The Bible Truth Review
Issue No. 8 (November 10, 1990)
In This Issue
“As It Is Written #2” by B. Bagby in Bible Explorations, Vol. 1 No. 11, November 1987. The second in a series examining the quotations in Paul’s epistles prefaced by “as it is written.”
“Helps by the Way. No. 3. The Greek Prepositions.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor, circa 1912-13.
“The Sovereignty of God #5” by Oscar M. Baker in Truth For Today, Vol. 40 No. 9, October 1990. Apparently a wrap-up/summary of this series of articles.
“The Parables. No. 3. The Wheat and the Darnel.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor, circa 1912-13. The parable of the wheat and tares is examined in this third article of the series.
“The Wages of Sin. No. 6. Greek words continued” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor, circa 1914-15. A consideration of the words used in the Greek New Testament.
Subscription Information and Permission to Distribute by Leo Wierzbowski, editor of The Bible Truth Review.
“As It Is Written #2” by B. Bagby in Bible Explorations, Vol. 1 No. 11, November 1987
As stated in article #1, we are considering several passages of Scripture quoted by Paul from the Old Testament which deal with the nations (Gentiles) and their relationship with the nation of Israel during the Acts period. We wish then to compare these verses with the writings of Paul after the Acts period.
“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Ro 15:8). The Lord’s earthly ministry was the fulfillment of the promises made in the Old Testament Scriptures. It was God’s plan to reveal Himself in His Son to the world through the nation of Israel. It was necessary that His ministry be primarily to them.
The first chapter of Romans vs 21-32 speaks of the decrepit state in which mankind had fallen. As a result, Abraham was chosen and in his seedline all the nations of the world would be blessed. We have a few isolated cases where the Lord during His earthly ministry was confronted by those other than the circumcision, but in no case is there any mention of a Gentile having the same position as an Israelite. In Luke 7:1-10 we have the account of the centurion who requested the Lord to heal one of his servants (bondmen). In verse 9 we read that the Lord marveled at him and said “…I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.” Despite this man’s great faith, we find nothing more added to him other than the answer to his request.
In an earlier account in Matt 8:5-13, much similar to this one, the Lord added “…many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” The words “sit down” are associated with reclining at a meal or a feast and point to a future day when Gentiles will share in Israel’s blessings. (Compare Matt 14:19; Lu 7:36; Lu 13:2) The centurion is an example of this; but nothing is mentioned of him being given a position of responsibility similar to those to whom the promises were made.
In contrast to this, today we find no distinction between Jew and Gentile in their position and responsibility before Christ. Both are on an equal basis and part of a “new creation” hidden from the ages in God. (Eph 3:9)
As we continue in Ro 15:9a we read “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy;”. The word ‘mercy’ used here in behalf of the Gentiles is in contrast with the word ‘promises’ made to the circumcision in vs 8. Along with the promises were: ‘the adoption’, ‘the glory’, ‘the covenants’, ‘the giving of the law’ and the ‘service of God’ (see Ro 9:4). It is clear that the Gentiles were lacking something spiritually. It is by God’s mercy and grace that they had been included in His plans.
“…as it is written, ‘For this cause I will confess to Thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto Thy name.’ And again He saith, ‘Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His People.’ And again, ‘Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and laud Him, all ye people.’ And again Esaias (Isaiah) saith, ‘There shall be a Root of Jesse, and He That shall rise to reign over the Gentiles; in Him shall the Gentiles trust.”‘ (Ro 15:9b12). Paul quotes from four different places in the Old Testament concerning the Gentiles to provide his readers with the threefold witness from the law (vs 10 quoted from Deut 32:43), the prophets (vs 12 quoted from Isa 11:10), and the Psalms (vs 9 quoted from Ps 18:49 and vs 11 from Ps 117:1). The Jews at Rome would have recognized this fact, for the Hebrew Bible was divided into these three divisions. (The Lord spoke of the three divisions in Lu 24:44 and their threefold witness of Himself.)
The inclusion of the Gentiles into Israel’s hope was not something Paul had dreamed up nor something God had completely hidden from mankind. He clearly made the statement, “as it is written”. This truth however, was not seen by the Jews because of their unbelief. As witnessed throughout the book of Acts after Paul’s calling in chapter 9 and Peter’s opening of the doors to the nations in chapter 10, many of them resisted the acceptance of the Gentiles into God’s program.
