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Alpha & Omega (Part 3 of 5) – Volume 1 – Day 20 – May 20, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, the first and the last (Revelation 1:17).

We read earlier in Revelation1:11 where Jesus Christ was addressed as “the alpha and omega” and “the first and the last” (i.e. the one and only).  Revelation 1:17 repeated the later.

Revelation 1:17, 18a:
And when I 
[John] saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: 18 I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen. . . .

“I am he that liveth, and was dead.”  Jesus Christ is “the first and the last,” who lives and was dead.  Notice that the “I am” in verse 18 is in italics; the Greek texts reads, “and the Living One.”  He not only lives now, but he lives forevermore because God raised him from the dead.  The Lord Jesus Christ is the only one God ever raised from the dead who never died again.  That is why he is “the first and the last.”  That’s what sets Christianity apart from every religion that man has ever made, because nobody else but Jesus Christ was ever raised from the dead to the end that he is still alive.  It is true that other people have been raised from the dead, but it was only temporary.  Death was not completely defeated when they were brought back to life.  Death still had dominion over them, and they all died again — all except Jesus.

Romans 6:9:
Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.

In his resurrection, Jesus Christ is as much alive today as he was the day that God raised him from the dead almost 2,000 years ago.  It is the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ which sets Christianity apart from everything that man has ever thought about doing.  It is what makes him so special.  It is what God did that really made all the difference in the world.

Through the ages there have been other men who taught some wonderful things, other men who stood for God; but God did not raise any of these others from the dead.  The prophets of old were great men.  Even though they stood with God, even though they believed God and spoke His Word, God did not raise any of them from the dead.  John the Baptist was the greatest of them all before Jesus Christ, yet God did not raise him from the dead.  There’s only one God raised — and that’s the Lord Jesus Christ.  This sets Christianity apart.

When God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, death was defeated.  If God could defeat death through raising the Lord Jesus Christ, then you and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt we have eternal life.  If God had not done this, we wouldn’t have any guarantee.  And the guarantee that God raised Jesus Christ from the dead and that we have eternal life is that we have and can operate holy spirit.  Have you spoken in tongues recently?  [There is help available if you haven’t and would like to.]

We can enjoy fellowship with both God and he who fully declared God by his life, the monogenēs, the only begotten Son of God, our lord and savior, Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ is the only one that God has ever raised from the dead.  God raised the Lord Jesus Christ from the dead, and that is our guarantee, our proof that God has complete power over the Devil and over death.  There is nothing the Devil can do to stop the power of God and the power of God’s Word.

Alpha & Omega (Part 2 of 5) – Volume 1 – Day 19 – May 19, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, whom alone can save to the uttermost (Acts 4:12 & Hebrews 7:25).

The phrase “alpha and omega” appears four times in the KJV.  It is used of God (Revelation 1:8; 21:6), Jesus (Revelation 1:11), and an angel (Revelation 22:13).

Revelation 1:8-11:
I am Alpha and Omega, [first occurrence referring to God.] the beginning and the ending [not in mss], saith the Lord [title used of both God and Jesus as is “saviour” also], which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.  [This title only always used of God as it is in the other seven places it occurs in Revelation.] 9 I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ. 10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day, and heard behind me a great voice, as of a trumpet, 11 Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, [second occurrence referring to Jesus.] the first and the last: and, [This whole phrase is omitted in some texts.  Many modern versions omit it, like NIV, NLN, HCS.] What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.

Revelation 21:6:
And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega [third occurrence referring to God.], the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. 7 He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.

Revelation 22:13:
I am Alpha and Omega, [fourth occurrence referring to the angel delivering the message in verses 6-14.] the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

God also calls Himself the first and the last three times in Isaiah.

Isaiah 44:6:
Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his redeemer the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.  [See also 41:4 & 48:12.]

Isaiah 41:4:
Who hath wrought and done it, calling the generations from the beginning? I the LORD, the first, and with the last; I am he.

Isaiah 48:12:
Hearken unto me, O Jacob and Israel, my called; I am he; I am the first, I also am the last.

