The Unjust Judge & the Widow (Luke 18:1-8)

The Text

Luke 18:1-8 (NKJV) “Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart. Saying: ‘There was a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.’ Now there was a widow in that city: and she came to him, saying. ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’ And he (Judge) would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’ Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?’ I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?”  

1. The Setting

In Luke 18:1-30 we find the last events in the public ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ, as recorded by Luke prior to the final journey to Jerusalem – Luke 18:31 “Then He took unto Him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of Man shall be accomplished.” In Luke 18, there are two Parables on Prayer (Luke 18:1-8; Luke 18:9-14): 

  • Perseverance in Prayer (Luke 18:1-8)
  • Right Attitude in Prayer (Luke 18:9-14)

2. The Moral of the Parable

The Moral of the Parable is found in Luke 18:7-8 “And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them? I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?”

  • This Parable teaches that God will avenge His people in answer to their prayer, though He is longsuffering in dealing with mankind.
  • Our prayer should be consistent and persistent (1Thessalonians 3:10) and that we should not lose-heart (faint-hearted – Luke 18;1) because sometimes God does not immediately answer our prayers – Luke 18:1(NKJV) “Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart (faint).” The word “faint” describes a person who loses heart and gets so discouraged that the person wants to quit

3. The Background

This Parable is set in its Eastern-Setting – the “Courtroom” is not in a permanent building but a tent that is moved from place to place as the Judge covers his circuit. The Judge not the Law sets the agenda; he represents the Authority; he is surrounded by his Assistants. Anybody could watch the court-proceeding from the outside, but only those who are accepted and approved could have their cases tried. This usually mean bribing one of the Judge’s Assistants so that the case could be called to the Judge’s attention.

4. The Widow’s Dilemma

The widow has three obstacles to overcome: First, woman in the Eastern-Setting at the time of Christ has little standing in society and also before the Court and the Law and thus a woman does not go to Court. Second, the woman is a widow, and thus, she has no husband to represent her or stand with her in Court. Widows are a traditionally vulnerable group in Palestine society. Girls are regularly married at the age of thirteen or fourteen, and so a widow could be quite young. For a wife to lose her husband is to lose her position and status in society, and her natural protector.  Finally, she is a poor widow, and she could not pay a bribe, even when she wants to, and as such she does not get the protection of the Court and the Law.

5. The Widow’s Petition

Widows are often easy game for the ruthless Exploiter – “devouring widows’ houses” (Mark 12:40b). The widow shouts out her petition, outside the tent (Court), seeking the unjust Judge to avenge her of her adversary – Luke 18:3 (NKJV) “Now there was a widow in that city: and she came to him, saying. ‘Get justice for me from my adversary.’”  

  • Legal Transaction – Prayer is more than meeting physical needs; it is “a legal transaction,” recognized in the Court of Heaven, as the word “adversary” (Gk: “antidikos”) means “an opponent in a lawsuit.” The widow is seeking vindication – it is a legal case needing justice, vindication and avenging of her adversary, her enemy. Prayer initiates legal action in Heaven’s Court which affects the outcome of matters in the earthly realm. In essence, prayer has a legal perspective. Prayer is not just a religious act; it is a binding legal transaction.
  • Divine Decree – Prayer is also “seeking vindication” – the term “vindication” (Gk: “ekdikeson”) is not a request for punishment of her adversary, but for a decree that would provide protection from his (adversary) injustices.  Thus, prayer is about the manifestation of God’s decree in the lives of His children, setting something in order, or making something right.    
  • PersistentLuke 18:5 (NKJV) “Yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.” The word “came” (Luke 18:3 – Gk: “ercheto”) is in the imperfect tense, which implies that she keeps coming – the widow walks around outside the tent (Court) and shout out her petition. The widow persistently and consistently keeps coming to the unjust judge appealing for justice, for him to take up her cause.

    The widow is imploring for justice, to set things right on her behalf, which is one of the important purposes of prayer; prayer has a binding legal transaction, asking God to reconcile every situation and circumstance in the earthly realm with His will and purpose – Matthew 6:10 “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven!”

6. The Unjust Judge

Luke 18:2 (NKJV) “There was a certain city a judge who did not fear God nor regard man.” The unjust Judge’s three characteristics: First, he (unjust Judge) is unjust –unjust in all his dealings. Second, he (unjust Judge) does not fear God, that is, he does not uphold the first four Commandments of the Decalogue. Finally, he (unjust Judge) does not have regard or respect for man – that is, he is contemptuous to the people and thus does not uphold the last six Commandments of the Decalogue.

  • Worn-Down“And he (unjust Judge) would not” (Luke 18:4a) – The verb expresses his (unjust Judge) state of mind rather than a single act. The unjust Judge is worn-down by the widow’s persistent, consistent and insistence petition – Luke 18:4-5 (NKJV) “And he (Judge) would not for a while; but afterward he said within himself, ‘though I do not fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow troubles me I will avenge her, lest by her continual coming she weary me.’” Even though the unjust Judge would not pay-attention to her for a while, he is finally worn-down with her persistency, consistency, and insistence.
  • Ruined Reputation – The word “weary” (Gk: “hypopiaze”) literally means “give me a black eye” or “damage reputation.”  

7. Application

The Parable does not teach that God must be “argued” or “bribed” into answering our prayer. Jesus uses a form of logic that reasons from the lesser (unjust Judge) to the greater (God, the Righteous Judge) – Luke 18:6-8 (NKJV) Then the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unjust judge said. And shall God not avenge His own elect who cry out day and night to Him, though He bears long with them?’ I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes will He really find faith on the earth?” If the unjust Judge eventually responded to the widow’s persistent appeals, how much more will God, the Righteous Judge respond to His people. The parable of the persistent widow teaches us two things:

  • Pray or FaintLuke 18:1 (NKJV) “Then He (Jesus) spoke a parable to them, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart.” If a person does not pray, he will faint (lose-heart); there is no middle-ground. The word “faint” means “to lose-heart and gets discouraged.” Jesus teaches us that we should not give up but be persistent in prayer.
  • Faith on Earth?Luke 18:8b (Amp Bible) “However, when the Son of Man comes, will He find persistence in the faith on the earth?” The implication, at the End-of-the-Age, unbelief will abound in the earth; whereas, the Son of Man (Jesus) will find faith in His people, as demonstrated in the widow woman – her persistency not only in her fortitude but also persistent in faith that she would be heard by the unjust Judge; so should the Individual Believer has this persistency of faith before the Righteous Judge, expecting answers to our prayers.   

8. Post-Note

Judges in the Nation of Israel are to be righteous and impartial in their judgements, underpinned justice with mercy (Exodus 18:13-22; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 16:18; 1Kings 3:9; Psalm 9:8; Genesis 18:19; Psalm 89:14). Widows in Israel are to be care for, protected (Exodus 22:22-24; Deuteronomy 10:18; 24:17; Psalm 68:5; Isaiah 1:23; James 1:27; Malachi 3:5); with Divine judgement on those who opposed the widows and the fatherless.

Loving our Neighbour as Ourselves (Second Commandment) (Matthew 22:34-40) (Part 2)

The Law and the Prophets

“All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40, NIV). Mark 12:31b (NIV) “There is no commandment greater than these.” 

  1. To the Jews this means that the entire Old Testament centres about these two Commandments (“love God and love neighbour as yourself”) – All the teachings in the Old Testament are summarised by these two Commandments (“love God and love neighbour as yourself”).
  2. These two Commandments (“love God and love neighbour as yourself”) combined all the Laws in the Ten Commandments:
    • The first Four Commandments deal with man’s relation to God.
    • The last six deals with man’s relationship to others.
  3. The “love for God and neighbour as yourself” must permeate obedience to all the other Commandments in the Law and Prophets (Matthew 22:40). The two Commandments are basic, touching all of life’s relationship. The precepts of the Law and the preaching of the Prophets are simply expositions of the two Commandments.  
  4. We might add that the teachings of the New Testament’s Epistles reinforced Jesus’ declaration. If a person has a right relationship with God, he should have no problem relating to others.
  5. Love is the basis of obedience and relationship. In fact, all the Law is summed up in love – Romans 13:8-10 (NIV) “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellow man has fulfilled the Law. The commandments, do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not covet, and whatever other, commandment there may be, are summed up ion this one rule: Love your neighbour as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore, love is the fulfilment of the Law. 

Instead of giving the Pharisees a loophole that allowed them to obey one Commandment while ignoring the other 612 Commandments, Jesus gave them two Commandments that contained all the 613 Commandments. By this, Jesus puts aside the Pharisees’ multitude of meticulous rules and sub-divisions of the Scriptures. The Pharisees became entrenched in a system that they missed God’s Revelation in the Scripture.