To appreciate Christ in His fullness, we must rightly divide the Word and distinguish between God’s dealing with man prior to the close of Acts and this present period of time which was hidden from the ages.
“Helps by the Way. No. 3. The Greek Prepositions.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor, circa 1912-13.
In our last paper we sought to show the primary, radical idea of the prepositions, looking at them as a whole. In this paper we commence dealing with them singly. We shall endeavour “to point out with precision the distinctive primary power of each, from which all its secondary significations emanate as from a common centre; and to trace to this (primary meaning) all the various meanings the preposition may have assumed” (Winer).
Anti. — The primary, local and literal meaning of anti as referring to place is “opposite,” “before,” “over against.” Figuratively and secondarily it means “as the equivalent of,” “for,” ” instead of,” “correspondency.” So in Matt. v. 38 we read, ” an eye for an eye.” The idea of exchange or barter, the giving of one thing for another, is clearly seen in Heb. xii. 16, where Esau “for (anti) one morsel of meat sold his birthright.” Yet more striking is the usage in Heb. xii. 2, speaking of the Lord Jesus, “Who for (anti) the joy that was set before Him endured the cross.” Here the meaning is that the joy of resurrection glory was set over against the shame and death of the cross.
The idea of something equivalent is clearly seen in Rom. xii. 17, “render no man evil for (anti) evil.” Matt. ii. 22 shows the force of the word, “Archelaus did reign . . . IN THE ROOM OF his father Herod.”
The word anti enters into composition with other words forming some important theological and doctrinal terms, e.g.: —
Antitype (antitupon). — I Pet. iii. 21 translates the word, “the like figure.” The resurrection of the Lord and the typical ordinance of baptism were antitypical. They were to the Jewish believer what the ark and the flood were to Noah and his family when they “saved themselves from that untoward generation.”
The word occurs again in Heb. ix. 24, “For Christ is not entered into the Most Holy Place (figure of speech — plural of majesty) made with hands, which is the antitype of the true, but into heaven itself.” Here we learn that the tabernacle which Moses built was but a copy or a type of the real heavenly holiest of all. Incidentally we learn the meaning of the word “true.” “True ” often means that which is shadowy, unreal, typical, as well as the opposite of that which is false.
Antichrist (antichristos). — This word, rightly understood, throws light on the character of the Man of Sin. He is anti (instead of) Christ before he becomes openly against Christ. The travesty of the resurrection in Rev. xiii. 12 is of the same character. The false christs throughout the age have always endeavoured to substitute themselves and their doctrines for Christ and the truth. Perhaps the most precious usage of anti is found in Matt. xx. 28 and I Tim. ii. 6. “The Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life (soul — psuche) a ransom for (anti) many.” What a Substitute! Speaking of the man Christ Jesus as the One Mediator, I Tim. ii. 6 says, “Who gave Himself a ransom on behalf of all (antilutron huper panton), to be testified in due time.” Without entering into a battle of words with those who do not like the term, we cannot refrain from emphasizing the claim which the doctrine of “substitution ” has upon the believer, both as regards his own grateful acknowledgment, and its place in the testimony of the gospel of the grace of God.
Let the reader search out the usages of this little word, always bearing in mind the primary idea already noted. There are many other words with which anti is combined, and we would suggest that a carefully tabulated index of these prepositions would form an invaluable help to the fuller understanding of the “words which the Holy Ghost teacheth.”
“The Sovereignty of God #5” by Oscar M. Baker in Truth For Today, Vol. 40 No. 9, October 1990.
We have already made mention of the fact that the power of God and the sovereignty of God are two different things. God has all power. But during the ages, when sin has come into the universe, His sovereignty or use of that power has been limited. He is limited in that He must maintain His righteousness. He is limited in that He has given some of this sovereignty over to creatures, giving them a right to use certain powers in order that they might be morally upright. And there are other angles that must be considered in such a great study.
But there are those who maintain that God has complete and universal sovereign power and that He has not surrendered any of it to His creatures, neither is He bound by any circumstances whatsoever, and that all that happens in His domain is in accordance with his plan, purpose and will. This should be questioned.
