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Paul's Epistle to the Colossians Part 5: Bad Words and “Filthy Communications”
Thankfully, bad words and filthy communications are not all we have to discuss this evening, however we seem to constantly be confronted by what I can only call “word Pharisees”, and they certainly need to be addressed.
In our recent discussions of Colossians chapter 2, we had seen Paul of Tarsus assert that because the children of Israel were freed from the ordinances of the law by the sacrifice of Yahshua Christ, Christians should not seek to judge one another based on those ordinances. Therefore Paul said “no one must judge you in food and in drink, or in respect of feast or new month or of the Sabbaths.” Of course, Paul was not telling Christians to disregard the sabbaths and the feasts, which he had advised them elsewhere to observe. Rather, he must have meant that no one should judge them as to how they observe those things, and especially concerning all of the commandments of men that were added to God’s laws regulating them.
Paul then advised his readers to “let no one find you unworthy of reward”, where he must have been referring to earthly rewards, making reference to those who would tell them that “One should not hold, nor should one taste, nor should one touch, (things which are all for corruption in their misuse,) according to the commands and instructions of men?” So we see that Christians should not seek to bar their brethren from anything which may give them refreshment or relief, even though that particular substance may be abused. Discussing this, we made examples of substances such as wine, marijuana and poppy, things which can certainly be abused, but which also have many legitimate uses. Conceding to the idea that the potential for the abuse of a substance is a good reason to proscribe the use of the substance actually isolates us from many of the wonderful and important resources provided for our use by the Creation of God, and in the long run often causes us more harm than good.
Making these points, Paul’s epistle seems to have actually been addressing three distinct groups: First there are the legalists, who would impose upon us “the commands and instructions of men”. Then there are the idolaters, for which reason Paul admonished those “being willing with humiliation even in worship of the Messengers; stepping into things which one sees, heedlessly inflated by the mind of one's flesh”. Then lastly there are the ascetics, who hold wisdom in will-worship and disregard of the body, rather than appreciating those things which God has provided for the satisfaction of the flesh.
This is how we have interpreted the rather enigmatic language which Paul had used in Colossians chapter 2, although it may be apparent that these various aspects of essentially anti-Christian behavior which Paul had addressed were not so distinct from one another as we have portrayed them here. However the summary point is this: Christians all together should seek to follow Christ, who is the Head of the Body of which Paul speaks, and therefore they should not seek to rule over one another, making their own laws in order to compel or proscribe things which the Law of Yahweh in Christ does not compel or proscribe. Doing so, they make the word of God of none effect. Yahweh God made the earth and everything in it, and He told us what things we should not consume. The pride of men cannot do better and improve on the word of God.
Once we think that we have the right to ban a substance, we embark down a path of oppression because sophistic arguments can convince us to ban many substances which may otherwise be beneficial in many ways. Once we think we have the right to proscribe a word, we step onto the slippery slope of controlling one anothers’ speech in ways that the Word of God does not advise. That too will be a part of our discussion this evening, as we present Colossians chapter 3.
1 Therefore if you are raised together with Christ, you seek the things above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of Yahweh. 2 Mind the things above, not the things upon the earth.
In chapter 4 of his epistle to the Galatians, Paul had mentioned that the “... Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all”, comparing those who would find righteousness in the works of the law, in the rituals and ceremonial ordinances (which Paul describes here as “stepping into things which one sees”) as opposed to those who seek justification in Christ. In the analogy Paul made there in Galatians, he said that “he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit.” Minding the things above, we look to Christ for our law as well as our justification, and we do not persecute one another “according to the commands and instructions of men”.
3 You have died, and your life has been hidden with Christ by Yahweh. 4 When Christ your [B, H, and the MT have “our”; the text follows P46, א, C, and D] life is manifested, then you also will be manifested with Him [A wants “with Him”] in honor.
In Hebrews chapter 9 Paul explained “26 For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: 28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.” Many Christians who are caught up in a materialist worldview doubt the literal interpretation of the promises of the coming manifestation of Christ, however the Scripture insists that such a manifestation shall indeed occur.
In that manner, as Paul had written in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” So we may read from Psalm 49: “12 Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish. 13 This their way is their folly: yet their posterity approve their sayings. 14 Like sheep they are laid in the grave; death shall feed on them; and the upright [those still living] shall have dominion over them in the morning; and their beauty shall consume in the grave from their dwelling. 15 But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave: for he shall receive me.” So Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians chapter 5 that “to be absent from the body, [is] to be present with the Lord.”
