stated empahtically, “it will be sought by this generation.”  They would seek the blood of the prophets of their generation just as their fathers before them had done to the the prophets of their time.

Consider Paul’s lament in his letter to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 4:9-13 NET):

For, I think, God has exhibited us apostles last of all, as men condemned to die, because we have become a spectacle to the world, both to angels and to people.  We are fools for Christ, but you are wise in Christ!  We are weak, but you are strong!  You are distinguished, we are dishonored!  To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, poorly clothed, brutally treated, and without a roof over our heads.  We do hard work, toiling with our own hands.  When we are verbally abused, we respond with a blessing, when persecuted, we endure, when people lie about us, we answer in a friendly manner.  We are the world’s dirt and scum, even now.

And consider how this lament became his battle cry in his letter to the Romans (Romans 8:36-39 NET):

As it is written, “For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”  No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us!  For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor heavenly rulers, nor things that are present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

My aim is to know him, Paul wrote the Philippians, to experience the power of his resurrection, to share in his sufferings, and to be like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.[4]  But the religious mind covets a place of honor at banquets, the best seats in the house, respectful greetings in public places and to be revered as teacher (Matthew 23:6, 7).  Anything less it considers “persecution” and “affliction.”  The suggestion that God might hand his redeemed one over to others, to be abused by them, that the others in turn might recognize their own sinfulness, is anathema to the religious mind.  It is not too hard to imagine that the temptation to cover or disguise anything, even Scripture, which suggests such a thing would be difficult to resist.  I suspect, however, that most of us suffer from our own sins[5], and that far fewer of us are considered worthy to suffer dishonor directly from the sins of others for the sake of the name.[6]

Granted, once the serpents, the brood of vipers, sought the blood of the prophets of their generation, all the righteous blood shed on earth came upon them and their people.  So there is a judicial aspect to these events, but reducing them to crime and punishment alone smears all of the vibrant colors of God’s mercy, love and grace through Jesus Christ until they become a murky gray.  Besides, their “punishment,” if you will, was not mystical, magical or supernatural in any way, but all too human.

While their leaders were preoccupied killing and persecuting the prophets who brought them the knowledge Jeremiah prophesied (Jeremiah 31:31-34) and the desire of Moses (Numbers 11:25-29) prophesied by Ezekiel (Ezekiel 36:22-27), virulent strains of Judaism fought for ascendency.  By brute force and political manipulation most in Jerusalem accepted this murderous faith in fact and action whether they believed it in their hearts or not.  The devil, after all, seeks compliance not faith.  Robert A. Dahl’s definition of power—“A has power over B to the extent that he can get B to do something that B would not otherwise do”[7]—was still taught in political science classes as of 2014,[8] and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one[9] (1 John 5:18-21; Ephesians 2:1-3; 2 Timothy 2:24-26).

The zealots and sicarii were anything but those with Jesus’ fountain of water—his own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control[10]springing up to eternal life[11] inside of them.  “I don’t need to punish people,” Papa (Octavia Spencer) said in the movie The Shack.  “Sin is its own punishment.”  But it seems to be part of the human condition to deny Jesus’ insight: You people are from your father the devil, and you want to do what your father desires.  He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not uphold the truth, because there is no truth in him.[12]  Even when our sinfulness is self-evident we search for other explanations.

Before I began this study I tacitly assumed this devious plot that led to the destruction of Jerusalem was the wisdom (σοφία) of God rather than an easily anticipated trajectory of human sinfulness filtered through a particular brand of the religious mind.  Hear Paul on the subject of God’s wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 2:6-16; 3:18-20; Colossians 4:5, 6 NET).

For the message about the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.  For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of the wise, and I will thwart the cleverness of the intelligent.”  Where is the wise man?  Where is the expert in the Mosaic law?  Where is the debater of this age?  Has God not made the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of the world foolish?  For since in the wisdom (σοφίᾳ) of God the world by its wisdom (σοφίας, another form of σοφία) did not know God, God was pleased to save those who believe by the foolishness of preaching.  For Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks ask for wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία), but we preach about a crucified Christ, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.  But to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of God.  For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Now we do speak wisdom (Σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) among the mature, but not a wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing.  Instead we speak the wisdom (σοφίαν, another form of σοφία) of God, hidden in a mystery, that God determined before the ages for our glory.  None of the rulers of this age understood it.  If they had known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  But just as it is written, “Things that no eye has seen, or ear heard, or mind imagined, are the things God has prepared for those who love him.”  God has revealed these to us by the Spirit.  For the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the things of a man except the man’s spirit within him?  So too, no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may know the things that are freely given to us by God.  And we speak about these things, not with words taught us by human wisdom (σοφίας, another form of σοφία), but with those taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual things to spiritual people.  The unbeliever does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him.  And he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.  The one who is spiritual discerns all things, yet he himself is understood by no one.  For who has known the mind of the Lord, so as to advise him?  But we have the mind of Christ.