Application

When Jesus calls forth the Commandment to “love our neighbour as yourself,” the definition of “neighbour” is defined in the “Parable of the Good Samaritan – the “neighbour” is anyone who needs our mercy, anytime, anywhere. Furthermore, “love” is not merely emotion but a commandment to be obeyed.  Leviticus 19 provides the 11 Practical Ways of “loving our neighbours as yourself,” each end with the Divine Declaration: “I am the LORD:”

  1. Respect for our ParentsLeviticus 19:2b-3a (NIV) “Be holy because I, the LORD your God, am holy. Each of you must respect his mother and father……I am the LORD your God.” Holiness is linked to our respect for our father and mother, which is the 5th Commandment (Exodus 20:12; Matthew 15:3-6; Ephesians 6:1-4).
  2. Respect for the ElderlyLeviticus 19:32 (NIV) “Rise in the presence of the aged, show respect for the elderly and revere your God. I am the LORD.” God is concerned about the elderly (Isaiah 46:4; 1Timothy 5:1-2, 4, 8; 1Peter 5:5), and we should be, too.
  3. Concerned for the Physically HandicapsLeviticus 19:14 (NIV) “Do not curse the deaf or put a stumbling block in front of the blind but fear Your God. I am the LORD.” God is also concerned for those with physically handicaps. Jesus healed the blind and the deaf; we must help to protect them and enable them to live better lives.
  4. Concerned for the Poor and NeedyLeviticus 19:9-10 (NIV) “When you reap the harvest of your land, do not reap to the very edges of your field, or gather the gleanings of your harvest. Do not go over your vineyard a second time or pick up the grapes that have fallen. Leave them for the poor and the alien (stranger). I am the LORD.” God’s concerned for the “poor and the needy” is seen in the “harvest laws” (Leviticus 23:22; Deuteronomy 23:24-25; 24:19-22; Ruth 2).
  5. Concerned for Strangers in our Midst Leviticus 19:33-34 (NIV) “When an alien (stranger) lives with you in your land, do not mistreat him. The alien (stranger) living with you must be treated as one of your native-born. Love him as yourself, for you were aliens (strangers) in Egypt. I am the LORD your God.” God is concerned for the strangers, and He often reminded the Israelities that they had been strangers in Egypt (Exodus 22:21; 23:9; Leviticus 25:23; Deuteronomy 10:19).
  6. Pay the Workers’ Wages on TimeLeviticus 19:13b, 14b (NIV) “Do not hold back the wages of a hired man overnight…..I am the LORD.”” Since workers were paid daily, any delay would cause hardship (Deuteronomy 24:14-15; James 5:4), and employers must never take advantage of their Employees.  
  7. Rich and Poor Stands EqualLeviticus 19:15, 18b (NIV) “Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favouritism to the great, but judge your neighbour fairly…….I am the LORD.” Rich and poor stand equal before God and the Law, and justice must not be partial (see also Exodus 23:3), because God hears the cries of the poor when they are oppressed (Psalm 82:3-4). 
  8. Do not Cheat in BusinessLeviticus 19:35-36a (NIV) “Do not use dishonest standards where measuring length, weight or quantity. Use honest scales and honest weights, an honest ephah (dry measure) and honest hin (liquid measure). I am the LORD your God.” We must be careful to have “just weights and measures,” lest we rob innocent people (Proverbs 11:1; 16:11; 20:10, 23; Amos 8:5; Micah 6:10-11).
  9. Respect for Truth and Property Leviticus 19:11 (NIV) “Do not steal, do not lie, and do not deceive one another. Do not swear falsely……I am the LORD.” The 8th Commandment states: “You shall not steal” (Exodus 20:15); the 9th Commandment warns against “lying” (Exodus 20:16). Both are included in Leviticus 19:11. Respect for truth and property is the foundation for a just and orderly society.
  10. Do not be a SlandererLeviticus 19:16 (NIV) “Do not go about spreading slander among your people……I am the LORD.” “Liar and Talebearer” are a menace to public safety and peace, particularly if he or she is a lying witness in court.
  11. Do not Seek RevengeLeviticus 19:18a (NIV) “Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people……I am the LORD.” When someone offended us or hurt us, we need to seek clarification and not revenge. The word “grudge” (nafar) means literally “to watch for” and thus to bear malice in the heart towards the person who offended us. The Word of God commanded us not to do so – that is not to have grudge (or malice) in our hearts. 

Lawyer’s Response

The Lawyer was impressed by Jesus’ answer. Mark records that he spoke approvingly of His words – Mark 12:32-33 (NIV) “Well said, teacher, the man replied. You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but Him. To love Him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbour as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.” Thus, a critic of Jesus became His Admirers. In turn Jesus responded with words of kindness and hope – “When Jesus saw that he had answered wisely, He said to him, you are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34a).

Loving our Neighbour as Ourselves (Second Commandment) (Matthew 22:34-40) (Part 1)

The Text

Matthew 22:34-40 (NIV) “Hearing that Jesus had silenced the Sadducees, the Pharisees got together. One of them, an expert in the Law, tested Him (Jesus) with this question: Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law? Jesus replied: Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and the greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbour as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” (Mark 12:28-31):

Love Neighbour

The Second Commandment is from an obscure Commandment in Leviticus 19:18b (NIV) “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39):

  • The Hebrew word translated “love” in Deuteronomy 6:4-5 describes an act of will characterised by dedication, commitment, and choice.
  • The Greek term used for “love” in Matthew 22:37-39 is the verb of intelligent, purposeful, committed love.
  • Putting both the Hebrews and the Greek terms together – Love is a Choice, commitment, dedication, intelligent, and purposeful.

Thus, “love God, love neighbour” is never a “half-hearted” commitment. It is a choice, commitment, dedication, intelligent and purposeful:

  • Jesus goes further and reinforces that “love for God” cannot be divorced from our “love for our neighbour,” by quoting Leviticus 19:18b, He places it alongside the First Commandment of “Love God.”
  • This is evidenced by the pairing of the Second Commandment (“love neighbour”) alongside the First Commandment in Mark’s account – “There is no commandment greater than these (Mark 12:31b, NIV).
  • Jesus gives the Second Commandment – “Love your neighbour as yourself,” even though the Lawyer did not ask for it. The reason is that the First Commandment: “Love God” cannot be seen or understood without the demonstration – our love for our neighbour. Love is an active experience, not inactive and dormant.
  • In “loving our neighbours as ourselves” the best of us come forth in the very act of loving.
  • The New Commandment to “love one another” (John 13:34-35) helps us handle human relationships and treat people the way God treats us.

Both the Hebrew and the Greek make it clear that loving God and neighbour is a choice. This is evident by the fact that loving God and loving neighbours is used as an imperative (or command) in Matthew 22:37-39. To love God is not only to “have good feelings about Him,” but genuine love is a choice, involving the will as well as the heart, whether we feel good or not is secondary.

To love our neighbours as much as we love ourselves is a challenge – because people are flawed, imperfect, needy beings. Loving people is hard when they cannot (or worse, they refused) to return our love. It is even harder when they hurt us. But we must remember this: Loving people is a choice to be made and a command to be obeyed before it becomes a feeling to be felt. The feeling comes or it might never come. But we must still act in love.

A loving relationship involves: (1) Commitment and loyalty; (2) Trust and respect; (3) Knowing and sharing. This also permeates the New Testament – 1John 4:20-21 (NIV) “If anyone says, I love God, yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

Love of Self

Leviticus 19:18b (NIV) “Love your neighbour as yourself.” (Matthew 22:39). There is a clear relationship between “loving one’s neighbour” and “self-love” (acceptance of oneself). The Godly loves of self-come from knowing three things:

  • That we are God’s Creation – “Made in His image and likeness” (Genesis 1:26a).
  • That we are the “children of God” and the objects of His love – Romans 8:16 (NIV) “The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirits that we are God’s children.”
  • That “love of self” stirs a strong self-image, confidence, and assurance; this is pleasing unto the Lord

The measure of our “love of self” = “acceptance of ourselves” (Matthew 22:39) and not “lover of ourselves” (2Timothy 3:1-4) will be the measure we are able to love our neighbours.

To be continued….. Stay tuned…..

The Sabbath (7th Day Rest) & the Lord’s Day (Genesis 2:1-3; Revelation 1:10) (Part 2)

1.2 The Summary – The Day of Reflection

The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) offers time for us to reflect on our lives, and to make necessary changes where we should. The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is necessary for us to order the private world of our inner lives in relationship to God; without that, our lives are shaped by outer demands that are constantly pressing upon us, draining our energy, blunting our sensitivities, and blurring our perspectives. So vital is the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) that R. Paul Stevens reckons, “A weekly experience of Rest is fundamental to our regaining perspective and entering that Rest that is essential to personal, social and creational survival” (R. Paul Stevens, “Sabbath,” “The Complete Book of Everyday Christianity, eds.” Robert Banks and R. Paul Stevens, 853).             

