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“Whose Name Is Jealous”
—— General James Green ——
A CRITIC OF GOD AND HIS WORD, WROTE:
“The Bible leaves no doubt in numerous passages that God is a very jealous deity. In the beginning of the ten commandments, for instance, he wants it known above all else that he is the God of the Hebrews and that they are to have nothing to do with other gods. That he is aware of the existence of other gods is obvious when he says repeatedly that he is a jealous God, and of course, he states directly in Exodus 20:3 that, ‘Thou shalt have no other gods before me.’
The question comes to mind though, why an almighty God would be jealous of other gods. If he were truly an all-powerful deity, it seems he should be able to wipe out his competition at the snap of his fingers. Or the simplest resolution to such a problem for an almighty being, actually, would be prevention: not allowing anything that would cause him so much concern to come about in the first place.
The Biblical God is seemingly not that powerful, however, and consequently resorts to a succession of threats of fire, curses, stone-hurling, famine, dismemberment, ostracism, hanging, and finally even the spreading of feces upon the faces of those who would look to other gods before him. The following variety of pertinent texts will illustrate:
Exodus 20:1-5 ‘And God spake all these words, saying, I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.’”
With that said, let’s go thru the Scriptures and find out why God is a “jealous God.” Since I’ve already written on The Wrath of God (2 free magazines), I’ll not delve into that side of the Almighty in this study.
One hubris critic with his idiosyncrasy odium, has put God on trial without showing us WHY God is the way He is. Well, in this study, I’ll do that for you—hopefully!
EXODUS 34:14, “For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Actually, vv. 12-28 deal with the laws of God. Vv. 12-16 = In Palestine, Israel must make NO treaties with the pagan peoples (see 23:22). This Deuteronomic attempt to segregate Israel cultically and ethnically overlooks much of her early social and religious history. The destruction of the altars/pillars/sacred poles was an accomplishment of the reign of Josiah in the 7th century (23:24; Deut. 7:5; 12:3).
Israel (and the NT Christians) must worship NO OTHER god (23:23,24). This basic law goes back to Exodus 20:3, as our dastard critic points out, for as Ex. 20:3 was applied solely to the problem of Israel’s dealings with Canaanites, who were considered vile in the sight of God.
Yahweh’s’ name is “Jealous.” His nature is such as to permit no rivals (20:5; Deut. 4:24). Therefore, treaties must be avoided, for treaties would imply the coexistence of Canaanite and Israelite altars. Canaanites would invite (plural in the LXX, i.e. the OT Greek) Israelites to share in their sacrifices by offering them meat consecrated to their gods (1 Cor. 8:10; see vv. 1-9 = demons). Not only this, but intermarriage was forbidden (Deut. 7:3, 4).
Exodus 20:5 forbids god worship, again saying that, “…I the LORD thy God AM a jealous God…” In the sense of being Jealous for Israel’s fidelity (like an affectionate husband towards his spouse), because He willed their invariable happiness.
qana — kaw-naw
THE LXX DEFINES “jealous” as “to be zealous, have zeal, to own by buying, redeem.” (other spellings = qin’ah / qanah). The conventional translation of “jealous” and “jealousy” renders the Heb. verb kana and cognate words, kine’ah. The translation is really unsatisfactory; the Heb. words seem to render an “emotional” complex for which English has no single word. “The Philistines,” says J.L. McKenzie, professor/Bible scholar (of OT Dictionary of the Bible, 1965), “feel this emotion at the prosperity of Isaac (Gen. 26:14), the brothers, of Joseph (Gen. 37:11), and Rachel, because of Leah (Gen. 30:1).” What McKenzie points out is that in the above passages, “envy” renders the sense.
In Song of Sol. 8:6, the Kine’ah which is hard as Sheol is coupled with the love as strong as death and is the Jealous which defends the possession of the beloved (see also Num. 25:11, 13 = death).
The prophet Elijah showed Kine’ah for Yahweh by defending His right to be worshiped as the ONE GOD of Israel (Isa. 19:10, 14). In 2 Kgs. 10:16 we find Jehu’s “zeal” in action.
So, “zeal”/”Jealous” is found all thru the OT. “Jealous”/“jealousy” may be positive or negative. Therefore, God has the perfect right to be jealous over His possession (His people). When used in the negative sense, “envy” is used often (see Joel 2:18; Isa. 26:11; Ezek. 39:25; Zech. 1:14 etc.).
The Kine’ah of Yahweh is also HOSTILE, as already stated, especially in what He is doing in the world today. He is releasing His Wrath-Fury-Indignation because of His “Jealousy” over His true ones and for His name’s sake.
In Ps. 79:5; Ezek. 36:5; 38:19; Zeph. 1:18; 3:8 etc. we find God’s Jealousy like fire, directed against nations for their pride, which is an implicit denial of His Divinity, or for their oppression against His people and His land. It is also directed against Zion (Zech. 8:2); against Judah (Kgs. 14:22) for its cult of other gods.
The “image of jealousy” which Ezekiel saw (Ez. 8:3, 5) is the image which makes God jealous.
The Kine’ah of Yahweh is an ACTIVE FORCE like fire (Ez. 36:5; 38:19; Zeph. 1:18; 3:8). It is coupled with the anger of Yahweh (Deut. 29:19; Ezek. 35:11, all of which are found in our, “The Wrath of God” magazines). God IS NO PASSIVE WORM: He is a WARRIOR !!! All this effeminate bull that today’s BACKSLIDDEN, HELL-BOUND church passes off as God’s love, or, as “Jesus loves you” is unBiblical. Had, the Christian Ekklesia kept to the Word of God, as it is written, there would be no “liberalism,” no “political/religious correctness;” as we have today. God, Jesus, the Holy Spirit, and the TRUE believers HATE SIN; they’re not tolerant of it. And, too bad if you don’t like it. God makes the rules, not puny man. This “religious crap” passed off as “Christian” is anti-Christian to the core.
God IS Holy!
AND BECAUSE HE IS HOLY, He executes His Wrath-Fury-Indignation at will ... too bad for you who don’t like it !