Guard against self-deception, each of you.  If someone among you thinks he is wise in this age, let him become foolish so that he can become wise.  For the wisdom (σοφία) of this age is foolishness with God.  As it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness.”  And again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”

Conduct yourselves with wisdom (σοφίᾳ) toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunities.  Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer everyone.

And James wrote (James 3:13-18 NET):

Who is wise and understanding among you?  By his good conduct he should show his works done in the gentleness that wisdom (σοφίας, another form of σοφία) brings.  But if you have bitter jealousy and selfishness in your hearts, do not boast and tell lies against the truth.  Such wisdom (σοφία) does not come from above but is earthly, natural, demonic.  For where there is jealousy and selfishness, there is disorder and every evil practice.  But the wisdom (σοφία) from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, accommodating, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial, and not hypocritical.  And the fruit that consists of righteousness is planted in peace among those who make peace.

James contrasted wisdom from above (ἄνωθεν) to that which is not from above (ἄνωθεν) with the same word Jesus used to describe the birth of the new human: I tell you the solemn truth, unless a person is born from above (ἄνωθεν), he cannot see the kingdom of God.[13]  Do not be amazed that I said to you, ‘You must all be born from above (ἄνωθεν).’[14]

Tables of forms of ἐκζητέω and occurrences of σοφία follow with their translations in the KJV and NET.  If the parallel Greek of the NET differed from the Textus Receptus I broke the table to contrast them along with the Byzantine Majority Text.

Form of ἐκζητέω Reference KJV

NET

ἐκζητήσας Hebrews 12:17 …though he sought it carefully with tears. …although he sought the blessing with tears.
ἐκζητήσωσιν Acts 15:17 That the residue of men might seek after the Lord… …so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord…
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν κύριον καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐφ᾿ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομα μου ἐπ᾿ αὐτούς, λέγει κύριος ποιῶν ταῦτα οπως αν εκζητησωσιν οι καταλοιποι των ανθρωπων τον κυριον και παντα τα εθνη εφ ους επικεκληται το ονομα μου επ αυτους λεγει κυριος ο ποιων ταυτα παντα οπως αν εκζητησωσιν οι καταλοιποι των ανθρωπων τον κυριον και παντα τα εθνη εφ ους επικεκληται το ονομα μου επ αυτους λεγει κυριος ο ποιων ταυτα παντα
ἐκζητηθῇ Luke 11:50 may be required of this generation… …so that this generation may be held accountable for the blood…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἵνα ἐκζητηθῇ τὸ αἷμα πάντων τῶν προφητῶν τὸ ἐκκεχυμένον ἀπὸ καταβολῆς κόσμου ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης ινα εκζητηθη το αιμα παντων των προφητων το εκχυνομενον απο καταβολης κοσμου απο της γενεας ταυτης ινα εκζητηθη το αιμα παντων των προφητων το εκχυνομενον απο καταβολης κοσμου απο της γενεας ταυτης
ἐκζητηθήσεται Luke 11:51 It shall be required of this generation. it will be charged against this generation.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἀπὸ αἵματος Ἅβελ ἕως αἵματος Ζαχαρίου τοῦ ἀπολομένου μεταξὺ τοῦ θυσιαστηρίου καὶ τοῦ οἴκου· ναὶ λέγω ὑμῖν, ἐκζητηθήσεται ἀπὸ τῆς γενεᾶς ταύτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης απο του αιματος αβελ εως του αιματος ζαχαριου του απολομενου μεταξυ του θυσιαστηριου και του οικου ναι λεγω υμιν εκζητηθησεται απο της γενεας ταυτης
ἐκζητῶν Romans 3:11 …there is none that seeketh after God. …there is no one who seeks God.
ἐκζητοῦσιν Hebrews 11:6 …he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. …he rewards those who seek him.
ἐξεζήτησαν 1 Peter 1:10 …the prophets have inquired and searched diligently… searched and investigated carefully.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

περὶ ἧς σωτηρίας ἐξεζήτησαν καὶ ἐξηραύνησαν προφῆται οἱ περὶ τῆς εἰς ὑμᾶς χάριτος προφητεύσαντες περι ης σωτηριας εξεζητησαν και εξηρευνησαν προφηται οι περι της εις υμας χαριτος προφητευσαντες περι ης σωτηριας εξεζητησαν και εξηρευνησαν προφηται οι περι της εις υμας χαριτος προφητευσαντες

