The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 5: Delivering Sinners to Satan

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The Epistles of Paul - 1 Corinthians Part 5: Delivering Sinners to Satan

Discussing 1 Corinthians chapter 4 in the last segment of our presentation of this epistle, we saw that Paul made an analogy of himself to a skilled architect, laying the foundation of Christ wherever he went with the expectation that others would come and build upon that foundation after him, thereby further edifying the Christian assembly. As we also pointed out, Peter made a similar analogy by comparing the members of the body of Christ to living stones, Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone of His ekklesia.

At the same time Paul also made an analogy of himself to a planter, and of Apollos to one who waters, indicating that the various servants of Christ had differing abilities and differing roles in tending to the assembly of Christ. However in our discussion we did not elaborate on how Paul had concluded this analogy, so we will do so here. Paul said that “6 I have planted, Apollos has watered, but Yahweh has given increase. 7 So that neither he who is planting is anybody, nor he who is watering, but Yahweh who is making to grow.”

The denominational religious organizations, which we can hardly call Christian, have done everything that they can to pull wolves, dogs and pigs into the sheepfold, thereby scattering the sheep – when they are not at first devoured. Yet Identity Christians should not seek to emulate the fishermen, for the period of fishing is over. Rather, Identity Christians seek to emulate the hunters of the prophecy of Jeremiah chapter 16, where the Word of Yahweh says “15 But, The LORD liveth, that brought up the children of Israel from the land of the north, and from all the lands whither he had driven them: and I will bring them again into their land that I gave unto their fathers. 16 Behold, I will send for many fishers, saith the LORD, and they shall fish them; and after will I send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain, and from every hill, and out of the holes of the rocks.” The lost sheep of the tribes of Israel had wandered over every hill, as Ezekiel chapter 34 describes, and it is the Christian duty to seek them. Those who find them are regathering the sheep, as the Gospel of Christ commands. Of course, only Identity Christians produce the historical, linguistic and archaeological studies necessary in order to dig the children of Israel out of the holes of the rocks, so that they may be identified in the world of today.

However with all of this knowledge, and no matter how brilliant our explanations of ancient history in harmony with the prophets and the Gospel, no matter how expertly we may be able to plant or to water, it is Yahweh God who provides the seeds for the planter, and it is Yahweh God by whom those seeds grow when they are watered. Likewise with the building of the assembly. We may have architects, and we may have stone masons, but in the first place it is Yahweh God who must provide those living stones of which Peter spoke. We being men can do nothing useful without our God, and therefore He gets all of the credit and all of the glory.

Discussing Paul's words in the last two chapters of this first epistle to the Corinthians, we saw that the Mystery of God was what God would do to His people Israel, and how He would reconcile them to Himself in Christ. The fishers cast a wide net, but the good fish are identified in the holes of the rocks: through history and archaeology and the words of the prophets. We also saw that this message of Yahweh's reconciliation to the dispersed children of Israel was a part of the milk of the Gospel, and not the meat. While the milk of the Gospel alone would be sufficient for our preservation, in the meat of the Gospel we are able to exercise our senses for the discernment of good and evil. Here in the opening of 1 Corinthians chapter 4, Paul substantiates the assertion that he has already been elucidating the Mystery of God to the assemblies to which he preached, where he says that:

1 In that manner a man must reckon us as attendants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of Yahweh.

In our presentation of the Book of Acts here last year, we had explained that Paul wrote this first epistle to the Corinthians before leaving Ephesus, and before the Pentecost which he planned to spend there (1 Corinthians 16:8). Leaving Ephesus some time later, Paul went to the Troad, hoping to find Titus, as he had mentioned in 2 Corinthians chapter 6, and he and did not find him so he proceeded into Makedonia, spending the winter in Nicopolis. Acts chapter 20 tells us that after that very sojourn in Makedonia Paul had traveled to Greece, and it is evident that during that journey Paul had written his second epistle to the Corinthians, precipitating his arrival in Corinth for his second recorded visit there. Understanding when these epistles were written helps us to understand what it was that Paul referred to when he made certain statements, and also helps us to place the content of the epistles into the historic context of his ministry.