1.3 The Lord’s Day (Sunday) – Morrow after the Sabbath

Both “the Feast of the Waving of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits” (Christ’s Resurrection – Matthew 28:1-10) and “the Feast of Pentecost” (Outpouring of the Holy Spirit & Birth of the Church – Acts 2:1-4) are to be celebrated on “the Morrow after the Sabbath,” thus, “A New Beginning” and “A New Day”The Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) – bypassing the Weekly Sabbath. Under the Law Covenant, the Feast of the Waving of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits and the Feast of Pentecost shadowed forth the two Foundational Events of the New Testament Church:  

  • The Feast of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits (Leviticus 23:9-14) is waved on “the Morrow after the Sabbath” which is the First Day of the Week (Sunday), the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10) – the Day of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20). The New Testament Believers worship the Lord Jesus Christ on the First Day of the Week (Sunday), the Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).
  • The Feast of Pentecost took place on “the Morrow after the Sabbath,” (Leviticus 23:15) on the First Day of the Week (Sunday), The Lord’s Day (Revelation 1:10).  The Day of the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church (Acts 2:1-4). 

Jesus & Holy Spirit – Thus, two Persons in the Eternal Godhead, the Son of God (Jesus) and the Holy Spirit – by passed the Old Covenant Sabbath Day and acted on the First Day of the Week (Sunday) or “Morrow after the Sabbath,” – the two Foundation Events (Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ {Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20}; and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}), both took place on the First Day of the Week, the Lord’s Day (Sunday). It is for this reason (Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ {Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20}; and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}) that the Believer-in-Christ keeps the Lord’s Day (Sunday) and not the O.T. Sabbath.   

1.4 End of Sabbath Keeping

The very fact that “the Feast of the Waving of the Sheaf of the Firstfruits” (Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ {Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20}), and “the Feast of Pentecost” (Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}) were kept “the Morrow after the Sabbath” pointed to the end of Sabbath Keeping of the Mosaic Law (Exodus 20:11). This is in fulfilment of the Prophecy in Hosea 2:11 – The LORD said that He would “cause all her mirth to cease, her Feast Days, her new moons, and her Sabbaths, and all her solemn Feasts.”

Although Sabbath Keeping of the Old Testament ceased (Hosea 2:11), after the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:1-10) and the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4), nevertheless, the benefits of the “the Creative-Principles in the Sabbath” continued:

  1. “Cease from Work.”
  2. “Rest-Day.”
  3. “Day of Grace.”
  4. “Day of Setting-apart.”
  5. “Day of Blessing.”
  6. “Day of Celebration.”
  7. “Day of God and man/woman in Partnership.;”
  8. “Day of Being and not Doing.”
  9. “Day of Refreshing”
  10. “Day of Weekly Cycle.”

These 10 Creative-Principles in the Sabbath (Genesis 2:2-3) have not been done away with, but applicable and continued in the “Christian’s Sabbath – The Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10).

Apostle Paul shows that the Sabbath in the Creation (Genesis 2:2-3) finds the fulfilment in the Lord Jesus Christ, and then spiritually fulfilled in the Church, in the Day of Pentecost, the Outpouring of the Holy Spirit and the Birth of the Church {Acts 2:1-4}:

  • Galatians 4:9-10 “But now after you have known God, or rather are known by God, how is it that you turn again to the weak and beggarly elements, to which you desire again to be in bondage? You observe days and months and seasons and years.”
  • Colossians 2:14 “Having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He (Jesus) had taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.”

Thus, the N.T true Sabbath Rest is in Christ’s Finished Work (“It is Finished” – John 19:30) and in the Holy Spirit (Matthew 11:28-30; Hebrews 4:1-11). The Sabbath was the Sign and Seal of the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 20:11). The New Testament Sign and Seal is the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30; 2Corinthians 1:22):

  • The Lord’s Day (Sunday) is the Day of Rest.
  • The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Rest (Acts 2:1-4).

Thus, for the Church and the Individual to return to the O.T. Sabbath (Exodus 20:11) is to come under the Old Covenantal Seal (Exodus 20:11). God does not take the Old Covenant Seal (Sabbath – Exodus 20:11) and put it on the New Covenant. The New Covenant Seal is the Holy Spirit:

  • Ephesians 1:13-14 “In Him (Jesus) you also trusted, after you heard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise.”
  • Ephesians 4:30 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the Day of Redemption.”
  • 2Corinthians 1:22 “Who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 

Once, we, the New Testament Believers know which Covenant we are under then all confusion ceases in the Keeping of the Day? – New Covenant Believers keep The Lord’s Day (Sunday – Matthew 28:1-10; Revelation 1:10) and not the Mosaic Sabbath Day (Friday 6pm to Saturday 6pm).

1.5 The Lord’s Day

(Revelation 1:10; Matthew 28:1-10) – Sunday Day, “The Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10) is the time we spend with God, in Worship, not as a legalistic burden, but of the joy of encountering with the Lord Jesus Christ, by not making the rules of “The Lord’s Day” (Christian’s Sabbath) more important than the “Rest & Worship” that Christian’s Sabbath (“The Lord’s Day – Sunday” – Matthew 28:1-10; 1Corinthians 15:20), offers! We must ensure that “The Lord’s Day” (Christian’s Sabbath) serves God’s People rather than God’s People served the Christian Sabbath (“The Lord’s Day’), without undue concern for other Church’s business that might rob us of our communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, as commonly, Worship Services are peppered with the sound of cellular phones; also, numerous activities are crammed into “The Lord’s Day” (Christian’s Sabbath – Sunday), leaving little room for waiting upon/communing with the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Worship, at times, require us that we set aside time to wait and listen for God’s Voice – Psalm 46:10a “Be still and know that I am God” – and to respond to Him, appropriately. Spontaneous moments are common in Prophetic Worship. The art of waiting on The LORD seems to be lost, today, in many Churches, because the prepared programs, though important, have consumed all the moments, in the Worship Services. Silence is more the result of our Awe and Wonder we experience in God’s Presence rather than being an expression of Worship by itself. Not all waiting upon The LORD to be in silence – sometimes we wait upon The LORD with the musical instruments play quietly, while we wait to hear Him (God) speaks. Revelational knowledge of God is discovered in our stillness, before Him – Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the Nations. I will be exalted in the earth!” – discovering the delights and the joy of His (God’s) Presence!

The Sabbath (7th Day Rest) & the Lord’s Day (Genesis 2:1-3; Revelation 1:10) (Part 1)

1.0 The Statement

Genesis Chapter 2 introduces a series of “firsts” that are important to us if we want to build our lives on the basics God has put into His Creation:

  1. 7th Day Rest (Sabbath)Genesis 2:2 (NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.” God Himself does not need the “7th Day Rest” but He instituted it for His Creation (Mankind). Also, the “7th Day Rest” (Sabbath) is one of the three Institutions that were established by God for all Humanity.
  2. Work – God instituted Work – Genesis 2:15 (NKJV) “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it.”
  3. Marriage – God instituted and conducted the first marriage in the Garden of Eden – Genesis 2:22-23a (NKJV) “Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. And Adam said: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.”

These three Institutions (7th Day Rest; Work; and Marriage) were instituted before the entrance of Sin (Genesis Chapter 3), and therefore, are part of God’s Design for all people.