σοφία

Reference KJV

NET

σοφία Matthew 11:19 wisdom is justified of her children… wisdom is vindicated by her deeds.
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἦλθεν ὁ υἱὸς τοῦ ἀνθρώπου ἐσθίων καὶ πίνων, καὶ λέγουσιν· ἰδοὺ ἄνθρωπος φάγος καὶ οἰνοπότης, τελωνῶν φίλος καὶ ἁμαρτωλῶν. καὶ ἐδικαιώθη ἡ σοφία ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτῆς ηλθεν ο υιος του ανθρωπου εσθιων και πινων και λεγουσιν ιδου ανθρωπος φαγος και οινοποτης τελωνων φιλος και αμαρτωλων και εδικαιωθη η σοφια απο των τεκνων αυτης ηλθεν ο υιος του ανθρωπου εσθιων και πινων και λεγουσιν ιδου ανθρωπος φαγος και οινοποτης τελωνων φιλος και αμαρτωλων και εδικαιωθη η σοφια απο των τεκνων αυτης
σοφία Matthew 13:54 Whence hath this man this wisdom Where did this man get such wisdom
NET Parallel Greek Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

καὶ ἐλθὼν εἰς τὴν πατρίδα αὐτοῦ ἐδίδασκεν αὐτοὺς ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ αὐτῶν, ὥστε ἐκπλήσσεσθαι αὐτοὺς καὶ λέγειν· πόθεν τούτῳ ἡ σοφία αὕτη καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις και ελθων εις την πατριδα αυτου εδιδασκεν αυτους εν τη συναγωγη αυτων ωστε εκπληττεσθαι αυτους και λεγειν ποθεν τουτω η σοφια αυτη και αι δυναμεις και ελθων εις την πατριδα αυτου εδιδασκεν αυτους εν τη συναγωγη αυτων ωστε εκπληττεσθαι αυτους και λεγειν ποθεν τουτω η σοφια αυτη και αι δυναμεις
σοφία Mark 6:2 …what wisdom is this which is given unto him… …what is this wisdom that has been given to him?

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

καὶ γενομένου σαββάτου ἤρξατο διδάσκειν ἐν τῇ συναγωγῇ, καὶ  πολλοὶ ἀκούοντες ἐξεπλήσσοντο λέγοντες· πόθεν τούτῳ ταῦτα, καὶ τίς ἡ σοφία ἡ δοθεῖσα τούτῳ, καὶ αἱ δυνάμεις τοιαῦται διὰ τῶν χειρῶν αὐτοῦ γινόμεναι και γενομενου σαββατου ηρξατο εν τη συναγωγη διδασκειν και πολλοι ακουοντες εξεπλησσοντο λεγοντες ποθεν τουτω ταυτα και τις η σοφια η δοθεισα αυτω οτι[15] και δυναμεις τοιαυται δια των χειρων αυτου γινονται και γενομενου σαββατου ηρξατο εν τη συναγωγη διδασκειν και πολλοι ακουοντες εξεπλησσοντο λεγοντες ποθεν τουτω ταυτα και τις η σοφια η δοθεισα αυτω και δυναμεις τοιαυται δια των χειρων αυτου γινονται
σοφίᾳ Luke 2:40 …filled with wisdom …filled with wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Τὸ δὲ παιδίον ἠύξανεν καὶ ἐκραταιοῦτο πληρούμενον σοφίᾳ, καὶ χάρις θεοῦ ἦν ἐπ᾿ αὐτό το δε παιδιον ηυξανεν και εκραταιουτο πνευματι πληρουμενον σοφιας και χαρις θεου ην επ αυτο το δε παιδιον ηυξανεν και εκραταιουτο πνευματι πληρουμενον σοφιας και χαρις θεου ην επ αυτο
σοφίᾳ Luke 2:52 And Jesus increased in wisdom And Jesus increased in wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Καὶ Ἰησοῦς προέκοπτεν [ἐν τῇ] σοφίᾳ καὶ ἡλικίᾳ καὶ χάριτι παρὰ θεῷ καὶ ἀνθρώποις και ιησους προεκοπτεν σοφια και ηλικια και χαριτι παρα θεω και ανθρωποις και ιησους προεκοπτεν σοφια και ηλικια και χαριτι παρα θεω και ανθρωποις
σοφία Luke 7:35 wisdom is justified of all her children. wisdom is vindicated by all her children.
Luke 11:49 Therefore also said the wisdom of God… For this reason also the wisdom of God said…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡ σοφία τοῦ θεοῦ εἶπεν· ἀποστελῶ εἰς αὐτοὺς προφήτας καὶ ἀποστόλους, καὶ ἐξ αὐτῶν ἀποκτενοῦσιν καὶ διώξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν δια τουτο και η σοφια του θεου ειπεν αποστελω εις αυτους προφητας και αποστολους και εξ αυτων αποκτενουσιν και εκδιωξουσιν
σοφίᾳ Acts 6:10 …the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. …the wisdom and the Spirit with which he spoke.
Acts 7:22 …Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians… …Moses was trained in all the wisdom of the Egyptians…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

