The Great “I AM”, not the Great “Has Been”

     My dear friends thank you for stopping by today.  I seem to live in an area of the country that is frequented by missionaries of the Jehovah Witnesses.  We’ve had them come form all over the place.  They come from New Hampshire, New York, and now you have come by from wherever you are from.  Thanks for coming by.  I commend you for the zeal of your faith.  It is refreshing to meet people who are willing to do door to door for what they believe.  I, too, am a person of faith.  If you are reading this, then you have stopped by, given me a tract, “shared a message of hope” (generally from the Psalms), and in response, I have handed you this piece of paper.  If you are reading it, I’m glad your not like those people who just throw away what they are given.  I’m sure you have experienced this while on your missionary endeavors.  If you are still reading then you’re the kind of person you hoped you would meet while on the mission field.

     For my part, I what you to know that I have read what your predecessors have given me.  I’ve read, “What the Bible really says”, several different issues of the “Watchtower”, and I won a copy of the New World Translation.  I’ve read what you have given me.  I’ve read it because I’m a truth seeker.  I’m not affiliated with any religious denominations or organizations.  I’m simply a man of faith.  What about you, are you a truth seeker or are you just affiliated with a religious organization?  I was an alcoholic and a drug addict before I had a radical encounter with Jesus that changed my life.  I have read the Bible 15 times from Genesis to Revelation in a number of different translations.  I have spent the last two years studying Greek and Hebrew.  So, I must tell you that there are some serious issues with the New World Translation.  Much of it is a good translation but there is some of it that is seriously flawed.  Especially flawed are the passages about the deity of Jesus.  I would like to share one of these with you.  I’m not trying to convert you.  AS I said, I’ve no religious agenda or affiliation.  I just have a desire for truth.  What about you?  What I’m about to share with you can be confirmed by anyone who knows Greek.   So, don’t just take my word for it.  Do your own research and your own thinking.

     In a conversation with the Jews, Jesus tells them, “Truly, truly I say to you, before Abraham was born, I Am.” (John 8:58 NASB)  Now, the New World Translation has the exact same for the verse except it changes the last part to “I have been.”  Why would they do such?  Because this is New Testament evidence that Jesus is saying that he is the “I Am” of the Old Testament.

     Let me explain, when Moses met God in the burning bush (Exodus 3) Moses asked God to tell him His name.  God replied with “I AM” or “I Am who I AM.”  This would later be abbreviated by the Hebrew letters, hwhy, which is translated, “I AM” in English.  This is who Jesus is claiming to be.  The Great I Am God of the Old Testament.  The Greek phrase in question is the phrase “ego eimi.”

     Let’s discuss this Greek.  The first word “ego” is the first person singular pronoun “I.”  It is the word from which the English “ego” is derived.  Simple enough.  The second word means, “I am.”  The word “eimi” without the use of ego means “I am.”  In Greek, the first person pronoun is added for emphasis.  Hence, the most accurate wayh to translate the Greek is, “I, I Am, or I AM.”  Any first year Greek student would know this.  So, why did the New World Translation change it?  I don’t know, but “I have been” is not correct Greek.  It is wrong!!!  I bet we can speculate why they changed it. They have a theological bias.  If they make the translation, “I have been” then they can preserve their theology that Jesus existed, prior to his incarnation as Michael the archangels but not as a member of the Godhead.  I Am would mean that He is equal to God.  This is what the Greek text plainly states.  This suggests that God is more than just the Father.  Jesus was the Great I Am and not the Great Has Been.

     Around 250-300 BC, a group of 70 rabbis translated the Old Testament from Hebrew into Greek.  In regards to how they translated the “I AM” passages of Exodus 3, you guessed it; they used the phrase, “ego eimi.”  The Septuagint, as this translation would later be called, became very popular around the time of Jesus and it later became the bible of early Christianity.  So, the Jews of His time knew exactly what Jesus was claiming.  This is evidenced from the Bible itself.  Scripture tells us, “They picked up stones to throw at Him.” (John 8:59)  Why?  Because they believed he had committed blasphemy by making Himself equal to God.  Hence, Jesus is really the Great I Am or He is just a religious lunatic.  But, let us have no more talk of Him being an angel incarnate.  If He was an angel incarnate, then the Jews rightly picked up stones to stone him as any angel attempting to be God would likewise, be destroyed.  Ultimately, this is what Satan has done.  An angel would never claim to be the Great I Am.  Only God can make that claim.  Jesus either is who He says He was, or he is simply a lunatic who stumbled upon some good moral teachings.  He can only be one or the other, there are no other options.