In 2 Corinthians chapter 7 Paul wrote: “14 For if I have boasted any thing to him of you, I am not ashamed; but as we spake all things to you in truth, even so our boasting, which I made before Titus, is found a truth.” So Paul proclaimed that he had spoken “all things” to the Corinthians “in truth”, and he must have done so during his first visit to Corinth, before he visited the Corinthians for a second time. A few sentences later Paul went on to say “16 I rejoice therefore that I have confidence in you in all things.” The point is that Paul was holding nothing back from the Corinthians, but had already taught them all of the fundamentals of his Christian creed.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 2 Paul had told this same assembly that “7 ... we speak wisdom of Yahweh, that had been hidden in a mystery, which Yahweh had predetermined before the ages for our honor … but just as it is written, 'Things which eye did not see, and ear did not hear, and came not into the heart of man, those things Yahweh has prepared for them that love Him,' 10 yet to us Yahweh reveals them through the Spirit”. Here in chapter 4 of his first epistle to the Corinthians Paul asserts that he and Apollos are attendants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Therefore with this we have substantiation of our interpretation of Paul's earlier comments, that the mystery of God was revealed to the apostles, and that mystery is what Yahweh had purposed for His people Israel, which was already being preached by the apostles to the Corinthians and others. This is the mystery which Paul had said at the close of Romans chapter 16 was being revealed in his own time by the prophetic writings of the Scripture. All things being revealed, we too must be able to find them in the prophecies of the Old Testament Scripture, especially using the epistles of Paul as a guide. That is the basis for Christian Identity, which we esteem to be the only true and factual Christianity.

2 But furthermore, you must require with stewards that one is found faithful.

The editors of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece have here “But furthermore it is required in stewards that one is found faithful”, reading “it is required” [ζητεῖται], the reading which is found in the Codex Vaticanus (B) and the Majority Text and which is the reading that is found in the King James Version, rather than “you must require” [ζητεῖτε]. The text of the Christogenea New Testament follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), and Claromontanus (D), all of which have a form of the verb which is either an indicative or imperative second person active plural rather than the third person passive singular. The Nestle-Aland critical apparatus states that these manuscripts may be in error ex itacismo, which means that they have “substituted letters with the same phonetic value”. However we may readily assert that the precise opposite is true, that it is the Codex Vaticanus (B) and the Majority Text which are in error, perhaps even for this same reason. However in truth, we may not even agree that the variant letters in the two readings have the same phonetic value, or whether that is the reason for the differences.

That the manuscripts which we have followed, those which have “you must require”, are the ones with the proper reading is clear from the agreement in context with the passage which follows. Paul is telling his congregation that they must scrutinize their ministers (or stewards), and then he offers himself for this same purpose, where he says “by you to be examined”, in the very next verse. Therefore we see the context for the phrase “you must require” here in this verse. In the authoritarian organized churches, the reading of the Codex Vaticanus and the Majority Text may be preferred, since those organizations despise the Christian concept of community governance, where ministers are obligated to the people, and not to some supposed ecclesiastical authority from outside of the community.

3 Now to me, it is in the least matter that by you I am examined, or in the days of mankind. But neither do I examine myself.

The Greek phrase ἢ ὑπὸ ἀνθρωπίνης ἡμέρας: is literally “or by a day of mankind” where we have “or in the days of mankind”. We have chosen to keep the translation at least somewhat literal, but do not disagree with the interpretation found in the King James Version where it says “or of man’s judgment”. Paul can only be referring to this current age where men judge others by their own perception. Our true judge is Yahweh our God, and only He can judge us equitably.

Paul is offering himself for the judgment of the assembly because that is the standard which he is setting here, as we have read verse 2, that all ministers and other stewards of the people are liable to be examined by the people in order that it is assured that they are and remain faithful. Paul is applying the same standard to himself because no man is above such accountability. Therefore if Paul insists that the assemblies in Christ examine their leaders, he can only be fair by offering himself for examination as well.

4 Indeed not one thing for myself am I conscious, although not in this have I been proven, but it is the Prince who examines me.

Here Paul attests that he has not conducted his ministry for his own personal gain, even though his ultimate acceptance before Christ will not be predicated upon that.

5 Consequently, do not judge one prematurely, until the Prince should come, who will both illuminate the secrets of darkness, and make known the counsels of hearts; then at that time to each there will be approval from Yahweh.

It may have been better for us to write “do not condemn one prematurely”, as we shall see what Paul means by the Christian judgment of sinners in 1 Corinthians chapter 5. There it is fully evident that while Christians should not condemn their sinful brethren, they are nevertheless obligated to separate sinners from the Christian community. The Greek word κρίνω infers both judgment and condemnation, which is the execution of punishment in judgment.

However here Paul also explains why Christians should not execute judgment against their brethren: because only God Himself can judge men fairly, since only God can truly “illuminate the secrets of darkness” which reveals the real motives for what men may see as other men's sins. Even with that, Paul confidently affirms that ultimately “to each there will be approval”, ostensibly because all of Israel shall indeed be saved.

6 Now these things, brethren, I have changed the illustration of for myself and Apollos on account of you,

The Greek word μετασχηματίζω is “transfer in a figure” here in the King James Version. According to Liddell & Scott, Plato used the term to mean “to change the form of”, which seems to be the most literal definition. This word is also found in 2 Corinthians 11:13, 15; Philippians 3:21, and once in the Septuagint in 4 Maccabees 9:22.

