Least Among You – BT3
But God mocks the “wise and understanding” approach to knowing Him
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So many “wise and understanding” Christians and churches advise people today exactly the same way the scribes and Pharisees did the Jewish people on the best way to “know God” – read and study the bible daily! Yet to the bible students of Christ’s day, Jesus said “The Father who sent Me has Himself borne witness/testimony about Me. His phone Voice you have never heard, . . . and you do not in fact have His logos message abiding/living in you, for you do not have trusting-relying-faith in the One whom He has sent. You ongoingly, diligently search/examine/investigate (aka study) the graphe scriptures because you ongoingly suppose that in them you ongoingly take hold of zoe genuine-life everlasting, and/but it is they that routinely bear witness/testify about Me, yet you ongoingly are absolutely not in fact intending/willing to come to Me in order that you might take hold of zoe genuine-life . . . I know that you do not have the unconditional-love of God within you” (a). Bible students are the ones who “diligently search/examine/investigate the graphe scriptures,” but “the least among you” like the nepios breast-feeding infants (d), paidion young children (e), and the other uneducated sure can’t! Paul makes it clear that nepios breast-feeding infants don’t think like adults (b)! But they can still hear “Christ’s phone Voice!” Hint! Hint! And they can still do God’s will: It was these same nepios breast-feeding infants that were crying out in the temple courts “Hosanna to the Son of David” as Jesus entered Jerusalem shortly before His death (c). What are you advising people to do in order to know God by actually hearing Christ’s voice? <Notes> a) John 5:37-42, b) 1 Corinthians 13:11, c) Matthew 21:15-16, d) nepios: a milk-feeding infant or little child that requires the gentleness of a nursing mother – 1 Thessalonians 2:7, Hebrews 5:13, or minor not of the age of inheritance, or figuratively of a simple-minded or immature, unlearned, unenlightened person, e) paidion: a child younger than 7-8, thus still under training, whereas pais applies to children up to 20 as adults.
God mocks the Jewish teachers and false prophets of Christ’s day in Isaiah 28:1-13, “Ah, the proud crown of the drunkards of Ephraim . . . these also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they reel in [what should have been prophetic] vision, they stumble in giving discerning-judgment – see New Covenant Ways – BT16, for all their tables are full of filthy vomit with no space left [for the scrolls of scriptures]. These Jewish leaders were a real mess! The tables where these scholars traditionally rolled out the scriptures to compare, contrast, and study them were being used to party with! But Isaiah asks: “To whom will the Lord announce/report (a) knowledge (b), and to whom will He explain/make understand (c) the news/announcement/report/message (d)?” Many other passages about Jesus as God’s “Servant” use similar language to describe the climate He would come into. <Notes> a) yarah: cast/throw out as water or rain, shoot or point out as with an arrow, pointedly instruct; anagello announce/report news, where we get evangelize, b) deah: knowledge of God as taught by prophets, c) biyn: mentally distinguish for understanding, diligently/eloquently instruct, d) shemuah, aggelia.
We know about these study “tables” from Paul in Romans 11:7-10 to explain why much of “Israel failed to obtain what it was seeking. The elect (Church) obtained it, but the rest were hardened, as it is written in Isaiah 29:10 (h) – “God gave them a spirit of stupor (a), eyes that would not see and ears that would not akouo hear, down to this very day.” It’s still going on! Then Paul cites David in Psalms 69:22-23, “Let their table become a snare (b) and a trap (c), a stumbling block (d) and [finally] a retribution (e) for them – see New Covenant Ways – BT17: [by] letting their eyes be darkened so that cannot eido ‘see’ to perceive/know (f) and their backs completely bent (g) continually.” There’s that key word eido from Jeremiah 31:34 that God promises for ALL His children under the New Covenant, especially to the “least among you.” Bible students can really only prove they have gnosis info-knowledge! They are cursed! They are “blind guides, the blind leading the blind so that both fall into the pit [of hell]” (i). All they have to show for all their study is sore, bent backs and they are cursed with “bent backs forever!” Are we calling Christians to this same failed, cursed approach to knowing God? <Notes> a) appropriate for the drunks they were, b) for birds, c) for animals, d) trap/snare trigger causing the trap to be sprung, e) vengeful recompense: pay back! f) eido is prophetic vision – see Jeremiah 31:34 and Acts 2:17-19, g) also a metaphor of a captive under a securing, burdening yoke of slavery, but also figuratively of hardness of heart from error, h) This is a common theme in Deuteronomy 29:4, Isaiah 43:8, Jeremiah 5:21, and Ezekiel 12:2, i) Matthew 15:14; 23:16, 24.
