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What Goes On In Your Closet?
The Greek word of the New Testament, pronounced tam-ee-on, meant either a room used for storage of personal items, and/or a private place. The King James Version translates it as "closet."
A "closet" is found twice in the New Testament, both involving teachings about hypocrites - one about how not to be a hypocrite, the other about the time that is surely coming when all hypocrites are going to be exposed for what they really are, and have done.
"For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known"
The very famous "Lord's Prayer" teaching (which was also a Prophecy - see the Fact Finder question below) was actually part of a greater lesson about how not to be a hypocrite. It began with instructions about humility in charity.
"6:1 Take heed that ye do not your alms before men, to be seen of them: otherwise ye have no reward of your Father which is in heaven. 6:2 Therefore when thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.
The Messiah then continued with a teaching on humility in prayer, and not using "vain repetitions, as the heathen do."
"6:5 And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
The lesson then concluded with instructions for humility in fasting.
"6:16 Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. 6:17 But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face; 6:18 That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly." (Matthew 6:16-18 KJV)
Does that mean that those who did good in secret will never be given public acknowledgment of it? No. The time will come when all that everyone has done, good or bad, will be made known to all. That's good news for those who have done good in secret, but it's bad news for those who have done bad in secret, particularly if they have put on a public show of phony "righteousness" while they lived lives of yet-uncovered evil.
"12:1 In the mean time, when there were gathered together an innumerable multitude of people, insomuch that they trode one upon another, he began to say unto his disciples first of all, Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
Fact Finder: What is "The Lord's Prayer" describing?