It should be questioned in the first place because that in order to maintain this untenable theory, many have gone to great trouble to twist and alter the Scriptures in order to make them conform to this idea. For example, many declare that no word in the Scriptures can mean forever, that no word can mean destroy, that there is no word for believe as of man’s own volition, and we might go on and on. And of course when one goes all out to prove an extreme theory, he always proves too much.
Now an evolutionist might argue that the peoples of Bible times were so primitive that they had no idea of eternity or destruction and therefore they had no words in their language to express such things, and that the Bible was written in this language. Can you swallow that?
In our language today the word believe is taken to mean first of all that a man has a choice and he has the knowledge of good and evil and therefore believes what he judges best or at least what would be to his advantage. But many say, NO. They say that man cannot believe of himself but that God is sovereign and so directs every action and even man’s belief. In that case John 3:16 would read: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son to force everlasting life on every man without distinction or exception.” How does that sound?
And for a further example, they say that Israel did not enter the land because of unbelief, but that was God’s plan and they could not help themselves, so they were punished and perished in the wilderness because God wanted it that way and not for any fault of their own. Do such philosophers know a righteous God?
That there should be a problem for God to be righteous and at the same time the justifier of the ungodly is denied by these folks and so we might just as well throw Romans away, for that is its theme.
Some people believe that there is no sin, and so anything they do is not sin. Others think they can attain sinless perfection and so anything they do is not sin. And some say that God is sovereign and so anything we do is by His will and so there can be no sin on the part of man. They make God the author of sin!
“The Parables. No. 3. The Wheat and the Darnel.” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor, circa 1912-13.
In our last article dealing with the Sower, we considered the course of the several ministries, or “sowings,” of the word of the kingdom. We saw how the various grounds depicted not only the state of the human heart universally, but the characteristic of the hearers at different points of the history of the kingdom proclamation. To meet the possible difficulty that might arise as to the reason why the gospel of the kingdom should be so long refused is the purpose of the next parable. The key words are “an enemy hath done this.” The scene is not changed, but the symbols are. We have a wheat field before the mind, as in the previous parable, but now we are definitely told that “the field is the world.” Further, the sower in this instance is “the Son of man.” Let us look at the parable before we consider its interpretation.
First consider its structure:–
The Wheat and Darnel.
a | A man sowed good seed. Statement.
b | Enemy sowed darnel. Enemy.
c | The blade sprung up. Growth.
d | Then appeared the darnel. Fruit.
a | Didst thou not sow good seed? Question.
b | An enemy hath done this. Enemy.
c | Shall we gather the darnel? Growth.
d | Let both grow till harvest. Fruit.
The very first thing which we must notice is that whereas the parable of the Sower occurs in the three Synoptic Gospels, the parable of the Tares is found only in Matthew. This enables us to see that this particular parable has exclusive reference to the kingdom of the heavens, and must not be applied to outside subjects.
Before going further we will set before the reader a rather more literal rendering than that of the A.V. or the R.V.:–
“Another parable placed He before them, saying, The kingdom of the heavens hath become like a man sowing good seed in his field; but while men were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed darnel through the midst of the wheat, and went away. But when the wheat sprang up and brought forth fruit, then appeared the darnel also. Then the servants of the householder came near and said to him, Sir, was it not good seed thou didst sow in thy field, whence then hath it darnel? But he said unto them, A man that is an enemy did this. But the servants said unto him. Wilt thou therefore that we go and gather them together? But he said, No: lest at any time while gathering the darnel ye uproot along with it the wheat. Let both grow together until the harvest, and in the harvest season I will say unto the harvesters, gather together first the darnel, and bind it into bundles with a view to the burning it up; but the wheat bring together into my barn.”
Our first consideration must be to settle, if possible, the true meaning of the servants, the wheat, and the tares. Christ’s explanation, in answer to the disciples’ question concerning the parable, was as follows:–
“He that sows the good seed.. | is the Son of man.
And the field……………. | is the world.
And the good seed………… | are the sons of the kingdom.
And the darnel…………… | are the sons of the evil one.
And the enemy that sowed them | is the devil. And the harvest………….. | is the consummation (sunteleia) | of the age. And the harvesters……….. | are the angels.”
