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Was Paul's Thorn Some Sickness?

Discussion in 'Non-denominational' started by Andrew, Aug 2, 2002.

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  1. Caedmon

    Caedmon kawaii Supporter

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    You have some misconceptions about Reformed theology. No Christian is allowed to blame God for her sin. Christians are responsible for their sins. Yet God does plan and structure the universe the way He sees fit, according to His purpose, so that all things will happen as He predestined them. Otherwise, He would not be in control of His universe.
     
  2. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

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    I'm sure I do, just as you have some misconceptions about the Faith movement. 

    Having a free will does not mean that God has lost control of me or His universe.

    Deut 10:17 (Amplified) says  "For the Lord you God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, the terrible God, Who is not partial and takes no bribe".

    2 Chron 19:7 (Amplified) "So now let the reverence and fear of the Lord be upon you; take heed what you do, for there is no injustice with the Lord our God, or partiality or taking of bribes".

    In Rom 2:11 (Amplified) "For God shows no partiality [undue favor or unfairness; with Him one man is not different from another]"  

    According to John 3:16 God predestined everyone to go to heaven.  What part of the word "world" or "whosoever" says that some are excluded.  

    Matt 11:28 Jesus said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.  What part of the word "all" is exclusive?

    God calls and gave His Son for everyone.  Sin seperates man from that destination.  That is not God's will, it is the will of the one who continues to sin after acquiring the knowledge of the Truth (Heb 10:26) 

    From these scriptures I do not believe that God shows partiality to anyone.  No one is any more special for redemption, healing, etc. than another.  We all have the option to accept His offer or trample on it.  That's not loss of control on God's part.

     :bow:
     
  3. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "again, the passage does not say that"

    Yes, the passage does say that.

    "see post 1 first part 4 examples."

    "Numbers 33:55 " this is the OT, different words are used that mean different things. This the same for all four examples. Now if you want to compare the language you can, but again, you will see that PHRASE used is VASTLY different. check your hebrew next time? If you read those passages the term "thorn" is used to denouce some sort of problem, usually PHYSICAL in nature, just as the passage does. Again, you have failed to show this in the NT.

    "yes u are beginning to see it -- the brier/pricking thorn here is as shown, their neighbours that ill-treated them, ie persons/ppls not diseases. The "

    Ahh..but this term thorn denotes a PHYSICAL problem, not a spirutal one. that's the point.

    "Actually, I do, and that's what "she" wrote in her book. "

    so which of her books did you read, PERSONALLY read.

    "And, she was not serving the Lord at the time of her accident, so again, according to "her" book, she was not serving God. "

    So he was not faithful to heal her even though with all her being that is what she prayed for..the answer she got was NO. This very clearly refutes the "prosperity" Gospel and things you advocate.

    "If God willed it then that means He also wills sin."

    Again, you did not read the passage in Ecc that I put up did you? Let me put it up again..

    Ecc 7:13 "Consider what God has done: What can straighten what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad consider this:God has made the one as well as the other..."

    "Every man who rapes: it was God's will that he be a rapist. "

    No, you're making an illogical jump. God allows evil to happen but he does make suffereing happen as well sometimes because he is more concerned with our SPIRITUAL health then our physical health and he will use the physical to get your spiritual attention.
     
  4. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    quote: "If you read those passages the term "thorn" is used to denouce some sort of problem"

    see post 1 first four examples. thank God one doesnt need to learn Hebrew to know what "thorn" is refering to. As mentioned, the passages tell us that the thorns are people.

    quote:"Ahh..but this term thorn denotes a PHYSICAL problem, not a spirutal one. that's the point."

    the verse itself tells us its the neighbours who treat them with contempt. so if you are refering to "physical problem" being physical persons, then yes.
     
  5. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    sigh , since i have to keep pointing back to post 1 again, then let me post it here again for the benefit of readers.

    Was Paul's thorn some sort of sickness?

    2 Corinthians 12:7 -- And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

    Many Christians use this verse to support their argument that God wants some of us to stay sick. They say that Paul's "thorn in the flesh" was an eye disease, migraine or some other type of sickness, and that God refused to heal him. Well, let's see how the Bible itself interprets "thorn in the flesh".

    The expression "thorn in the flesh" is never used in the Bible to mean sickness. And every time the phrase is used in the Bible, it is specifically stated what the "thorn" is.

    Witness 1

    Before the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, Moses told them:

    Numbers 33:55 -- But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell.

    Here the scripture itself tells us plainly that the "pricks in your eyes" and "thorns in your sides" of the Israelites were the inhabitants of Canaan, and not eye disease or sickness. Moses was warning them that the Canaanites, if allowed to remain, would be a constant annoyance to them.