Who was Christ going to instruct when He came? “Those who are weaned from the milk, those taken from the breast?” God is telling these “wise and understanding” leaders that their approach is utterly childish! That’s exactly the argument Hebrews 5:12-14 uses – even the prophetic “oracles/utterances of God” that early Jewish-Christians were using to convert Jews to Christ. They were “milk” for these baby Christians, but after so long they should have “grown up into Christ” and moved on to the “solid food” of the Spirit’s gift of discernment, “who by constant use have trained themselves to discern good from evil.” They should have been walking in the Spirit and being led by the Spirit instead of ancient prophetic gramma writings! So, God mocks the Jewish expository teachers in Isaiah 28:10 – “For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.”
Many Hebrew commentaries have correctly seen this as a little child’s song, nearly gibberish – see New Covenant Ways – BT17. The very verses that Calvary Chapel, Precept Ministries, and others hold up as the epitome of biblical teaching, is none other than an ancient rabbinical method that God is actually mocking as childish! That’s exactly what Jesus said above in John 5:37-42 – their bible-study method completely mislead them into looking for zoe genuine-life in the wrong place – they didn’t embrace current prophets like John the Baptist nor the voice of Christ their Messiah. They rather study their bible! Isaiah repeats their faulty approach in Isaiah 8:13: “And the dabar/logion utterance of Yahweh will be to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, here a little, there a little.” Although the Jewish leadership killed all their prophets at the time, just as they rejected John the Baptist currently, these bible students always loved reading and studying about them after the fact! Indeed “to them they are just precepts upon precepts, lines of scripture” they used to know God and expositionally teach the same way. And what is the result of such a childish approach from God’s point of view in Isaiah 8:13? “That they move forward a little, then fall backward, and ultimately fall down broken, snared/trapped, and are taken captive.” The scholars make a little progress, but ultimately “reel” and lose ground, fall to pieces, become snared like a bird or trapped like an animal, and enslaved. That’s what expository study and teaching ultimately will do to you! Many people really don’t learn from the failures in history. They think they can repeat the same approaches and somehow get different results. Insanity!
The reason we know this passage is about Christ’s teaching to the Jews is Isaiah 28:11-12 that were cited in 1 Corinthians 14:21 to explain the supernatural tongues of Pentecost and the early Church that were a witness/testimony of Christ to foreigners who heard the “good anagello news” being anagello preached/announced: “For by people of strange lips and with a foreign tongue Yahweh will speak to this people, to whom He has said, ‘This is rest; give rest to the weary; and this is repose; yet they would absolutely in fact not akouo listen to understand/know.” We will see this word akouo in later BLOG Topics – something even “the least among you” can easily do. This is exactly, why Christ preached “Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (a). But the accusation in John 5:37-42 above and all through the NT is that “this people . . . they would absolutely in fact not akouo listen to understand/know,” especially these “wise and understanding” teachers who had mocked Christ’s teaching and the Holy Spirit’s testimony thru strange tongues. How ironic! The Jews mocked the 120 disciples at Pentecost: “They are filled with new wine” (b), but God knew these Jews were the real drunkards and that their teaching was the real gibberish! The problem with these scholars was that although they always studied the prophetic “oracles/utterances of Yahweh” which really didn’t lead them forward but only trapped and enslaved them, at the time these prophetic “utterances” were originally given, they were always a “stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, who always resisted the Holy Spirit . . . killing those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered” (c). Even today so many churches and Christians mock the grace-gifts of the Spirit and the millions of prophecies that are readily available on YouTube. Yet, my wife, myself, and several friends I know have had hundreds of prophecies that aren’t even on YouTube – see My Prophetic Words. <Notes> a) Matthew 11:28 , b) Acts 2:13, c) Acts 2:51-52.
