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Friday, August 12 2016

2 Corinthians 12: Paul's Heckler

"There was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me"

The definition of "heckle": "A sort of comb for flax or hemp; a hackle or hatchel; to tease or vex; to catechise severely; to challenge aggressively" (The Consolidated Webster Encyclopedic Dictionary).

The apostle Paul's "there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me" (2 Corinthians 12:7 KJV, below) has been a subject of debate for centuries. Was it something? Or was it someone?

Adding to the oddity of Paul's statement was his choice of the word for "thorn." Throughout the New Testament, the Greek word, pronounced ak-an-thah, which means thorn, or thorny plant, was almost always used for "thorn" or "thorns."

Examples:

"27:29 And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!" (Matthew 27:29 KJV)

"4:7 And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit" (Mark 4:7 KJV).

Jester The word that Paul used for "thorn" however is found only once in the Holy Scriptures, as used by Paul. It is pronounced skol-ops and means a pointed piece of wood i.e. a goad.

Did Paul use that word because someone was goading and harassing him? It seems appropriate since literal thorns are not actively-used, while the word that Paul used means someone actually poking at someone - as stated with the word itself i.e. "the messenger of Satan to buffet me." Satan literally means accuser.

Paul was given to serve the LORD (see The Identity Of The LORD God and The LORD God Our Saviour) in a great way, but greatness in service does not mean greatness in person i.e. vanity and ego. So, the LORD also provided Paul with additional means to remain humble - "Lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure."

"12:1 It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. 12:5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.

12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. 12:8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Corinthians 12:1-10 KJV)

Paul's use of the word "fool" is also curious, but not if he was speaking in terms of comparison to the fool heckler that was the "torn in his flesh."

"12:11 I am become a fool in glorying; ye have compelled me: for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing am I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I be nothing. 12:12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds. 12:13 For what is it wherein ye were inferior to other churches, except it be that I myself was not burdensome to you? forgive me this wrong.

12:14 Behold, the third time I am ready to come to you; and I will not be burdensome to you: for I seek not yours, but you: for the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. 12:15 And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved. 12:16 But be it so, I did not burden you: nevertheless, being crafty, I caught you with guile. 12:17 Did I make a gain of you by any of them whom I sent unto you? 12:18 I desired Titus, and with him I sent a brother. Did Titus make a gain of you? walked we not in the same spirit? walked we not in the same steps?

12:19 Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. 12:20 For I fear, lest, when I come, I shall not find you such as I would, and that I shall be found unto you such as ye would not: lest there be debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, backbitings, whisperings, swellings, tumults: 12:21 And lest, when I come again, my God will humble me among you, and that I shall bewail many which have sinned already, and have not repented of the uncleanness and fornication and lasciviousness which they have committed." (2 Corinthians 12:11-21 KJV)

Fact Finder: What was the major difference between the ministry of Peter and the ministry of Paul?
See Paul, The Apostle To The World


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This Day In History, August 12

30 BC: Cleopatra (see The Cleopatra Connection), the last ruler of the Greek Ptolemaic dynasty in Egypt (see A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids), committed suicide.

1099: During the First Crusade, the Crusaders defeated the Egyptians at Ascalon on the "Palestine" coast (see Constantine's Crusades In History And Prophecy and A History Of Jerusalem: Constantine and Muhammad; also Where Is Palestine?).

Crusades 1281: Kublai Khan's Mongolian fleet was destroyed by a typhoon as it was nearing Japan (see also The Origin Of Gog And Magog and End-Time Gog And Magog).

1332: The Battle of Dupplin Moor; Edward Baliol, king of Scotland, with the aid of Edward III defeated Donald, earl of Mar and regent for David II (who was 8 years old at the time).

1499: The naval Battle of Zonchio began between the Venetians and the Ottomans (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).

1450: During the Hundred Years War, the English surrendered Cherbourg, completing Charles VII's conquest of Normandy.

1508: Ponce de Leon arrived in Puerto Rico.

1759: The Russians under General Soltikov and the Austrians under General Landon defeated 40,000 Prussians under Frederick the Great at the Battle of Kunersdorf in the Seven Years War.

1762: The British captured Cuba from Spain after a two month siege.

1779: The Royal Navy defeated the Penobscot Expedition, resulting in the largest loss of US naval forces prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor over 160 years later - all 19 US warships sunk or run aground while attempting to escape the battle.

1813: Austria declared war against Napoleon.

1851: Isaac Singer received a patent for his "sewing machine."

1877: British explorer Sir Henry Morton Stanley reached the mouth of the Congo River.

1896: Gold was discovered near Dawson City, Yukon Territory, Canada. The news set off the "Yukon Gold Rush."

1898: The Spanish-U.S. war ended with the signing of a protocol by Spain and the U.S. Spain relinquished Cuba and ceded Puerto Rico.

1898: The Hawaiian flag was lowered from Iolani Palace in an annexation ceremony that marked the end of Hawaii as an independent nation.

1908: Henry Ford's first Model T rolled off the assembly line.

1914: At the start of the First World War (1914-1918), the first troops of the British Expeditionary Force crossed the English Channel for battle. In 10 days, 120,000 men were transported without loss of a single man or ship.

1944: Adolf Hitler's (see Why Does Satan Love Liars? and Is Iniquity Liberal Or Conservative?) Nazi Waffen SS troops massacred about 560 people in Sant'Anna di Stazzema (see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1944: Nazi German troops ended the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people were killed indiscriminately or in mass executions (again, see Presidential Quotes On War, Terrorism, Religion).

1944: The first PLUTO (Pipe Line Under The Ocean) supplying gasoline across the English Channel to the Allied forces in France, went into operation from the Isle of Wight. It could transfer up to 700 tons of gasoline a day.

1961: The erection of the Berlin Wall began.

1992: The U.S., Canada and Mexico agreed to form a free-trade zone that would rank as the world's largest single trading bloc. The agreement was later dwarfed by the rise of China which flooded North America with made in China products, while at the same time China became the largest creditor of the soaring U.S. national debt i.e. in 2010, China became the major financial supporter of the technically-bankrupt U.S. government which was actually paying most of the billions of dollars of debt interest with even more borrowed money.


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