So Paul says here that our life is “hidden with Christ”, as all of the Adamic race have a promise of eternal life. Paul had said in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 “22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive”, speaking of all men who were descended from Adam. Therefore, because Christians are assured of these promises of life through Christ, they should voluntarily abandon the sins of the world, as Paul next encourages them to do.
5 Therefore make as dead these [A, D, H, and the MT have “your”; the text follows P46, א, B, and C] members which are upon the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil [P46 wants “evil”] desire, and covetousness - which is idolatry.
These are some of the real sins committed by the children of Israel when they committed idolatry and went after strange gods, as it is described in the Old Testament. So the Word of Yahweh says in Hosea chapter 5 that “3 I know Ephraim, and Israel is not hid from me: for now, O Ephraim, thou committest whoredom, and Israel is defiled…. 7 They have dealt treacherously against the LORD: for they have begotten strange children: now shall a month devour them with their portions.” Yahweh is the God of Israel. Here we see that the result of whoredom, or fornication, is to beget strange children. Once again today we may observe that Christians are begetting strange children in large numbers.
Here in Colossians Paul is preaching the very same message which he had transmitted to the Romans, in chapter 6 of that epistle where he made a lengthy analogy concerning death and sin, and he wrote: “3 Or are you ignorant that as long as we are immersed in Christ Yahshua, into His death we are immersed? 4 So we were buried with Him through immersion into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead through the honor of the Father, so then we in newness of life should walk. 5 Therefore if united we have become in the likeness of His death, then also shall we be of His resurrection; 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body would be left void of sin, that no longer are we in bondage to sin. 7 Therefore, dying one is judged worthy apart from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we also will live with Him, 9 knowing that Christ having been raised from the dead, dies no more; death no longer lords over Him. 10 Therefore when He died, the sin upon all died; but because He lives, He lives to Yahweh. 11 In that manner you also consider yourselves to be dead indeed in sin, but living to Yahweh, in Christ Yahshua. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, for which to submit to its desires. 13 Neither should you surrender your members as instruments of wrongdoing in sin, but present yourselves to Yahweh as living from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to Yahweh.”
All of the children of Israel were indeed dead in their sin, as we read in Hosea chapter 13 that “When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.” Then later in that same chapter we read of Ephraim in captivity that: “12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. 13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. 14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.” So Yahweh incarnate became the Redeemer of Israel, setting them free from the ordinances of the law, so that they would have no more guilt under the laws as Paul explained here in Colossians chapter 2 and at greater length in Romans chapter 7, so that Israel may be reconciled to Him.
The Greek word μέλος is a member here, and usually it is used to describe a part of the body, since it is literally a limb, such as an arm or a leg. But the word was also used to describe an element of a thing, such as an element of a song or a play. However the analogy which Paul seems to be making here is that the propensity for certain sins is a natural part of the fleshly being, which Christians should strive to overcome by the spirit within. Likewise, Paul wrote in Romans chapter 6 that “19 I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.” Then later in Romans chapter 7 he wrote “14 For we know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.” He then goes on to explain that the spiritual man overcomes the weakness of the flesh by acknowledging that the law of God is good. So the law is spiritual in the sense that those who have the Spirit of God have the capacity within them to follow the law: the law, as Yahweh had promised in Jeremiah, is written in their hearts. So Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 15 “14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. 15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.” For this same reason, the apostle John wrote in his first epistle “1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins...” As we had discussed at length presenting Romans chapter 6 here, the purpose of this life is so the Adamic man may learn the consequences of sin. Therefore one’s true life is hid with Christ, as Paul says here, and it will be made manifest when Christ is made manifest. For that Christians have hope.