Perhaps we may have better read the preposition as to, rather than for. Paul is saying that he has transferred the illustration to himself and Apollos, or in other words that he has used himself and Apollos in his examples here for a particular purpose, and then he explains that purpose:

in order that with us you learn not beyond the things which have been written, that not one for one’s benefit are you inflated against another.

The Codex Ephraemi Syri (C), a 6th century codex known as 0285, and the Majority Text have “learn not to think beyond”; the text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B) and Claromontanus (D).

So Paul has made examples of himself and Apollos in order that the Corinthian Christians “learn not beyond the things which have been written”, meaning that it is the Scripture that should be the guiding light of Christians, and not the personalities of men.

While all of the reasons for which Paul is about to criticize the Corinthians are not yet evident, it is evident that the Corinthians have dissension within their assembly, and that they had been judging according to the judgments of men, and not according to the Scripture. By making a reference to “the things which have been written” Paul must be referring to the Old Testament writings, and the Corinthians should govern their assembly by them. Paul has already used the phrases “for it is written” or “as it is written” four times in this epistle, quoting Scripture on each occasion. In 1 Corinthians chapter 10, again citing the writings from the Old Testament, Paul says “11 Now these things as examples happened to them, and have been written for our admonition, to those whom have attained to the fulfillments of the ages.”

Paul is warning the Corinthians, that for the benefit of a particular member of their assembly, they should not inflate themselves against one or more of the other members of the assembly. This seems to reflect a serious disagreement among the Corinthians concerning how they had handled the accusations against a certain member of their assembly which Paul introduces here in chapter 5.

7 Who are you that you make a distinction? Now what do you have that you did not comprehend? And if then you did comprehend, why do you boast as if not comprehending?

The Greek word λαμβάνω (2983) is three times here literally receive in the King James Version, where we have comprehend in this context. Liddell & Scott have in their definition of λαμβάνω (I. 11.) “to seize with the mind, apprehend, comprehend to take i.e. understand...”.

Paul had made examples of himself and Apollos, then he explained that stewards of the assembly must be liable to examination, and then he asserted that the Scripture, and not men, should be upheld as the authority of the assembly where he advised them not to learn “beyond the things which have been written”. (Not all learning is valid.) Now he infers that certain Corinthians have inflated themselves against others for the benefit of someone else, and here Paul asks “Who are you that you make a distinction?” If for the benefit of one we inflate ourselves against another, then we are not judging fairly according to the Scripture. If we understood the Scripture, we would neither boast nor inflate ourselves in our judgment. Rather, making a distinction we are being partial in our judgment, since all men should judge and be judged equally in accordance with the Word of Yahweh God, and since those who judge men should do so with humility since they themselves may one day be sinners.

8 Already have you been satiated [or filled]? Already are you enriched? Without our intervention have you ruled? Then surely I would be obliged that you had ruled, in order that we also with you may rule together.

Here in verse 8 we have three clauses which are marked as questions, which neither the Nestle-Aland text, the King James nor any other version have marked as such. The literal translation, along with the context of the passage speak for themselves. The verbs here are in the Indicative mood, which is often used for interrogatory statements (see MacDonald, p. 43), and even without an interrogatory particle. There are many such examples in Paul's writing that are noticed by the King James Version, for which one may see Romans 2:21 and 22 and 14:22; 1 Corinthians 1:13, 7:21 and 27; 2 Corinthians 3:1, 11:22 and 23 and 12:19; Galatians 3:3 and 4 and 4:21.

However most of the translations of this passage which we have seen do appear to detect the sarcasm in Paul's statements, that the Corinthians have not achieved the things which Paul mentions here. They are not full, or satiated. They are not enriched, ostensibly referring to that treasure in heaven which is the only true Christian treasure. And they have not ruled, meaning that the Kingdom of God had not yet overthrown the kingdoms of the world. Therefore they have no reason to think of themselves as being superior to any of their brethren.

9 Indeed I suppose Yahweh has appointed us, of the last of the Ambassadors, destined to die, seeing that we have become a spectacle to the Society, both to Messengers and to men.

Paul is humbling himself for an example, as he admonishes the Corinthian Christians to whom he refers that they should not exalt themselves. As Paul explained it, for one's benefit they must not inflate themselves against others.

10 We are fools for the sake of the Anointed, but are you prudent among the Anointed [P11 has ἐν κυρίῳ]? We are weak, but are you strong? Are you held in honor, but we without esteem?

All of the other translations which we have noticed also read these three questions as statements. That would be fine, if the reader were able to detect the sarcasm. Paul is not saying that these Corinthians whom he has in mind are prudent, strong and esteemed in honor. Rather, he is only asserting that their estate is no better than that of the apostles who cannot consider themselves to be any of these things, but who instead consider themselves to be fools (in the sense that they are rejected by society) and men who are powerless and despised by the world. His next statement establishes that context.