It is the sentiment of God Almighty when He appears as a Warrior (Isa. 42:13) and it is coupled with His valor (Isa. 63:15). In the panoply of Yahweh’s attributes, it is the cloak in which He wraps Himself (Isa. 57:17). Let’s get it straight—men are SINNERS by nature, therefore, they, like our critic, have NO right to evaluate the “whys” and “ways” of God (Eph. 2:1-9 tells us what we need to know about the LOST, the PAGAN, the DISOBEDIENT).
In Joel 2:18, however, God’s anger is coupled with His pity. That which the “zeal of Yahweh” accomplishes may be either DESTRUCTIVE (of the pagan Assyrians in 2 Kgs. 19:31; Isa. 37:32) or CONSTRUCTIVE (the establishment of the Messianic King in Isa. 9:6).
THIS TITLE ‘EL KANNA’ appears 5 times, each instance of it is a warning that the prohibition against god worship must be observed (Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Dt. 4:24; 5:9; 6:15). It is the denial of the exclusive Divinity of God which most excites His Kine’ah.
The Kine’ah group of words (and their nuances) signify, “anger” rather than “envy,” “jealousy,” or “zeal;” but, it is anger in a specific situation. THERE ARE REASONS WHY GOD GETS ANGRY; it is a passion for justice, which is excited, as indicated, in the above texts, at the arrogation of something which does not belong to the one who arrogates it to himself, or at the privation of something from its proper possessor. It issues in a desire to attack the aggressor and to defend the person/persons who are the victims of aggression. Don’t we find this trait in any civilized society? SO, WHAT’S SO BAD ABOUT GOD’S JEALOUSY?
ZELOS — ZELOO
IN GREEK USAGE, the above words were usually translated, “zeal,” not “jealousy,” but can be used interchangeably. I’m going to skip all the info. I could write down because most of it comes from secular writers etc. But, for your interest, the above words serve to denote a noble ethical impulse towards the development of character, and to this degree, they are to be distinguished from “envy”/ “jealousy.” This genuinely Gk. thought comprehended in zelos is given its finest expression in the definition of Aristotle (Rhetorica, II, 11, p. 1388a, 32ff.). Many ancients follow his leading; others see “zeal” in a negative light, e.g., a passion which poisons human society, miserable, pitiable, spreading evil rumours. Thus, zelós can mean “contention.” Yet, the idea of jealousy is not far off.
“Zeal” in the OT Judaism
IF ONE CARES TO DELVE into the LXX, zelos shows us first that there are no instances of the Gk. sense of “zealous striving” to enable personality. This sense is almost alien to the Heb. which underlies all uses of zelos in the Gk. OT. So, zelos as a human emotion is almost completely restricted to the later parts of the Old Testament (OT). In Qoh. 9:6 the term is used in a purely descriptive sense, as a characteristic of the living (Ecclesiastes, or the preacher). In Jesus Sirach 30:24, it is used in a negative sense (dispositions of spirit). The same (non-Jewish) view is found in Sir. 40:5. In Prov. 27:4, it is a hostile and disruptive passion which is worse than Job 5:2.
Prov. 27:4 = “Wrath (orge) is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?”
Job 5:2 = “For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.” (Possibly Qoh. 4:4 has the same implication).
In 1 Macc. 8:16, zelos is used to describe specific individual phenomena, a manifestation of conduct (see Isa. 11:13 = discord between Eph. and Judah); Ezek. 35:11 (Edom and Israel).
In two passages, our Gk. word means jealousy in married life (Prov. 6:34; Cant. 8:6).
These are passages that denote a passionate, consuming “zeal” focused on God, or, rather on the doing of His Will and the maintaining of His honor in the face of the ungodly acts of evil men and nations. This is what is LACKING today ! (Phinehas, Elijah, and Jehu are “zealots” in this way, see Num. 25:6-13; 1 Macc. 2:54; Macc. 2:58; Sir. 48:2 etc.).
It shall be noted that in about half the instances of zelos in the LXX, this word denotes a specific intensity in the Divine action, according to Professor Albrecht Stumpff (Tübingen). He claims that the “Divine action” thus accomplished with zelos may mean either good or ill, salvation or damnation, for the men or nations concerned (Theo. Dict. NT p. 879). This goes along with what I wrote in our “The Wrath of God” magazine—the term may be listed with orge (Dt. 29:20) or thumos (Num. 25:11; Ez. 16:38, 42; 36:6; 38:19). As a CONSUMING FORCE, it is linked with pur (Zeph. 1:18; 3:8; Isa. 26:11; 63:15).
It should also be noted that the “zeal” of Yahweh/God is more comprehensive than the term zelos (not found in Hos./Jer.). According to linguistic analysis (also various OT theologies), when the reference is to Yahweh, it is almost always a question of His relations to His people Israel. His “zeal” is provoked when they worship idols—the complaint our critic pointed out at the beginning of this study. Thusly, they transgress the commandment which has its basis in Ex. 20:5. REMEMBER, WE’RE DEALING WITH A HOLY GOD, NOT MERE MEN THAT ARE SINNERS.
Following Hosea, Ezekiel describes Israel’s apostasy as ADULTERY, and zelos can thus mean “jealous” in the special sense of marital “jealousy” — of God towards His people (see Ez. 16:38; 23:25; 5:13).
So, dear ones, in this connection, zelos is an expression of the Holiness/Righteousness of Yahweh (Ez. 39:25 = “Therefore thus said the LORD God; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for My Holy name”). God has every right to guard His Holy name!
The same applies where zelos is used in which Yahweh is the God in operative history. There is much in the Bible about this “operation”—the reference is plainly eschatological in Isa. 26:11 and Zeph. 1:18; 3:8 (see the Heb. word in Zeph.).
Isa. 26:11 = “LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them” (see Wisdom 5:17). In truth, Yahweh is the only TRUE LORD of history. Like it or not, it is true.
PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA c. 20 BC - AD 50) uses zelos exclusively in connection with praise-worthy qualities in the sense of “striving after things.” Plato uses it in the sense of partly good/partly bad emotions (Phileb, 47e and 50b). Philo belongs to the sphere of Greek ethics (see Quod Deus sit Immutobilis, 60f.). In 61 (ibid) Philo shows that God must be depicted in human traits in order that those who are not in possession of full intellectual capacities may still be able to grasp something of God. This is why we find the Bible using human parts to depict God’s body (God IS Spirit). Anthropomorphizing God makes it easier to grasp Him.