Revelation 22:13:
I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

All three of these idioms are combined in Revelation 22:13 not because they were names or titles of the angel, but to emphatically describe his function as the one and only messenger to bring John this important message (Revelation 22:8-14). 

On the one occasion Alpha and Omega was used of Jesus (1:11), it was announced with a clear and penetrating voice, “a great voice as of a trumpet (v 10)”; and the speaker was “one like unto the Son of Man (v 13),” — like him whom John had formerly known, at whose feet he had sat, in whose bosom he had lain — like him, but how changed!  Invested now with glory insufferably daz­zling, when the Apostle saw him, he fell at his feet as dead (v 17).  “I am ALPHA AND OMEGA,” said the voice, “the First and the Last.”

This is indeed a very interesting title.  “I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last.”  Revelation 22:13 also adds “the beginning and the end.”  We can understand the connection of all three titles.  Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  They are also the beginning and the end of it.

These phrases were commonly understood in the Bible lands in Bible times.  They are synonymous.  In Old Testament times, if a country in the East was about to be attacked, the king would send out messengers to all of the people.  The messengers would warn the people of the coming danger.  When the messengers came into town, as they were riding along on their horses (sort of like Paul Revere on his midnight ride), they had no time to stop and expound upon the matter with the people.  They had only one message and a fleeting moment in which to say it.  The king would not have time to send several groups of messengers to a town.  Therefore, this one messenger was very important because he was the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end, the one and only messenger.

In the East, when this messenger came riding through the town he would say, “I am the first and the last; take heed; take warning; prepare yourselves for the battle.”  The messenger emphasized that “I am the first and the last.”  This meant he was the only messenger.  If you’re the first and the last to do something, then you are the only one; you are the only messenger.  This is what this verse in Revelation refers to when it speaks of the angel as “the alpha and omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.  He is the one and only messenger.

Tomorrow we will look further into the similar expressions, “the first and the last” and “the beginning and the end.”

Alpha & Omega (Part 1 of 5) – Volume 1 – Day 18 – May 18, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, the alpha and omega (Revelation 1:11).

Alpha and Omega are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet.  The respective positions of these letters in the Greek alphabet are used to illustrate that God alone is the beginning and the end.  He was Almighty God in the infinite past, and he will continue to be Almighty God forever.  He is the only one who is “from everlasting to everlasting” (Psalms 90:2).

Those letters are combined and used four times in the Book of Revelation in the remarkable phrase, Alpha & Omega.  It is used as a title for both God and Jesus.  It is also used of the function of an angel sent to deliver a message to John.  However, regardless of whom it is used it always identifies a unique entity as “the one and only.”

Our God and His only begotten son are unique, remarkable and have no equal.  They each have many names and titles in scripture.  The title “Alpha & Omega” identifies them both, as unique, unparalleled and unequalled.  David said Jehovah was God alone (Psalms 86:10).  He said He had no equal (Psalms 40:5 NLT), that none could compare to Him (Psalms 40:5 ESV).  God Himself said, “am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me” (Isaiah 46:9; See also Deuteronomy 4:35 & 39).

Jesus Christ is similarly unique.  He is the monogenēs, the only begotten.  He is the one given all power in heaven and on earth (Matthew 28:18).  He alone is able to save to the uttermost and ever lives to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25).  He alone has been raised to die no more (Romans 6:9).  He alone has been exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33-34).  He alone has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him (I Peter 3:22).  In Ephesians 1 it says he is:

Ephesians 1:21-23:
Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: 22 And [God] hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, 23 Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth [plēroō] all in all.

We just read, “the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”  There is an emptiness in everyone’s life that only Jesus can fill.  He can fully satisfy.  Christ is the head of the body and has been placed above every ruler, and authority, and power, and everyone and everything that has ever exercised dominion or whoever will.  We serve a Master who is not just a little above, not just head and shoulders above, he is far above every ruler in this age or any age, past or future.

