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Monday, September 3 2012
The Epistles: First Corinthians
Corinth was a Greek city located on the isthmus that connects the Peloponnesus (the southern peninsula of Greece) to the mainland of Greece. The city was visited during the apostle Paul's second and third missionary journeys (see Paul's First Missionary Journey, Paul's Second Missionary Journey and Paul's Third Missionary Journey) and the church (i.e. the Christian people; see Can You See The Church?) there were the recipients of two epistles from Paul.
Paul's first epistle to the Corinthians was written while Paul was in Ephesus ("I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost"), a city in what is today Turkey. Paul later wrote an epistle to the church in Ephesus, "Ephesians," after he had left there (Ephesus was also recorded as one of "the seven churches of Asia" in the apostle John's Book of Revelation, which itself was also an epistle; see also Where Are The Seven Churches Of Revelation Today?).
"16:5 Now I will come unto you, when I shall pass through Macedonia: for I do pass through Macedonia. 16:6 And it may be that I will abide, yea, and winter with you, that ye may bring me on my journey whithersoever I go. 16:7 For I will not see you now by the way; but I trust to tarry a while with you, if the Lord permit. 16:8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost [see The Fruit Of Pentecost]. 16:9 For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries.
Paul's greeting was always inclusive, regardless of who or where he was writing to; the only people that Paul rejected were those who rejected Christ.
"1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God [see Straight Street], and Sosthenes our brother,
The Corinthians had grown in their knowledge and understanding i.e. "in all utterance, and in all knowledge" - which was the good news.
"1:4 I thank my God always on your behalf, for the grace of God which is given you by Jesus Christ; 1:5 That in every thing ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; 1:6 Even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: 1:7 So that ye come behind in no gift; waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ [see The Two Signs Of Christ's Return]: 1:8 Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ. 1:9 God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:4-9 KJV)
The primary reason that Paul wrote the epistle however was to address the strife that they were experiencing due to people competing to be the "leader." Paul's plea to them, "that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment," wasn't merely talking about doctrine; it was to urge them to agree that Christ is the Head of His Church.
"1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. 1:11 For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
Paul then compared the struggle of some to be the "leader" of Christ's Church as a typical carnal struggle for one man to run over another.
"3:1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ. 3:2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able. 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 3:4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? [see Is Your Religion Your Religion? and Is Your Church A Cult?]
"That Rock was Christ"
One of the most profound realities of the Bible, that is ignored or rejected by millions of people who claim to be Christian, is that "the LORD God" of the so-called Old Testament was in fact Jesus Christ i.e. "that Rock was Christ."
"10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; 10:2 And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; 10:3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat; 10:4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ [see Who Is The LORD?]. 10:5 But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness [see Israel In History and Prophecy: The Sinai Journey]." (1 Corinthians 10:1-5 KJV)
Many regard Jesus Christ to be like the mere human that He was for a little over 30 years, but He existed from eternity as the all-powerful LORD God, just as He exists today as the all-powerful LORD God. The Messiah does not accept those who refuse to obey Him.
"10:6 Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. 10:7 Neither be ye idolaters [see Mirror, Mirror, On The Wall], as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 10:8 Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. 10:9 Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents. 10:10 Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.
Speaking in tongues, other languages, is also widely misunderstood - millions think that it's just someone babbling, and then telling others what the babbling meant.
"12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I would not have you ignorant. 12:2 Ye know that ye were Gentiles, carried away unto these dumb idols, even as ye were led. 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.
Throughout the epistle, Paul contrasted the greatness of the LORD, and the salvation that He offers to those who live according to His Commands, with the mere human power struggle that they were experiencing.
"15:20 But now is Christ risen from the dead [see Counting On The Resurrection], and become the firstfruits of them that slept [see What Does The Bible Really Say About Your Soul?]. 15:21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 15:22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 15:23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming [see When And Where Your Eternal Life Will Begin]. 15:24 Then cometh the end [see The Eighth Day: What Does It Mean?], when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power [see The Church: Mission Accomplished]. 15:25 For he must reign, till he hath put all enemies under his feet [see What Is The Day Of The LORD?]. 15:26 The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. 15:27 For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. 15:28 And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all." (1 Corinthians 15:20-28 KJV)
Humans were made in God's own image. That will be fulfilled with salvation.
"15:35 But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 15:36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 15:37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: 15:38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 15:39 All flesh is not the same flesh: but there is one kind of flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, and another of birds. 15:40 There are also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. 15:41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.
"Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" was perhaps Paul's most dire statement to them that those who lust to rule in this life may not make it to eternal life.
"15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God [see What Was The Lesson Of John 3:16?]; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 15:51 Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?
Fact Finder: How are the resurrections to salvation comparable to a series of harvests?
This Day In History, September 3
36 BC: The Battle of Naulochus. Marcus Vipsanius Agrippa, a naval commander of Octavian (Octavian later became known as Caesar Augustus, the Roman Emperor who declared the census that caused the Messiah to be born in Bethlehem i.e. Luke 2:1), defeated Sextus Pompeius, the son of Pompey, thereby ending Pompeian resistance to the Second Triumvirate (see A History Of Jerusalem: Pompey And The Caesars).
301: San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world's oldest republic still in existence, was founded by Marinus.
1189: Richard I (Richard the Lion-Heart) was crowned king of England.
1260: The Battle of Ayn Jalut, a decisive victory of the Mamluks of Egypt over the invading Mongols, which saved Egypt and Islam and prevented the western expansion of the Mongol empire.
1650: The Battle of Dunbar during the Third English Civil War. English Parliamentarian forces led by Oliver Cromwell defeated the forces loyal to King Charles II.
1658: Oliver Cromwell, "lord protector" of England, died at age 59.
1752: Britain and the New England colonies adopted the Gregorian calendar (named after Roman Catholic Pope Gregory XIII - see Pope Gregory's Calendar), replacing the less accurate Julian calendar (named after Julius Caesar). To implement the new calendar, 11 days were officially omitted that year i.e. September 2 was followed by September 14. Some people rioted, accusing the government of stealing 11 days of life from them.
1783: The Treaty of Paris was signed between Britain and the newly-created United States, officially ending the revolution of the New England colonies that had been built in the wilderness nearly two centuries earlier.
1855: During the genocide of native Americans by white Europeans, 700 U.S. troops under General William S. Harney massacred 100 Sioux men, women and children in their village in Nebraska - one of many such slaughters during "the Indian wars."
1939: Britain, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, France and India declared war on Germany in response to Adolf Hitler's invasion of Poland 2 days earlier. The beginning of the Second World War in Europe.
1943: During the Second World War (1939-1945), Italy surrendered to invading Allied forces in a secret armistice, but German forces continued fighting in Italy.
1944: British troops liberated Brussels.
1969: Ho Chi Minh (real name Nguyen Tat Thanh), president of North Vietnam during most of the Vietnam War, died at age 79.
1976: The U.S. Viking 2 landed on Mars.
1978: Albino Luciani was coronated as Pope John Paul I. He died only 34 days later, some say under mysterious circumstances, at age 66. He was succeeded by Polish-born Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, 58, who took the name Pope John Paul II - the first non-Italian Catholic pope in 450 years.
1987: Burundi President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza was deposed in a coup d'état led by Major Pierre Buyoya.
1994: Russia and China agreed to no longer target nuclear weapons on each other.
1999: An 87-automobile pile-up occurred on the Highway 401 freeway near Windsor, Ontario, Canada after an unusually thick fog from Lake St. Clair blanketed the area. It was one of the worst traffic accidents in Canadian history; 7 people were killed and 62 injured.