καὶ ἐπαιδεύθη Μωϋσῆς [ἐν] πάσῃ σοφίᾳ Ἀιγυπτίων, ἦν δὲ δυνατὸς ἐν λόγοις καὶ ἔργοις αὐτοῦ και επαιδευθη μωσης παση σοφια αιγυπτιων ην δε δυνατος εν λογοις και εν εργοις και επαιδευθη μωσης παση σοφια αιγυπτιων ην δε δυνατος εν λογοις και εργοις
σοφίᾳ 1 Corinthians 1:17 …not with wisdom of words… …and not with clever speech…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οὐ γὰρ ἀπέστειλεν με Χριστὸς βαπτίζειν ἀλλὰ εὐαγγελίζεσθαι, οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ λόγου, ἵνα μὴ κενωθῇ ὁ σταυρὸς τοῦ Χριστοῦ ου γαρ απεστειλεν με χριστος βαπτιζειν αλλ ευαγγελιζεσθαι ουκ εν σοφια λογου ινα μη κενωθη ο σταυρος του χριστου ου γαρ απεστειλεν με χριστος βαπτιζειν αλλ ευαγγελιζεσθαι ουκ εν σοφια λογου ινα μη κενωθη ο σταυρος του χριστου
σοφίᾳ 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God… For since in the wisdom of God…
σοφία 1 Corinthians 1:30 …who of God is made unto us wisdom …who became for us wisdom from God…
σοφίᾳ 1 Corinthians 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men… …that your faith would not be based on human wisdom
σοφία 1 Corinthians 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For the wisdom of this age[16] is foolishness with God.
σοφίᾳ 2 Corinthians 1:12 …not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God… …not by human wisdom but by the grace of God…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ἡ γὰρ καύχησις ἡμῶν αὕτη ἐστίν, τὸ μαρτύριον τῆς συνειδήσεως ἡμῶν, ὅτι ἐν |ἁπλότητι| καὶ εἰλικρινείᾳ τοῦ θεοῦ, [καὶ] οὐκ ἐν σοφίᾳ σαρκικῇ ἀλλ᾿ ἐν χάριτι θεοῦ, ἀνεστράφημεν ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ, περισσοτέρως δὲ πρὸς ὑμᾶς η γαρ καυχησις ημων αυτη εστιν το μαρτυριον της συνειδησεως ημων οτι εν απλοτητι και ειλικρινεια θεου ουκ εν σοφια σαρκικη αλλ εν χαριτι θεου ανεστραφημεν εν τω κοσμω περισσοτερως δε προς υμας η γαρ καυχησις ημων αυτη εστιν το μαρτυριον της συνειδησεως ημων οτι εν απλοτητι και ειλικρινεια θεου ουκ εν σοφια σαρκικη αλλ εν χαριτι θεου ανεστραφημεν εν τω κοσμω περισσοτερως δε προς υμας
σοφίᾳ Ephesians 1:8 …hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence… …lavished on us in all wisdom and insight.
σοφία Ephesians 3:10 …might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God… … through the church the multifaceted wisdom of God should now be disclosed…
σοφίᾳ Colossians 1:9 …in all wisdom and spiritual understanding… …in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…
Colossians 1:28 …teaching every man in all wisdom …teaching all people with all wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ὃν ἡμεῖς καταγγέλλομεν νουθετοῦντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον καὶ διδάσκοντες πάντα ἄνθρωπον ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ, ἵνα παραστήσωμεν πάντα ἄνθρωπον τέλειον ἐν Χριστῷ ον ημεις καταγγελλομεν νουθετουντες παντα ανθρωπον και διδασκοντες παντα ανθρωπον εν παση σοφια ινα παραστησωμεν παντα ανθρωπον τελειον εν χριστω ιησου ον ημεις καταγγελλομεν νουθετουντες παντα ανθρωπον και διδασκοντες παντα ανθρωπον εν παση σοφια ινα παραστησωμεν παντα ανθρωπον τελειον εν χριστω ιησου
σοφίᾳ Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom …teaching and exhorting one another with all wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ὁ λόγος τοῦ Χριστοῦ ἐνοικείτω ἐν ὑμῖν πλουσίως, ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ διδάσκοντες καὶ νουθετοῦντες ἑαυτοὺς, ψαλμοῖς ὕμνοις ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς ἐν [τῇ] χάριτι ᾄδοντες ἐν ταῖς καρδίαις ὑμῶν τῷ θεῷ ο λογος του χριστου ενοικειτω εν υμιν πλουσιως εν παση σοφια διδασκοντες και νουθετουντες εαυτους ψαλμοις και υμνοις και ωδαις πνευματικαις εν χαριτι αδοντες εν τη καρδια υμων τω κυριω ο λογος του χριστου ενοικειτω εν υμιν πλουσιως εν παση σοφια διδασκοντες και νουθετουντες εαυτους ψαλμοις και υμνοις και ωδαις πνευματικαις εν χαριτι αδοντες εν τη καρδια υμων τω κυριω
σοφίᾳ Colossians 4:5 Walk in wisdom toward them that are without… Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders…
σοφία James 3:15 This wisdom descendeth not from above… Such wisdom does not come from above…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