The Rabbis found it hard to incorporate the concept of the zelos of Yahweh into their theology. Professor Stumpff makes note of this. He says that in this connection, the fact that among the many phrases used instead of the Divine name in Rabbinical literature, there is none deriving from Ex. 20:5; 34:14 (see A. Marmorstein, The Old Rabbinic Doctrine of God, I: The Names and Attributes of God, 1927). One may see Horovitz-Rabin (1928), p. 226: “‘For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God’: How, then am I a God of (jealousy, envy)? I rule over, and am not ruled over…Another explanation: I punish idolatry with (zeal), but I am merciful and gracious in other things.”
Mek. R. Sim (editor, Hoffmann, 1905, p. 105) reads: ‘For I am the Lord thy God.’ This shows that the prophets viewed God (lit., ‘The face (of God)’ as the One who will give rewards in the future.. ‘A jealous God.’ This teaches that the prophets viewed God as the One who will punish the wicked in the future, (Num. 15:41 = ‘I am the LORD your God…I am the LORD your God’).
So, “A jealous God,” i.e., a God of judgment, is someone to be feared and honored, something that our critic mocks !!
For the record, God does NOT fear other gods; HE WARNS HIS PEOPLE SO THEY WILL NOT BE CONTAMINATED BY IDOLATRY (DEMON INFESTATION) ! God is NOT jealous, or envious, of gods/goddesses/rivals or competitors, but idols have no real existence (only demonic power behind them). The Rabbinic answer to the problem is that the LORD GOD is jealous that idolaters should put these idols in His place; and thus, do serious despite to His honor—something that today’s church is DOING BIG TIME!! Remember, jealousy is connected with justice, and divine justice far exceeds men’s justice.
ZELOS in NT
IN THE NT, zelos is always in the singular except in Gal. 5:20 and Rom. 13:13. It is not found in the Synoptic Gospels, and occurs only once in John at 2:17 (“zeal”): “…the zeal of thine house hath eaten me up” (Jesus is speaking here). Here is a perfect example of it being used in the positive sense. Jesus quotes Ps. 69 here — Messianic Words for Christianity, which thru Christ was dawning before their very eyes.
Jesus was referring to the “zeal” of the OT righteous for maintaining the honor of God and His house as this is kindled by the incident of the Temple cleansing. It is undoubtedly the same sense when Acts (5:17) speaks of the zelos manifested by the Jews in opposition to the proclamation of the (new) Christian message. Even in 13:45, this rendering must be considered along with the more usual “envy” found in 17:5. The apostle Paul uses the term in a specific Jewish sense in Rom. 10:2: “For I bear them record that they have a zelos of God, but not according to knowledge.” This ought to warn us that we may have “zeal,” but can be misdirected by it, causing more harm than good. The Jews fought Christianity because they were driven by “zeal” alone, not by the Holy Spirit of God, (see Philo’s De Posteritote Caini, 183 and Legum Allegoriae, III, 242).
“FOR I AM JEALOUS over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
In 2 Cor. 11:2, Paul uses the illustration of a girl’s father or representative through whom the betrothal is arranged. Paul says that he has betrothed the Corinthian Ekklesia to Christ, to present it to Him as His bride (at the last day, Rev. 21:2, 9; 22:17). The King James Version (KJV) uses “godly jealousy,” the Revised Standard Version (RSV) reads, “I feel a divine jealousy for you.”
So, what is Paul saying? He is responsible for seeing that the betrothed virgin is still PURE when the marriage takes place, i.e., that the Corinthians are not SEDUCED by persons (or demons) who will lead them away from their confessed faith in Christ. Now, think about this for a moment. How does this apply in today’s “Churchianity”? How could this ever apply when church leaders are turning PINK—e.g., accepting the Homosexual Agenda—lock, stock, and barrel. You tell me how this UNGODLY ABOMINATION (see Lev. 18, 20; Rom. 1; 1 Cor. 6; etc.) could ever work when God’s Word forbids fornication, adultery, incest, male/female homosexuality, prostitution, child molestation, etc. Are not both the Roman Catholic church and the Protestant church being led into such forbidden practices? Paul, no doubt, penned v. 2 because of this very thing; the Corinthian Church was in imminent danger (see v. 4) = fits too many “Christian” leaders of today, esp. ones like baby-boy Joel Osteen who claims to have MANY HOMO FRIENDS in his congregation!
Paul, the man-of-God he was, had a God-given jealousy; not a blind or unworthy passion, but a justified concern for the HONOR and PURITY of the Corinthian Ekklesia. Pray tell me, where are men like Paul today? I would dare say that MOST have porn habits…have adulterous affairs…are open or closet homos/perverts.
HUMAN JEALOUSY is not an attractive quality; only godly jealousy is. This spirit oftentimes leads to crime, even murder! It is a sort of a love which is possessive and, therefore, selfish…it can become a DEVOURING passion, killing godly love, and kindling demonic hatred. Real godly love is not “jealousy,” but, a “zeal” for godliness. It seeks to give, not to get. Divine jealousy comes from the Father of lights, not from the father of darkness.
You see, in Christ, God “made Himself of no reputation” (Phil. 2:7). Christ and the Father are concerned with the corruption of humanity, and the destruction of the human soul. We find little, if none, of this in today’s contemporary church. The jealousy of the Father/Christ (and any true messenger) can only mean their (our) refusal to consent to anything which would tempt man/woman from a reciprocal-love-relationship.
Actually, the whole church system breeds jealousy, selfishness, self-love…a desire to keep the flesh alive and the Spirit hindered. The LUST for $$ and power drives today’s churchites towards the “works of the flesh” (Gal. 5:19-21) “envyings” being one of them. But, to those who follow after the (Holy) Spirit (Gal. 5 also) do so because of love for God and His Kingdom.
