3/25/17 Deception

Saturday, March 25, 2017


Col. 2:8

Morning Meditation 3/25/17

Verse 8-9 says, "Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ."

The word "beware" translates "blepo" and means, "to see, to discern, it is used of the bodily eye." It can also mean "to perceive by the senses, to feel." It is a present active imperative verb. The present tense means that what Paul is warning them about is a present threat. The imperative mood is a command expressing urgency. The active voice means they must decide. So "beware" is a caution light or an alarm of impending danger.

The words "any man" translate "tis" and "it is an enclitic indefinite pronoun, i.e., a certain one." Paul calls no names here. He just applies this warning to anyone who is teaching things that will pervert the true teachings of Christ. The word "spoil" is used to cover several words in the Textus Receptus from which our KJV is translated. The word "esomai" is "the future first person singular of the 'to be verb.'" It could be translated, "there shall be." The word "spoil" translates "sulagogeo" and means, "to carry one off as a captive (and slave); to lead away from the truth and to subject one to one's false doctrine."

The word "philosophy" translates "philosophia" and means, "love of wisdom; used either of zeal for or skill in any art or science, any branch of knowledge. Used once in the NT of the theology, or rather theosophy, of certain Jewish Christian ascetics, which busied itself with refined and speculative enquiries into the nature and classes of angels, into the ritual of the Mosaic law and the regulations of Jewish tradition respecting practical life." (Quote from Strong's in Online Bible). A. T. Robertson says that Paul used this word "because the Gnostics were fond of it." Paul does not use a name but he does use the same vocabulary that the Gnostic used so that no one would misunderstand which false teaching and teachers he was dealing with.

The word "vain" means, "that which is devoid of the truth." The word "deceit" comes from a word that means "to cheat, to beguile, to deceive." Paul is saying that the ideas being presented by these teachers are completely devoid of the truth and cheat and deceive the followers.

The word "tradition" translates "paradosis" and means "what is transmitted." It is used, "of the body of precepts, esp. ritual, which in the opinion of the later Jews were orally delivered by Moses and orally transmitted in unbroken succession to subsequent generations, which precepts, both illustrating and expanding the written law, as they did were to be obeyed with equal reverence." Jesus rejected the validity of additions to the divine law. One of the things Paul followed when he was an unsaved Jewish scholar was "the tradition of the fathers" (Gal. 1:14)..

The traditions were the interpretation of the law by the scholars. Jesus exposed those who nullified the teaching of the Scripture by tradition. Matthew 15:2-3 says, "Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?

Jesus said again in Mark 7:8, 13, "For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. . . Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye."

The word "rudiments" translates "stoicheion" and means, "any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal; the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe." The Pulpit Commentary says of the rudiments of the world that they "are the crude beginnings of truth, the childishly faulty and imperfect religious conceptions and usages to which the world had attained apart from the revelation of Christ."

The early church Fathers believed, from Origen onward, that "rudiments" was speaking of the powers of nature or the heavenly bodies which were worshiped by the Gentiles as gods and which the Jews identified with the angels as God's agents in the direction of the world. This subject creates an interest today as is seen in the reading of horoscopes and astrology. All of this is of the world, has Satan as the one behind it, and is not of Christ.

The words, "And not after Christ" mean that there is no way to associate this false teaching with Christ. It is forbidden in Scripture for a Christian to participate in anything like this. The heavenly bodies were put there to glorify God, not to be worshipped (Psa. 19).. There are some conclusions that we can come to as a result of what verse 8 says.

1. Human reason is not the way to know God. Rom. 1:19-21 says, "Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened." The words "became vain" are an aorist passive indicative verb. This means that because they rejected clearly revealed truth about God and creation that God in wrath (vs 18) caused their minds to become darkened. The words "was darkened" translate "skotizo" and mean, "to be covered with darkness." It is an aorist passive indicative verb which means that the "light of the mind" did not go out of itself. God turned the light out at a point of time. Anything man comes up with through human reason will not lead to God, it will lead away from God.

2. God addresses the issue of the wisdom of this world directly and rejects it. 1 Cor. 1:19-24: "For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise? where is the scribe? where is the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom: But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God."

This passage clearly says, "the world by wisdom knew not God." It is still true. The secular schools of learning would rather teach a book of Satanism or Witchcraft than the Bible.

3. When God calls preachers to represent Him, He does not choose them from the wise of this world. 1 Cor. 1:26-29 says, "For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are: That no flesh should glory in his presence." Preachers need to be learned in the Scriptures. But I am afraid that this is not what is being emphasized in preacher training centers today.

You could not do anything to offend the wise of this world more than to take this passage at face value and dangle it before their eyes. Even the ministry has been drawn into the maze of this Dr. Doodle-Digger stuff. There are more doctors in the ministry today than there are patients!!! Even in the old commentaries they dance around this issue while someone plays a fiddle on the roof. It is hard for the flesh (even in the Christian) to admit that there is nothing good in it and therefore nothing good can come out of it.

4. Men go after men to make them slaves to their ideas. The words "spoil you," we learned above, mean "to carry one off as a captive (and slave); to lead away from the truth and subject to one's false doctrine." The false religions of the world, including many so-called Christian Churches, make slaves of the people.. Jesus came to set men free. Grace is the only thing that will do that.

5. The teaching of Christ should be what we use to detect and refute error. He concludes the verse in the last phrase, "and not after Christ."

May the Lord bless these words to our hearts.

In Christ,

Bro. Earl White

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