I know we talk about two kingdoms.  But don’t think for a moment that the devil opposes God and Jesus at the same level.  Yes, he is called “the god of this world,” but he is god with a little “g” (II Corinthians 4:4).  The devil functions and works to thwart the purposes of God and Jesus, but he is far below their might and authority.  He operates with lies and deceit and must yield to truth for the scriptures cannot be broken (John 10:35).

There is nothing that ought to surpass our determination to follow Jesus’ commands and Jesus’ example, to serve how and when and where and in the way he tells us to.  Fulfilling our functions as members of the Body of Christ is the end to which we have been blessed and empowered.

During the next four days we are going to look further into this important descriptive title of God and His son Jesus.

Sound of the Original Word May or May Not Be Retained – Volume 1 – Day 17 – May 17, 2023

Word Study Wednesday

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ who came to make His Father known (John 1:18).

Over the next few Wednesdays, we will be covering several things to keep in mind while doing word studies.  These will include:

  1. The sound of the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic word effects its usage.
  2. The original word may not have a precise equivalent in English.
  3. The original word may have multiple meanings.
  4. Words that deal with the abstract may have more concrete meanings.
  5. Words may be translated into English words which have been abandoned and not in common use.

Let’s consider the first of these today.  Every word has both sound and meaning.  Sometimes in Bible translations the sound is lost and the meaning is retained, and other times the sound is retained and the meaning is lost.

When doing a word study, we should consider whether the sound of the original word effects it’s usage.  There are often connections between words that sound alike but mean something different.  Hebrew in particular, abounds with wordplay where rhyming words and alliteration are used bring our attention to larger points or emphases (Greenstein, “Wordplay, Hebrew” Anchor Bible Dictionary 6:968-71).

Take for instance the use of the Hebrew rhyming words tohu bohu.  They occur in Genesis 1:2 (form and void), Isaiah 34:11 (confusion and emptiness), and Jeremiah 4:23 (form and void).  When examined with Isaiah 45:18 we see that the earth became that way; it wasn’t created that way.  The Hebrew rhyming words tohu bohu magnify the words “form” and “void” and emphasize the chaos that resulted on earth when Lucifer was cast out of heaven.

There are also other times when the sound is retained and the meaning is neglected.  This often occurs with names.  In the early chapters of Genesis, we find “Adam,” “Eve,” and “Eden.”  These English words retain the sounds of the Hebrew, but neglect to convey the meaning.  “Adam” means “humanity”; “Eve” means “life”; and “Eden” means “delight.”  Indeed, many names have meanings that have been lost while the sound from the original language has been retained.

Enoch’s naming of his son Methuselah was prophetic of the coming flood.  The name Methuselah comes from two roots:  muth which means “death” and from shalach which means to “to send.”  Therefore, the name Methuselah signified “his death shall send” and indeed in the year that Methuselah died the flood came.  Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech (Genesis 5:25) and lived 782 more years.  Lamech had Noah when he was 182 (Genesis 5:28).  The Flood came in Noah’s 600th year.  So 187 + 182 + 600 = 969.  That’s the age of Methuselah when he died.

Some even go as far as suggesting that God hide a prophecy of Jesus in the genealogy in Genesis 5 (Proverbs 25:2).  By looking at the definitions of the 10 names listed we find prophecy of Jesus.  “Adam” means “man,’’ “Seth “appointed,” “Enos” “incurable,” Cainan “sorrow,” Mahalalel “the praise of God,” Jared “come down,” Enoch “teaching,” Methuselah “death shall send,” Lamech “the despairing,” Noah “rest or comfort.”  The prophecy would read:  Man is appointed incurable sorrow, but the praise of God shall come down teaching and his death shall send or bring the despairing rest and comfort.