1.1 The Creation Principles

The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is an institution established by God at Creation or “a Creation Ordinance”Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

  1. Sabbath (7th Day Rest) – The word “Sabbath” comes from the Hebrew word “Shabbat” which means “to cease working, to rest” and is related to the Hebrew word for “seven;” the “seventh-day” is mentioned three times in Genesis 2:2-3.    
  2. Rest-Day – The 7th day was God’s instituted “Rest-Day” (Sabbath) – Genesis 2:2-3” And He rested on the seventh day…….He rested from all His works.” This is the first Sabbath (7th Day Rest); God does not need rest – Isaiah 40:28b (NKJV) “The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary.” Therefore, Sabbath (7th Day Rest) was created for us – Mark 2:27 (NKJV) “And He (Jesus) said to them, ‘the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath.” The Principle is that God not only ordained work (Genesis 2:15) but also rest (Genesis 2:2-3).
  3. Day of Grace – The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is in “the period of grace” that is, 2,500 years before the institution of the Mosaic Law (Ten Commandments).
  4. Day of Setting-Apart – The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is a special day because God sanctified (“set-apart; makes Holy”). God sanctified (set-apart) the 7th Day (Sabbath) for special purpose. God marked out the Seven-day Week and set aside one day for Himself, not that He needed rest but for Humanity.
  5. Day of Blessing“The Rest” instituted by God in the Creative Week is a fundamental need of Humanity – Genesis 2:3a (NKJV) “Then God blessed the seventh day;” that God blesses the Sabbath (7th Day Rest) – Genesis 2:3a (NKJV) “Then God blessed the seventh day.” The very act of God blessing the 7th Day of Creation signifies “a particularly mysterious gracious turning towards His Creation” (Gerhard Von Rad, “Old Testament Theology,” Vol.1. 147). God’s blessings included economic prosperity, strength, a fruitful yield and tranquility and safety in our family and Nation, as shown in God’s Promise to the Nation of Israel based on the Sabbatical Law (Leviticus 25:18-22).
  6. Day of Celebration –The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is the climax of the Creative Week, and God takes great delight in His Work with the commendation “it was good” (Genesis 1:4, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25), for the other aspects of Creation and  “it was very good” (Genesis 1:31), in the culmination of His Creation – The word “good” (Heb: “tob”) means “it is a joy and a delight.”  The Universe as God’s Handiwork is a joy and delight as borne out in the experience of the “Person’s Wisdom,” personified in Proverbs 8:22-31, as the Craftsman in the Creation of the Universe – The joy of creating and the joy of existence – “God, the Maker and man, the Creator’s delight” –  “Then I was beside Him as the Master Craftsman; and I was daily His delight, rejoicing always before Him, rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delight was with the sons of men” (Proverbs 8:30-31, NKJV).
  7. God & Man in Partnership – Not only does God enjoy His Creation (Genesis 2:2-3), He pronounces a day on which man may also join Him in finding joy and delight in His Works, as shown Psalm 92, which is a devotion to 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) Celebration – Title: “A Psalm or Song for the Sabbath Day,” expresses rapturous praise to God for “the works” of God’s Hands (Psalm 92:4), which refers to the Creation.
  8. Important of Being – Adam and his wife were created on the 6th Day of Creation – Genesis 1:27-31 (NKJV) “So God created man in His own image; in the Image of God, He created him; male and female He created them…….Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.”
    • Adam and his wife experienced REST on the first day of their existence as God rested on the Seventh Day of the Creative-Week – Genesis1:31b & Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “Then God saw everything that He had made and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” God the Creator shares His rest, freedom and joy with Adam and his wife on the 7th Rest Day (Sabbath).   
    • In this respect, God communicates to Humanity that “being” is more important than “doing” (work), even though work is important, because work comes later in Genesis 2:15 “Then the LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to tend and keep it” (NKJV).  
    • Abraham Joshua Heschel, a Jewish Theologian states, “that man is not created as a beast of burden who is merely encouraged to rest in order to enhance the efficiency of his work” (Abraham Joshua Heschel, “The Sabbath: Its Meaning for Modern Man,” pg.14). God’s Act in Genesis 2:2-3 implies that the Person should be free from striving for happiness through performance and achievement (work & prosperity) as an end in them!
    • The culture of today encourages “doing & achieving” over “being” because the culture measures the Person’s worth by his achievement and rise in Corporate Ladder, whereas God values and celebrates over the Person and Life, instituting “REST” in His Creative Week (Genesis 2:2-3).
    • God, in instituting the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath), in a real sense, the Person’s enjoyment of God is far more important than his accomplishment for God, as work for Adam was introduced later in Genesis 2:15, seen in respect of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) in God’s Creative Week (Genesis 2:2-3).
    •  David is called “a man after God’s heart” (1Samuel 13:14; Acts 13:22b) expresses this intimacy of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) with God in Psalm 27:4(NKJV) “One thing I have desired of the LORD, that will I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD and to inquire in His temple;” & Psalm 84:2(NKJV) “My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” David’s relationship with God is never in the utilitarian (functional) mode but in intimacy, the intention of the 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) of Genesis 2:2-3(NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (= set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”
  9. Refreshed – In Exodus 31:17, God explains the reason for His own Rest at Creation, not that God needed Rest, but it is revealed for our sake – “On the Seventh Day He (God) rested, and was refreshed (Exodus 31:17, KJV).
    • The word “refreshed” (Heb: “napas”) means “to breathe freely” and according to Abraham Joshua Heschel, the Jewish Theologian, the word “refreshed” means “a soul:” the implication is that without rest, man works like “a soulless” machine and even a machine does break down.
    • Rejuvenating – The word “refreshed” also means “rejuvenated”Cessation from regular work once a week has an all-important function of rejuvenating the Person, bringing restoration of life and health. There is a need for us to take a break once a week in order to be refreshed and to gain new perspectives.
    • The 7th Day Rest (Sabbath) is a day of “detaching” from things and the practical affairs of life, and an “attaching” to our Creator, God. 
  10. Weekly Cycle – The Weekly Cycle of 6 days of work followed by a day of rest was set in place by God Himself – Genesis 2:2-3 (NKJV) “And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified (= set-apart; made holy) it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.” This “Seven-day-Cycle” in God’s Creative Principle is the Universal Reality in the Calendars world-wide. God blesses and set-apart (“sanctified”) the 7th Day Rest (Genesis 2:2-3), and He (God) intended the 7th Day to be set apart in special way as the Day of Rest for all people. And since we are made in God’s Image (Genesis 2:27), it is reasonable that all People should emulate God by working six days and rested on the 7th Day. Thus, the “Sabbath-observance” (7th Day Rest) is based on Divine Principle of Genesis 2:2-3.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 5)

1.8 Christ the Ransom

1Timothy 2:6-7 “Who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.” Five truths about Christ‘s Redemptive Price can be gleaned from 1Timothy 2:6:

First, Christ’s Ransom is a Gift. The verb “gave” (ho dous) looks back to the Death of Christ on the Cross. God the Father gave His Son out of Love (John 3:16), and so does the Son. His death was His (Christ’s) Free-Will.

Second, Christ gave “Himself” (heauton). He is both the Giver and the Gift. At the Cross, Christ was both the Priest and the Sacrifice. In the construction of the Church, Christ as the Builder laid Himself as the Foundation Stone. He (Christ) “loved the church and gave Himself for it” (Ephesians 5:25).

Third, Christ is the “Ransom” (antilutron). The Doctrine of Biblical Redemption draws much of its language from term used in the Ancient Slave Markets. Sinners thus are Slaves to their Sin (John 8:34):

  • Christ bought (agorazó) Sinners and paid the Purchase Price with His (Christ’s) Blood for the Sinful Humanity – Ephesians 1:7 “In Him (Jesus) we have redemption through His Blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace.” (Colossians 1:14; 1Corinthians 6:20; 2Peter 2:1; Revelation 5:9).
  • Christ also bought us out of (exagorazó) their spiritual bondage (Galatians 3:13; 4:5).
  • Redemption – We have been Redeemed from both the Law and the Curse. He (Christ) then set us free (lutroó; Titus 2:14; 1Peter 1:18).
  • Ransom – The term “Ransom” is a compound word, built upon this concept (lutron) and the preposition “in the place of” (anti). Although this is the only verse where the noun occurs in the New Testament, the combination does appear elsewhere. Christ declares that He came to give His Life “a ransom for man” (lutron anti pollón; Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45).

Fourth, Christ is the Substitute “for all” (huper pantón). The two Greek prepositions (anti and huper) show that Christ died on behalf of all and in the place of all. The universal scope of the statement is supported by the term “all,” which is used throughout this passage to refer to all people (1Timothy 2:1,4,6). There is a difference, however, between the provision of Universal Redemption and the Individual appropriation of it by faith.

Fifth, Christ’s Death fulfilled the Prophetic Purpose of Redemption – “To be testified in due time.” In the Garden of Eden, God announced that the Seed of the Woman would bruise the head of Satan (Genesis 3:15). The Line of the Promised Redeemer thus extended from Adam to Abraham to David to Christ (Luke 3:23-38). In the Fullness of Time, God then “sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law. To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4-5). 

1.9 Paul’s Authority

1Timothy 2:7(KJV) “For this I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” As a final proof that the Church must Pray for all men and for those in Authority, Paul appeals to his own appointment by God (1Timothy 1:1) to be a “herald” (NIV) and an Apostle whose distinctive Commission made him a Teacher of the Gentiles (Acts 22:21; Ephesians 3:1ff).  Between God’s Will and the Faith of men stands the necessary witness of a Christian. Paul knew this truth, and thus burdened with an Evangelistic concern, he “strive to preach the Gospel not where Christ was Named” (Romans 15:20). God had ordained both the means and end of the Gospel. In this verse, Paul described his Ministry in 3 Ways:

1.9.1 As a Preacher

As a “Preacher” (kérux), Paul preached God’s Word (2Timothy 4:2). He understands the logic of Evangelism: “For whosoever shall call upon the Name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they had not heard? And how shall they hear without a Preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:13-15).