Ephesians 5:25-33 puts forth a divine example of how godly jealousy works. Everything is lifted out of the perspective of this world (of darkness) and set down sub specie aeternitatis. External success or failure, prosperity or persecution, mattered little in Christ’s/Paul’s assessment of the Ekklesia. These things, dear ones, were/are temporary. THE FINAL TEST WAS/IS, HOW ONE’S LIFE APPEARS IN THE LIGHT OF ETERNITY. HEAVEN OR HELL ! Many will fail this test, missing Heaven and going to Hell!
Paul, in 2 Cor. 11:3, was AFRAID that some of his converts were being led astray, thusly, transferring their loyalty from Christ to others who were preaching “another Jesus” (v. 4). This is going on BIG TIME as I write. The whole Emergent church is reprobate/ apostate…following after the working of Satan. This whole Homosexual Agenda that is sweeping the world is of the devil !! (write for our many publications dealing with this ABOMINATION — all are FREE).
Paul marks those who do such things: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.” Today’s church is literally contaminated with such “deceitful workers” who “disguise themselves” in sheep’s clothing, but, are wolves! Take a good look at today’s church. See if I’m not right. Verse 15 = their END will correspond to their deeds! In the end, nothing will survive, but what is real and true.
So, Paul is a jealous man of God, in a positive sense, who guards the Corinthians against erroneous teachings and desires to present them as a virgin to Christ. WHERE ARE THOSE TODAY WITH SUCH JEALOUSY?
There is a good side to jealousy; the striving after a moral idea. But, this idea is considered just too “Holy” for the larger percent of today’s religious leaders—they prefer the gutter. And their “zeal” is misdirected, like “missing the mark,” the general definition of SIN!
HOW ABOUT THIS ONE? The bulk of the NT usage of the related ideas of “jealous” and “zealous” (assoc. with zelos, zeal, and zeeloo, strive or be jealous) is found mainly in Paul’s letters. “Zeal” represents intense effort and emotional energy forward toward a goal, and the zealot/striver is one who single-mindedly pursues that goal, which frequently involves guarding and vindicating the sanctity of that goal.
If one “strives to enter in at the strait gate” (Lk. 13:24), one should keep on striving to please God till the end.
Milton once wrote, “A person must scorn delights, and live laborious days” (Lycidas, 1.72). The metaphor of the “narrow door” (RSV) is combined in Matthew with that of “the hard way,” and both are contrasted with the “wide gate” and the “easy way” that leads to destruction.
Second Esdras (9:15, 16) says, “There be many more of them which perish, than of them which shall be saved: like as a wave is greater than a drop;” like one who wanders from the path and may miss the gate—this gate to salvation is wide open; so is the gate to damnation!
Jealousy, therefore, is the relational counterpart to zealous, primarily a focusing of emotion toward a person (or God) in the desire for a closer or renewed bond, or an envying of another person.
When one studies Paul’s usage of jealous/zealous, it can be put into the following:
1—His pre-Christian zeal
2—His refocused zeal;
3—His usage of destructive jealousy and zeal;
4—His usage of godly jealousy, and zeal
Acts 22:3 tells us Paul’s rigorous training under Gamaliel and his zealotry for the Jewish Law, and for God. In Gal. 1:14 he recalls how he gained advanced standing in Judaism, keeping the traditions of his ancestors (see 1 Macc. 2:26, 54; IQH 14:13-15; Dupont, 184-85; Num. 25:1-15 etc.).
As a Pharisee, Paul was a member of the “strictest sect” (Phil. 3:5; Acts 26:5), he was a zealot for the Law of Moses (Phil. 3:6), protecting and vindicating its sanctity against all violations…even killing, and putting into prisons, violators.
Actually, Jude (v. 3) tells us to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.” We’ve been over this verse many times. The words, “earnestly contend” (Gk. epagonizomai) describes the battle that the faithful believer must fight in the defense of the Christian faith. HA ! TODAY’S “CHRISTIAN” LITERALLY SURRENDERS HIS/HER FAITH UNTO THE ENEMY WITHOUT AN OUNCE OF FIGHTING !!
These two words together (earnestly contend) literally mean “to struggle,” “suffer,” “fight a fight.” But, today’s believers fight God!!, contending and complaining that His Way is just too hard, harsh, judgmental, and unloving. NO! dear one, You are just BACKSLID in heart ! Not standing up for the Lord is a SIN !!
Paul spent his entire Christian life as a zealot for the Lord Jesus. In the end he could well say, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Tim. 4:7). Paul FOUGHT AGAINST Satan (Eph. 6:12), Jewish/pagan vices (2 Tim. 3:1-5; Rom. 1:21-32; Gal. 5:19-21), Judaism (Acts 14:19; 20:19; Gal. 5:1-6), antinomianism/ immortality in the “church” (2 Tim. 3:5; 4:3; Rom. 6; 1 Cor. 5:1; 6:9-10; 2 Cor. 12:20, 21), false teachers/ preachers (2 Tim. 4:3-5; Acts 20:28-31; Rom. 16:17, 18), distortion of the Gospel (Gal. 1:6-12), worldliness (Rom. 12:2), and just plain ol’ sin (Rom. 6; 8:13; 1 Cor. 9:24-27 etc).
NOW, PLEASE TELL US WHY “CHRISTIANS” AREN’T CONTENDING FOR THE FAITH IN LIGHT OF THE ABOVE ENEMIES? COULD IT BE PRIDE?, REBELLION?, LAZINESS? ... ALL OF THESE !?!
WHILE SAUL OF TARSUS was never involved in the plot to oust the Romans, as the Zealot movement attempted to do, his zealotry was just as intensely focused. He was determined to STAMP OUT Christianity thru violent persecution (Gal. 1:13). One may want to read M. Hengal’s account of all this (1989, pp. 83-94). He argued that “the church of God” (Gal. 1:13) may be a reference to the Jewish Christian ‘Hellenists’ (first in Jerusalem and then in Damascus), who in their criticism of Torah and Temple would have been considered by Saul to be accursed lawbreakers (1991, pp. 72-84; see also Hengel’s 1991, pp. 71-79 account of Phil. 3:6).