We use “Amen” at the end of every prayer.  It seems to function so as to announce the prayer is over.  However, “Amen” comes from a cluster of Hebrew words that revolve around what’s true, trustworthy, reliable and faithful.  Saying “Amen” at the end of a prayer is affirming that God is dependable reliable and faithful.  It also reaffirms our agreement with the words of the prayer.  “Amen” was frequently used by Jesus.  It occurs more than a hundred times in the gospels.  However, instead of using it at the end of a declaration, he uses it at the beginning announcing he has something important to say.  Something the listener will find true, trustworthy, reliable and faithful (John 3:3; 6:47; 8:58 for example).

Hallelujah is another word that retains the original sound.  It means “praise the Lord.”  It appears about 25 times in Psalms exclusively.  The “hallelu” is the verb part that means praise.  It occurs nearly 150 times in the Bible.  “Jah” is an abbreviated way of saying the Lord.  Giving God praise demonstrates our rejoicing in acknowledging all God has done for us.  “Hallelujah” is frequently found in the imperative.  It is a command we give to one another as we enjoin one another to participate in giving God praise.  As such it is a call to remember and recount God’s goodness.

When doing a word study, we should consider if the sound of the Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic word effects its usage.  Whether the sound is lost and the meaning in retained, or the sound is retained and the meaning is lost, paying attention to these details can add illumination to any word study.  Next Wednesday we will handle the second tip:  Remember the that original word may not have a precise equivalent in English.

Change Is Our Status Quo – Volume 1 – Day 16 – May 16, 2023

God bless you in the name of Jesus Christ, into whose image we are to be conformed (Romans 8:29).

Change is part of our lives, and we should get used to it.  But, oh what a glory it is!

II Corinthians 3:18:
But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

Becoming more Christ-like is a daily adventure, and it should be very commonplace as we grow and mature spiritually.  Change is evidence of life; it is impossible to grow without it.  Growth often begins with changing our minds, thinking what the Word of God says.  Those who do not change their minds do not change much of anything else.

We cannot become what we are destined to be by remaining as we are.  John Patterson said, “Only fools and dead men don’t change their minds.  Fools won’t.  Dead men can’t.”  We all need to change.  As we change, so will our opportunities.  Progress happens when we are dissatisfied with the status quo.  We don’t let well enough alone.  We aren’t satisfied with OK.  We mustn’t be afraid to change.  Change is not our enemy—it’s our friend.  For the future to get better we must change.

Jeremiah 29:11: [NIV]
‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’

God has deposited His ideas, plans, and desires within our hearts.  He has a beautiful course laid before each of us just waiting to be discovered.  Today, we have in our hearts, interests, hopes, and dreams, many of them are truly inspired by God.  He is the One Who planted them in us like a seed.  Now, He expects us to unwrap them, nurture them, believe and receive them.  He wants His plans to become our plans and His ways to become our ways.

The hopes and dreams that God gives us can be grasped, understood, and cultivated.  God will help us form our vision through reading the Word of God, gathering data, making us discontent with the status quo, (Hybels calls it a “holy discontent”) praying, and by waiting on the Lord.

Fire is a consuming force that once ignited can intensify and grow.  As we allow God to ignite within us His vision, purpose, and dreams for our life, it will begin to intensify and grow like a fire in our bones until it completely consumes our very being.  Most people are afraid of that happening.

Most people are afraid to give themselves completely to the will of God because they are not sure what awaits them there.  They want to serve God, but only in an advisory capacity.  They want to be volunteers not slaves.  We are called to be slaves, “douloses.”  Most want to do what they want when they want to do it.  After all, God may ask them to do that which they would rather not.  It takes some maturity to go from “God give me fun things I like to do” to “God give me whatever needs to be done.”

Let’s enjoy our journey doing whatever God lays in our path.  As we walk in the steps of our Lord Jesus Christ, we will find lots of opportunities to serve and grow in the grace and the knowledge that’s in him (II Peter 3:18).  Why not?  We are God’s best and certainly God blessed.

Remembering the Right Stuff – Volume 1 – Day 15 – May 15, 2023

God bless you in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ whose words were remembered by his apostles (Matthew 26:75; Mark 11:21; Luke 24:8; John 12:16).