It is clear that God was mocking the scholarly approach because of many other NT verses. Paul was previously one of those Jewish scholars but after conversion “counted everything (a) as loss because of the surpassing worth of the gnosis knowledge belonging to Jesus Christ my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him” (b). This is clearly is not biblical “gnosis knowledge that only puffs your head up” (c) but that “belongs in the possession of Jesus Christ,” what is called in Greek “the genitive case of possession.” Christ’s gnosis knowledge is “holding all things together” (d). Paul explains what starts the downfall of man: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools” (e)! <Notes> a) a long list of accomplishments, b) Philippians 3:7-9, c) 1 Corinthians 8:1, d) Colossians 1:17, e) Romans 1:22.
Paul really lays into the Jewish scholars and Gentile philosophers in 1 Corinthians 1:17-31 – “For Christ did . . . send me . . . to preach the gospel, absolutely in fact not with sophia wisdom of logos messages, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect.” That’s all the Jew and Gentile teachers had! Many sermons I’ve heard were no different! “For the logos message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the enabling-power of God. For it is written in Isaiah 29:14: ‘I will fully destroy the sophia wisdom of the wise, and the sunesis “connect-the-dots” rational understanding of the sunetos rational-understanding/learned ones I will thwart (a). Do we think we will get different results using the same methods of knowing God that the Jews used? <Notes> a) atheteo: un-place, do away with, reject as invalid what is already laid down, set aside or disregard as spurious, nullify, make void, remove out of its place, disrespect, despise, cancel, disannul, abrogate, refuse to acknowledge.
Later in 1 Corinthians 2:1-4, Paul explained that it’s not just about a good sermon: “When I came to you brethren, I absolutely did not in fact come to you declaring/announcing exactly/decisively ‘down to a point’ (a) a testimony of God with preeminence/superiority/excellence of logos message or sophia wisdom, for I decided to eido mentally ‘see’ to perceive/know absolutely in fact not anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified . . . my logos message and my proclamation/preaching/heralding (b) were absolutely in fact not in persuasive/enticing/skillful logos messages (c) of sophia wisdom, but instead in/by/with showing-off/demonstrable-proof (d) of the Spirit and/coupled of dunamis enabling-power, so that your trusting-relying-faith might not in possibility rest in the sophia wisdom of men but in the dunamis enabling-power of God.” It seems that with most churches “showing off” nothing of the Spirit’s enabling-power, all that is left is people putting their “trusting-relying-faith in the sophia wisdom of men!” Most of the Church does not have a “full gospel!” What are we presenting to others? I’ve heard many Christians say they were bored with evangelistic meetings about the “milk” of the gospel and the cross, desiring more theological “meat!” <Notes> a) kataggello, b) kerugma, d) peithos, e) apodeixis.
Paul continues blasting them in 1 Corinthians 1:20-31, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through [human] sophia wisdom did absolutely in fact not experientially, relationally ginosko know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the proclamation [of the gospel] to save those who have trusting-relying-faith. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after sophia wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Spirit’s enabling-power of God and/coupled the sophia wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, that not many wise down-from/according-to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called. But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory/boast in His presence. But because of Him, you are IN Christ Jesus, [He] who became for us sophia wisdom from God – and righteousness/justification and sanctification/holiness and ransom-paid-freedom – so that, as it is written, ‘He who glories, let him glory in Yahweh.'” This is exactly why God did away with “might and power” in favor of “by My Spirit” in Zechariah 4:6 regarding the New Covenant! Are we still expecting people to be wise, debate-worthy, scholarly bible students, especially to “defend their faith?”