     There are many other passages that the New World Translation demonstrates a theological bias in. Perhaps it is time for the Witnesses to re-evaluate their stance on who Jesus really was and is.  Perhaps this should start with you.  May the Lord bless you and release over you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. (Eph 1:17)  If you would like to discuss any of these issues, please email me at cre8spase@aol.com.

 

In His Grace,

 

Jon

My response to the Missionaries sent by the Jehovah Witness

   I seem to be living in an area of the country that is targeted by missionary societies of the Jehovah Witness’s.  They have come from all over the country to stop by and “share a message of hope.”  We’ve had them from as far north as New Hampshire, New York, and even a few from the west.  In general, y’all are really nice folks.  You stop by, share a scripture or two, generally from the Psalms, pass out a tract or two and then head on your way.  It’s kind of nice to have you come by and it is refreshing to see that there are people still “out there” who believe enough in their convictions to travel door to door.  So, if you are reading this, then you’ve stopped by, shared your message, gave me a tract, and then I handed you this one.  If you are reading this, then it tells me that you’re at least interested in what I have to say.  The problem with many missionaries is that they are just not concerned with what the people they minister to have to say.  They want to do all the talking.  If you are reading this, then you’ve come by my house and I’ve let you do all the talking then I’ve handed you this tract.  So, here is the real issue.  Do either one of us really care what the other has to say?  Are you going to just trash this because you are not interested in reading what the people you’re trying to convert have to say?  If so, why even bother coming on a missionary trip.  Are you required to complete this missionary journey and are you just checking the religious block on what you’re supposed to do?  If that is your intention, throw this paper away or give it to someone who is interested in hearing what someone you are trying to convert has to say. 

     For my part, I want you to know that I have read the tracts that you have given me.  I’ve read, “What the Bible really says”, I’ve read several issues of the “Watchtower” that some folks have dropped off, and I own a copy of the New World Translation, the bulk of which, I have read.  I have taken the time to consider what you have to say.  For the most part, you and I are going to agree on the bulk of our theology.  However, there is one part of our theology that we disagree on and I would like to discuss this with you.  If you are not interested, stop reading here.  Throw this away; maybe give it to your pastor.  If I have retained your attention, then let me begin by telling you a little about myself.

     I was an alcoholic and drug addict for about 15 years.  I had a radical encounter with Jesus Christ that changed my life.  I was sitting in my living room and a vision came to me.  I was completely sober and was actually having a fight with my girlfriend about going to church.  A brilliant white light appeared to me out of the corner of my eye.  I turned to see what the light was.  As I turned, I say a white robed man.  The brilliance of the light was coming off of His robe.  His hair was white like wool, His eyes look like fire.  He had a golden sash across His chest and was wearing what I thought were bronze boots.  He spoke to me and said, “Jonathan, if you don’t stop drinking, you are going to lose everything.”  I didn’t know what that figure was but I did know that voice.  It was the voice of Jesus.  I knew it like I know the voice of my mother when she calls from the back of the house.  She need not identify herself, I know her by her voice.  This is how I knew that this was Jesus.  Over the next 24 hours, I made a decision to turn my will and my life over to God and I was born-again.  I had a burning desire inside of me to read the scriptures after this event.  I read the New Testament pretty quickly when I came to the book of Revelation, I stumbled across something that has completely changed my worldview.  This is the verse.  “And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me, and, having turned, I saw seven golden lampstands and in the midst of the lampstands someone like a son of man clothed with a garment that reached down to the feet , and girded at the breasts with a golden girdle.  Moreover, his head and his hair were white as white wool, as snow, and his eyes as a fiery flame.   And His feet were like fine copper when glowing in a furnace; and his voice was as the sound of many waters.” (Revelation 1:12-14 New World Translation) The apostle John had just received a vision of the resurrected Jesus.  This radically changed my life because this was exactly the same thing that I had seen in my living room.  Some two thousand years later, I had the exact same vision of the resurrected Jesus.  And, if Jesus is resurrected, then scripture is accurate.  If Jesus is resurrected, then He must be all that scripture claims that He is.  This leads me to the point of contention with the Jehovah witness theology.  I believe that Jesus was the incarnate Son of God and I believe that the translators who wrote the New World Translation demonstrated a theological bias when they translated their bible.  This is what I wish to discuss.  Why?  Because the rest of our theology will probably match up because the rest of our scriptures match up.  I’ve read 15 different translations of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation.  I am currently reading five new ones.  I’ve studied Greek for the past year and I’ve studied Hebrew for the year prior to that.  Currently, I’m revisiting Hebrew to get a better grasp of it.  I plan to study Latin after that to get a better feel for the Latin Vulgate.  I’m giving you my resume because I want you to know that I seek truth in the scriptures.  I want to know if you seek the same truth.  Are you a truth seeker or just affiliated with a religious organization?  I want you to know that the conclusions that I have come to I have not come to lightly but have studied them for years.  If you are interested in them, then keep reading, if not, stop here.  I want you to know that I don’t look upon you as a bad person, or as an evil person, I look at you as another image bearer of God seeking truth in a fallen and cursed world.  I’m not trying to convert you.  I’m not associated with any denominations or religious organizations.  I just want to share what I’ve learned.  Let me share the truths that God has shown me.