Wuest states, “The Imperial Herald would enter a town on behalf of the Emperor and make a public proclamation of the message which his Sovereign ordered him to give, doing so with such formality, gravity, and authority as must be needed.” Throughout his three Missionary journeys, Apostle Paul did just that.

1.9.2 As an Apostle

Paul knew that he was called to be an Apostle (apostolos), one who had seen the Resurrected Christ and who had been Commissioned by Him (Jesus) to Preach and Lay the Foundation of the Church Age (1Corinthians 9:1-2; Ephesians 2:20).  

Timothy also knows that Paul was an Apostle. Thus, the emphatic affirmation was expressed for the benefit of the Ephesians Church and the Adversaries (“I speak the truth in Christ and lie not”). Constrained by the Holy Spirit, He (Christ) often had to appeal to God for His Confirmation of the Apostolic Witness (Romans 9:1; 2Corinthians 11:31; Galatians 1:20).

1.9.3 As a Teacher

Paul Catechised after he Evangelised (Matthew 28:18-20). The process of Discipleship involves constant instruction. The object of Paul’s Teaching was to the Gentiles (ethnón) although Paul ministered in Synagogues to numerous Jewish Audiences, his main effort was with the Gentile World (Acts 13:46-48; Luke 14:27). He started that he was “the Minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the Gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:16). Other Apostles recognised Paul’s Unique Ministry to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-9).

The sphere of Paul’s Teaching was “in faith and verity” (en pistei kai alétheia). He wanted people both to believe and to understand what he (Paul) proclaimed. The word “verity” is actually translated as “truth” (1Timothy 2:4). It is the “belief of the truth” that saves the Sinner (2Thessalonians 2:13). Faith is the means, and truth is the content. The Legalists, unfortunately, were proclaiming a Religion of Works.

1.10 The Attitude in Prayer

1Timothy 2:8 (KJV) “I will, therefore, that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.”

At all Time – The verb, Pray (prosuchesthai) stresses constant Prayer. D Edmond Hiebert argument “The men only are to lead in public prayer.” That strict interpretation is difficult to maintain dogmatically. All Christians, including women, must grow in the spiritual life. Women as well as men need to “Pray without ceasing” (1Thessalonians 5:17).  

In all Places – The Adverbial Phrase “everywhere” literally reads “in every place” (en panti topói). The general view of the meaning to include both Public Prayer and Private Prayer in all Geographical Locations (1Corinthians 1:2; 1Thessalonians 1:8). Three Essentials of Effective Prayer:

1.10.1 Holy Hands

It is not enough to Pray; it must be done in the right way. Prayer must issue from the humble heart of the Christian in Fellowship with God and with one another. The phrase “lifting up holy hands” could indicate a physical posture or an inner attitude. Prayer Postures could be: 

  • Outstretched Arms – David and Solomon (1Kings.8:22; Psalm 28:2; Psalm 63:4; Psalm 134:2).
  • On our Knees – Daniel was on his knees facing toward Jerusalem (Daniel 6:10).
  • Sitting – David sat before the LORD (2Samuel 7:18).
  • Bowing – Eliezer bowed his head in Worship (Genesis 24:26).
  • Fall on our face – Abraham fell on his face on the ground (Genesis 17:3).
  • Eyes Downcast – The Repentant Publican stood with his eyes downcast (Luke 18:13).
  • Lifted eyes – Our Lord Jesus Christ lifted His eyes toward Heaven in His Intercession (John 17:1).

The use of the figure “lifting up holy hands” is dramatic and instructive. This is the only place in the New Testament where this figure is employed of Prayer. Prayer Postures should not be ritualistic but rather spontaneous manifestation of our Prayerful Attitude.

The adjective “holy” (hosious) denotes a spiritual quality and hands (cherias) are “symbolic of daily life.”  Holy hands could also indicate an unpolluted spiritual life. David equates his righteousness with the cleanness of his hands – 2Samuel 22:21 “The LORD rewarded me according to my righteousness; according to the cleanness of my hands hath He recompensed me.” 

David later asked this rhetorical question: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who shall stand in His holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart, who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully” (Psalm 24:3-4).  Only Christians whose lives manifest practical righteousness and holiness should be allowed to lead in Public Prayers. Christians living openly in sin have no place to lead in public prayers, as David confirms “If I regard iniquity in my heart the Lord will not hear me” (Psalm 66:18). 

The “without wrath and doubting” partly explains what is involved in having “holy hands.” The words show that a Christian must be right in his relationships both to man and to God.

1.10.2 Without Wrath

The term “wrath” (orgés), focuses on emotional anger vented on men, both Christians and non-Christians. It is the second essential, and it requires that we be on good terms with one another Even though the petitioner has been wronged by others, he must put off that natural sinful response of anger before he goes into the presence of God (Colossians 3:8). Jesus warns that such inner fury must be replaced by the spirit of reconciliation (Matthew 5:21-26). A Christian must be “slow to wrath: for the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God” (James 1:19-20):

  • Jerry Taylor remarks: “Anger is a perfect alienation of the mind from prayer.”
  • Bernard: “In our prayers we leave our differences behind us.”

1.10.3 Without Doubting

The term “doubting” = “disputing” (dialogismou), is the opposite of inner confidence. Instead of having faith, a Christian doubt when he has sceptical criticism of God’s control over his life. He carries on a mental dialogue about the outcome of his prayer. It is possible that the disputation may extend to argument with fellow Christians about the programs within the local church. In that sense, doubting disrupts the spiritual unity and the effectiveness of the Body of Christ. Paul cautioned, “Do all things without murmuring and disputing” (Philippians 2:14; same word as “doubting”).  Our Lord Jesus Christ teaches the same truth in Mark 11:24-26. If we spent more time preparing to pray and getting our hearts right before God, our prayers would be more effective.

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 4)

1.6 The Goals of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:4 “Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” The first goal is the “saving purpose” for mankind. Apostle Paul says that “God our Saviour……will have all men to be saved.” Prayer for the “Lost-Souls” is based on Christ’s Redemptive Work. The mention of the Divine Title “Saviour” causes Paul to introduce a relative clause that began with the pronoun “Who” (hos). This feature forms the transition from the First Section (1Timothy 2:1-3) of this passage to the next (1Timothy2:4-7). The Second Half of the Passage reveals a genuine concern for the “lost-souls” by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through Paul.

God’s Will be both simple and complex. He works “all things after the counsel (boulên) of His Own will” (thelêmatos – Ephesians 1:11). All things, including Creation, Redemption, and Judgement, are encompassed by the Divine Decree. For purpose of understanding, however, God’s Will can be classified in three ways:

  • His Decretive Will – Expresses God’s Unconditional Purpose, it gives Him pleasure and it is always carried out because it is dependent only upon Him for its fulfilment (Isaiah 14:24,27).
  • His Perceptive Will – States His Conditional Purpose. The performance of His Moral Will is dependent upon the obedience of man for its fulfilment. The Ten Commandments and the desire to save reveal God’s Moral, Perceptive Will. Man willed to do what God has Willed. Unfortunately, both Believers and Unbelievers have willed not to obey God.
  • His Permissive Will – Allows sin and evil to occur. God is not morally responsible for the sinful actions of men and the consequences of those acts. Such rebellion gives God no pleasure (Psalms 81:12; Acts 14:16; Romans 1:24).

God’s Will in 1Timothy 2:4 points to His Moral, Perceptive Will. The verb Will (thelei) indicates a “desire springing out of the emotions or inclinations, rather than out of deliberation (boulomai).” It reveals God’s intense concern for the Salvation of the Lost Souls. God’s Perceptive, Redemptive will has 2 Purposes:

1.6.1 Salvation

1Timothy 2:4a “All men to be saved,” the verb literally reads, “who wills all men to be saved” Paul writes that God’s Will is to save all man, but also man must will to experience Salvation. God does not impose His Redemptive Plan upon Unwilling Persons. To obey the appeal to believe, man must actively exercise his will (Acts 16:31). The group “all men” includes the entire World of Lost Humanity (1Timothy 2:1). Christians can pray for all men to be saved because Divine Provision has been made for all to experience Salvation (John 3:16; 12:32; 1John 2:2).

1.6.2 Truth

1Timothy 2:4b “All men come unto the knowledge of the truth.” God works in and through man’s will to gain the assent of man’s will without violating its moral accountability.