11 Until the present hour we both hunger and thirst, and we are naked, and we are beaten repeatedly, and we are unestablished, 12 and we toil, laboring with our own hands.

The Greek word ἀστατέω (790), is “to wander about, to rove without a settled abode” (Thayer), and it appears nowhere else in the Greek Scriptures [ἄστατος, “unstable” appears at 3 Maccabees 5:39]. Here we simply have unestablished, but the inference is that they did not have a home of their own. Paul is reminding the Corinthians of the things that the apostles were suffering on account of the ministry of the Gospel, that they should not exalt themselves, but also for reasons which become manifest with the questions which follow:

Have we spoken well, railing at ourselves? Have we upheld accusing ourselves? 13 Have we encouraged speaking badly of ourselves? Like the refuse of the Society, have we become scum of all things until now?

The 7th century papyrus P68 and the Codices Vaticanus (B) and Claromontanus (D) have βλασφημούμενοι, “blaspheming ourselves” rather than δυσφημούμενοι, or “speaking badly of ourselves”. The text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C).

And again, there are four clauses in these last two verses which we have read as questions although none of the other translations mark them as questions. Three of these clauses contain a verb which is a Medium Voice participle: λοιδορούμενοι, “railing at ourselves”; διωκόμενοι, “accusing ourselves”; and δυσφημούμενοι, “speaking badly of ourselves”, The Medium Voice has “a reflexive force” and “the subject produces and receives the action” (MacDonald, p. 5), which is seen in the expressions of these Medium Voice words in our translations here.

Paul is illustrating the behaviour of the apostles in their own sorrowful and humble condition, that no matter how badly things have gone for them they have not sunk to the level of railing at one another, or accusing or blaspheming one another. The rhetorical questions indicate that if they had done such things, it would not have been good. Paul is making these illustrations because evidently, as he had previously mentioned, for the benefit of a certain individual some of the Corinthians had inflated themselves against the others. Evidently, they made a distinction for the benefit of one individual which precluded them from judging according to Scripture. Then, evidently, they began railing at or speaking badly or accusing one another because of the division. If the apostles had done any of those things during their own trials, they would have been the scum of the earth. But Paul is not yet pointing any fingers in order to accuse certain Corinthians of doing these things, he instead makes these examples hoping that they may repent of their error and follow them. Therefore he says:

14 I do not write these things regarding you, but as I would advise my beloved children.

The Greek word ἐντρέπω (1788) here is “to regard” where the King James Version has “to shame”. For this same word, the King James Version has “to be ashamed” at 2 Thessalonians 3:14 and at Titus 2:8, but “to revere” or “reverence” at Matthew 21:37, Mark 12:6, Luke 20:13, and Heb. 12:9, and “to regard” at Luke 18:2 and 4. Under their definition of ἐντρέπω Liddell & Scott have “to feel shame or fear”, citing only the New Testament, at ἐντρέπω II. 4. Yet according to Liddell & Scott the general meaning of the word is “to turn about...linger, turn towards, give heed to, pay regard to, to respect or reverence...”. I cannot agree that ἐντρέπω should mean “to shame”, however if Paul had written all of those things regarding the Corinthians it would indeed be a shame to them, because they are things which are shameful to do. So rather than write accusations against the Corinthians, Paul used himself and Apollos as examples instead, and made rhetorical arguments in order to convince the Corinthians that they should refrain from such behaviour.

15 Although you may have a myriad of tutors among the Anointed, certainly not many fathers; indeed in Christ Yahshua through the good message I have begotten you. 16 Therefore I encourage you, become imitators of me.

Paul is not saying that the Corinthians actually had a myriad of tutors in Christ, or “among the Anointed”, but that even if they did, it was he who originally brought them to the Gospel. The analogy of teacher to student as father to child was common in the ancient world, and therefore Christ said “call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father”. Yet Paul is not asking to be called father. He is only exhorting the Corinthians to imitate him in the examples he makes here, because they learned the Gospel from him at the first.

The apostle John frequently made the same analogy in his first epistle, and also in his third, where he had written: “1 The elder unto the wellbeloved Gaius, whom I love in the truth. 2 Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth. 4 I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” So John had also considered those whom he had brought to the Gospel to be his children.

The term papa was, however, a term of endearment which early Christians applied to certain of their leaders, in spite of the admonition of Christ. In the writings of Eusebius and other early Christians it is evident that certain Christian assemblies outside of Rome, and especially the assembly at Antioch, had used the term to describe their own bishops or other elders, and only later did the Bishop of Rome pilfer the term for himself. Yet it was only a term of endearment for a respected elder, and it was never meant to be a formal title as Christ condemns such a use.