     The Greek of John 1:1 is:  en arch hn logos, kai o logos hn pros ton qeon, kai qeos hn o logos. The New World Translation translates this verse, “In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”  Personally, I would translate this verse, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  This is a difference in the way we would both translate the Greek.  I believe that the way I have translated it is exactly the way that the New World Translators would have translated it if it were not for a theological bias over the deity of Jesus.  I will show you several examples of how the New World Translators have translated several verses in keeping with my translation.  That’s right; the New World Translators should have translated “qeos” as “God” rather than “a god” by their own standards of translation.  Let me explain.

     Greek has no indefinite article “a”.  It has definite articles “the” but no indefinite article.  However, a translator can insert an indefinite article into a translation because, sometimes in Greek, the indefinite article is implied although not explicitly stated.  So, it is possible to translate the verse as “a god” but if this is going to be our position, then we must be consistent in how we translate the word throughout the remainder of scripture.  Well, “qeos” is used over twenty times in the New Testament, so we should see that the New World translation, if it is consistent in its Greek, using “a god” for this Greek word.  What do we see?  The exact opposite.  The New World Translators translate “qeos” as “God” over twenty times in the New Testament.  It only uses “a god” in two places (John 1:1 and John 1:18) which specifically address the deity of Jesus.  This demonstrates a theological bias and not an endeavor to accurately translate the Greek.  In the other twenty places in the New Testament, they have translated the Greek just exactly as I translated John 1:1.  Could there be a Greek explanation for this?  They seem to think so.  But before we move on to it, I want you to have the references where “qeos” is correctly translated “God.”  They are:  John:1:6,12,13,18; 3:2,21; 6:45; 8:54; 9:16,33; 13:3; 16:30; 19:7; 20:17, I John 3:2; 4:12; 2 John 3,9; Revelation 21:7.  This survey suggests that 98 percent of the time the New World Translation uses good Greek but it has a theological agenda when translating about Jesus.  What is their explanation?

     The translators say, “theos is a singular predicate noun occurring before the verb and it is not preceded by the definite article.  Thus, the insertion of the “a” is appropriate in translation.  Alright, this seems to make since with the verse in question.  kai qeos hn o logos literally is translated, “and a god was the word” according to the Greek translation standard put forth by the New World Translators.  Good, now we are getting somewhere.  If this is to be their standard for predicate nomitive singular nouns that are not proceeded by the definite article, then there should be evidence of this in other places in scripture.  Again, the translators don’t normally translate predicate nomitive singular nouns with the indefinite article.  You don’t have to understand Greek to understand that if they are only using this rule on the passages that discuss Jesus divinity that they are pushing a theological bias and their translation is inaccurate.  The clearest example of how the New World Translators have not kept their own standards of translation is in John 8:54.