Saul to Paul
PRAISE GOD FOR HIS SAVING MERCIES !! Saul saw the Light (Acts 9:3-5)! Saul, the Jewish zealot becomes Paul the Christian zealot (Gal. 1:15-17). He fervently pursued (Gk. dioko) the heavenly calling of Jesus Christ the Lord (Phil. 3:12, 14). He did it, dear sluggards, with a tenacity that equaled Judaism (Phil. 3:6; Gal. 1:13)! Now, he worked/warred by the power of Christ’s resurrection glory (Phil. 3:10).
SO, TO PURSUE A LIFE OF “JEALOUS ZEAL” IS TO DIE-TO-SELF / LIVE-FOR-CHRIST. It is a sad fact that today’s church is so hubris, rebellious, flummoxed, full of chicaneries, and abysmally rotten!! “Jealous” is the nuance of zealous in the negative sense that too often overflows into relationships with others. But, on the other hand, it can be positive as well. In 1 Cor. 3:3, “jealous” spilled over into quarreling (Gk. eris) so bitter that it equaled that of the world (1 Cor. 3:3 = sarkikoi … kata anthropon) …it became “outbursts of anger” (2 Cor. 12:20) and disputes similar to the party spirit in 1 Cor. 1:12; 3:4.
PAUL’S JEALOUSY and the Corinthian Ekklesia’s jealousy were not the same. His was to honor God; theirs was to dishonor one another. Furthermore, his jealousy should not be taken for tolerance or sympathy. He saw their jealousy as indicative of prolonged spiritual infancy, so it is today. Actually, today’s church has gone deep into infancy, i.e., babyhood!
Note Paul’s words: “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?” (1 Cor. 10:22) He was referring to idolatry (v. 14) = “the cup of devils” (v. 21). Not only was the Corinth Ekklesia fighting among themselves, they were failing to distinguish between righteousness and unrighteousness, just like today’s churchites. Some of today’s church activities are a “sacrifice to devils” (v. 20), which is associated with greed/covetousness (see Col. 3:5). The LUST and LOVE of $$ and popularity is the mark of today’s church. Therefore, demonic powers stand behind love for worldly possessions, honor or position—all of which today’s church goes for!
Therefore, this provokes the Lord’s jealousy (v. 22; see also Ex. 20:5; Deut. 4:24; Joshua 24:19 etc.).
What did Jesus say? “No man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6:24). Are you listening?
Paul says in v. 32, “Give none offence.” Are you listening?
Paul employs the intensive parazeloo (Gk. = “to provoke to jealousy”) in asking the Ekklesia with language borrowed from the OT: “Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy?” (1 Cor. 10:22, NIV).
For the Corinthian congregation’s commendable “zeal” for spiritual gifts, they exhibited little interest in edifying the Ekklesia (14:12). I see this same thing in today’s church, even among the Pentecostals and Charismatics. What a SHAME! What a SHAME!
PAUL DESCRIBES “love” to the Ekklesia at Corinth, as incapable of jealousy (1 Cor. 13:4). The KJV uses “envieth not.” Chap. 13 describes the relationship of gifts and love. It is a continuation of his discussion of the question of spiritual gifts in chap. 12. Here he emphasizes that to possess spiritual gifts without having love, amounts to nearly nothing (vv. 1-3). But, “love” is not tolerance of sin! Keep this in mind. This is what today’s church thinks. Well, they are WRONG! BIBLICAL LOVE HAS JUDGMENT IN IT. Remember this.
Therefore, Godly jealousy is also love. Jealousy is a choice: Godly jealousy or humanistic jealousy; take your pick—which one you are going to seek after. Humanistic jealousy, as said before, is the work of the flesh, not the Spirit, everywhere the apostle relates the avoidance of jealousy and other “lusts” of the flesh (Rom. 13:13, 14) to single-mindedly “putting on” the Lord Jesus Christ, and “putting on the armour of light” (Rom. 13:12, 14).
Our Christian behavior should be dominated by God’s love (Gal. 5:5, 6), instead of self-indulgent and destructive jealousy (Gal. 5:13, 15, 20).
Why is God called “A jealous God” (Ex. 20:5; Deut. 5:9)? Because He is God!...holy, righteous, without sin.
In the song of Moses (Deut. 32:31) we read: “They (sinning Israel) have moved Me to jealousy with that which is not God; they have provoked Me to anger with their vanities: and I will move them to jealousy with those which are not a people; I will provoke them to anger with a foolish nation.” Now, for the record, read on down to v.45, you’ve come across such words as: “a fire, anger, consume, mischiefs, hunger, burning heat, bitter destruction, teeth of beasts, poison of serpents, the sword, destroy, scatter, adversity, gall, poison of dragons, cruel venom of asps, vengeance, calamity, kill, wound, glittering sword, judgment, arrows drunk with blood, sword shall devour, blood of the slain, captives, revengers.” All these words are in God’s vocabulary! Why do we think that God is any different today? He is not! True, His judgments/ wrath may be in the background more, but they are in the NT.
Paul also spoke of his “godly jealousy” (2 Cor. 11:2, NIV) for the Corinthian Ekklesia—that their relationship to Christ might be pure. The repentant Corinthian Ekklesia (2 Cor. 7:10), out of godly sorrow, brought forth “zeal” (or, godly jealousy; Gk. zelos) for Paul and others (2 Cor. 7:7, 11). Second Cor. 9:2 ends with: “For I know the forwardness of your mind, for which I boast of you to them of Macedonia, that Achaia was ready a year ago; and your zeal hath provoked very many.”
Obviously the Corinthian Ekklesia got it right with God, became a model of generous, enthusiastic “zeal.”
Linked With Terms
IN ROM. 13:13; 1 Cor. 3:3; 2 Cor. 12:20; Gal. 5:20; James 3:14, 16, we find zelos linked with terms which express passions and faults. One can also find similar lists outside the NT.
zelos, as we’ve found out, denotes “zeal” which does, or does not, harm others; the predominant concern being for personal advancement.
Professor Lightfoot in his commentary on Gal. 5:20 (1874) may go a bit too far in favor of the “gentler qualities” and to depress their opposites, zeloo falls in the scale of Christian ethics.