οὐκ ἔστιν αὕτη ἡ σοφία ἄνωθεν κατερχομένη ἀλλὰ ἐπίγειος, ψυχική, δαιμονιώδης ουκ εστιν αυτη η σοφια ανωθεν κατερχομενη αλλ επιγειος ψυχικη δαιμονιωδης ουκ εστιν αυτη η σοφια ανωθεν κατερχομενη αλλ επιγειος ψυχικη δαιμονιωδης
σοφία James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure… But the wisdom from above is first pure…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

ἡ δὲ ἄνωθεν σοφία πρῶτον μὲν ἁγνή ἐστιν, ἔπειτα εἰρηνική, ἐπιεικής, εὐπειθής, μεστὴ ἐλέους καὶ καρπῶν ἀγαθῶν, ἀδιάκριτος, ἀνυπόκριτος η δε ανωθεν σοφια πρωτον μεν αγνη εστιν επειτα ειρηνικη επιεικης ευπειθης μεστη ελεους και καρπων αγαθων αδιακριτος και ανυποκριτος η δε ανωθεν σοφια πρωτον μεν αγνη εστιν επειτα ειρηνικη επιεικης ευπειθης μεστη ελεους και καρπων αγαθων αδιακριτος και ανυποκριτος
σοφία Revelation 7:12 Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving… Praise and glory, and wisdom and thanksgiving…
Revelation 13:18 Here is wisdom. This calls for wisdom

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ωδε ἡ σοφία ἐστίν ὁ ἔχων νοῦν ψηφισάτω τὸν ἀριθμὸν τοῦ θηρίου, ἀριθμὸς γὰρ ἀνθρώπου ἐστίν, καὶ ὁ ἀριθμὸς αὐτοῦ ἑξακόσιοι ἑξήκοντα ἕξ ωδε η σοφια εστιν ο εχων τον νουν ψηφισατω τον αριθμον του θηριου αριθμος γαρ ανθρωπου εστιν και ο αριθμος αυτου χξς ωδε η σοφια εστιν ο εχων νουν ψηφισατω τον αριθμον του θηριου αριθμος γαρ ανθρωπου εστιν και ο αριθμος αυτου εστιν χξς

[1] Matthew 23:30 (NET)

[2] Luke 11:49 (NET)

[3] https://www.ntgreek.org/learn_nt_greek/verbs1.htm#SUBJUNCTIVE

[4] Philippians 3:10, 11 (NET)

[5] The Greek word translated meddler (NIV), busybody in other men’s matters (KJV), or troublemaker (NET) was ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος, and is notable for its mention along with a murderer or thief or criminal.

[6] Acts 5:41b (NET)

[7] Robert A. Dahl, “The Concept of Power

[8] Michael Valdivieso, “Three dimensions of power,” September 28, 2014, International Association for Political Science Students

[9] 1 John 5:19b (NET)

[10] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[11] John 4:14b (NET)

[12] John 8:44a (NET)

[13] John 3:3 (NET)

[14] John 3:7 (NET)

[15] The word οτι (τούτῳ may have the same effect as αυτω οτι) in the Stephanus Textus Receptus relates the δυναμεις to the σοφια: …that even such mighty works are wrought by his hands (KJV); What are these miracles that are done through his hands? (NET)  Consider this in relation to deeds being the children of wisdom.

[16] Matthew 24:3