     oti qeos umwn estin is the Greek of John 8:54.  Please notice that qeos is proceeded by oti which is not the definite article but a conjunction which means “because.”  Thus, we have the singular nomitive noun not proceeded by the definite article, so the translation should be “a god.”  One would expect the translators of the verse to write, “Because a god yours, he is.”  This would be consistent with their singular predicate nomitive rule.  How do they translate it, “but He who you say is your God.”  Why do they negate their singular predicate nomitive rule?  Because it makes the most sense in the Greek.  If this is true of John 8:54, then it must also be a possible translation for John 1:1.  In my opinion, it is the most accurate.  The os ending on the word tells us that this is the nomitive case which simply means that it is the subject of the sentence.  The subject of the sentence rarely takes an indefinite article although it is possible.  More likely, God rather than, “a god” would be the natural translation of the Greek.  There is no indication that the indefinite article needs to be inserted in the translation.  Here are some other places where the New World Translators negated their singular predicate nominal without the definite article rule:  James 2:19, John 1:49, John 5:27 (Son is the singular predicate noun which they should translate as “son” or “a son” but they don’t, they the translate it with a capital “S” which seems to counteract their theology that Jesus was not divine, they missed a wonderful opportunity to be consistent with their translation here.  Why weren’t they, because it is simply bad Greek) Do you surrender yet?  I could go on and on, but rather than give a full exhaustive critique, let me just list a few more discrepancies for your perusal and discussion with your pastor, friends, and family.

In John 5:18 the NWT has, “On this account, indeed, the Jews began seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath but he was also calling God his own Father, making himself equal to God.”  This verse tells us why the Jews wanted to kill him and the claims that Jesus was making.  He was claiming to be equal with God.  Not his son and not a god, but equal to God.  So, the New World Translations states that the reason they sought to kill Him was because He made Himself equal to God.

In John 8:58 Jesus says, “Before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”  This is what the New World Translation has.  The Greek here is ego eimi which is literally translated, I, I am.  The ego is put there for an added emphasis.  Incidentally, this is the same phrase that the Septuagint (The Greek translation of the New Testament translated around 200-300 BC) uses for Exodus 3:14, the name of God.  This is exactly what Jesus was telling the Jews, that He was equal with God, and the fact that they understood this claim is evidenced by their picking up stones to kill him for blasphemy.

    In conclusion, it is not my attempt to convert you to any organized religious denomination.  In my opinion they are divisive and cause disunity within the body of Christ.  I merely encourage you to seek the truth from the scriptures.  The bulk of the evidence that I have presented to you points to the fact that even the New World Translators didn’t really buy into their theological justifications for translation because of their own inconsistencies.  Hence, I believe that Jesus is equal with God and this is the bulk of the New Testament evidence from the Greek.  If you are still reading this, I commend you for at least hearing what someone else has to say.  It is my prayer that I have challenged what you believe.  Ultimately, a belief that is not challenged and tested isn’t worth much.  I appreciate that fact that you have challenged mine.  It is through the defense of the faith that my conviction grows stronger.  Thanks for the opportunity to give you this tract.  Tell your mission committees to send more missionaries so I can give our even more tracks like this one.  For my part, you make evangelism for me easy because you come right to my front door.  May the God of Peace Grant you wisdom and understanding.  “That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the accurate knowledge of Him.”  (Ephesians 1:17, The New World Translation)  If you want to discuss this further, email Jon at cre8spase@aol.com.

The Essence of the Divine Commission for Evangelical and Missionary Endeavors

“Then he called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases.  He sent them to preach the Kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” (Luke 9:1-2NKJV)

      Anytime I read a passage as rich as the one above, it always stirs up the fire of revival inside of me.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am all about revival.  Additionally, anyone who knows me knows that I am also about Greek and Hebrew in the context of the scriptures for accurate interpretation and application in the life of the believer.  So, having read this wonderful passage, I set out this week to break down the verse, Greek word by word, to arrive at a fuller understanding of what Messiah commissioned the twelve, and ultimately us, to do.