There is power in remembering the right things.  However, far too often, when we are confronted with a new challenge, we often fail to remember God’s faithfulness in the past.  Problems often capture our thinking, and we forget that we’ve gone through similar and even worse trouble before.  The problems appear so ominous that we momentarily fail to remember all the other difficulties we’ve already faced and overcome with the help of God.

That’s why we need to deliberately take time to remember how faithful God has been to us.  Paul encouraged Timothy in II Timothy 1:5 saying, “When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice, and I am persuaded that in thee also.”  Paul was reminding Timothy about something very important!  God’s faithfulness was a part of Timothy’s family heritage.  His grandmother trusted the Lord — and the Lord had never failed her or let her down.  His mother trusted the Lord — and the Lord had never failed her or let her down either.  Because Timothy was dealing with great stress and difficulty, Paul took the opportunity to remind him that just as God had never failed his grandmother or his mother, neither would He abandon Timothy in his own difficult hour.

Then Paul put Timothy in remembrance (II Timothy 1:6).  “Remembrance” is the Greek word anamimnēskō, a compound of the words ana and mimnēskō.  Ana means again or to repeat something, and mimnēskō, means to be reminded of somethingsuch as recalling memories.  When these two words are joined, it means to regather or to recollect memoriesThe little prefix ana carries the idea of replaying these memories over and over again in your mind, the way you would press the rewind button on your video player so you can back up and watch one part of a movie over and over again.

This means there are some memories we should never forget!  For instance, we should constantly hit the rewind button in our minds and “replay” the times God has been faithful to us in the past — delivering us. healing us, and rescuing us time and time again.  We should replay those scenes in our minds until our remembrance of them are ever-present.  We must never forget God’s faithfulness to His Word and how He has delivered us.

Remembering the right things can stir up the gift.  Paul reminded us how powerful it is when we take our eyes off our present times of trouble and remember God’s delivering and rescuing power for us in the past.  We must never forget what God has already done for us.  Those memories will stir us up and encourage us to face our present dilemmas with faith.  Just as God has always been faithful to us in the past, He will be faithful to us right now.

So, the next time you feel you’ve hit a mountain too big to climb or a problem too big to overcome, take the time to get alone with the God, hit the rewind button, and ask Him to help you regather and recollect all those past events when He came through for you.  As you replay those memories over and over in your mind, your confidence will rise to a new level.  You will be able to look your problems right in the face and say, “God’s record with me has always been good.  He has been faithful to me in the past, and I know He’ll be faithful to me now as well!”

God Remembers – Volume 1 – Day 14 – May 14, 2023

God bless you in the wonderful name of Jesus Christ whose words were remembered by his apostles (Matthew 26:75; Mark 11:21; Luke 24:8; John 12:16).

I have taught on the importance of remembering God and His Word so many times I couldn’t count them.  Using retemories have been a part of every Messengers For Christ Adventure we ever did.  At one time I could quote 500 verses of scripture including entire chapters like Psalms 23, I Corinthians 13, Ephesians 1 & 3, and Romans 8.  However, the very first occurrence of remember in the KJV has never made the impression on me that has happened recently.  The first use of remember is in Genesis 8:1.

Genesis 8:1:
Then God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the animals that were with him in the ark.  And God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters subsided.

Does that not astound you?  Of course, if God knows everything, He must remember everything.  But, the first time He mentions remember in His Word He points out that not only did He remember Noah but he remembered “every living thing.”  During the most devastating cataclysm thus far in the history of the world, God still remembered the faithful obedience of Noah and delivered him, his family, and every living creature.

We may forget many things, but God remembers!  He remembered faithful Noah and He also remembers us.  Our love and service is never forgotten.  “For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have shewed toward his name” (Hebrews 6:10).

Neither does He ever forget a promise.  The first mention of “remember” in the New Testament is found in the testimony of Zacharias:  “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people…to remember his holy covenant; The oath which he sware to our father Abraham” (Luke 1:68, 72-73).  That promise had been made many, many years earlier, but God still remembered (See Exodus 2:24).