17 For this reason I have dispatched Timotheos to you, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Prince, who will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I always teach in every assembly.

We do not have a record of Paul's sending Timothy to Corinth, but while Paul was in Ephesus we see at Acts chapter 19 that he had sent Timothy and Erastus to Macedonia: “22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.” From the account in Acts chapter 20 and from the salutation of Paul's epistle to the Romans, it is evident that both Timothy and Erastus are with Paul when that epistle was written in the Troad. Later, writing 2 Timothy, we see Paul state that “Erastus abode at Corinth” (4:20). It is quite possible that Timothy and Erastus were to travel to Corinth as well as to Macedonia, but that Corinth is simply not mentioned in Luke's abbreviated account. When Paul wrote his second epistle to the Corinthians perhaps a year or so after writing this epistle, Timothy is with him and is mentioned in the salutation. Therefore it seems that Timothy delivered this very epistle to the Corinthians, and brought an answer back to Paul which precipitated his second epistle and his subsequent visit with them which is barely recorded in Acts chapter 20.

18 Now concerning my not coming to you, some had been indignant; 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Prince wishes, and I will know not the speech of those who have inflated themselves, but the power.

As we had discussed in earlier portions of this presentation of 1 Corinthians, this is not the first epistle which Paul had written to them, and this very epistle is written in response to correspondence which he had received from them. Yet all of these earlier correspondences between Paul and the Corinthians are now lost. Evidently while Paul was in Ephesus, he had already had one exchange of letters with them, and while they requested his presence in Corinth, he was not able to oblige them.

20 For not in speech is the kingdom of Yahweh, but in power.

We have demonstrated that both of Paul's existing letters to the Corinthians were written between his two visits to Corinth. Therefore it is descriptive of his year-and-a-half stay in Corinth, described in Acts chapter 18, where Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 12 that “12 Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.”

We had discussed while presenting chapter 2 of this epistle that while the Book of Acts does not tell us much of what happened in Corinth at that time, there must have been some significant events related to Paul's ministry which had happened there. In chapter 2 of this epistle he had written that “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:”

21 What do you wish? Should I come to you with a rod, or in love and gentleness in Spirit?

Here Paul expresses the desire that the Corinthians heed to his admonitions and follow the model of humility in Christ which the apostles themselves had followed. True humility is in the subjection of oneself to Yahweh God. Therefore the apostle James wrote in chapter 4 of his epistle: “5 Or do you suppose that vainly the Scripture says: 'With envy yearns the spirit which dwells in us'? 6 But more greatly He gives favor, on which account it says: 'Yahweh opposes the arrogant, but He gives favor to the humble.' 7 Therefore subject yourselves to Yahweh, but stand against the False Accuser [or the devil] and he shall flee from you.”

With this we shall commence with 1 Corinthians chapter 5, where Paul explains the reasons for addressing the contention found among the Corinthians in chapter 4:

1 Fornication is generally reported among you, and fornication so bad that such is not even among the heathens, for one to have his father’s wife.

The word heathens would more properly be rendered nations, however the inference is to the pagan nations of the oikoumenê. Paul asserts that the sin is so horrific that even the pagans would not mention it, and it is true that the Romans had laws governing proper and improper marital relations, as the Greeks and others did before them. The 7th century papyrus P68 and the Majority Text have “not even named among the heathens”, which we see reflected in the King James Version. The text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Claromontanus (D).

The word fornication is confusing to many people, because it appears in diverse contexts throughout Scripture. Some would assert that fornication is race-mixing, and it is. But others would assert that fornication is prostitution, and of course they are not wrong to make that assertion, especially since the Greek word πορνεία which is often translated as fornication literally means prostitution. But they are wrong to attempt to use examples where by fornication the context is clearly prostitution in order to somehow prove that fornication is not race-mixing. In truth, fornication is illicit sexual activity, and therefore it may describe either race-mixing or prostitution or any number of other sexual sins. According to Liddell & Scott, Phalarus, a Greek writer of the 6th century BC, as well as Demosthenes, a Greek writer of the 4th century BC, both used the same Greek word πορνεία to describe sodomites.