     Sugkalesamenos de tous dwdeka maqhas auton.  This is the beginning of the verse in the Greek.  It is not a complete sentence it is a phrase that has at its root, a participle.  Participles are verbal stems that have noun endings.  They are modifiers.  This particular participle is identified by the ending “samenos.” This indicates that it is an Aorist middle voice participle.  It agrees in number, case and gender with the 12 disciples and is going to tell us something about what the twelve are doing.  Participles are difficult to translate literally and are most often translated with an English temporal clause.  With the Aorist, it is translated with “after” since the aorist indicates a past action.  Hence, “After calling together His twelve disciples” seems to be an accurate translation of the phrase.  However, simply because it is an accurate English translation doesn’t necessarily imply that it gives it the full meaning intended.  So, let’s go a little deeper.  This particular verbal stem used in the participle carries the idea of creating an assembly.  Thus, he created an assembly of the 12 disciples simply by calling them.  The nature of the calling produced commonality and unity of all members generating more than just a gathering; it became an assembly, body, church, or convocation.  The Hebrew word used for this particular “calling” in the Old Testament is the Hebrew word, “arq” which is transliterated “karah.”  It is used to describe Adam’s authority over creation by his “calling” them their names.  God “called” Cyrus by name commissioning him. (Isaiah 45:4)  Gabriel told Mary “to call” the Messiah Immanuel. It is also the Hebrew title of the Old Testament book Leviticus.  The Hebrew takes its title from the first word of the book which happens to be “arq” which signifies the calling on Moses life to receive the law from God.  (Incidentally, the English title Leviticus takes its name from the Septuagint which gave it this title because so much of the book deals with the priests, the Levites)  Lastly, a derivative is used to describe the holy convocations (Hebrew “arqm”) at the sacred feasts of the Lord.  It denotes a gathering that has a divine sanction associated with it.  A commissioning of a called out group of individuals creates an assembly for divine purpose and unity.  This is such an amazing concept for every New Testament believer.  The moment we were “called out” of a sick, dying, and cursed world, a divine commissioning was placed upon all of our lives which united us with an assembly of people, i.e.:  the church, the body of Christ, and the people of God.  We are all united simply because we have been “called” by God.  This calling of every New Testament believer gives their life a divine sanction and commission. We all have purpose.  This concept is so rich in and of itself that we could just camp out here and dissect what this really entails.  However, that is not the purpose of this article and we haven’t even finished the first sentence yet!!!

     Following the participial phrase, is the verb of the sentence.  It is the word “edwken.” This is an irregular verb, in the Greek, and is written in the Aorist tense.  The aorist is a past tense.  Hence, we translate the word, “He gave.”  The “en” ending denotes the third person so the pronoun “He” is implied in the Greek although it is not implicitly stated.  Again, the meaning of the word is much richer than the English “gave.”  When this word is joined with words that describe power, virtue, and authority, it is better translated, “to endue or to furnish.” (1)  This endowment speaks of an impartation.  Mainly, that Jesus was “giving” them an endowment of the spiritual power that was invested in and upon Him.  It was a foretaste of being “clothed with power from on high.”  Again, the Spirit-filled New Testament believer is given the “same Spirit which raised Jesus from the dead.”  The endowment that rested on Jesus, He imparted to the twelve, and He also imparted to every New Testament believer through the giving of the Holy Spirit.  What we have so far in this verse is this, “After he created a divinely commissioned and called out assembly of His twelve disciples, he endued and imparted them with the same spiritual power and essence that was upon Him.”  Again, the implications of this are so rich we could camp out here, but we must press on.  The verse will continue on to tell us what the impartation looks like.