    Witness 2

    Many years later, Joshua said the same thing about the Canaanites:

    Joshua 23:13 -- Know for a certainty that the LORD your God will no more drive out any of these nations from before you; but they shall be snares and traps unto you, and scourges in your sides, and thorns in your eyes, until ye perish from off this good land which the LORD your God hath given you.

    Again, it is clearly stated here what the "thorns" were, and it was certainly not eye disease or sickness.

    Witness 3

    In the book of Judges, the Lord told the children of Israel the same thing:

    Judges 2:3 -- Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you.

    Here also, the "thorns" refer to people, not sickness.

    Witness 4

    Our fourth witness is David, who said:

    2 Samuel 23:6 -- But the sons of Belial shall be all of them as thorns thrust away, because they cannot be taken with hands:

    In all four cases, the Bible makes it explicit what the "thorns" are, so there's no need for wild speculations. And in every case, the "thorns" refer to personalities, not sicknesses.

    Usage today

    Today, we still use the same expression. According to The Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English (New Edition), when we say that someone is "a thorn in one's flesh/side", we are saying that that person is "a continual cause of annoyance or problems". Similar expressions are "pain in the neck" and "pain in the [wash my mouth][wash my mouth][wash my mouth]".

    Paul's case is no different

    As with the first four cases presented, the apostle himself tells us plainly what the "thorn in the flesh" was -- "the messenger of Satan":

    2 Corinthians 12:7 -- And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.

    The original Greek word for "messenger" here is "angelos". According to Strong's Concordance, it means "a messenger, envoy, one who is sent, an angel, a messenger from God".

    In Paul's case, it was an angel of Satan. So, Paul's thorn was a demonic spirit sent by Satan to torment him. Or, a person with that demonic spirit. It was certainly not eye disease, migraine or some sickness as many have wildly speculated.

    This Greek word "angelos" appears 186 times in the Bible, and is translated "angel" 179 times and "messenger" the other seven times. In all 186 cases, without exception, it refers to a person and not a thing or disease.

    It is also interesting to note that the Rotherham and Weymouth translations use the pronoun "he" to refer to Paul's "thorn" or "the messenger of Satan". In other words, they tell us that Paul's thorn was a satanic personality and not a disease.

    Nature of Paul's thorn

    Paul not only tells us that his "thorn" was an angel of Satan, but he also tells us what the angel came to do: "to buffet me".

    The word "buffet" means "to strike repeatedly" or "blow after blow". If Paul's thorn was sickness, then it would mean that Paul was continuously sick. But we don't see a sickly Paul in the Bible. And how could the apostle travel great distances, preaching boldly and healing the sick if he was so sickly? The sick would have laughed at him for preaching about God's healing power!

    What we do find, however, is a Paul who was frequently persecuted by people, not sicknesses. Paul enumerates his sufferings or "buffetings" in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29 and 2 Timothy 3:10-12. Not one time does he mention sickness.

    Did God say "no" to Paul?

    2 Corinthians 12:
    8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
    9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
    10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.


    Many Christians think that God's reply to Paul's thrice repeated prayer to be rid of the satanic messenger was, "nope, I want you to stay sick".

    Our Lord never said that, only the traditions of man! And we have already established that Paul's thorn was an angel of Satan and not some illness.

    Essentially, God's reply to Paul is that He fights for Paul best when Paul is totally helpless, weak and dependent on Him. This is God's grace in action -- God doing for us what we cannot do for ourselves.

    All our self-efforts to fight the enemy must be put aside if God is to have full control over the situation. God works best without our interference and our efforts to "help" Him.

    And when we see the victory, we will know that it is all by God's grace. That is why God told Paul that His grace was all that Paul needed to overcome the constant attacks of the messenger of Satan.

    When Paul realised that this was God's way of doing things -- by grace --, it is no wonder he said that he would gladly "glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" and that "when I am weak, then am I strong [in and through Christ]".

    So, did God answer Paul's prayer and show Him the solution? Yes! Certainly, God did not give Paul and negative answer and leave him weak and defeated. After all, how can it be true that Christ's strength was made perfect in Paul's weakness (verse 9) if he was left weak. No, I believe Paul was an actual partaker of Christ's strength, which would remove the weakness, whether it was physical or spiritual.

    Trophimus left sick

    2 Timothy 4:20 -- Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

    Christians have also used Trophimus' case to argue that God chastens with sicknesses and that He sometimes refuses to heal.

    But the verse only says that Paul left Trophimus in Miletum because he was sick. To then say that this proves that God chastens with sicknesses and that He sometimes refuses to heal is to jump to wild conclusions!

    Suppose I met you in church and told you, "John couldn't come with me to the meeting tonight because he's down with a flu and he's resting at home". Does this mean that God made John sick and that He refuses to heal him?