Fornication is the pursuit of different flesh, as we have just seen the equivalent Hebrew word used in Hosea chapter 5, as the word is defined by Jude, and Paul also used it in the context of race-mixing in 1 Corinthians chapter 10. But the meaning of the word also includes prostitution and other forms of illicit sexual relations. All forms of fornication should be shunned by Christians. Uncleanness should be measured by the Laws of God, and where Peter exclaimed that he had never eaten anything common or unclean, Yahweh said in response that Peter should not consider common what Yahweh had cleansed. It is more evident in Scripture that there are many things which Yahweh had not cleansed, and Christians should continue to abstain from those unclean things. Yahweh did not die to cleanse asses, pigs and monkeys. The word πάθος, passion here, was used to describe things good or bad, suffering or pleasure. Here we understand it to mean sexual pleasure, the passions of the emotions which are properly remedied through lawful marriage as Paul describes in 1 Corinthians chapter 7. The phrase “evil desire” [P46 wants the word for “evil”] almost seems to be redundant when placed between passion and covetousness. Perhaps Paul was being emphatic, but there are evil desires outside of passion and covetousness. Here Paul identifies covetousness as idolatry, and it is certainly a form of idolatry when men put personal gain above the interests of their brethren and their community.
6 Because of these things comes the wrath of Yahweh upon the sons of disobedience, 7 among whom you once also walked when you had lived in these things.
The 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codex Vaticanus (B) want the phrase “upon the sons of disobedience”, which certainly seems to be a gloss considering the statement in verse 7. The text here follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Claromontanus (D), Coislinianus (H), Freerianus (I), and the Majority Text.
Rather than “when you had lived in these things”, the Codex Vaticanus Graecus 2061 (048) and the Majority Text have “when you had lived among them”, which would direct the statement to the “sons of disobedience”. The text here follows he 3rd century papyrus P46 and the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Vaticanus (B), Ephraemi Syri (C), Claromontanus (D), Coislinianus (H), Freerianus (I).
Paul had written similarly in Ephesians chapter 2, an epistle written shortly before this one: “1 And you, being dead in transgressions and in your errors 2 in which you had at one time walked, in accordance with the age of this Society, in accordance with the ruler of the office of the air, the spirit that is now operating within the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom we also had all at one time conducted ourselves, in the desires of our flesh, acting out the wills of the flesh and of the thoughts, and we were by nature children of wrath, even like the others. 4 But Yahweh, being rich in compassion, because of that great love of His with which He has loved us, 5 and we being dead in transgressions, are made alive with the Anointed (in favor are you being preserved), 6 and are raised together and are seated together in the heavenly places with Christ Yahshua, 7 in order that He would exhibit in the coming ages the surpassing riches of His favor in kindness to us among the number of Christ Yahshua.”
There are children of disobedience, children of wrath, whom the apostle Peter describes as “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...” and Peter also informs us that these are “as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed,” so they have no share in the promises of Christ.
However Paul also warned the Ephesians, in chapter 5 of his epistle to them and speaking of the same sins which he warns against here, “5 This is known by you: that any fornicator, or unclean or greedy person - who is an idolater, has no inheritance in the Kingdom of the Anointed and of Yahweh. 6 No one must deceive you with empty words, for on account of these things the wrath of Yahweh comes upon the sons of disobedience. 7 Therefore you must not be partakers with them. 8 For you were once darkness, but are now light in the Prince. Walk as children of light.”
Therefore the phrase “sons of disobedience” refers a particular group of people who have no expectation in Christ, which are those other races which have not God, just as much as it does to Israelites disaffected from their God and caught up in the sins of the world. Engaging in these sins, in this world even the children of Israel can expect to be punished along with those of the children of wrath. Therefore we see the plea of Revelation 18:5: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Paul continues his admonishment against sin:
8 And now you should also put off all these things: wrath, anger, malice, blasphemy, abusive language from out of your mouth,
The Greek word ὀργή (Strong’s # 3709) is “natural impulse or propension: one's temper, temperament, disposition, nature”, and in a secondary sense “passion, anger, wrath”, according to Liddell & Scott. The verb from which it is derived, ὀργάω, meant “to swell with moisture: of fruit, to swell and ripen” and then “of persons, to wax wanton: then, generally, to be eager or ready, to be excited”. In contrast, the word θυμός (Strong’s # 2372) describes the soul or spirit or life of a man, like the Latin anima, and also the I, temper or will. According to Liddell & Scott the word came to be used of anger or wrath as it described the heart of man as being the seat of anger. So in the sense in which they are used here, the two words seem to be synonyms. But ὀργή seems to refer more specifically to anger in excitement, while θυμός may refer to a more calculated anger stemming from the will of man rather than merely from an excited rage.