     The impartation looks like, power and authority.”dunamin kai exousian” are the Greek words next in the verse.  These words are written in the dative case which makes them the direct object of the sentence.  In this case, it will tell us what he gave to the twelve disciples.  The words for what is given are very powerful and the English doesn’t fully convey the meaning of the Greek.  “dunamin” is the word for which the English “dynamite” is derived.  Its meaning is basically, “The power residing in a thing by the virtue of its nature.” (2)  Simply, the power that rests upon the New Testament believer simply because the Holy Spirit is present.  The simple presence of God brings about its own unstated power.  This is the essence of the word, the power that is present simply because something exists.  In fact, the King James Version translates the word “virtue.”  An inherent power resides in the impartation simply because it is an impartation of God.  The simple bestowing of the anointing is accompanied with power.  It is the power of God to release healings over the oppressed children of men.  This virtue is present within the body of very New Testament believer; John G. Lake describes it far better than I could.  He writes, “If you will analyze that Greek word you will see it means the life or substance of His being, the quickening, living power of God, the very nature and being of God…Jesus demonstrated these two facts:  The marvelous capacity of the nature of man to receive God into his being, and the marvelous capacity of the nature of man to reveal God…You see people have been so in the habit of putting Jesus in a class by Himself that they have failed to recognize that he has made provision for the same living Spirit of God that dwelt in his own life, and of which he Himself was a living manifestation, to inhabit your being and mine just as it inhabited the being of Jesus and Paul.” (3)

     “exousian” basically means authority.  Now, authority is different from power and, in some respects, much richer in meaning.  Authority is “the power of rule and government.  The power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed.” (4)  God has established an order in the universe.  The order exists simply because God exists.  In this order, God has given humans authority to rule and govern over the earth.  It began with God giving Adam and Eve rule over the earth.  The expression of this authority occurred as Adam was endowed with the power and authority to “name or call” all of creation.  Psalm 8 describes humans as being, “created a little lower than God.” (so, the Hebrew reads, elohim).  John describes the New Testament believer writing, “As He is, so are we in this world.”  This means, that as the image-bearers of God we have been divinely commissioned and appointed to be all in this physical realm that He is in the spiritual realm.  In the spiritual realm, God reigns supreme.  He has thusly created us to govern, to rule, to have authority over all the earth and this includes the demonic powers.  We read in Scripture that Satan and his hordes were cast out of heaven onto the earth, thus, mankind has authority over them on the earth.  They have always desired the power and the authority, thus they have been in constant conflict with the sons of men.  Jesus, giving authority to the disciples, restored the original divine commission given by the Father.  It was lost at the fall trough sin, but Messiah, being sinless, retained the original position of authority which he has imparted to us.  The context of this is alluded to in the next part of the verse.

     epi panta ta daimonia is roughly translated, “over all the demonic/demons.”  epi is a preposition which, with the genitive case, the case present here, it is translated “over”.  (This can be a tough verse for Greek students as the “ia” can also be the dative case.  However, in the plural neuter genitive case, it has this same ending.  The demonic is described in the neuter case as being neither male nor female) It is important here to identify the genitive case because the translation of the preposition will change as the case changes.  “Over” is the accurate translation as daimonia is in the genitive case.  panta, in the plural nomitive neuter case,  carries the general idea of “all” but that isn’t the most accurate description of the word. However, “in the predicate position (as it is here mainly without the article present), it means, all members of the whole.” (5)  Again, the richness of the Greek is impacting here.  Not one single member of the demonic forces can escape the fact the spiritual authority and power imparted by God demands their submission.  They simply must obey because this is the established order by God.

     “daimonia”, in Greek, has the basic meaning of “evil spirits, messengers and ministers of the devil.” (6)  Hell has a ministry and it has ministers.  The ministry and mission of hell is to “kill, steal, and destroy” (John 10:10)  It’s ministers are evil spirits, personalities without bodies, who go forth to cause sickness, sin, disease, depression, and any other condition that exists on earth but not in heaven.  Even though hell is organized into a ministry, it must still submit itself to the divinely ordained order.  Of which, Jesus is establishing, and releasing through the twelve contextually and all Christians ultimately, that hell has not the final say in the affairs of mankind.  We do, as Spirit filled Christians.  As Christians, it is our identity to confront hell to produce a different reality, namely, heaven.  This is evident in what Jesus continues through the verse.

     kai uosois qerapeuein which is roughly translated literally “and diseases heal.”  The ministry of hell is uosois which is diseases.  Jesus commissions us to confront he effects of hell’s ministry to reverse it by qerapeuein.  Notice the ein ending a the end of the word. This tells us that the word is an infinitive.  “An infinitive is a verbal noun, when the action of a verb becomes a ‘thing’ that functions in a sentence like a noun, this is an infinitive.” (7)  Generally, we add the English “to” in front of it.  So, the common translation is “to heal diseases.”  The word  qerapew is the word from which our English word “therapy” is derived.  The idea here is to heal, to restore to health, mankind’s soul, body, and spirit.  This confronts and reverses the ministry of hell.  This is further evident as the verse continues along.