Jealousy = MURDER!
IN THE EPISTLE OF CLEMENT (1, 4-6) zelos is the motive for the murder of Abel = passionate ill will, jealousy and envy. This could be true (see Gen. 4:8). If this be the case, then we can assume that the martyrdom of Steven, Peter, and Paul were because of “zeal” in the negative sense.
Cyprian in his treatise De Zelo ac Livore sees in human “zelus” the most dangerous and often secret EVIL in the life of the believer (MPL, 4,665B). Cyprian (died 258 AD) was Bishop of the Ekklesia in Carthage, N. Africa. Carthage was eventually razed to the ground by the Romans.
Another Ekklesia father, Chrysostom, in his homily on 1 Cor. 12:21, although he sees the dangers in a divisive zelos, can see high ethical value in it in the secular Gk. sense of the zeal of imitation (MPG, 61, 262f.).
ZELOO IS MOSTLY USED in the sense “to admire or commend someone” (see Plato’s Respublica, VIII, 561e; Isocrate’s Areopogiticus 9, 43 (436-338 BC). The Greeks expressed zeal/jealousy in a personal emotion, i.e., “to be stirred”—both negative and positive are expressed.
Plato’s Protagoras, 326a, uses it as “to be enthusiastic.” In his Pseudo Theog. (Ps.-Plat. Theog.), 121d, he uses it as “to admire.” His Alc. (or, Ps.-Plat. Alc.) II, 148b, uses it as “to concern oneself with something, to take up a matter, to make it the goal of one’s striving.”
I could list several other Greeks who use zelóo as “zealously to seek; to imitate,” “to envy” (in the positive/negative sense), “to be jealous” in the sense of the marital relationship.
This Gk. word—zelóo, is found in the LXX (45 times). It is used mostly in Proverbs, i.e., “to strive after” on the basis of preceding approval or admiration.
But, beware, it is also used as a warning against striving; the projected goal causes mé to be put before zeloun (see Prov. 3:31; 4:14; 23:17; 24:1, 19; see also Jesus Sirach 9:11). Professor Stumpff warns us that the only exception is the well known Prov. 6:6 = “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise” (the key word is “emulate”). The classical sense is found in Sir. 51:18; 2 Macc. 4:16, where the zeloun tas agogas, “zealous interest with the desire to emulate.”
The NT echoes the story of “the patriarchs, moved with envy, sold Joseph into Egypt…” (Acts 7:9; Gen. 37:11). Here zeloun is ill will and therefore, leads to the sense of “to envy,” see also Gen. 26:14 = “envied;” 30:1 = “envied;” Ez. 31:9 = “envied;” Jesus Sirach 37:10 = “envied,” also 45:18.
On the other hand, zeloun, in Bas. 21:2 = “to strive in the interest of someone,” “zealously to exert oneself on behalf of someone.” Only in Num. 5:14, 30 does it mean marital jealousy.
J.S. BANKS, PROFESSOR of Systematic Theology in The Heodingley college, Leeds says: “There is no more striking example of the anthrop. way of speaking of God characteristic of OT than the frequent ascription to Him of jealousy, associated as that idea is in our minds with an evil meaning” (Dict. of the Bible, vol. 2, 1911, p. 553). Banks lists Ex. 20:5; 34:14; Dt. 4:24; 5:9; Jos. 24:19; Nah. 1:2—these we’ve already looked at.
Prof. Banks writes: “Just as jealousy in husband or wife is the energetic assertion of an exclusive right, so God asserts and vindicates His claim on those who belong to Him alone.” Tell me, what is wrong with this?
TAKEN INTO A LARGER PICTURE, IF GOD IS THE HUSBAND, AND ISRAEL THE WIFE (NOW NEW ISRAEL = NT EKKLESIA), THEN IDOLATRY AND WICKEDNESS OF EVERY KIND ARE SPIRITUAL ADULTERY. Why isn’t this taught in today’s churches??
Israel is (too) often represented as thus provoking God to jealousy (Dt. 32:16; 1 Kgs. 14:22 etc.). As already said, the phraseology occurs in (Ez. 5:13; 16:38, 42; 23:25; 36:5, 6; 38:19; 39:25). (It is also found in Joel 2:18; Zeph. 1:18; Zech. 1:14; 8:2; Hos. 2:2, 16 etc.).
GOD IS “LIGHT” (1 Jn. 1:5). God is “love” (1 Jn. 4:8). God is “jealous” (Ex. 34:14). Not only this, “…the goodness and the severity of God” (Rom. 11:22) are side by side. You silly church folks need to STOP believing that God/Christ is ONLY LOVE!!! The NT expresses the SEVERITY as well as the love of God. In the very beginning, in Eden, we read of God’s “goodness,” e.g., the coming of the woman’s seed (Christ) to bruise the serpent’s head (Gen. 3:14). BUT, we also see His “severity” in that “He drove out the man” (3:24) because of their SIN!! I’ll tell you straight, He WILL TODAY KICK OUT OFFENDING “Christians” from His Kingdom. This is NT !!
Just as He provided an ark for survival in Noah’s day, for some to escape His wrathful flood, He put to death those who did not get aboard.
Just as He rained—down fire from Heaven upon homosexual Sodom/Gomorrah etc., He removed Lot and family.
We could go all the way thru the Bible and pick out texts where “severity”/“goodness” are side by side. We find God’s Wrath-Fury-Indignation expressing itself in both nature and human forms; likewise, in love-mercy-forgiveness.
AH, BUT JESUS IS “LOVE.” True, but read on—the Lord Jesus came on earth, not to bring peace, but the “SWORD” (Mt. 10:34-39). He IS that “Sword that CUTS;” He IS that “fire that BURNS.”
Jesus came not only to save, but to judge. He came here “full,” not only of grace, but, “of grace and Truth” (Jn. 1:14)…and “Truth” cuts, divides, condemns, sends to Hell !!
Jesus had “compassion” (Mt. 14:14), but also had “anger” (Mk. 3:5); He wept over Jerusalem, but also drove out of the temple the defilers (Jn. 2:15). He who “blessed His disciples” (Lk. 24:51) also “cursed the fig tree” (Mt. 21:19).