The Greek word αἰσχρολογία (Strong’s # 148) is “filthy communication” in the King James Version, and it is defined by Liddell & Scott as “foul language, obscenity... abuse”. Discussing Colossians chapter 2 we described certain aspects of legalism, which we also identified with Pharisaism. There are also many word Pharisees who cite Paul’s statement here in order to justify their condemnation of men merely for using particular words, regardless of the context in which those words are used. But words by themselves are not malignant, and even so-called “bad words” may not be attractive, but they are nevertheless harmless, and one must not condemn one’s fellows for the mere use of such words. There are no forbidden words in Scripture, but only evil thoughts, which should be forbidden because they are evil.
A word, whether seemly or unseemly, merely represents an object or idea. If one uses a particular word which is considered a “bad” word, the person who condemns that word but then uses a euphemism instead is nevertheless representing the same object or idea. So how is that person not a Pharisaical hypocrite? For example, a man may say “I was walking down the street and stepped in a pile of shit”, and be condemned by someone who insists that he must use a term such as poop or dung instead. But how is it not hypocrisy to use a different word which describes the same object, while condemning a man for using the synonym? It certainly is hypocrisy, for judging one’s brother unrighteously and doing the same thing which you have judged, under the pretense of a euphemism. I must ask, where is the list of bad words and acceptable euphemisms in Scripture? There is none, so in essence you are condemning a brother “according to the commands and instructions of men.”
We could make a similar example for every so-called “bad word”. In essence, none of them are bad by themselves, even if they typically represent things that are unseemly. And just because each of those unseemly things can be expressed with nicer language, that would not make them seemly! The seemingly nicer language is merely specious. Accidentally stepping into a pile of excrement is every bit as horrible as stepping into a pile of shit.
Many of my listeners may wonder why this is belabored, as we discussed it at even greater length presenting Ephesians 4:49 here some months ago, where Paul had said “29 You must not let any corrupt word  go out of your mouth, but if anything good is of use for building, that would give delight to those listening.” And of course I would agree with Paul, but there is much more that constitutes a corrupt communication than a mere unseemly word. Corrupt communications are lies and blasphemies, indignation, wrath and malice, against either our God or our brethren. But all of those things can be accomplished with language which is imagined to be either good or bad. Some horrible things have been uttered using some very eloquent speech.
To me at least, it is important that we understand this. We must distinguish real sin from the mere perceptions of good and evil which exist in the wider society. Do you agree with a sodomite or a fornicator who admonishes someone for using a so-called bad word, while the society insists that you accept sodomites and fornicators? The society expects you to accept everyone who acts “nice”, and reject everyone who does not act “nice”. But Miss Manners and Dear Abby were both Jewesses. When over the course of the last century modern Western society was successfully undermined by the enemies of Christ, those enemies were able to exploit the false sense of morality which was upheld by societal standards founded on the precepts of men, and not truly founded upon the laws of Yahweh our God. For example, it was easy in the 1960’s for Jewish comics to captivate teenagers by using so-called bad words that were artificially forbidden by society. Once they captivated the youth by undermining the pretenses of piety, they were able to undermine the perception of Christianity upheld by the society. It is possible, that if children were taught the reality of life and nature in plain language, perhaps the Victorian house of cards may not have come tumbling down. When we found our worldview and our morality on the laws of our God, as well as a proper sense of our identity, they are unshakable, and they cannot be undermined. The Jews were able to easily undermine our society because false values of right and wrong cannot stand. Only Yahweh's values of right and wrong stand in the end, and that is what Christians should endeavor to live by.
On the other hand, the phrase rendered here as abusive language may just as well have been rendered shameful language. And while there are no words which are bad by themselves, there certainly is shameful language which Christians should certainly avoid. As Paul informs us in Ephesians chapter 5, among such language is ribaldry, which includes dirty jokes, allusions to sexual acts, jesting in reference to sexual practices or certain bodily functions, these things are sinful because they promote sinful acts, and emanating from the mouth they are certainly a sign of greater spiritual troubles in the person who utters them, and of that there is no doubt. For that reason, Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 5 “3 But fornication and all uncleanness or greediness you must not even specify among you, just as is suitable with saints, 4 and abusiveness and foolish speaking or ribaldry, which things are not fitting, but thanksgiving instead.”
So when a particular word is used which we may dislike, the context must be assessed before criticism is dispensed, or before a brother is wrongly judged. As our Judge has informed us, we ourselves will be measured by the same measure with which we judged our brethren. Christians should not seek to imitate the Pharisees, who cared more for the appearance of righteousness than for righteousness itself.
From Isaiah chapter 29: “20 For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off: 21 That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.”
