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Tuesday, May 17 2011
Sharper Than Any Two-edged Sword
According to The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary, the English word "discern" originated from a Latin word, discerno, which means to separate i.e. dis means to, and cerno means separate. "Discern" is somewhat related in meaning to dissect (from another Latin word which means to cut apart), although discernment "takes things apart," in order to understand them, while leaving them in a single piece. Discernment is the ability to "see through" something, or someone, for what they really are.
The Word of God is "sharper than any twoedged sword" in its ability to discern, although the author of Hebrews in these verses was obviously alluding to dissection, figuratively (by interesting coincidence, word is found in sword).
"4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart." (Hebrews 4:12 KJV)
The Holy Spirit of God "sees through" everything and everyone in the same way - since the Holy Spirit inspired (which means in-spirit-ed) the writers of the Word of God.
"4:13 Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do." (Hebrews 4:13 KJV)
"They shall teach My people the difference between the Holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean"
King Solomon began his reign with a prayer for wisdom - which in itself revealed the natural amount of wisdom that he already had (fools don't ask for wisdom), at that time of his life. Solomon had discernment, so he was given far more, to tend and to make good use of (wisdom itself requires wisdom to be cared for - otherwise even "great wisdom" can be lost, as Solomon proved in his later years).
"3:7 And now, O LORD my God, thou hast made thy servant king instead of David my father: and I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. 3:8 And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. 3:9 Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?
Amazingly, one of the most famous examples of discernment in the Holy Bible involved a sword (perhaps the writer of the verses that we quoted from Hebrews, above, had this incident of Solomon's wisdom with a sword in mind). Solomon was able to discern the actual mother of a child, between two women who both claimed to be the mother, by threatening to dissect the child with a sword.
"3:23 Then said the king, The one saith, This is my son that liveth, and thy son is the dead: and the other saith, Nay; but thy son is the dead, and my son is the living.
The servants of the LORD were given the Word of God in order to teach God's Wisdom.
"44:23 And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean." (Ezekiel 44:23 KJV)
By the time that the Messiah came, the teachers of the wisdom, that the LORD had given them, had replaced, or covered, most of it with their own religious philosophy. They made themselves into their religion (see Is Your Religion Your Religion?), thereby becoming so spiritually near-sighted, or self-sighted (see Paul's Blindness Lesson) that they could no longer truly see the wisdom of the LORD - or the LORD Himself, Who gave it to them, even when He stood right before them (see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM'). Their "sword" of true discernment had become dull ("13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed" Matthew 13:15 KJV).
"16:1 The Pharisees also with the Sadducees came [see The Origin Of The Essenes, Sadducees And Pharisees and Why Did The Lawyers Hate The Messiah?], and tempting desired him that he would show them a sign from heaven.
The Holy Spirit, when it comes (as it yet will, even to those who didn't recognize the Messiah when He came the first time - see Moriah: Separating The Wheat From The Chaff) enables true discernment ("16:7 But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the LORD seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart" 1 Samuel 16:7 KJV).
"2:6 Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 2:7 But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 2:8 Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. 2:9 But as it is written,
Just as the world reaches its darkest point, the Messiah will return; "Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not."
"3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts. 3:2 But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner's fire, and like fullers' soap: 3:3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness." (Malachi 3:1-3 KJV)
Fact Finder: On what basis does the LORD discern who truly follows Him?
This Day In History, May 17
218: The 7th recorded perihelion (the point in the orbit of a planet or comet where it is nearest to the sun) passage of Halley's Comet.
395: Upon the death of Emperor Theodosius I, the Roman Empire was no longer ruled by a single leader. Theodosius had divided the empire into western and eastern portions, thereby creating the prophesied "two legs" of Nebuchadnezzar's Dream.
1377: Pope Gregory XI restored the papacy to Rome from Avignon, France, where it had resided for 72 years. It had been moved there by French Pope Clement V in 1305, to escape the political turmoil in Italy at the time (see The Struggle For The Papacy and The Little Big Horn; listen also to our Sermon Constantine's Papacy).
1562: The Edict of St. Germain permitted the Huguenots (Protestants) in France.
1620: The first merry-go-round at a fair, in Philippapolis, Turkey.
1756: Britain declared war on France, beginning the French and Indian War.
1773: The Resolution, under Captain James Cook, became the first ship to enter Antarctic waters.
1809: The Papal States were annexed by France.
1814: Denmark ceded Norway to Sweden.
1912: Captain Robert Scott's expedition reached the South Pole, a month after Roald Amundsen of Norway.
1939: The Nazi government in Germany prohibited Jews from working as dentists, veterinarians and chemists (see also Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).
1940: Germany occupied Brussels, Belgium and began the invasion of France (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1945: The Soviet Red Army liberated and occupied Warsaw, Poland, from German forces.
1966: A U.S. B-52 bomber collided in mid-air with a refuelling tanker over Spain. 8 people were killed, and the bomber released its H-bomb into the Atlantic.
1987: At the time when Iraq was regarded as a U.S. ally (primarily because Iraq was at war with Iran), an Iraqi fighter jet "accidentally" fired a missile that struck the USS Stark. Although 37 U.S. sailors were killed, the U.S. declared it to be an incident of "friendly fire" from an ally.
1991: The U.S. "Operation Desert Storm" began against Iraq.