In the Septuagint πορνεία was frequently a metaphor used in reference to idolatry. When the children of Israel married themselves to the foreign races they were depicted as committing such idolatry, because Yahweh demanded that the children of Israel remain separate from the other nations. Therefore we may read in Hosea chapter 5: “3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled. 4 They will not frame their doings to turn unto their God: for the spirit of whoredoms is in the midst of them, and they have not known the LORD. 5 And the pride of Israel doth testify to his face: therefore shall Israel and Ephraim fall in their iniquity; Judah also shall fall with them. 6 They shall go with their flocks and with their herds to seek the LORD; but they shall not find him; he hath withdrawn himself from them. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” The strange children, with all certainty, were the children which resulted from the Israelites having mixed themselves with people of other nations in their idolatry. In the Revelation, Christ using Jezebel as the model for fornication promises to slay her children for not repenting of it.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 10 Paul makes a clear reference to fornication as race-mixing, where he uses it in reference to an event with the men of Israel who joined themselves to the daughters of Moab, which is found in Numbers chapter 25. Likewise, Jude attests that fornication, or πορνεία, is the pursuit of strange flesh. Here Paul uses πορνεία to describe an illicit relationship between a man and his father's wife, who is not necessarily his mother. So πορνεία is literally prostitution, but was used to describe other illicit sexual activities as well. When an Israelite engages in illicit sexual activity, he sells his relationship with his God for the temporary pleasures found in the lusts of the world.

As for the man and his father's wife, the law of Yahweh says in Deuteronomy chapter 22 that “30 A man shall not take his father's wife, nor discover his father's skirt.” Furthermore, in Deuteronomy chapter 27 it says “20 Cursed be he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt.”

2 And you are inflated, and rather you have not mourned, in order that he who did this deed would be taken from your midst.

The Majority Text has “would be expelled from your midst” where the King James Version has “might be taken away from among you.” The text follows the 6th century papyrus P11, the 3rd century papyrus P46, the 7th century papyri P61 and P68 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Claromontanus (D).

The text of the Nestle-Aland, in both the 27th and the 28th editions, marks this verse as a question, which only a few of the major English translations follow. The reading would be: “And are you inflated, and rather have you not mourned, that he who did this deed would be taken from your midst?”

Paul is apparently saying that if the assembly had humbled themselves and mourned upon hearing that one of their members sinned in this manner, that the sinner would have been removed from their company providentially.

3 For certain I, being absent in body, but being present in the spirit, already as if being present have determined just who has been perpetrating this.

Here Paul asserts that he knew by the spirit which of the Corinthians had perpetrated this deed, although he had apparently not been told anything specific. The revelation is therefore attributed to one aspect of the prophetic ability. The Greek word κέκρικα is determined here. It is a perfect tense form of κρίνω (Strong's # 2919) “to separate, part, put asunder, distinguish... II. to pick out, choose... III. to decide...judge...” (Liddell & Scott), so it is determined here in the sense of selecting or distinguishing, rather than judged as it appears in the King James Version. The word judged may be understood in another, incorrect, context. The word κρίνω has an array of meanings which are sometimes difficult to determine in English because of our disassociation from first century Greek culture. Paul will explain Christian judgment in 1 Corinthians 5:12 where he instructs his readers as to how this situation should be handled.

4 In the name of our Prince, Yahshua Christ, your gathering together and of my Spirit, with the power of Prince Yahshua, 5 deliver such a wretch to the Adversary, for destruction of the flesh, in order that the Spirit may be preserved in the day of the Prince.

Although such variations are usually not noted here, as they occur frequently among the manuscripts, at the end of verse 5 the 7th century papyrus P61, the Codex Sinaiticus (א), and the Majority Text all append the word for Yahshua, while the Codex Claromontanus (D) appends “Yahshua Christ”, and the Codex Alexandrinus (along with many later manuscripts) has the phrase “of our Prince Yahshua Christ”; the text follows the 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codex Vaticanus (B) [the Codex Ephraemi Syri is illegible here].

The Greek of the opening clause of verse 5 is literally “to have such a wretch delivered”, the verb παραδοῦναι being an active Aorist Infinitive form of παραδίδωμι (Strong's # 3860).

Paul made a similar statement in 1 Timothy chapter 1 where he says “19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: 20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.”

So we see that sinners, as well as those who lose their compass in the faith in one way or another and become shipwrecks, are delivered to the adversary that in their flesh they may be destroyed. Yet their spirits are preserved in the day of Christ. Note that Paul did not say that their spirits would be preserved until the day of Christ, but in the day of Christ. He said the same thing of this man, who being such a dreadful sinner he should be delivered to the Adversary, or to Satan, for destruction of the flesh in order that his spirit may be preserved in the day of the Prince. All of this agrees with what Paul said in 1 Corinthians chapter 4, that in the day of Christ all would have approval from Yahweh, and also in 1 Corinthians chapter 3 where he said that even those whose works burned up completely in the day of judgment would nevertheless be preserved in the end.