Christians should look upon those using certain words with the same judgment that they should look upon those who drink a certain amount of wine. If one uses something with moderation, then what one uses should be overlooked by one’s brethren. Often in the mind of the speaker, the expletive fits the situation better than the euphemism, and in those cases we should not condemn the man who chooses the expletive. There is such a thing as too much wine, and in turn there are limits to the extent that just about anything else should be used as well. If you can do without something, that is good, and you may be a better person for it, but not necessarily a better Christian. You will not have justification merely due to your abstinence, so you probably should not seek to justify yourself.
9 do not lie to one another, putting off from yourselves the old man with his practices,
Of course, lies are truly shameful communications, especially when they are created to approve of or even promote things which are truly evil. In chapter 4 of his epistle to the Ephesians, Paul had described the many good gifts granted by God for the ministry of the gospel, for the purpose that “13... we all would attain to the unity of the faith and of the acknowledgment of the Son of Yahweh, at man perfected, at the measure of the stature of the fullness of the Anointed; 14 in order that we would be infants no longer - being tossed as waves and carried about in every wind of teaching by the trickery of men, in villainy for the sake of the systematizing of deception. 15 But speaking the truth with love, we may increase all things for He who is the head, the Christ”. Christians have an obligation to speak truthfully to one another, regardless of the potential for offended egos and hurt feelings. Speaking the truth with love, we hope to help our brethren overcome the systematizing of deception engineered within the larger society.
10 and putting on the new which is being renewed in knowledge in accordance with the image of He having created him.
And here once again we see what lies they are to which Paul is referring, just as he had explained in Ephesians. The ancient society of the children of Israel had neglected the knowledge of God, and we read in Malachi that “6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.”
One of our favorite passages from the Wisdom of Solomon, chapter 2: “23 For God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.” But if Yahweh God is in essence a Spirit, then the image of God is spiritual, and that part of man created in His image is the spiritual nature of man, and not merely the fleshly, and Paul had explained the divergent desires of the spiritual and the fleshly in Romans chapter 7. The law of God being spiritual, as Paul had also explained, it is therefore an expression of God and the spiritual man should seek to conform himself to the law, laying aside the sins of the flesh. For that reason Yahshua Christ had said that “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him”, and also “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him”, as it is recorded in John chapters 14 and 15.
The calling of Christ was a call for the scattered children of Israel to return to Yahweh their God in obedience, so the Word of Yahweh says in Isaiah chapter 43, as the scattering of Israel was commencing: “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine. 2 When thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon thee.” And then the apostle Peter writes in his first epistle, as the reconciliation of those same Israelites to Christ commences over seven hundred years later: “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, 2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” Likewise Paul had written to the Romans concerning that same obedience: “19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil.”
The same message which Paul gives here, that it is necessary for Christians to follow the spiritual nature and to seek the knowledge of God for obedience to God, as their ancestors were given up by God for their rejection of that knowledge, as described in Hosea, rather than continue in the carnal nature which is disobedient to God, was also illustrated by Paul in 2 Corinthians chapter 10 where in part he wrote: “3 For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: 4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) 5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; 6 And having in a readiness to revenge all disobedience, when your obedience is fulfilled.”
Paul continues by referring to the “new man”, which he has also described elsewhere.
11 Where one is not Greek and Judaean [D has “Where there is not one male and female, Greek and Judaean”; compare Galatians 3:28], circumcision and uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, slave, free [A and D have “slave and free”], but altogether and in all ways Anointed.
The popular translations follow the King James Version at the end of verse 11, where it says “but Christ is all, and in all”, a translation which helps to perpetuate the lie of universalism. With that, the wolves can come into the sheepfold if they are “nice”, and the sheep are made offenders for a word when they get angry with the wolves. Christ is not in all, because, as He had told certain of the Jews, “26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” To this the apostle John had added that “... every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.” Since there are people who have not God, and who did not come from God, the “all” of the universalists fails.
Here Paul is not referring to all of everyone, but only to all within the context of the people to which he is addressing this epistle. As we have illustrated many times, the term for “the Anointed” was used by Paul collectively of the entire body of Christian Israel being reconciled to God. Here, in Colossians chapter 1, we have seen that Paul is addressing those who were “rescued from the authority of darkness”, according to the promises made to the Israelites in the Old Testament, who have redemption, something else which was also promised by God exclusively to Old Testament Israelites, and who also have the “forgiveness of sins”, which is also something which can only apply to those same Old Testament Israelites. So Paul can only be referring to all of them, as he describes them in every epistle.