God remembers because He listens:  Then God remembered Rachel; he listened to her and enabled her to conceive (Genesis 30:22 NIV).  God even remembers the sparrows (Luke12:6).  So, He certainly remembers His own children even though He knows we are not perfect:  “For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust” (Psalms 103:14).

Even after the children of Israel had forsaken him going deeply into idolatry, He could still say, “I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness” Jeremiah 2:2).

Of course, we should always be so thankful for what He doesn’t remember.  He chooses not to remember our sinful past.  “And their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more” (Hebrews 10:17).  So, God chooses what He remembers and so should we.  Tomorrow, there will be more on the importance of remembering the right stuff.

God’s Abundant Supply – Volume 1 – Day 13 – May 13, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, by whom God may be glorified in all things (I Peter 4:11).

Chorēgeō is a Greek word used in the New Testament with a rich historical background that illustrates how abundantly God supplies our every need.  In both New Testament uses, chorēgeō refers to God lavishly supplying all believers need, in every category of life, thus making each believer’s life a grand event of epic proportions.

II Corinthians 9:10-11:
Now he [God] that ministereth [epichorēgeō] seed to the sower both minister [chorēgeō] bread for your food, and multiply your seed sown, and increase the fruits of your righteousness;) Being enriched in every thing to all bountifulness, which causeth through us thanksgiving to God.

God has plentifully furnished His children with all they need that they may enjoy the greatest possible bounty.

I Peter 4:11:
If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth [chorēgeō]: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Chorēgeō originally expressed the act of one who undertook to defray the expenses for funding and directing of the chorus of a Greek theatre.  These epic, ancient choruses were grand events.  Bearing all the expenses necessary to stage such a grand event at public festivals was a costly business.  As this was an act of somewhat stately generosity, the verb got a wider range, and was applied to any such act, and was so transferred in like manner by the Paul, probably, as far as we can trace, for the first time, to the divine bounty.  The noun form, epichorēgia, is used in Ephesians 4:16 and Philippians 1:19 of the apt, lavish resources, making an event a grand production.

The strength or ability we have has been lavishly supplied by God.  When we acknowledge it and serve according to it, God will be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ.  Once God has lavishly equipped the believer, the believers enjoying and using His provision can also extravagantly supply needs of others.

Ephesians 4:16:
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth [epichorēgia], according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Philippians 1:19:
For I know that this shall turn to my salvation through your prayer, and the supply [epichorēgia] of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,

Epichorēgeō is an intensive form of chorēgeō The King James version renders the Greek word epichorēgeō as minister in four of its occurrences.  The fifth is translated, “add.”  The use of “minister” is unfortunate because it’s meaning has changed over time.  One of the archaic usages of “minister” is “to furnish or supply.”  I say unfortunate because it conceals the wonderful background and history of the Greek word.

The first use of epichorēgeō is in II Corinthians 9:10 above.  The four other uses are in Galatians 3:5; Colossians 2:19; and II Peter 1:5, 11.  More modern translations abandon the archaic usage of minister and follow more closely to the Greek text.  II Corinthians 9:10 reads “He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food, will supply and multiply your seed for sowing”; Galatians 3:5 reads “He who supplies the Spirit”; Colossians 2:19 reads “the entire body, being supplied”; II Peter 1:5 reads “supply moral excellence.”  Now as we read “supply” we must remember the lavish nature of the supply that accomplishes a grand objective.

Galatians 3:5:
He therefore that ministereth [epichorēgeō] to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

From our study we saw that epichorēgeō suggests a lavish and abundant supply.  So Galatians 3:5 could be translated:  “…He Who lavishes the Spirit on you…,” or “…the One Who is constantly supplying the Spirit to you in bountiful measure…”  Paul is not writing to these people of one single isolated incident, but rather of a repeated consistent flow of provision in their lives.  He is referring to an extravagant continuous overflow of answered prayers, miracles, healings and deliverances.  Let’s not question God’s nature or provision, but rather enjoy the generous, bountiful, effusive supply of blessing from His generous nature.