“Just as, therefore, the darnel is gathered together, and by fire is burned, so will it be in the consummation of the ages: The Son of man shall send forth His angels, and they will gather together out of His kingdom all cause of offense (skandalon means more than a stumbling stone — literally it is ‘the catch of a trap’), and those that are doers of lawlessness, and will cast them into the furnace of fire; there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.”
This is the inspired explanation of the parable. It does not deal with the gospel, but with the hearers of the gospel. In the parable of the Sower the seed typifies “the word of the kingdom,” while the ground represents the hearts of the various hearers. In the parable of the Tares the whole case is altered. The seed no longer represents the word, but the sons either of the kingdom, or of the wicked one. The ground no longer represents the hearts of the hearers, but the world. Commentaries are worse than valueless, they are positively harmful if they ignore the interpretation given by the Word of God itself.
The parable tells us that the prime cause of the defection and apostasy of Israel is to be seen in the attitude and work of Satan. Throughout the course of the ages Satan has sought to overthrow the purpose of God in Christ. The primeval promise of Gen. iii. 14, 15 introduces the reader to the conflict of the ages. “I will put enmity between thee and the woman, between thy seed and her seed. It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” The purpose of the ages centres in Christ (Eph. iii. 11, R.V. margin). The antagonism of Satan is directed against this purpose. Every step of the way this opposition is seen.
Adam and Eve are placed in the garden. Dominion is given them. They are tempted and fall, and if the penalty had fallen upon them, the coming of the seed must have been frustrated. Cain slays Abel, and God gives Seth “instead,” thereby showing that “Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother because he was righteous,” was the tool in the hand of Satan who sought to prevent the coming of the Seed. The irruption of the “sons of God,” and the corruption of the seed of man, ending in the flood (Gen. vi.), was another attempt to prevent the coming of the Seed. As yet Satan did not know through which family of the descendants of Adam the promised Seed should come, so he sought to pollute the whole race. Immediately after the flood Noah utters a prophetic word, which pointed out Shem as the chosen one.
Soon Abraham is called, and the promise of the land and of the Seed is given to him. Satan now centres his attack upon this man and this land. Taking advantage of the delay mentioned in Gen. xi. 31, the evil one peopled the land of Canaan with the Nephilim, the Giants, the Sons of Anak and the Rephaim. The reading of Gen. xi. 31 with xii. 5, 6 is very solemn:–
“And they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan; and they came unto *Haran and dwelt there*.”
“And they went forth to go into the land of Canaan, and into the land of Canaan they came …. *and the Canaanite was then in the land*.”
The denial of Sarai both in Egypt and Gerar (Gen. xii. 10-20, and xx. 1-1O) is connected with Sarai being taken into the harem of the monarch, and with divine interposition and warning. The repetition of these things is not merely to show Abraham’s frailty, but to show the two-fold attempt of Satan to contaminate the line of the Seed. Space will not allow us to trace the ever central attack through the long course of Israel’s history. The massacre of the male children by Pharaoh is echoed by the same evil work of Herod. The parable of the Tares gives us the method adopted by Satan when he found that in spite of all his efforts the long promised Seed had come, and that the Messiah had proclaimed the gospel of the kingdom, and that some had received the message.
Referring back again to Gen. iii., we must notice that there are two seeds mentioned. The Seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent. Now as we translate the one, we must in all fairness translate the other. Therefore, if the Seed of the woman is Christ, the seed of the Serpent is Antichrist; if moreover we may extend the term to include believers, so must we allow the term to include unbelievers. The parable before us exposes the policy of the wicked one. Change of purpose he does not know, but change of tactics he will ever allow, so that he may draw nearer to his end.
Among those who were professedly the religious people of the day, and in their own estimation “sons of the kingdom,” were those who were really “sons of the wicked one.”
Matt. iii. opens with the ministry of John the Baptist. The voice of the forerunner was heard,
“and Jerusalem and all Judea, and all the country round about the Jordan went forth unto him, and were being baptized in the river Jordan by him, openly confessing their sins.”
By reason of the fact that John proclaimed that “the kingdom of the heavens is at hand,” all who came to be baptized were professedly those who desired a place in that long hoped-for kingdom. Here it is that we catch a glimpse of the Devil’s seed, ready to be sown among the good wheat:-
“But seeing many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said unto them, Offspring of vipers, who has warned you to flee from the coming wrath?”