  • The goal is the “knowledge of the truth.” The noun “knowledge” (epignósin) denotes a thorough understanding. It is used not the simple word for knowledge but the compound form which seems to mean growing knowledge or perception. William’s rendering: “to come to an increasing knowledge of the truth.” (Charles B. Williams, “The New Testament, A Private Translation in the Language of the People,” Moody Press, 1949).
  • Unbelievers do not become Believers through ignorance. They must have basic knowledge of God’s Redemptive Facts. These facts are contained in the “truth” (elétheia), which is outlined in the 1Timothy 2:5-7:
  • The Oneness of God, the necessity of the Divine-Human Mediator, the Death, Burial and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the appropriation of Salvation by Faith. The word “truth” occurs 14 times in the Pastoral Epistles (1Timothy 3:15; 4:3; 6:5; 2Timothy 2:15,18; 3:8; 4:4; Titus 1:14).

Redemptive Truth centres in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. He declared: “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Knowledge of such truth sets men free from their bondage of sin (John 8:32; 2Thessalonians 2:13-14). The possession of Eternal Life is synonymous with knowing God and Christ through the Redemptive Experience (John 17:3). Paul was willing to repudiate his proud, self-righteous life for “the Excellency of the Knowledge of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:8).

Thus, prayer is part of God’s Plan for reaching the Lost World. Christians have the responsibility of Praying for the Lost Souls (Romans 10:1) and making ourselves available to share the Gospel with others.

1.7 Christ the Mediator

1Timothy 2:5“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the Man, Christ Jesus.” The conjunction “for” (gar) introduces the explanation of Redemptive Truth. The emphasis also switches from the Father to the Son. Christ, as the Mediator, the attention is on the Son’s Person, whereas as the Ransom, the focus is on Christ’s Work, as the Mediator – Three Concepts are enumerated:

First, there is only “One God” with three Persons in the Godhead (Father, Son {Jesus} and the Holy Spirit – God alone has the Sovereign Prerogative to determine the Proper Access into His (God’s) Presence (Deuteronomy 6:4-5).

Second, Christ, is the “One Mediator between God and men.” A Mediator is an Umpire. Wuest observes that a Mediator is “One who intervenes between two, either in order to make or restore peace and friendship, or to form a compact or ratify a covenant.”  The necessity of the Mediator can be seen in the gulf between the Holy God and the Sinful Humanity. When God created Adam and Eve, there were Fellowship; however, in their (Adam’s & Eve’s) disobedience, they fled from God’s Presence (Genesis 3:7-8). Man, not God, needs Reconciliation (Romans 5:10; 2Cor.5:19). 

Third, the One Mediator is the “Man Christ Jesus.” The absence of the definite article “the” before the noun “Man” stresses that Christ is the Perfect God-Man. Christ has the same human nature as all others (Hebrews 2:14,16), except Christ is without Sin (2Corinthians 5:21; Hebrews 4:15; 1Peter 2:22; 1John 3:5) – Christ, the God-Man is very Man of very man. Men needed the God-Man, Christ Jesus to represent us. The phrase affirms that the Mediator had to be both Divine and Human in order to represent the interests of the two Parties. Then only person who could bring both man and God together He (Christ) had to be both God-Man.

In his concern Job confessed: “For he is not a man, as I am, that I should answer him, and we should come together in judgement. Neither is there any daysman (mediator) between us, that might lay his hand upon us both” (Job 9:32-33). The word “Daysman” connotes a “Mediator” and is so translated in the Septuagint by the same word Paul uses in 1Timothy 2:5. Job longs for Someone who understands both God and man and who will draw them together. Ultimately this is what our Lord Jesus Christ does. But Job desires some man in his own time who has “eyes of flesh” and who can sympathise with his human weakness. This longing increases as the Book of Job progresses (Job 9:32-33; 10:4-5, 8-10; 13:21-22; 16:21; 23:3).  Job’s desire of “Daysman” was Christ who placed His hands on both God and man. Christ thus becomes the Mediator (mesités) of the New Covenant ratified by His Shed Blood (Hebrews 8:6; 9:15; 12:24).

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 3)

1.4 The Results of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:2b (KJV) “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” In fact, it is for our own good that we Pray for “all men and for Kings and those in Authority,” so that we can “lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.” The Early Church was subjected to opposition and persecution, so it was wise to Pray for those in Authority.

The Purpose rather than the content is emphasised – “That we may lead a quiet and peaceable life” means that the Nation will achieve the Condition of Peace and Security that enables the Christians to share the Gospel without hindrance. Van Oosterzee notes: “The Apostle Paul does not mean that the church should be influenced, through such petitions, to lead a quiet and peaceable life under authority; but he supposes that God, who guides the hearts of kings as the water brooks (Proverbs 21:1), will, in answer to the prayer of the church, move the hearts of kings, and of all in authority, to leave Christians at rest.” (Van Oosterzee, pg.28).

Apostle Paul believed that the Prayer of the Church makes a definite difference in National Affairs because he believes that Prayer changes things. The two Purposes (“a quiet and peaceable life”) describes the kind of life that will be possible because of Prayer. In this passage are indicated by the conjunction “that” (hina) and “for” (gar). The verb “may lead” (diagómen) refers to the daily lifestyle:

1.4.1 Quiet

Quiet refers to circumstances around us, free from outward disturbance. The adjective “quiet” (êremon), found only here, denote the outward political and social situation. The word connotes the absence of internal or international war, the cessation of internal anarchy, and freedom from persecution.

1.4.2 Peaceable

Peaceable refers to “tranquillity arising from within.” This is especially significant since that was the time of terrible persecution by the Roman Emperor such as Nero. The term “peaceable” (hêsuchion) emphasises that Christians will not need to protest verbally any mistreatment. The same word is used of:

  • Godly women who are to learn in “silence” within the church.
  • Women who have a “quiet” spirit in the home (1Timothy 2:11,12; 1Peter 3:4). 
  • Christians should work at their secular jobs with such “quietness” (2Thessalonians 3:12).
  • The aroused Jewish multitude kept “silence” (Acts 22:2; same word) when the accused Paul began to speak in Hebrew.

This “peaceable” reduces outward pressures and prevent internal distress, which often issues in outbursts of complaint and protest. This type of social environment is conducive to the development of National and Spiritual life. Both “quiet and peaceable” thus describe conditions free from outward harassment and inner fears. “Godliness and Honesty” are the two attributes that denote the character that can best be developed in an atmosphere of external (“quiet”) and internal (“peaceable”) calm:

  • Godliness (eusebeiai) refers to the Godward Character of Reverent and Respectful, dominated by “the Fear of the LORD.” There is no difference between the Sacred and the Secular for the committed Christian. He seeks to glorify God in all aspects of life (1Corinthians 10:31).
  • Honesty (semnotêti) describes the Person Relationship to men, which is honourable, serious, and grave. The word indicates grace and dignity, it denotes an attitude of moral earnestness which is reflected in a dignified and worthy conduct toward men to command their respect.

The concept goes beyond mere honesty, the integrity of person’s actions, to the general character of the person himself. It has special relevance to interpersonal relationships as seen in:

  • Deacons (1Timothy 3:8).
  • Wives of Deacons (1Timothy 3:11).
  • Aged men (Titus 2:2).
  • The Elder (1Timothy 3:4) must manifest such spiritual gravity and decorum.

It is the Latin “gravitas,” and in the 17th century “honesty” meant something like this. It was “seemliness” or “decorum” in behaviour. A Christian bearing and conduct are contained in this word. A person who is “semnos” (and this is the Greek adjective) manifest a proper reserve on all occasions but a reserve which contains the elements of strength and decision. He enjoys good fellowship without playing the fool. He shuns extremes, extravagance, insincerity in manners and conversation.

The benefit of Prayer is a key to such behaviour of “the Fear of the LORD” and honest relationship with fellowmen. The Christian who obeys sincerely the behest to Pray for “those in positions of authority,” will exercise his vote with reason and regard to all, without the loud words and brash utterance which form the climate of violence, and with sympathy for harassed public men. The word “all” is best constructed with both nouns and indicates that both features (“Godliness and Honesty”) are to be fully demonstrated in the Believer. If Believers were always exemplifying such character, the Salvation of Souls would be greatly furthered.

1.5 The Basis of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:3(KJV) “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour.”

In 1Timothy 2:3-4, Apostle Paul indicates why each Local Church should pray “for all men and for kings and for all those in authority.”  The demonstrative pronoun “this” (touto) points back to the command and the content of the preceding two verses. Such Prayer has two Divinely Approved Qualities:

1.5.1 For this is Good

Taken alone, these words mark the intrinsic excellence of such Praying The word “good” (kalon) is defined as: “It is excellent in its nature and characteristics and is well adapted to its ends” (D. Edmon Hiebert – First Timothy).