Can you see how “the least among you” – “the weak, not many wise, not many mighty, not many noble, the foolish things, the weak things, the base things, the despised things, and the things which are not” may indeed by viewed as “lasts” by the world? But the Lord has exalted them to the “first” and the “greatest among you” made the “last?” Who is Paul pointing his finger at? The educated scribes, Pharisees, Greek philosophers, governors, kings – all those that could read, study, and debate scripture! Later on in 1 Corinthians 3:18-20 Paul warns: “Let no one deceive himself – if anyone among you supposes that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. For the wisdom of this world is folly with God, for it written in Job 5:13, ‘He snares the wise in their craftiness’ and again in Psalms 94:11, ‘Yahweh knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are but a breath/emptiness (Hebrew) or futile (Greek)’.” There’s that use of “snare” we saw in Isaiah 28:13 and Psalms 69:22-23, and Jeremiah 8:9 sounds very similar: The wise men shall be put to shame; they shall be dismayed and caught/trapped; behold, they have rejected the [prophetic] dabar utterance/logos message of Yahweh, so what wisdom is in them?”
Paul gives another warning in Colossians 2:8, “Beware lest anyone cheat (a) you through philosophy (b) and empty (c) deceit (d), down-from/according-to the tradition of men, down-from/according-to the stoicheion ‘abc’ elementary principles (e) of the world (f), which are absolutely in fact not down-from/according-to (g) Christ. We see a lot about these stoicheion abc’s and traditions of religion talk about in the NT, but much of the Church is still perpetuating! <Notes> a) sulagogeo: lead away, sway, or seduce from truth, carry one off as a captive, slave, or one’s booty or spoils, b) philosophia, c) kenos: useless, devoid of truth, fruitless, vain, d) apate: seductive, deceptive, delusion, e) stoicheion: fundamental, elementary abc-like, even demonic-inspired elements f) context: the religion of the Gentiles and even the Jews, g) kata: down from, in the same manner of, according to.
As Christian musicians, are we going to continue promoting the OT way of “knowing God” through the “wise and understanding” reading and studying of scripture or believe Jesus in Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21 when He says: “the Father . . . keeps hidden the hidden things of the kingdom from the wise and learned/understanding but un-hides them to nepios breast-feeding infants and paidion young children?” Are we telling people to study their bibles “precept upon precept and line upon line,” just as the scribes and Pharisees did for thousands of years, even when so many verses show that God mocks this childish approach to knowing God and even curses their “backs to be bent over their study tables forever?” Are we expecting different results doing the same things? Isn’t that the definition of insanity according to Einstein? They were experts of the scriptures and totally missed their Messiah! Jesus said that God’s actual word wasn’t in them at all, nor the resultant unconditional-love of God!
As Christian musicians, do we believe that the gospel message of trusting-relying-faith is dependent on akouo hearing Christ’s voice as the actual “utterance of Yahweh” or eido mentally ‘seeing’ to perceive/know through visions and dreams and also having the discernment of the Holy Spirit as our Parakletos “wonderful counselor?” Or do we “suppose” it is relying on reading and understanding highly-debated manuscripts in antiquated languages from thousands of years ago? Are we trying to mix oil and wine, or trying to put old wine in new wineskins? Are we telling people that God really hasn’t made a completely-different-in-kind New Living Way to God through Christ by the means of the Holy Spirit, and that He is really still relying on the old way of gramma writings in order to “know God,” despite Jeremiah 31:31-34, 2 Corinthians 3:3-6, and a hundred other verses – see Logos Word of God – BT20? Are we showing partiality and favoritism once again to those who can read and comprehend the bible, but are leaving “the least among you” out just as the Jews did, and are also failing to realize that God’s New Covenant is geared for “the least down to the greatest, the last before the first?” Have we fallen into the same “snare and trap” as all the other religions of this world that build their house of cards on top of stoicheion fundamental, elementary abc-like principles such as “sacred manuscripts” for the “wise and understanding” to teach the rest of us? What are you communicating through your music and leadership?