    Likewise, when we read in Acts that Festus and King Agrippa (Acts 26:24,28) did not believe that Jesus was Lord when Paul preached the Gospel to them, do we then conclude that God's refuses to save some people? Or that His will is for some folks to burn in hell?

    The verse simply means that Trophimus was sick. Is that so unusual? Many Christians in the Corinthian church were sick and some even died prematurely (1 Corinthians 11:30). The same thing still happens today in the church. But just as the existence of the unbelieving does not negate God's Word and will to save, neither does the existence of sick people negate God's Word and will to heal.
     
  6. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

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    Any one person believing God told them "no" does not disqualify what God says in scripture.

    Eccl was written by a woeful Soloman who was lamenting of all the things he had learned according to his own wisdom.  He says that in chapter 1:13 (Amplified) "And I applied myself by heart and mind to seek and search out by [human] wisdom all human activity under heaven". 

    Just because Soloman said it, does not make it the truth.  Especially, when God says different. 

    And, yes, God does use the physical to teach us things, but I believe He would much rather we learn to listen to His voice so that He does not have to resort to letting you reap what you've sown so your attention could be turned toward Him.

    Deut 28:1, 2 (Amplified) "If you will listen diligently to the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments which I command you this day, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth.  And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you if you heed the voice of the Lord your God".  And the list of blessings follows.

    Deut 28:15 (Amplified) "But if you will not obey the voice of the Lord your God, being watchful to do all His commandments and His statutes which I command you this day, then all these curses shall come upon you".  And the list of curses follows.  

    Now, lest you say "that's OT and no longer applys".  God says in Malachi 3:6 (Amplified) "For I am the Lord, I do not change". and in Hebrews 13:8 (Amplified) "Jesus Christ (the Messiah) is [always] the same, yesterday, today, [yes] and forever (to the ages).

    And, since Jesus said if you'd seen Him, you've seen the Father we can conclude that God is the same today as He was yesterday.

    I must also say, that I change my words on whether all sickness is because of sin.  You are right! I do believe that.  And while it may or may not be because of your/their/his/her sin, it is because of Adam's sin.   

    But thanks be to God, because of what He did for us we are in the world, but not of it. And we are free from the law of sin and death.

    I'm not saying we won't grow old and eventually die.  I'm saying that it does not have to be sickness or an accident that takes us out.  It could be and I'd like it to be that I've just completed my mission here on earth and it's time to go Home.

    Thank You Jesus! :bow:
     
  7. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "As mentioned, the passages tell us that the thorns are people."

    Yes, and the PHYSICAL problem they are causing.


    "Just because Soloman said it, does not make it the truth. Especially, when God says different.
    "

    Ahh..so I see...different parts of scripture are worth more then others now? Will the twisting ever end????


    "I must also say, that I change my words on whether all sickness is because of sin. You are right! I do believe that. "

    Thanks, so again I emphasis, Christ could have been sick because he had to live in a fallen world.


    "I'm saying that it does not have to be sickness or an accident that takes us out"

    *serious question* so if we don't die from old age we aren't doing our job? *ahem* I do believe we just went over this ;)

    hate to tell ya quaff, but Ecc plainly says, God made em both, did you want me to quote it for you again?


    What really scares me is that you want to put other scripture higher then the rest...that's quite 1. unbiblical and 2 not inline with historical christianity at all.
     
  8. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    quote:"Yes, and the PHYSICAL problem they are causing."

    See Post 45 first half.

    quote:"Christ could have been sick because he had to live in a fallen world."

    That is to preach another Jesus. Beware...

    2 Cor 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
    4 For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.
     
  9. Caedmon

    Caedmon kawaii Supporter

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    I don't understand when you say things like this Andrew. Are you saying that if someone does not hold your exact doctrinal beliefs, then he is not as righteous a Christian as you are? You've already called me "an heretick" in another thread. Who is really a Christian in your eyes? :confused: :(
     
  10. SpiritPsalmist

    SpiritPsalmist Heavy lean toward Messianic Supporter

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    Uh Louis, you're not paying attention again.

    As you notice I've copied it above for you, I did not say one scripture was worth more than others.  I said that if someone says something opposite of what God says, then it's not God, who's wrong.  In Eccl Solomon also says that man is lower than the beast, chapter 3:19.  However Ps 8:5 says we are made just a little lower than the angels.  And Gen 1:27 we're made in the image of God. 

    So you pick Louis, who's wrong?  God or Solomon?  I would think that a man of your intelligence would have known that.

    2 Tim 3:16 says Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching. . .reproof. . .correction, for instruction. . .in righteousness.

    Eccl is a picture at how fatal it is for even the wisest of men to substitute man's "wisdom" for God's widsom, and to attempt to live by it.  Solomon's reign began with God, gold, and glory.  It ended with bafflement, brass, and bewildered acceptance of man's having "no preeminece over a beast"!