We must not be too hasty in concluding that these Pharisees and Sadducees all turned back; John immediately continued:-
“Bring forth fruit worthy of repentance, and do not think to say within yourselves, We have Abraham for our father, for I say unto you that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham,”
John warns them that though they may look so much like the wheat so that it would be impossible to distinguish them then, yet when Christ came He would reveal the secrets of many hearts; the fruit would manifest which was wheat, and which was darnel, which were the sons of the kingdom, and which the sons of the wicked one. After referring to the exceeding greatness of Christ, John uses a figure which links this passage very suggestively with the parable before us:-
“Whose fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly cleanse His threshing-floor, and will gather together His wheat into the granary, but the chaff will He burn up with fire unquenchable.”
Some may have heeded these stern words, but many we know refused the witness, and became the enemies of the Lord and His work. The words of John to the Pharisees and Sadducees find an echo in the words of Christ in later passages. In the very chapter which precedes this one of kingdom parables, and where the rejection of Christ reached a climax, we find reference to these “tares,” the seed of the wicked one. The subject (chap. xii. 22-37) refers to Satan’s kingdom, and in verses 33, 34 the Lord says:-
“Either make the tree good, and its fruit good, or make the tree corrupt, and its fruit corrupt. *For from the fruit the tree is known.*”
This last sentence is entirely in harmony with the parable. The tares, or darnel, are the Arabian zowan, which grows among the corn. Even the native farmers cannot distinguish between the wheat and the tares with sufficient accuracy to enable them to weed out the latter. The moment, however, that the wheat and the zowan begin to head out, a child could distinguish between them.
Continuing the quotation of chap. xii. 34 we read:-
“Offspring of vipers, how can ye speak good things, being wicked.”
Again in Matt. xxiii. 33 the Lord says:-
“Serpents, offspring of vipers, how should ye flee away from the judgment of Gehenna?”
In John viii. 30-32 we have the two kinds of believers or disciples:-
“As He was speaking these things, many believed on Him. Jesus said, therefore, unto the Jews who had believed on Him, If ye abide in My word, ye are *truly* My disciples; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”
The Lord Jesus “needed not that any one should bear witness concerning man, for He knew what was in man” (John ii. 25). His words, addressed to those who had believed, exposed their inner selves. “They answered Him, seed of Abraham are we . . . our father is Abraham.” Here we have a link with the “offspring of vipers” (Matt. iii.), and this is used by the Lord in His reply, “Ye are of your father the Devil, and the lusts of your father ye choose to be doing.” How soon the Lord’s words divided the wheat from the tares! It is the same in John vi. 59-71:-
“Many of His disciples, therefore, when they heard, said, This is a hard saying, who can hear it? . . . There are some among you who do not believe; for Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that did not believe, and who it was would deliver Him up . . . Did not I make choice of you, the twelve, and yet from among you one is a devil.”
The servants could not distinguish the true from the false, but the Lord knew what was within before it developed its fruit.
Satan’s attempt to spoil the kingdom purpose will fail as all else of creature craft must do if directed against the Lord. The harvest time, however, has not yet taken place, that is reserved until the consummation of the age. Matt. xxiv. 30, 31 gives us the commencement of this great harvest.
“And they will see the Son of man coming upon the clouds of heaven, with great power and glory. *And He will send forth His angels* with a great trumpet, and they *shall gather together His chosen.*”
Much more could be said, but our space is limited. We believe that sufficient has been produced from Scripture to assist the student in arriving at a true understanding of this parable. The reader should bear in mind the opening words of the parable, “The kingdom of the heavens has become like, &c.” The phase which the kingdom had taken consequent upon Matt. xii. is here depicted. We shall have opportunity for dealing with the closing words of the interpretation when we consider the corresponding parable of the Drag Net.
May we be thankful for every exhibition of divine knowledge, wisdom and love, over-ruling and defeating the enemy of truth, and may we ever seek to glorify the Lord our God by fruitful lives, shunning, as we would poison, any approximation to the dissembling and hypocritical spirit which is set forth under the figure of the “darnel.”