In Romans chapter 4 Paul explained this at length, where he wrote: “1 Now what may we say that our forefather Abraham has found concerning the flesh? 2 For if Abraham from the rituals has been deemed worthy, he has reason to boast, but not towards Yahweh…. 13 Indeed, not through the law is the promise to Abraham or to his offspring, that he is to be the heir of the Society, but through righteousness of faith. 14 For if they from of the law are heirs, the faith has been voided, and the promise annulled. 15 For the law results in wrath, so where there is no law, neither is there transgression.” But these Colossians needed forgiveness for their sins, as Paul mentioned in chapter 1 of this epistle, so they must have been Israelites once under the law.
Here we must take a further pause. In his explanation here in Colossians, Paul says that there is “no Greek or Judaean” and no “circumcision and uncircumcision” because there were both Israelite Greeks and Israelite Judaeans. As Paul had told the Corinthians, in 1 Corinthians chapter 10, “that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all had passed through the sea. And all up to Moses had immersed themselves in the cloud and in the sea.” The history of Flavius Josephus as well as the first Book of Maccabees establish these things to be true, that the Dorian Greeks were indeed descendants of the ancient Israelites.
Proceeding with chapter 4 of Romans: “16 Therefore from of the faith, that in accordance with favor, then the promise is to be certain to all of the offspring, not to that of the law only, but also to that of the faith of Abraham, who is father of us all; 17 (just as it is written, ‘That a father of many nations I have made you,’) before Yahweh whom he trusted, who raises the dead to life, and calls things not existing as existing; 18 who contrary to expectation, in expectation believed, for which he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, ‘Thus your offspring will be’”. So the offspring, or “seed” of the promise is plural, being many particular nations, and not only the one man Jesus Christ, as the universalists also insist in their interpretations of certain other Scriptures.
As the Dorian Greeks descended from the ancient sea-faring Israelites, the Galatians were descended from the Scythians, the progenitors of the Germanic tribes who had in turn descended from the Israelites of the Assyrian deportations. So Paul had told the Galatians that “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law,” and “the law has been our tutor for Christ, in order that from faith we would be deemed righteous” as well as telling them in relation to that same thing that “Yahweh had dispatched His Son, having been born of a woman, having been subject to law, in order that he would redeem those subject to law, that we would recover the position of sons.” If the Galatians were not descended from ancient Israelites, then the law was not their tutor for Christ, and they never being under the law could not have ever been redeemed in order to recover anything.
So one is not Greek or Judaean because there were Israelite Greeks being reconciled to God as Christians, and there were Israelite Judaeans being reconciled to God as Christians. There is not circumcision and uncircumcision because, as Paul also told the Galatians, “in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.” There is not slave or free because both bondmen and freemen are Christians first, and their position in life is secondary, and counted for naught in the Kingdom of Heaven. As it frequently says in Deuteronomy, “thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt, and the LORD thy God redeemed thee.” There is not Barbarian or Scythian, but only Israelites being called to obedience in Christ among both the barbarians and the Scythians.
In ancient times, the word barbarian, from the Greek word βάρβαρος, merely referred to one who did not speak Greek. At the time of Paul, the people who descended from the ancient Israelites known as Phoenicians dwelt in some of the Mediterranean islands and in western Europe, and they were considered barbarians because they spoke variants of ancient Hebrew, or Phoenician. In Acts chapter 28, describing the aftermath of a shipwreck, Luke had written: “1 And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita. 2 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.”
So the people of Malta, ancient Melita, were considered barbarians by Luke. However writing about a hundred years before Luke, Diodorus Siculus says of Melita that it “...lies about eight hundred stades from Syracuse, and it possesses many harbours which offer exceptional advantages, and its inhabitants are blest in their possessions; for it has artisans skilled in every manner of craft...and the dwellings on the island are worthy of note, being ambitiously constructed with cornices and finished in stucco with unusual workmanship. This island is a colony planted by the Phoenicians, who, as they extended their trade to the western ocean, found in it a place of safe retreat, since it was well supplied with harbours and lay out in the open sea; and this is the reason the inhabitants of this island, since they received assistance in many respects through the sea-merchants, shot up quickly in their manner of living and increased in renown.” (Diodorus Siculus, Library of History, 5.12.2-3, Loeb Library, translation by C. H. Oldfather.) So the “barbarous people” of Acts chapter 28 were certainly not savages, but were rather sophisticated and civilized. Other civilized people descended from the Israelites would also have been considered barbarians, such as the Parthians, simply because they used a language other than Greek. And in fact, when Flavius Josephus wrote his Wars of the Judaeans, he wrote it to the upper barbarians, as he called them, which to him was a reference to not only the Parthians, but to the Goths and the Alans and other tribes of the dispersed Israelites which he had elsewhere described as being an “innumerable multitude” which was “beyond the Euphrates”, hoping to incite them in that same rebellion against Rome in which the Judaeans were embroiled, as he explained in the preface to the book.