In 1 Corinthians chapter 3, speaking allegorically of a man's life work, Paul of Tarsus said that “15 If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” Now here in 1 Corinthians chapter 5 Paul says of a fornicator that the Christian assembly should “deliver such a wretch to the Adversary, for destruction of the flesh, in order that the Spirit may be preserved in the day of the Prince.” In both cases we see that although a man was leading a useless, sinful life, his spirit would still survive in the day of Christ, which is a reference to the great day of judgment spoken of in Revelation chapter 20, where it says “12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. 13 And the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.” Yet even if their works burn completely, they themselves shall still be saved although they shall suffer loss, having no reward. Only those written into the Lamb's Book of Life are judged in this manner. Those not written into the Book of Life bypass this judgment, because they are cast directly into the Lake of Fire after Hell and Death, as it says in Revelation 20:15.

But that is the judgment seat of Christ which is reserved for the Adamic race at the end of days. That is not to be confused with the fiery trials of this life which we all undergo. As Peter wrote in the 4th chapter of his 1st epistle: “12 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13 But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.”

Christians within the Body of Christ may hope to escape such trials, and at the least to withstand them when they do befall them. For this reason Peter also wrote in chapter 5 of that same epistle: “8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.” The apostle John explains why we are afflicted in the world, in 1 John chapter 5 where he says “19 We know that we are from of Yahweh and the whole Society lies in the power of the Evil One. ” In respect of this Paul warns the Christian in Ephesians chapter 6: “13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” Paul spoke often of temptation, and he warned the Thessalonians in his first epistle to them, in chapter 3 that “5 For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain.”

Christians are tried by Satan, by the power of the adversaries of Christ who are in the world, and they hope, and should even expect to prevail when they remain steadfast in Christ. However when Christians fall into sin, they may be delivered to Satan, to the enemies of God in the world, for destruction of the flesh. As it is written in Job chapter 16: “God hath delivered me to the ungodly, and turned me over into the hands of the wicked.” Even then, their Adamic spirits shall live in the day of Christ, because the entire Adamic race has a spirit eternal from God, which has already been created to be immortal.

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens [D has “beguiles”] the entire dough? 7 Cleanse out the old leaven, that you may be a new dough, just as you are unleavened.

Leaven does not always represent something bad. In fact, sometimes it can be an analogy for something good, as this saying of Christ is recorded in Matthew chapter 13: “33 Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened.”

However here Paul uses leaven as an analogy for something bad, as Christ also occasionally did. As it is recorded in Luke chapter 12: “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. For there is nothing covered, that shall not be revealed; neither hid, that shall not be known.” Of course, leaven mixed into flour is at first difficult for men to perceive, a trait which makes such analogies effective. Paul finished verse 7 by writing:

Since also our passover, Christ, has been sacrificed.

The Majority Text and some late manuscripts have “Since also our passover, for our benefit, has Christ been sacrificed.” The text follows the 6th century papyrus P11, the 3rd century papyrus P46, and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Claromontanus (D).

Upon first seeing Yahshua Christ, John the Baptist is recorded as having said “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29) Christ was the Lamb of God, as He is also frequently portrayed in the Revelation, and He Himself said, as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 26: “1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had finished all these sayings, he said unto his disciples, 2 Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.” Christ, the Lamb of God, was slain on the Passover for the remittance of sins to Israel. Therefore to Christian Israelites, He is the new Passover. This of course should be a basic fundamental of Christian doctrine.

In the Old Testament, Israelites were forbidden to have leaven in their homes or in their possession during the Passover, and were commanded to dispose of all leaven before the Passover began. From Exodus chapter 12: “14 And this day shall be unto you for a memorial; and ye shall keep it a feast to the LORD throughout your generations; ye shall keep it a feast by an ordinance for ever. 15 Seven days shall ye eat unleavened bread; even the first day ye shall put away leaven out of your houses: for whosoever eateth leavened bread from the first day until the seventh day, that soul shall be cut off from Israel.” This is an analogy for Christians coming to Christ. A Christian cannot come to Christ our Passover if he still possesses the old leaven of worldly religions and holds onto worldly ideals.

8 Consequently we should keep the festival, not with old leaven, nor with leaven of sloth and wickedness, but with unleavened sincerity and truth.

Here we see that Paul further advises Christians to keep the feast of Passover. However Passover should not be confused with the pagan Easter rituals.

9 I had written to you in the letter, not to associate with fornicators: 10 not at all with the fornicators of this Society, or with the covetous, or rapacious, or idolaters, seeing that you are therefore obliged to come out from the Society.

The fornicators of this world certainly appear to be those same people that the apostle John had described as antichrists, and also those same people about whom both Jude and Peter had written in their epistles. As Jude had explained, “4 For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” After connecting these to the “angels which kept not their first estate” and to Sodom and Gomorrah, and to fornication and the pursuit of strange flesh, Jude further said “10 But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.” The apostle then warned “12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; 13 Raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame; wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever.”