“The Wages of Sin. No. 6. Greek words continued” by Charles H. Welch in The Berean Expositor, circa 1914-15.
In our last paper in Vol. III., page 84 (Vols. Il./III., page 128), we considered the meaning and usage of the words apollumi and apolia, and found that the words destroy and destruction in their plain unequivocal sense gave the scriptural meaning.
There are not a few who speak with borrowed but inexperienced weight against this meaning, and dismiss it with some such expression as, “It is unphilosophical – nothing can be annihilated.” So far as The Berean Expositor is concerned we care not how apparently “unphilosophical” we may appear, so long as we speak according to the Word of God. Yet if we step down from the high plane of inspired truth to the lower plane of human speculation, truth still triumphs. If annihilation be unphilosophical, so also must be creation. Creation as explained by this same philosophy is the calling into being that which before had no existence. Shall we therefore be called unphilosophical if we believe that He Who did the former creative act can also do the latter destructive act, and send created things back into nonexistence once again? Surely creation is greater than annihilation! Surely as much wisdom and power were necessary to create a world out of nothing, as will be necessary to send some created things back to nothing? Let those who oppose be consistent. Let them deny creation, and affirm the eternity of matter; then, although grossly unscriptural, they may use the term philosophical, but not before. We are not careful to answer in this matter. We desire to know the revealed will of God, even though such knowledge constitutes us fools in the eyes of those who are wise in this world’s wisdom. Let us now return to our examination of the Greek words.
Olethros occurs four times, and is translated in each case “destruction” ( I Cor. v. 5; I Thess. v. 3; 2 Thess. i. 9; I Tim. vi. 9). 2 Thess. i. 9 is the only verse calling for any comment, not because of any obscurity in the text, but because of a certain gloss frequently met with in the writings of those who defend the doctrine of eternal conscious suffering. The verse reads, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power,” and the word “from” is taken to indicate that the “destruction” is banishment away from the presence of the Lord, just as it is said that “death” is life apart from the presence of the Lord.
At first glance it seems that there may be some force in the notion, although we may fail to see the appropriateness of such a strong word as olethros (destruction). 2 Thess. i. 9, however, is one verse only, it is not independent of all Scripture, and therefore if the interpretation offered be true, it will stand the most vigorous investigation. Turning to Acts iii. 19 we read the identical words, “from the presence of the Lord,” and if the translation of apo in 2 Thess i. 9 means “away from,” implying the removal of those “destroyed” into some remote region, it should mean the same here. Let us test it: “When there shall come seasons of refreshing away from the presence of the Lord,” that is at some long distance far removed from the presence of the Lord, seasons of refreshing shall operate, while in the presence of the Lord, despair and desolation shall hold undisputed sway. No reader of the Scriptures needs to be told that such an idea is obviously too stupid to need refuting.
The meaning of the word apo (from) governing the genitive case indicates the efficient cause:-
“Wisdom is justified OF (apo) her children” (Matt. xi. 19).
“We would see a sign FROM (apo) Thee” (Matt. xii. 38).
“And suffer many things OF (apo) the elders” (Matt. xvi. 21).
Nothing could be more foreign to the idea of this usage than to say, “We would see a sign away from (or separated from) Thee.” Does “peace from God” (Rom. i. 7) mean that peace is found somewhere far removed from God? Does “seasons of refreshing from the presence of the Lord” mean anything else but that the active and efficient cause of such refreshing is the very presence of the Lord on earth? How can we then arbitrarily speak of an identical usage of the same word concerning another phase of the same coming, as meaning the exact opposite? The destruction comes from the presence of the Lord as the efficient cause, explained in other language regarding Antichrist himself in 2 Thess. ii. 8. It is by means of this specious scholarship that many humble souls are fortified in their errors; the tremendous responsibility resting upon their teachers is something to be considered with fear and trembling.
Olothreuo.- This verb is derived from olethros, and means “to destroy.” It occurs only in Heb. xi. 28, “Lest the *destroyer* of the firstborn should touch them.” This word occurs in the LXX. of Exod. xii. 23; Jer. ii. 30, &c., and as one well-known lexicographer says, “It seems in the LXX. a strong word, and to denote *entire destruction*” (our italics).