  • Van Oosterzee comments: “Every such prayer is good in and for itself; it shows the true Christian spirit which marks the professor of the gospel; it yields us the enjoyment of that privilege named in verse 2” (Van Oosterzee, pg.24).
  • The Berkeley Version suggestively renders this passage: “Such praying is wholesome.” (Gerrit Verkuyla, ed., “The Modern Language Bible, The New Berkeley Version,” Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1946, 4:217).

Prayer of itself is a goodly practice and brings with it many good benefits. The adjective is a key word in the Epistle and is used 18 times (1Timothy 1:8,18; 2:3; 3:1,2,7,13; 4:4,6{twice}; 5:4,10,25; 6:12{twice},13,18,19).

1.5.2 Acceptable in the sight of God

The teaching here reaches much higher than the merely pragmatic. Such Praying is acceptable (epodekton), a word used only twice in the New Testament (1Timothy 2:3; 5:4), before God because it is in accord with His Will for all Mankind. This alone should be sufficient for the Church to be engaged in the four types of Prayer Ministry.

  • Prayer is also pleasing to the Lord Jesus. It pleases the Father when His children Pray as He has commanded them.
  • The Prayer of the Pharisees seeks the praises by men (Matthew 6:5) or to impress other Worshippers (Luke 18:9-14).
  • Christians Pray to please God. This suggests that we must Pray according to God’s Will, because it certainly does not, please the Father when we Pray selfishly (James 4:1-10; 1John 5:14-15).
  • It is often said that the Purpose of Prayer is not to get man’s will done in Heaven, but to get God’s Will done on earth. 

The adjective is based upon the verb (epodechomai) that stresses the idea of warm, joyful reception (Luke 8:40; Acts 2:41; 15:4; 18:27; 24:3; 28:30). Prayer thus is acceptable to God and will be answered by Him. Calvin remarks: “The only genuine rule for right and proper action is to look to God’s good pleasure and to undertake only what He approves.”  Prayer for all men and the Leaderships (Spiritual and Secular) is Good and Acceptable “in the sight of God our Saviour” (enópion tou sótéros hémon theou). There is only one God, and only He can save. Later Paul used this same descriptive phrase in promoting the financial support of widows by Members of her family (1Timothy 5:4). 

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 2)

1.2.4 Thankgivings

The term “Giving of thanks” indicates the attitude in which our Prayers are to be offered. It is an Attitude of Gratitude to God for all the Blessings that have already been given and received.

  • The term “Giving of thanks” means “to say something good (eu) to the one who has bestowed gracious gifts (charis) upon us.” Prayer and the “Giving of Thanks” (eucharistias) are inseparable (Daniel 6:10; Philippians 4:6). Paul counselled: “Pray without ceasing. In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you” (1Thessalonians 5:17-18):
  • The plural noun, “Thanksgiving,” denotes that Apostle Paul has in view not merely the inner attitude of gratitude but the repeated public expressions of Thanksgiving to God for His Blessings.
  • Thanksgiving is the complement (harmonise) of all true Prayer. Thanksgiving prepares the heart to appreciate God for His gracious Blessings. Thanksgiving prevents selfishness and coldness in Prayer – Psalm 100:4 “Enter into His gate with thanksgiving, and into His Courts with Praise, be thankful to Him, and bless His Name. for the LORD is good; His Mercy is everlasting, and His truth endures to all generations.”
  • We must be thankful to God for His Blessings upon us in our past, present, and future. We must thank God for His Answers to Prayers even before those answers are received.
  • In fact, sometimes we need to imitate David and present to God only Thanksgiving with no petition at all (Psalm 103).  A mark of Ecclesiastical Apostasy in the End-of-the-Age will be “an unthankful and murmuring attitude” (2Timothy 3:2; Jude 15-16). 
  • Prayer and Supplication with thanksgiving are a part of Paul’s formula for God’s Peace in our hearts” (Philippians 4:6). It is worth noting that Daniel, the Great Prayer Warrior, practiced this kind of Praying (Daniel 6:10-11).

1.3 The Scope of the Prayer Ministry

1Timothy 2:1d-2a “Be made for all men, for kings and for all that are in authority.” The Scope of the Praying being exhorted upon the Church is all inclusive. The people who are the object Prayers are indicated by the preposition “for” (huper). Although the word “for” occurs three times in the English translation, it appears only twice in the Greek text. “All men, for Kings and for all that are in Authority” should be the Recipients of all Four types of Prayer. The verb “be made” (poieisthai) shows that such Prayer should be a constant priority within the Church. It should be exercised at each Service, not just on National Holiday.

1.3.1 For All Men

(pantón anthrópón) make it clear that no Person on earth is outside the influence of believing Prayer. This exhortation transcends the ordinary scope of the Prayers heard in Churches today! Seldom do the Prayers of the Local Church reach beyond its Local Fellowship or Denomination. One writer state: “Very seldom, in large churches or in small churches, or even in spiritual churches, have I heard a prayer for all men. Those who pray scarcely reach further than their own churches. Some pray a little for the Missionaries overseas; but if we could cover all men through our prayers, what might not happen” (“Prayer That is Good in God’s Sight,” “The Prophetic Word,” November 1949, pg.614).

  • The First Group of Recipients (“all men”) is very general. The classification “all men” includes the Christians and non-Christians, men, women, and children. No racial, political, economic, or social class is excluded. The word envelops men of all Levels of Society.
  • This means that we should Pray for the unsaved and the saved, for people near us and people far away, for enemies as well as friends.
  • We cannot Pray for everybody in the world by name, but we certainly ought to Pray for those we know and know about.
  • This exhortation to Pray for all men is God’s way of safeguarding His Church against self-centredness. Believers are always prone to be so preoccupied with their own interests that their Prayers tend to be confined to their own concern.
  • The Church that Prays for all men is thus continually reminded of its Commission to bring the Message of Salvation to all men. Many people and Nations have not been reached because God’s people failed to pray!
  • Lenski remarks on Prayer for all men: “If such praying were useless, the apostle would not write what he here does write” (R. C. H. Lenski, “The Interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Colossians, to the Thessalonians, to Timothy, to Titus and the Philemon,” Columbus, Ohio: Lutheran Book Concern, 1937, pg.549).
  • Unfortunately, the Pharisees did not have this universal outlook in their Prayers, for they centred their attention primarily on self – Luke 18:11-12 “The Pharisees stood and prayed thus with himself, God I thank Thee that I am not as other men are extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax-collector. I fast twice in the week; I give tithes of all that I possess.”

1.3.2 – Leaders

Paul exhorts the Church to especially pray for “Kings, and for all that are in Authority.” Because people live in National Groupings, the Church must also Pray for Rulers of the Nations. 

  • Godless Emperor Nero was on the throne at that time, and yet Christians were encouraged by Paul to pray for him. If Paul commands Christians to pray for such a “King,” surely no man is to be regarded as beyond the realm in which Christian Intercessors must feel a sympathy and concern.
  • We must learn to respect the people in authority, respecting even the offices they hold, because they profoundly influenced the life of the people of the Nation, State or Church.
  • Christians should first recognise that God has ordained the Human Institution of Government to administer Law within the Society (Romans 13:1-6).
  • Jesus teaches that there is no innate (inborn) conflict between God and the State (Matthew 22:15-22).
  • Problems of conscience and obedience develop when the State moves into an area not assigned to it by God (Acts 4:19; 5:29).
  • In allegiance to the Sovereign Authority of God over the Delegated Authority of the Government, Home and Church, Christians should render honour and support to their Leaders (Romans 13:7).
  • Peter tersely commanded: “Honour all men, love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the King” (1Peter 2:17).
  • Christians also acknowledge that God is in absolute control of the affairs of the Nations. God removes and replaces Rulers (Daniel 2:21). They perform His (God’s) Pleasure (Isaiah 44:28). Within His (God’s) Permissive Will such Nations and Rulers are morally responsible for wars and assassinations.
  • God, however, works in and through the actions of men whether those deeds are good or evil, to accomplish His ultimate will (Ephesians 1:11). Christians confess that all Governments will eventually surrender their Delegated Authority to the Lord Jesus Christ at His Return to the earth to establish His Eternal Kingdom (Revelation 11:15; 19:11-16).
  • For this reason, Paul exhorts that Prayer should be offered for those in Secular and Spiritual Authority, which has two subcategories: “For Kings, and all that are in Authority.” The first word, “Kings,” refers to National Leaders. For each Kingdom, there is a King or President. The second phase: “for all that are in authority” applies to Leaders in general. Few Christians have direct relationships with the Kings, but all Christians will have relationships with Leaders whether at Personal or Local Level. Regardless, Christians have the responsibility to Pray for those who presently “are” (ontón) in Leadership.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..

Prayer for those in Authority (1 Timothy 2:1-8) (Part 1)

The Text

1Timothy 2:1-4 “I exhort, therefore, that first of all supplications, prayers, intercession, and giving of thanks be made for all men. For kings, and for all that are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Saviour, who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.”