God is the patron, the sponsor, the director — the chorēgeō — the One Who has underwritten, produced and directed our life with Him.  We have been outfitted for our festive public performance.  Let’s show genuine appreciation for our chorēgeō and the price he paid to lavishly equip us.  Let’s allow our lives to be the grand, spectacular production God has intended and provided.

He Said So We Could Boldly Say – Volume 1 – Day 12 – May 12, 2023

God bless you in the exceptional name of Jesus Christ, who spoke the words God gave him to speak (John 8:26).

You may have noticed the tag line at the end of these emails. I chose it because when I first stumbled upon it, it made quite an impact on me. It was 6 years ago during MFC 6 that I was working Hebrews 13:5.  I had written MFC 4 previously about the verse because it was one of my favorites. However, I wanted something fresh to share; then I saw it. That’s been 6 years ago, and I still remember it like it was yesterday.

Hebrews 13:5:
Let your conversation [manner of life] be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

“For” gives us the reason we should take the action.  God is always with us; we are never alone.  Now as I continued to read that verse in context, I stumbled upon what I thought was an amazing truth.

Hebrews 13:6:
So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me.

Putting verse 5 and 6 together produces an interesting consequence.  “So that” is the Greek hōste, a conjunction which expresses consequence or result.  It connects a cause to a necessary effect.  Verse 5 gives us the cause, and verse 6 gives us the effect:  Hōste emphasizes the result (the combined, end-accomplishment).  The result involved then is the combination of both elements underscoring the inevitable effect of the paired elements.  Verse5 tells us what God said, and verse 6 tells us what we should say as a consequence of that knowledge.  Our conversation or manner of life should be based on saying what God said.  Let’s take special note of those two phrases “He hath said” and “so that we may boldly say.”  As believers it is our responsibility to take what God has said and boldly proclaim it to the world.

Hebrews 13:5-6 gives us an example of how it should be done.  We are never alone; God is always with us.  Jesus was comforted by the same thought, and it allowed him to speak God’s Word without fear (John 8:28-29).  With God and the Lord Jesus Christ in our lives, we need nothing more.  We can be content with their power and presence.

God’s promise to never leave or forsake was previously spoken to Joshua.  Initially spoken by Moses and later spoken by the Lord Himself (Deuteronomy 31:6, 8, and Joshua 1:5), it provided the encouragement Joshua needed to be strong for what was lain before him.  This promise in its New Testament setting is linked to another Old Testament quotation from Psalms 118:6 and adapted for us.

Psalms 118:6:
The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?

God is our helper; He’s on our side.  We have no reason to fear.  The Lord Jesus is now seated on God’s right hand awaiting our Father’s signal to return and gather us together (I Thessalonians 4:16-17).  We who look for his appearing can be comforted knowing that he has promised to be with us at all times.  He has assured us that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, he will be in their midst (Matthew 18:20).

It’s Christ in us, the hope of glory.  He’s seated at the right hand of God and so are we (Ephesians 1:20; 2:6).  His presence in us allows us to fearlessly put his compassion into action.

When we know what God says, then we know what we ought to boldly say.  Since He said, “By Christ’s stripes, we were healed,” then we ought to boldly say, “By Christ’s stripes, I am healed.”  Since He said, “Fear not!”  Then we ought to boldly say, “I will not fear!”

As we read through the Scriptures and find out what God has said, we can then boldly say it with our mouths.  We do not say it timidly or with any reservation.  Rather we proclaim it boldly.  Remember!  He said it so that we may boldly say it!

It doesn’t matter if we feel like it or not.  In fact, we may never feel like it until we start saying it.  He hath said, so that we may boldly say the truth.  Then we can see God bring it to pass.  Let’s return God’s word unto Him and see it accomplish that which He pleases and prosper for the reason He sent it. (Isaiah 55:11).

Translation Difficulties – Volume 1 – Day 11 – May 11, 2023

God bless you in the exalted name of Jesus Christ, Yeshua Hamashiach.