Olothreutes is connected with this word, and occurs only in I Cor. x. 10, “destroyed by the *destroyer.*”
Thus the list grows, the evidence advances, and the conviction deepens that the final doom of the impenitent is destruction or perishing. This is emphasized in those passages which speak of “the end”:-
“The end of these things is death” (Rom. vi 21).
“Whose end is destruction” (Phil iii. 19).
“Whose end is to be burned” (Heb vi. 8).
Whatever sorrows may fill the pathway of transgressors, there is an end, and that end is death and destruction:-
“Sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (Jas. i. 15).
“But these as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed shall utterly perish in their own corruption” (2 Pet. ii. 12).
The words and usage of the words rendered “torment” must now be given a careful consideration. Chiefest among them is the word basanizo, but we will just look at the occurrences of but one or two others first, and then devote our undivided attention to this most important word.
Kolasis.- “Fear hath torment” ( I John iv. 18). The word is the same as that used in Matt. xxv. 46 which is rendered “punishment.” As we have seen in a previous issue the meaning is that of cutting off, as we would cut off a useless branch of a tree.
Kakouchoumenos.- “Being destitute, afflicted, tormented” (Heb. xi. 37). The word means to suffer or bear ill usage, and is translated in Heb. xiii. 3, “them which suffer adversity.” It would have been well if the translators had used the second rendering in both passages.
Odunomai.- “I am tormented,” “thou art tormented” (Luke xvi. 24, 25). The word has occurred already in Luke ii. 48 in the words of the mother of the Lord Jesus, “Thy father and I have sought thee sorrowing.” Luke again uses the words in Acts xx. 38 to express the sorrow of the Ephesian elders at the prospect of never seeing the face of Paul again. The cognate odune in Rom. ix. 2 and I Tim. vi. 10 is rendered by the word “sorrow.” It will be seen that the translation “torment” is confined to the passage concerning the rich man and Lazarus. As we hope to deal with this passage under the separate heading of “The Parables” we will not spend further time over it here, the reference to the usage of the words translated “torment” being our primary object.
The only words to be now considered are those which are the translations of basanizo and its derivatives.
Basanizo occurs twelve times in the N.T. Eight times it is rendered “torment,” and once “pain,” “toss,” “vex,” “toil.” Basanistes occurs once, and is rendered “tormentor.” Basanos occurs thrice, and is rendered “torment.” Basanismos occurs five times, and is rendered “torment.” Considering the exceptional renderings first, we notice the following:-
“Travailing in birth, and *pained* to be delivered” (Rev. xii. 2).
“The ship . . . *tossed* with the waves” (Matt. xiv. 24).
“*Vexed* his righteous soul” (2 Pet. ii. 8).
“He saw them *toiling* in rowing” (Mark vi. 48).
Dr. Young in his Concordance gives as the first meaning of the word basanizo:-
“To try and then test, inquisition, torment.”
Dr. Parkhurst in his Lexicon gives the following order of the meaning of the word:-
“i. To examine, try. ii. To examine by torture, Hence, iii. To torture, torment. The word comes from basanos, which was a stone by which gold was tried.”
Liddell and Scott’s Greek Lexicon gives:-
“Basanizo- To rub upon the touch stone (basanos), to try the genuineness of a thing, test, make proof, e.g., to convict, to put to the torture.”
These are independent witnesses whose statements are confirmed by many other authoritative Lexicons and Dictionaries. It will thus be seen that the primary root idea of the word throughout is that of “testing,” with the added idea of tormenting in the process. The original idea, that of testing for gold, is observable in the passages to which we will return shortly. If the gold is to be found, this testing will evidence its presence; if not, the testing, though prolonged and severe, is not continued for eternity, it ends in the lake of fire, and the final destruction of the second death. Proof of this, however, we will reserve until we have considered the passages. Turning to the book of the Revelation, which gives us the prophetic history of the day of the Lord, we read:-
“They shall be tormented five months” (Rev. ix. 5).
“The two prophets tormented them” (Rev xi. 10).
“He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone” (Rev xiv. 10).
“Shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” ( Rev. 20. 10).
Here for the present we must leave the subject; we hope to devote a complete article to the teaching of punishment as found in the book of Revelation in a future issue.
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