To make my point even sharper, Christ’s “beatitudes” (Matt. 5) are countered by His denunciatory “woes” in Matt. 23—read them dear “Jesus never condemns/judges.” The “love of Christ” (Eph. 3:19) is balanced with the “wrath of the Lamb” in Rev. 6:16—THIS IS NEW TESTAMENT, TOO !!
His Father, the LORD, was (is) both “abundant in goodness and Truth” and “keeps mercy for thousands.” He is the same who “by no means clear the guilty” (Num. 14:18).
When the unbelieving Jews demanded the Romans to crucify their own Lord, they cried, “LET HIS BLOOD BE UPON US AND UPON OUR CHILDREN” (Matt. 27:25) … and so, in 70 AD it WAS — this happened in the NT times.
You see, the LORD/Lord is a “consuming fire” as Hebrews 12:29 declares. Both “jealousy” and “zeal” are in that fire. And within that fire, we find forgiveness, and condemnation. The LORD/Lord is greatly to be feared (Ps. 89:7), but, men today fear worldly governments more so.
WHY IS IT THAT the LORD had His people (Israel) to destroy the altars, break their images, and cut down their groves (of the pagans) and we expect the Lord to approve our “paganism” in the NT dispensation? Remember the text, “For thou shalt worship no other God: for the LORD, whose name is JEALOUS, is a jealous God” (Ex. 34:14)? Everything that the LORD/Lord demands is because of His Divine nature.
Through the prophet Isaiah, He declared: “I AM the LORD: that is My name; and My glory will I not give to another” (Isa. 42:8). Yet, we find religious people STEALING His glory today. A BIG SIN!
God wants faithfulness/loyalty from His people; HE HATES ADULTERY/IDOLATRY. This plea, “My Son, give Me thine heart” in Proverbs 23:26 reaches over into our day and age. In Song of Solomon 8:6, we read, “Set Me as a seal upon thine heart.” Have you done this yet? (Study Ex. 13 and 23 please). God wants us to SEPARATED from the adulterous/idolatrous world (we’re to be a witness and a light/salt to them, but separate from their SINS). It is a disgrace just how FAR from God, and His Word, today’s “Christian” church really is. A disgrace to the fallen race.
IT IS WELL SAID that if the concept of zelos is locking in the Rabbinical view of God, that trait of “zeal” for God and His Law, which is found in the OT figures, corresponds to the basic orientation of Pharisaism. There are some pretty good books out there on this subject. Jesus encountered this movement during His earthly days. The zealot made alive “zeal” for the LORD.
Joseph Bell, 4, 161, points out that the Zealots called themselves Zelotes. Professor Wellhausen, Professor Klausner, and Professor Sieffert believe that the Zealot movement got started in Pharisaism. It is generally assumed (mainly on the basis of Jos. Ant. 18, 1 cf. Acts 5:37) that it emerged as a historical movement when Judas of Galilee joined the Pharisee Zadok, who had separated himself from Pharisaism, in resistance against Roman rule on the occasion of the census under Quirinius.
Others think that the zealot movement had its start as robber bands (Jos., e.g., Bell., 2, 253 f; Ant. 20 (160, 61, 67). All this happened before Judas, under the leadership of his father Hezekiah. I personally don’t care who started it, or when. My point is that the Gk. word under study refers to both “jealousy” and “zeal.” I suppose we could trace the Zealot Movement all the way back to Phinehas, the prototype of jealous/zealous for the LORD.
There are two other Rabbinical passages (Sanh. 9, 6; S. Nu. 131 on Number 25:5-11 where Phinehas kills Zimri and Cozbi; turning the wrath of God away from Israel).
In One Sense…
THE NT CHRISTIANS, in one sense, are zealots, or should be! We should be jealous/zealous for God’s honor, His Word, His Way. But, it is a sad day when God’s professing “people” are more in love with the world than Him! Yet we can bear witness that this is true. Today’s churchites are more REBELLIOUS than RIGHTEOUS … thieves, liars, adulteresses, fornicators, idolaters, money- loving perverts, etc., etc.
“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’, shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in Heaven.” Matthew 7:21. It is not so much what we say, but what we do that counts. Actions speak much more eloquently than words.
The emphasis on feelings and blessings to the exclusion of commitment, obedience, and discipleship, is a sure way to failure and disappointment (Matthew 7:15-23).
There is no short cut method, no 4-point programme, no cut and dried, canned salvation. There is no alternative to full surrender to the Lordship of Christ (Colossians 2:6-7), and wholeheartedly seeking (Jeremiah 29:13), and following God’s way (1 Peter 2:21). You have to forsake the world (1 John 2:15-17), and you must give up living for selfish reasons and motivations (Matthew 16:24). Repent of your past sinful way of life (Isaiah 55:7) and put all your energies, time, strength, talents, money and abilities under God’s control. Be transformed by the renewing of your mind and live wholeheartedly for Him (Rom 12:1-2).
We Have Seen…
ZELOO/ZELOTES CAN BEAR many shades of meaning (nuances) in the NT both on the positive side, and on the negative. Greek scholars point out that the NT usage is in keeping with the assumption that the words are originally vox media, signifying a human emotion which leads to action.
Both the above Gk. words mean, in the sense of “to be zealous for God” (Simon belonged to the Zealot party, Luke calls him Zelotes in Lk. 6:15 and Acts 1:13), and this is the correct translation of the word in Hebrew and the Aramaic term for zealot.
Luke uses these Gk. words in the sense to denote the attitude of the Jews towards Christian preaching in Acts 17:5; ct. 5:17; 13:4, 5. The negative “zeal” in action; just as Paul was, (Gal. 1:14; Phil. 3:6) in relation to his own past, he ranks himself with those zealous Jews.
We’ve already dealt with Paul’s personal attitude towards the Ekklesia at Corinth (2 Cor. 11:2). We also have dealt with Paul’s rebuke of the Corinth Ekklesia in 1 Cor. 10:22.
