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What Did Jesus Say About Fools?

The English word "fool" originated from a Latin word, follus (folly and follies originated from the same Latin word), which meant cheeks puffed out, or bellows, referring either to a mocking facial expression, or "foolish" words that are being loudly spoken i.e. bellowed. Later, the definition of "fool" included not only sound and appearance, but behavior in general i.e. "one who is destitute of reason; a person who acts absurdly, irrationally or unwisely."

"Fool" is used to translate a number of different Hebrew and Greek words of the Holy Scriptures (see also Translation Of Translations), including:

  • the Hebrew word, pronounced saw-kawl, which means to play silly

  • the Hebrew word, pronounced naw-bawl, which means stupid, or wicked

  • the Hebrew word, pronounced kes-eel, which means loose-jowled, or silly

  • the Hebrew word, pronounced ev-eel, which means perverse (see Evil Means Fool)

  • the Greek word, pronounced mo-rose, which means heedless

  • the Greek word, pronounced par-af-ron-eh-o, which means defective thinking

  • the Greek word, pronounced af-ros, which means foaming

  • the Greek word, pronounced as-oon-ay-tos, which means without understanding

"Every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man"

There are many who claim to be "Christian." They may have built great "churches" and done many things in "Christ's Name," but unless it was all done according to what Christ actually taught, it's a foolish waste, for "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven" (see also What's Your Angle?).

The Holy Scriptures

"7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

7:24 Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them [e.g. see Why Observe The True Sabbath?], I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: 7:25 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. 7:26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 7:27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

7:28 And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: 7:29 For he taught them as one having authority [see The By-The-Book Messiah], and not as the scribes." (Matthew 7:21-29 KJV)

The use of "fool" in Matthew 5:22 has been a matter of controversy for centuries. Does it mean that Christ's people are not to call a fool a "fool," as Christ's people, and Christ Himself, are recorded as themselves having done? No. The statement is more complex than just a matter of calling someone a fool.

The keys to understanding are (a) in the word "brother" - don't call a fellow true Christian a "fool," which is a blasphemy of the Holy Spirit in them (b) "without a cause" and (c) in uncontrolled anger, which is a spirit of murder, as Cain did to his brother Abel.

"5:21 Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: 5:22 But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire [see The Unpardonable Sin and The Lake Of Fire Into An Ocean Of Fire - When?].

5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; 5:24 Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift." (Matthew 5:21-24 KJV)

The religious "authorities" were called fools because they made their activities at the Temple into a religious end in and of itself (see Is Your Religion Your Religion?), while ignoring the very purpose of the Temple - genuine worship and obedience to God.

"23:16 Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor! 23:17 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold? 23:18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. 23:19 Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? 23:20 Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. 23:21 And whoso shall swear by the temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. 23:22 And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon." (Matthew 23:16-22 KJV)

The purpose of our physical lives is not to live as though our physical lives were an end in themselves (which they will be if we wasted our lives that way) - that's what the religious "authorities" were doing in "their" Temple, as explained above. The parable of the "ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom" is about living our lives with the purpose of being ready for Christ's return (see also Parables Of Jesus Christ: The Vigilant, Parables Of Jesus Christ: Watching For The Master and the Fact Finder question below).

"25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.

25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps [see also Lampstands Or Candlesticks?]. 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.

25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.

25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." (Matthew 25:1-13 KJV)

The lesson of the parable of "the rich fool" is the same as for the virgins who went through life with empty lamps.

"12:15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.

12:16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: 12:17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?

12:18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. 12:19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

12:20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

12:21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God." (Luke 12:15-21 KJV)

The Messiah plainly stated that foolishness itself is as evil as "adulteries, fornications, murders," not merely a cause of other wickedness.

"7:21 For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, 7:22 Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man." (Mark 7:21-23 KJV)

After His resurrection, the Christ gently chided His people as "fools" (the original term was used in the context of a parent speaking to a child) for having been slow to learn their lessons (see also Their Eyes Opened After Christ's Tomb Did).

"24:25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself." (Luke 24:25-27 KJV)

Fact Finder: Why did the Messiah say that the wise should live their lives in such a way that "ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh"?
See Could Christ Return Tonight?; also The Raptures


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