An examination of the descriptions given throughout all of Paul’s epistles, as well as an examination of these descriptions which he uses in the ancient histories, show that Paul is not intending to include anyone who is not descended from the ancient Israelites in the language of Colossians 3:11. And if Paul were intent on including non-Israelites, why would he not include one group where no Israelites would be found? Why did he not include one group which was exclusive of those descendants of the ancient Israelites, such as the Egyptians or Arabians or Ethiopians of his own time? Without such an inclusion, we know that Paul’s words were exclusive to that seed of Abraham which he identified in Romans chapter 4 as those nations which had sprung from the loins of Abraham.
The glossing over of Paul’s illustration here in the acceptance of what is essentially anti-Christian universalism destroys the entire message of the Gospel, and dispels the grounds for true Christian unity, which is the true racial bond of the elect of Yahweh God in Christ. Successfully purloining the identity of the true children of Israel in the early persecutions of apostolic Christians, the Jews have managed to obscure the foundation for those bonds. As Identity Christians, we seek to shine light upon the devil not for his benefit, but to expose the crime for the benefit of our brethren, and lay claim to our rightful inheritance in Christ.
But here we must take a digression and offer something for consideration: Promoting universalism, setting the promises of God at naught, and in essence destroying the elect of God, did the organized church use any “bad” words these last 1,700 years? If the universalists could do so much evil with seemingly good language, yet we seek to condemn a good brother for what society tells us is a “bad” word, then we have a problem. The problem is that many of our notions of right and wrong come from the artificial values of the society, and not from God. We have had this problem for a long time, and if we are ever to conform ourselves to God, we must free ourselves of the pretense and vanity of the world. Admitting a nigger into the Body of Christ under the pretense that one is “neither slave nor free”, or a Sodomite because we should “love the sinner”, those things are representative of “filthy communication” and the men who promote such things are indeed lying to one another.
Paul continues in verse 12:
12 Therefore you put on (as elect of Yahweh, holy and beloved,) affections of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, forbearance, 13 being patient with one another and being forgiving to each other.
Christians should put these things on because they are the elect of Yahweh. The two surviving epistles of the apostle Peter were written to those same assemblies of Anatolia which Paul had founded, and in 1 Peter chapter 2 he informed them that they were indeed the elect of God where he wrote: “9 But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, so that you should proclaim the virtues for which from out of darkness you have been called into the wonder of His light, 10 who at one time were ‘not a people’ but now are the people of Yahweh, those who ‘have not been shown mercy’ but are now shown mercy.” Peter’s statements in verse 10 of that chapter were taken from Hosea chapter 1, and like Hosea, Peter was addressing the children of Israel taken into Assyrian captivity. Peter also indicated, as Paul had in Colossians chapter 1, that these ancient Israelites were being rescued from darkness in the message of the Gospel.
In Isaiah chapter 45 we see similar remarks made to those same descendants of the children of Israel, where the Word of Yahweh says “3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. 4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.” [Because they were put off in punishment after the manner which we have cited here from Malachi.] God never disposed of His elect, as we mat read in Isiah chapter 41: “8 But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. 9 Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away.” These are the people of Europe whom Paul is addressing, and whom Peter also addressed, as a chosen race, the true elect of Yahweh God, and they are Christians, and not Jews.
And we shall leave off here, in the middle of verse 13, and return to discuss the grounds for true Christian unity which Paul is illustrating here, being patient and forgiving with one another on the basis that they are indeed the elect of God.
But there is no commandment for the sheep to be kind, forgiving, or have patience or forbearance with the wolves. All the other races, can go to heck. [Wow, somehow those euphemisms just don’t have the same effect.]