The Charge

concerning Public Worship. “Let all things be done decently and in order” (1Corinthians 14:40) is a basic principle for the conduct of the ministry of the Church. In Acts 6:4 the early Apostles gave themselves to Ministry of God’s Word and Prayer. Prayer was very prominent and should be used properly in the Church. The First Section of the Epistle deals with Paul’s personal charge (command) to Timothy about the Legalists. In the second major portion of the First Epistle to Timothy, Paul gives instructions about the Public Life of the Local Church. These instructions cover 5 areas:

  1. The Place of Prayer in the Assembly (1Timothy 2:1-7).
  2. The Relationship between women to men (1Timothy 2:8-15).
  3. The Qualifications of Elders (1Timothy 3:1-7).
  4. The Qualifications for Deacons (1Timothy 3:8-13).
  5. The Nature of the Local Church (1Timothy 3:14-16).

1.1 The Priority of Prayer

1Timothy 2:1 “I exhort, therefore, that first of all,” background – These words were written after Nero’s first insane persecution of the Church. Every year saw the young Emperor slip more deeply into persecution of Christians at Rome were not only ones who lived in fear. The Aristocracy and Senate of Rome were to be decimated. The grim events of A.D.69 were discernible afar. In that dark year four rivals contended for the throne, and Rome tottered on the edge of anarchy. This was the background of Paul’s direction to all men to pray for those in power, “so that our common life may be lived in peace and quiet with a proper sense of God and our responsibility to Him.”  The phrase “first of all” (próton pantrón) relate not to primacy of time but primacy of important It indicates that Prayer is the most important in the Public Worship of the Church. It also introduces the first subject of many to be discussed:

  • Donald Guthrie, however, claims that it denoted “Primacy of Importance.”
  • Warren W. Wiersbe thinks Prayer is the “most important (element) in the Public Worship of the Church.” 

It is sad to see how prayer has lost its importance in many Churches. “If I announce a banquet,” a Pastor said, “people will come out of the woodwork to attend. But if I announce a prayer meeting, I am lucky if the ushers show up!” Not only have the special meetings for Prayer lost stature in most Local Churches, but even Prayer in the public services is greatly minimised. It is also said: “Many Pastors spend more time on the announcements than they do in prayer.”

  • The late Peter Deyneka, Sr., Founder of the Slavic Gospel Association often said: “Much prayer, much power! No prayer, no power!” Prayer was as much a part of the Apostolic Ministry as Preaching of God’s Word (Acts 6:4). Yet many Pastors spend hours preparing their Sermons, but never prepare the public Prayer for their Congregation. Consequently, their Prayer Meetings are routine, humdrum, and repetitious. 
  • Members also need to be prepared to pray. Our hearts must be right with God and with each other. We must really want to pray, and not pray simply to please people (as did the Pharisees – Matthew 6:5), or to fulfil a religious duty. When the Local Church ceases to depend on Prayer, God ceases to bless its ministry.
  • Exhort – The Greek word translated “exhort” (parakaló) is the same term rendered “beseech” (Romans 12:1) and carries the meaning of “to beg, to entreat, to urge.” The term basically denotes the concept of calling someone alongside for the purpose of urging him to consider an important matter. Apostle Paul’s exhortation is not expressed as a command but an appeal because the Ministry of Prayer cannot be forced by an outward command but must be prompted by an inner conviction of its importance and need. It is this inner conviction of its importance that Apostle Paul seeks to communicate.

The Churches in general agreed on the importance of the Ministry of Prayer but failed to demonstrate in their Practices. In many Churches, Prayer has ceased to be a vital part of their Ministry and Public Worship. This has resulted in the loss of vitality in the Church and the loss of God’s Power to enlarge His (God’s) Kingdom.

1.2 The Variety of Prayer

1Timthy 2:1a “Supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks.” There are at least 7 different Greek nouns for “Prayer,” and four of them are used here. The four types of Prayer mentioned here may be progressive as well as comprehensive, indicating the “supplication” of the person in need, the general outgoing Prayer to God alone, confident boldness of access to God’s Presence (Hebrews 4:15-16), intercession (Hebrews 7:25), to make known the Person’ requests, accompanied by thanksgiving for mercies enjoyed and Prayers answered.

Prayer needs direction and instruction. In this passage, Paul outlined the content of Corporate Prayer by Christians. Jesus taught that Prayer involves relationship, reverence, submission, dependence, forgiveness, and trust (Luke 11:1-4). These attitudes must be manifested through the four types of Prayer listed in 1Timothy 2:1-7.

1.2.1 Supplication –

The word “supplication” (deèseis) means an earnest request and implies a sense of indigence (“poor”), helplessness and need. It is a Prayer arising out of a sense of human inadequacy to meet the demand of life. Such a conscious sense of need, either our own or another is essential to all effective Prayer. Without such a sense of need our Prayers lack depth and sincerity, thus, our Prayers often the mere uttering of words that have lost their meaning and value for us

Supplication carries the idea of “offering a request for a felt-need.” The focus of “Supplication” is upon the needs of others and self. The word “Supplication” stresses the idea of intense entreaty, even to the point of begging. Its urgency can be seen by its use in the request of:

  • The Leper (Luke 5:12).
  • The Demoniac (Luke 8:28,38).
  • The father of the possessed child (Luke 9:38,40).
  • The distressed Simon (Acts 4:31), Cornelius (Acts 10:2), Paul (Romans 1:10), Zacharias (Luke 1:13), Anna (Luke 2:37), the Disciples of John the Baptist (Luke 5:33).

James exhorts “the effectual fervent prayer (same word) of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Such Supplications are heard and answered by God (1Peter 3:12).

1.2.2 Prayers –

This is the general term used to include all the different Kinds of Prayer. Supplications (deèseis) can be directed to both God and man, but “prayers” (proseuchas) are addressed only to God, and it is the Reverent term. Prayers could also be translated “humble entreaties.” It is one of the most universal word in the New Testament for Prayers, can only be used of a request made to God and includes Worship, Adoration, and Reverence, and is all-inclusive. Prayer is not just an expression of our wants and needs. There should be Reverence in our hearts as we Pray to God.

1.2.3 Intercession

The term translated as “Intercessions” (enteuxeis) occurs only twice in the New Testament, both times in this Epistle (1Timothy 2:1; 4:5 – translated as “Prayer”). It is based on the verb entugchanó, which is found five times (Acts 25:24; Romans 8:27, 34; 11:2; Hebrews 7:25). The verb means “to fall in with a person, to draw close to him so as to enter into familiar speech and communion with him” (Robert C.Trench. “Synonyms of the New Testament,” p.190).

  • Prayer carries the thought of Reverence; Intercession carries the thought of child-like Confidence in Prayer. Intercession comes from a Greek verb meaning “to fall in with, meeting within order to converse freely, like son to the father.”
  • Trench says the term “Intercession” suggests “Free familiar Prayer, such as boldly draws near to God” (Richard Chenevix Trench, “Synonyms of the New Testament,” Grand Rapids: Eerchmans, 1947, pg.190). This leading thought in the term is that of Boldness of Access, or Confidence in Prayer – 1John 5:14 (NIV) “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.”
  • Hendriksen suggests that Intercession is “pleading in the interest of others and doing this without ‘holding back’ in any way.” (William Hendriksen, “Exposition of the Pastoral Epistles,” New Testament Commentary, Grand Rapids: Baker, 1957, pg.93).
  • The word “Intercessions” also suggest that we enjoy Fellowship with God in boldness and confidence – Hebrews 10:19 (NIV) “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood Jesus.” The notion of conversation grew out of this, and then an interview with someone in authority. Here the description of Prayer is that of free access to God with childlike confidence. This could be on behalf of others or self.
  • Jewish Leaders, both at Jerusalem and at Caesarea, “dealt” (enetuchon) with the Romans Governor Festus for the execution of Paul (Acts 25:24). Contemporary parallel is the activity of Political Lobbyists. Our Lord Jesus Christ in Heaven (Romans 8:34; Heb.7:25) and the Holy Spirit within the Christian (Romans 8:27) make Intercession for the Christians. Both our Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit share an Interpersonal Oneness and Familiarity with the Father. In enteuxeis, a Christian gets close to God before he makes his request. It is an “approach to God in free and familiar prayer” (Kenneth S Wuest, Word Studies in the Greek New Testament Vol.12, The Pastoral Epistles, p.39).
  • Jesus prayed for Himself before He prayed for others (John 17). It is not wrong for a Christian to Pray for himself or to Pray for himself as he Intercedes for others. There is a valid factor of self-interest in Prayer that should not be criticised.

To be continued….. Stay Tuned…..