     kai apesteilen autos khrusein thn basileian tou qeou, which is roughly “and he sent them to preach the kingdom of God.”  The word for sent here is the word from which “apostle” is derived.  It is the word that describes the action of the assembly when they are released into the world. The English word sent doesn’t quite covey the same meaning.  In Greek, it carries the idea of setting out to complete a divinely ordained commission.  What is interesting about this word is that the object of the mission is usually defined by the infinitive that follows the word.  This is Greek.  When reading this passage in Greek, the reader knows exactly what the divine commission is going to look like by the infinitives that follow.  The infinitive that follows is khrussein.  Again, notice the ending as it will tell us that this word is an infinitive.  Most translation use the word “preach” but over the centuries the word has lost its biblical meaning.  The essence of the word is “to be a herald, to officiate s a herald, to proclaim after the manner of a herald.” (8)  The real problem for modern readers is the nonexistence of a herald.  Thus, we must define what a herald is.  Noah Webster defines a herald as, “An officer whose business was to denounce or proclaim war, to challenge to battle, to proclaim peace, and to bear messages from the commander of an army.” (9)  Let that definition sink in for a moment, because this is the essence of Christian preaching.  There is another interesting aspect of this word.  It is also a synonym for a Hebrew word that we have seen already.  That word is “arq”.  Here is where things get deeper.  Jesus has commissioned them on a divinely ordained mission as officers to proclaim war against the enemy, and pronounce peace to the captives and the method they will use will be to invite them into the “call” from which they were “called.”  In essence, “to call” them into the “calling” that the preacher was originally called themselves.  The preacher does this by engaging the demonic in battle; speaking peace over people’s lives, releasing the power and authority of heaven to change the circumstances in someone’s life.  Then, invite them into the calling to become a part of the sacred Assembly of God’s people.  This is further evidenced by the last two words of the verse.

     isqai asqenountas to cure the sick.  Again, notice the “qai” ending of the first word.  This is an infinitive which again, links us back to the essence of what the divinely commissioned sent ones will be doing.    The word isqai means to make whole, to free from errors and sins, and to bring about one’s salvation of soul; body; and spirit.  This is what preaching the Kingdom of God incorporates.  Freeing the soul from the effects of sin, healing the body of all disease and sickness, and delivering the spirit from demonic torment is kingdom preaching.  The final word   asqenountas drives home the point even further.  The point being that salvation is about the soul, the body, and the spirit.  As John Lake called it, “triune salvation.”  This last word means literally, weak, feeble, or to be without strength or ultimately powerless. People can become powerless over sin, demons, addiction, depression, sickness, the flesh, and the world, but an invasion of heavenly power and authority can change that dynamic.  An invasion of pwer form the Kingdom preacher imparts virtue to the powerless, realizing them from torment and empowering them to live a life of freedom.  Then the Kingdom preacher invites them into the very calling by which he was called. This is the essence of all Christian missionary and evangelical endeavors and those who lack these components have not fully grasped all that Messiah gave us with our calling.

 

Endnotes

  1.  Thayer, Joseph, Greek and English Lexicon of the New Testament, Hendrickson Publishers, Inc., Peabody, Mass. 2005, page 146.
  2. Ibid, page 159.
  3. Liardon, Roberts, John G. Lake;The Complete Collection of His Life Teachings, Albury Publishing, Tulsa OK, 1999, page 226-225.
  4. Thayer, page 225.
  5. Machen, Gresham, J., McCartney, Dan, New Testament Greek for Beginners, second edition, Pearson Prentice Hall publishers, Upper Saddle River, NJ, page 215.
  6. Thayer, page 124
  7. Machen and McCartney, page 184.
  8. Thayer, page 346.
  9. Webster, Noah, American Dictionary of the English Language 1828 edition, Foundation of the American Christian Education, Chesapeake, VA, 1995.