Two thirds of the Bible was originally written in Hebrew and I am so thankful for the work of our translators to put it into English.  However, no translation is perfect as it is virtually impossible to capture and communicate everything taking place in the source language.  As a result, they wrestle with how to find words in the new language to represent the original.  Many biblical texts are hard to understand.  They don’t quite make sense when translated into English.  So, something has to be missing.  What the readers miss has often been lost in translation.  The Bible is filled with puns and word-play that usually do not survive translation.  Every word has both sound and meaning and usually translation means we lose the sounds of the Hebrew words in which the word-play occurs.

Seems obvious, right?  Of course, words sound different in different languages and when translated, those sounds are necessarily lost.  Although we may not understand how the loss of sound matters, most of the times it does matter we go clueless about it.  Some people who study languages maintain that word sounds are arbitrary, but Hebrew comes out of an oral culture that placed a high priority on how words sound.  God had the Hebrew writers of the Bible draw connections between different words that sound alike, but mean something different.  Although that type of word-play doesn’t show up in every verse of the Bible, it’s hardly a rare occurrence.  According to one scholar, there are more than 500 cases in which the Old Testament text plays with how words sound in order to drive home, a larger point (Greenstein, “Wordplay, Hebrew” Anchor Bible Dictionary 6:968-71).  That would mean that sounds would play an important role more frequently than once every other chapter.  Examples of wordplay include the figures of speech paronomasia and alliteration.

Paronomasia is the repetition of words similar in sound, but not necessarily in sense.  The figure takes this name because one word is placed alongside of another which sounds and seems like a repetition pf it.  Its purpose is to emphasize the two things and call our attention to the emphasis by the similarity of sound.  Since we read English and not the Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek texts of the original we often cannot detect this emphasis.

The figure of speech paronomasia or rhyming words is common to all languages, but the instances cannot readily be translated from one language into another.  To do so would generally sacrifice the exact translation of what was written.  Only by a very free translation of the sentence can the two words be thus represented (Bullinger FOS p. 307).  An example you might be aware of is the use of tohu bohu.

An example of paronomasia can be found in the second verse in the Bible.  Genesis 1:2, “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.  And the earth became without form (tohu) and void (bohu).”  The paronomasia using the Hebrew rhyming words tohu bohu magnify the words “form” and “void” and emphasize the chaos that resulted when Lucifer was cast out of heaven.  However, the correct translation “without form and void” neglects to uncover the paronomasia that the Hebrew presents.

Bullinger does suggest a few translations of that could keep the paronomasia without sacrificing a correct meaning.  I Kings 2:36 reads, “go not forth thence any whither” (aneh veanah).  Bullinger suggests, “go not forth hither and thither.”  Psalms 18:7 reads “the earth shook and trembled” (vattigash vattirash).  Bullinger suggests, “the earth quaked and shaked.”  Lastly Psalms 40:3 reads, “many shall see it, and fear” (yiru vyirau).  Bullinger suggests, “many shall peer and fear.”  Can you feel the emphasis those paronmasias supply?

The figure of speech alliteration is the repetition of the same letter or syllable at the beginning of two or more words in close succession.  This figure is seen, of course, only in the Hebrew and the Greek.  It is difficult to reproduce it in a translation.  And where it occurs in the English it may be only accidental, and carry no weight or emphasis (Bullinger FOS p. 171).

An example of alliteration is found in I Thessalonians 1:2.  It says, “We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers.”  The alliteration in the Greek phrase pantote peri panton, meaning always concerning all, (i.e. of you) emphasizes the importance of the prayer we must make always for all of us.  Hebrews 1:1 contains another.  It reads, “at sundry times and in divers manners” (polymeros kai polytropos palai).  That alliteration means “in many parts and many ways of old.”  It stresses God’s monumental effort to communicate with His people.

So, even if we don’t read the languages the Bible was originally written we can recognize and appreciate these hard to translate figures by using reference works that can do that for us.  So, let’s use the resources available to us.  Why not?  We are God’s best and certainly God blessed.

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