    And, I believe Louis, that substituting man's wisdom for God's wisdom is exactly what you are doing.

    Also, I want to point out that you left off the last part of what I said about sickness being because of sin.  You left off the part where I said if it was not yours/hers/his/their sin then it was Adams sin.  Do you disagree that Adams sin made the world fallen?

    According to what I've read in scripture Christ gave up His Kingdom in heaven to come to earth, to live as a man, and show us how to live like Him.  He suffered and died on the cross so we could live with Him.

    On the cross, He was mocked by those who said "physician, heal thyself".  Nowhere else do we see those mocking words.  Jesus himself, when accused of casting out demons by the devil said, "a house divided against itself will fall".  The sick healing the sick?  The blind leading the blind?  The demonized casting out demons?Mmmm! :(

    Do YOU want to die sick or in an accident?   

    Louis, you can believe whatever you want to about I'm saying. You seem to do the same thing with scripture, so why should I be any different.  :sleep:

     
     
  11. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    humblejoe,

    quote:"I don't understand when you say things like this Andrew. Are you saying that if someone does not hold your exact doctrinal beliefs, then he is not as righteous a Christian as you are? You've already called me "an heretick" in another thread. Who is really a Christian in your eyes?"

    pls re-read post #48 carefully. nothing said abt being righteous or not righteous/real Christian or fake Christian mentioned. point made was preaching another Jesus which Paul warns about. Preaching a fallen Jesus is simply preaching another Jesus.
     
  12. tericl2

    tericl2 A Work in Progress

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    I don't have anything substantive to add here, I just wanted to encourage you Andrew. I think you have built a very clear, concise and biblically logical case. Keep up the good work!! I particularly like your phraseology study on the "thorn of the flesh". Very insightful and well thought out!

    Blessings Brother!!
     
  13. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Eric :) I am encouraged.
     
  14. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "That is to preach another Jesus. Beware...
    "

    NO, its not. If you think that then you need to cut out John chapter 9 out of your bible. Jesus could have been sick for being sick doesn't mean you're sinful, its part of living in an fallen world.

    "Rabbi, who sinnned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? Niether this man nor his partens sineed...said jesus but this happend SO THAT THE WORK OF GOD might be displayed in his life..."

    John 9:2-3


    "In Eccl Solomon also says that man is lower than the beast, chapter 3:19. "

    Just another example of how you like to take things out of context to try and make a point. This passage is in no way related to the realization that Soloman has in chapter 7. If you take time to read the book and study you might see that, but you're more concerned with proving your right, and that's okay, but don't expect me to lie and tell you you're right.

    "Do you disagree that Adams sin made the world fallen? "

    No, it did, does that mean we can't get sick? Nope. The sin can be forgiven, but this doesn't change the consequences. You should learn the difference.

    "You seem to do the same thing with scripture, so why should I be any different.
    "

    Mock me all you want, Christ went through the same when he shared the truth with others, I expected no less from you :)

    Just to rehash I'll list those verses again that you don't like because they are truth, something that doesn't mesh with your view on sickness :)

    Ecc 7:13 "consider what GOD has done:Who can straighten what he has made crooked? When teims are good, be happy'but when times are bad, consider: God has made the one as well as the other..."
     
  15. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    "Preaching a fallen Jesus is simply preaching another Jesus."

    *sigh* I am not preaching another Jesus. christ is sinless, but like us was hungery, tired, and could have gotten sick because he lived in a fallen world and had a perishable body. if you don't agree with that, then you're denying John 1:14
     
  16. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    John 1:14 -- And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

    Nope, does not say Jesus fell sick or that he inherited the fallen nature of Adam. Just means "God in flesh". Dont leave out God part in God in flesh by saying God fell sick.
     
  17. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    Yup, but you miss in the flesh, flesh can get sick andrew :) that's the point.
     
  18. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    the fallen nature of adam is the sin nature and has NOTHING to do with being sick. Jesus explained as much in John 9.
     
  19. Andrew

    Andrew Well-Known Member

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    "the fallen nature of adam is the sin nature and has NOTHING to do with being sick."

    nope. more than just sin. There's painful childbirth, stress and sweat, physical death. Jesus did not inherit all this along with Adam. To say that Jesus did is simply to preach another Jesus.

    16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.
    17 ... in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;
    18 Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field;
    19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.
     
  20. LouisBooth

    LouisBooth Well-Known Member

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    No...you're talking about the CONSEQUENCES of Adam's sin given out by God, not the consequences of the sin itself. YOu're missing the point there andrew. Sin seperates us from God. the things you are talking about are things God imposed on use as results of that sin. big difference. Jesus had the results imposed while in the flesh, but not the sin nature that seperates us from God. thus, Jesus could have gotten sick.
     
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