It is binding that I boast! Surely it is not beneficial, but I shall go on to visions and revelations from the Master.1
|1||I shall go on to visions and revelations from the Master: Or, revelations of the Lord. The Greek is APOCALYPSEIS KYRIOU [revelations of Lord] and is without the article. It is possible YHWH could go here, but judging from the context “Master” seems more appropriate. Peter applies the prophet Joel and foretold visions upon Christian men. [Acts 2:17] Paul reports such experiences elsewhere. [Acts 22:17] He has mentioned at least two of these in his previous letter. [1 Corinthians 11:23 and 1 Corinthians 15:51; Galatians 1:12]|
Dear Friends of the Nazarene,
We choose 2 Corinthians 12:1 as the theme verse of the chapter – A Weak Visionary. Paul began listing those things that characterized an “outstanding minister of Christ.” He continues in chapter twelve by referring to his extraordinary vision and revelations. He describes “a man” – likely himself – was “caught away” by inspiration to see and hear heaven itself. [1-7] He calls this “heaven” also Paradise, even as Jesus does in Revelation 2:7.
So that Paul would not get puffed up by these visionary experiences he was given “a thorn in the flesh.” [7-10] Though some think this an illness involving his eyes, the phrase “torn in the flesh” was used of those enemies of Israel. [Exodus 34:12] This “thorn in the flesh” may have included the “super-fine apostles” in the Corinthian congregation. It may also have included the Judaizers. Three times he asked the Master to remove this “thorn” but the answer was, No. The Master had told Paul, “In weakness power is completed.” As a result Paul said, “I take pleasure in weaknesses…and hardships.” The “signs of an apostle” continued with Paul. [11-13]
Paul tells the Corinthians what they fully knew: he had never taken financial advantage of them. [12-18] He was unlike many modern television evangelists who have gotten wealthy off the flock. I was willing to complete exhaust himself in their behalf. He asks them, “What will I find when I visit you again?” [19-21] He fears that he might find certain wrong attitudes and conduct may be going on within the congregation. He lists these as “strife, jealousy, fits of anger, contentions, backbitings, whisperings, inflations, disorders.” He knows that “[moral and spiritual] uncleanness, sexual immorality and loose conduct” still exist in the congregation.
If Paul were to visit many a modern church he would find these same things. This would be true whether it was a Mormon “ward”, a “Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses,” or a Baptist “church.” It is true there are “a few that did not defile themselves” but it is becoming harder and harder to find true wheat while goats become abundant. [Revelation 3:4]
May Heaven bless genuine and hard-working “apostles” today.
[23 June 2002]