If there is one SIN today, that would arouse the Lord’s anger, it is what Paul wrote about in the above verse. I want to end this study reflecting on this “warning” chapter. Paul starts out in v. 1 with, “…I would not that ye should be ignorant,” then he proceeds to write of Israel’s SIN in the wilderness… “These things were our examples, to the intent we should not LUST after EVIL things, as they also LUSTED” (v. 6). Verses 7-10 list idolatry, fornication, tempting Christ, and murmuring. Then Paul proceeds to address the Ekklesia’s SIN of defiling the communion cup and bread (which represents Christ’s blood and body) in v. 16.
What Paul was doing in his first letter to the Corinth Ekklesia was showing, by way of example, that Israel’s “idolatry” had caused their OVERTHROW — despite their “sacraments.” Listen up, Church ! In vv. 11, 12, he warns the Ekklesia of the same possibility. FLEE IDOLATRY ! He, no doubt, had in mind the pagan temples where such feasting and fornications went on. Corinth was given to such foolery. The word for “idolatry” is the equivalent of the personal noun used in 5:10, 11 and 10:7 (cf. 6:9), suggesting that both eating and fornication at the (pagan) temples is involved (10:7). Some liberal scholars downplay this fact, but Paul’s whole argument is predicated on the essentially “idolatrous” nature of those feasts.
VERSE 15, (1 Cor. 10), “I speak as to wise men; judge ye what I say” is absolute (see 5:3). He was dealing with one of the LORD’S prohibitions — “don’t do after the heathen” — a theme that runs throughout the OT and into the NT. Participation in paganism is SIN !! Koinonia (fellowship, participation) is to be unto the LORD/Lord only—something that today’s liberal church refuses to practice.
This Koinonia / fellowship goes beyond the physical communion, it goes into the spirit-fellow-shipping the world is a SIN! It is called spiritual adultery.
In reality, communion deals with God or demons. Paul makes that clear in vv. 20 and 21, “But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils. Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils” (1 Cor. 10:20, 21).
Having said that, he proceeds to ask, “Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy?” (v. 22).
Worship of the deity is involved in both paganism and in Christianity; sacrifice preceded the meal in OT days. So, also, in the pagan meals. One papyrus suggests that the god himself will act as host (see Pkoln 57, pp. 175-77 where “the god invites you to a banquet being held in the Thaereion tomorrow from the 9th hour;” see G.H.T. Horsley’s New Documents, 1976, pp. 5-8. Horsley also notes evidence from coins indicating the presence of the god at such a meal).
Jesus, let’s remember, was present (host) at the first such meal (communion), therefore, the Ekklesia understood Him to be present in Spirit in their communion and gatherings (5:3-5).
THE “FELLOWSHIP” (Gk. Koinonia) was in reality the celebration based on the new covenant in Jesus’ blood…binding the NT Ekklesia together in union with the crucified-resurrected-glorified Christ by the Holy Spirit. Professor Gordon D. Fee, PhD (a Pentecostal) writes: “It is this unique relationship between believers and with their Lord, celebrated at this meal, that makes impossible similar associations with other ‘believers’ at the tables of demons…this passage (our text) the cup seems to focus on the vertical dimension, the bread on the horizontal (cf. v. 21),” (The 1st Epistle to the Corinthians, p. 467).
We all know this is to share in the atoning death of Christ Jesus, and to become part of the redeemed Ekklesia. Communion is more than a drink of wine (or juice) and a piece of bread—it is communion with Jesus in Spirit—something most churchites DO NOT DO !!!
THE SACRIFICES OF PAGANS are offered to demons, not to God, v. 20. Paul is alluding to the LXX (Gk. OT) of Deut. 32:17. Verse 16 of chap. 32 we read: “They (Israel) provoked Him to jealousy with strange gods, with abominations provoked they Him to anger.” V. 17 goes on to say, “They sacrificed unto devils, not to God; to gods whom they knew not, to new gods that came newly up, whom your fathers feared not.”
“Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed, and get yourselves a new heart, and a new spirit. For why should you die...?” Ezekiel 18:31
Those who claim that we can accept Jesus as Saviour, without submitting to Him as Lord, are false teachers. It would not have been sufficient for Moses to have proclaimed to the Hebrews, who were slaves in Egypt, that they should accept that in Yahweh they had perfect freedom, whilst leaving them in bondage and under the yoke of slavery in Egypt.
Nothing less than deliverance from Egypt, freedom from the bondage of slavery, would have been adequate. God’s eternal purposes required the people of Israel to survive the Passover, leave Egypt, cross through the Red Sea and be established as a free people in the Promised Land.
Sin is serious. Yet we are far too tolerant of sin. “God now commands all men everywhere to repent .” Acts 17:30
Sin is more defiling than dirt, more dangerous than an unexploded bomb, more life threatening than a deadly disease, more insidious than a virus. “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” Isaiah 55:6
Could we not say the same of today’s liberal/Emergent church, sacrificing to devils?...fellow-shipping homosexuals, fornicators, adulterers, and all other manner of pagans?? Where is the separation? Where is the “union” with Christ?
Warnings / Prohibitions
VERSE 21 POINTS OUT that “you can’t have it both ways!” These words function as both warning and prohibition.
Liberal-minded churchites today, scoff at the idea of DEMONS. It has become fashionable to excommunicate those of us who do. Well, I DO ! It is demons who get “Christians” not to believe in their existence. Duh !
Modern men, who cannot believe in the demonic, are the true “myth,” not the Gospel they set out to “demythologize.”
The term jealous (v. 22) is a reflection of the OT motif of God’s self-revelation in Exodus 20:5, related to His Holiness and Glorious Power, showing that “other gods” had no power above or even equal to Him.
I END HERE. We can’t have our cake and eat it too. We must serve Christ or demons. Doing your little churchy “communion” thing does not keep you from God’s anger if you are doing the licentiousness thing. We cannot radicalize “the law of Christ” (9:21), we must obey it or be DAMNED!
GOD IS A JEALOUS GOD; AND WE NEED TO BE JEALOUS / ZEALOUS FOR HIS HONOR. Amen.
[ * STUDY MATERIAL HAS BEEN ADAPTED FROM ITS ORIGINAL SOURCES * ]