The apostle Peter described these same men where he said: “12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; 13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; 14 Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children … 17 These are wells without water, clouds that are carried with a tempest; to whom the mist of darkness is reserved for ever.”

These infiltrators into ancient Israel are the same people who rejected Christ, as the apostle John said in the 2nd chapter of his first epistle: “18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. 19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

Today we know these people, in large part, as Jews. These are indeed among the “fornicators of this world” and are themselves a corrupted, mongrelized race. These are a distinct class who can never have fellowship with Christ, and the Gospel offers them no prospect of conversion to Christ. With these Christians should have no communion at all, and there is no chance of their repentance or rehabilitation or especially of their acceptance. They themselves are the devil seeking whom they may devour, as the apostles warn us that they feast among us with eyes full of adultery beguiling unstable souls with covetous practices. Satan, or the Adversary, is here with us in this world. He is certainly not in heaven.

11 But presently I have written to you not to associate with any brother if he is being designated a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or abusive, or drunken, or rapacious; not even to eat with such a wretch.

From this we see that the “fornicators of this world” are not mere brethren who may sin, but they are another matter entirely, as we have just described from the writings of the other apostles. Paul indeed agrees, where in his second epistle to the Thessalonians he describes Satan as being contemporary, and sitting in the temple of God, imagining for himself to be a god. With that, Paul could only have been describing the high priests of his time, who were Edomite Sadducees. Then, in 2 Thessalonians chapter 3, Paul exhorted that the Thessalonians thusly: “1 For what remains, pray brethren, for us - in order that the Word of the Prince may move quickly and be extolled, just as even with you, 2 and that we should be protected from those disgusting and wicked men, since the faith is not for all. 3 But trustworthy is the Prince, who will establish you and keep you from the wicked.” There he must have been referring to the same “fornicators of this world”. However, in reference to our own brethren who are sinful, we must also treat them as the faithless and put them outside of the Christian assembly so long as they refuse to repent. Therefore Paul continues:

12 What is it to me to judge those outside? Not at all should you judge those within you [or those among you].

The phrase “those within you” would have better been rendered “those among you”, however the literal sense was purposely left so that the meaning of similar phrases as they often appear in the archaic English of the King James Version might be made manifest. The phrase “those outside” refers to those who are not or even cannot be a part of the Christian assembly. The phrase “within you” in reference to a group means “among you”, as we would say in modern English. The King James Version has in verse 12 “them … that are without” and “them that are within”.

The Nestle-Aland text, as well as the King James Version and others, continue the interrogation through the second clause in verse 12, or mark it as a separate question. The negative particle οὐ, which is one way to say no or not in Greek, “is used interrogatively - when an affirmative answer is expected”, according to Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon of the new Testament (Thayer, οὐ, 7). So “should you not judge those within you?” is a possible, but not a necessary interpretation, but it would causer a conflict with Paul’s other teachings, and also conflict with the context here in verses 2, 5, and 13. Here Paul is telling the Corinthians not to execute judgment against fellow Christians, and gives them the proper remedy in the next passage.

13 But those outside Yahweh judges; “you will expel the wicked from amongst yourselves.”

Here Paul quotes from Deuteronomy 17:7, and the Greek is nearly identical to that of the Septuagint. There the law discusses the execution of certain sinners, and it says “6 He shall die on the testimony of two or three witnesses; a man who is put to death shall not be put to death for one witness. 7 And the hand of the witnesses shall be upon him among the first to put him to death, and the hand of the people at the last; so shalt thou remove the evil one from among yourselves.”

However the children of Israel lost the ability to enforce the Law of Yahweh because they did not keep the law of Yahweh, and are therefore under the laws of the beast systems prophesied in the Word of Yahweh. Early Christians, like the Judaeans, could not lawfully execute sinners. The Judaeans even complained about this when Pilate told them to dispose of the Christ for themselves, where we read in John chapter 18: “31 Therefore Pilatos said to them: 'You take Him and judge Him according to your law.' The Judaeans said to him: 'It is not lawful for us to slay anyone'”.

In that same manner, neither could Christians uphold the law of God by executing sinners for themselves, and neither can the Christians of today. Yet here Paul assures them that Yahweh God judges those who are disobedient, when Christians separate themselves from them. Therefore Paul explained to Timothy (in 1 Timothy chapter 1) that he had delivered Hymenaeus and Alexander “unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” Speaking of this very fornicator, Paul advised these Corinthians here in verse 5 to “deliver such a wretch to the Adversary, for destruction of the flesh, in order that the Spirit may be preserved in the day of the Prince.” Christians should separate themselves from unrepentant sinners, and putting them out of their Christian community they should pray that Yahweh God judges them swiftly. As in the Old Testament when the children of Israel were disobedient, Yahweh uses His enemies to chastise His people.

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