Thursday, May 3, 2012

More on Eph. 5: 14

"Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light."

Are two different persons or groups under consideration in this passage?  In other words, are those who are asleep believers (those who are spiritually alive) while those who are dead (or among the dead) unbelievers?  Notice the pronoun "thou."  Is the same "thou" to be applied to the second clause?  Can we read it thusly - "awake you who sleeps and arise (you) from the dead"?  Is "the sleeper" different from the "the dead"?  Jason, and those who he cites as in agreement with him, argue that the "you" of the first clause is not to be understood as being the subject of the second clause.  But, this is untenable.  The same class that is called to "awake" from sleep are the same class that are called to rise from the dead.  They are not two different classes.  Both clauses are not only directed to the same persons, but speak of the same experience.  In other words, waking from sleep is equated with rising from the dead.  They are not talking about two different experiences.  In other words, waking from sleep is further defined as rising from the dead.  It is saying the same thing in different ways.

Some of the commentators that Jason cited believed that the first clause refers to believers and that the latter clause refers to unbelievers.  Jason thinks both clauses are addressed to believers, to those spiritually alive.  Jason cannot count those commentators who interpret the first clause to believers, but the latter to unbelievers, as in league with him.  Very few of them consider the latter clause to be addressed to those who are "alive among the dead."

Further, Jason has never met my challenge to show where being "among the dead" can apply to people who are alive.  It is revealing how he cannot meet this simple challenge.  He is trying to find the living among the dead and he cannot.  Will you give us the Scripture that shows that "among the dead" applies to the living?  The case of David being among the dead was answered and his latest rejoinder has not shown how David was viewing himself as alive among the dead. 

Jason admits that the Greek word for "sleep" (katheudō) is used to refer to those who are physically dead.  However, he argues that it is not used with regard to those who are spiritually dead, that the word "nekros" is used exclusively to refer to the spiritually dead.  But, the passage in Eph. 5: 14 uses both katheudo and nekros in regard to the same condition of the same people.

If the same group of persons are referred to in both imperative clauses, then clearly the apostle views nekros as defining what he means by katheudo.  In rising from sleep one is rising from death.

In Psalm 76: 6 the psalmist mentions a "dead sleep."  That is the kind of death Paul is talking about in Eph. 5: 14.  In Daniel 12: 2 we read:

"And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." 

The Greek Septuagint translates the word sleep as καθευδοντων

Brown wrote:

"Even if Calvin is not making a fundamental difference in the katheudo and the nekros, none of these commentaries explain the use of both words, but assume that they are generally synonymous. So what is the difference? If you can't answer this question, don't pretend like the words should be treated as practical synonyms when they are clearly two distinct words."

I never said that they were synonyms!  What I have argued is that the latter clause explains what Paul meant by "sleeping" in the former clause.  Calvin and other commentators see this.  Normally the word "sleep" refers to the slumber of the living but sometimes for those who are dead, as Jason admits.  So, how are we to determine which it is in a given verse?  Does the context not decide the issue?  When Christ spoke of the sleeping of Jairus' daughter, the context shows he is referring to death.  So likewise the context of Eph. 5: 14 shows that death is under consideration for the second part says "AND rise from the dead."  Jason must feel the weight of this for he interprets "and rise up from the dead" to mean "you living ones, get up out from among the dead."  But, again, he ought to be able to find another supporting verse that shows that the living are so addressed.  But, universally, the call to rise up from among the dead means to come to life.  The resurrection angels said that the living are not among the dead!  Why not answer the witness of the angels on the point?

The command to "awake" and to "arise" are joined together to denote the same phenomenon.  To awake from the sleep of death means the same thing as to rise from the dead.  Notice these words:

"Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead."  (Isa. 26: 19)

Brown wrote:

"In other words, katheudo refers to unregenerate elect, and the general nekros refers to the world of the non-elect. The problem with this idea for Brother Garrett is that the gospel proclamation in Ephesians 5:14 is presented to the katheudo, not the general nekros."

Where did Jason get this hermeneutic rule?  Surely he made it up himself.  Can he give us any Greek scholar who says this? 

Further, Jason has put himself into a bind by saying that katheudo refers to the unregenerate!  He has surrendered the whole argument.  Why?  Because he does not believe that God commands the unregenerate, in the Gospel, to rise from their unregenerate sleep!  By the above remarks he believes that the unregenerate are addressed in both clauses!  God says to the unregenerate elect - "rise up from your unregenerate sleep."  God says to the unregenerate non-elect - "rise up from among the dead."  Consistency thou art a jewel!  Further, he is again guilty of speaking out of both sides of his mouth.  In his earlier posts he asserted that the command to "rise from the dead" was addressed to the "quickened" child of God but now says it is addressed to "the world of the non-elect"! 

The "gospel proclamation" of Eph. 5: 14 is not addressed to "the general nekros"?  Is he not speaking to those who are dead?  When he says - "rise from the dead," this is not speaking of the dead in general?  Did Jason not say that the dead here refers "to the world of the non-elect"? 

Brown wrote:

"Brother Garrett has 5, maybe 6, resources that take his view of this text."

No, Garrett had more but felt like he had given sufficient citations from the leading commentators to show that they felt like it was a reference to those who are spiritually dead.  And, Jason, sometimes, agrees with this, when he says that the "unregenerate elect" are in view!  Further, as I said, some of the commentators he cited applied the former clause to those already alive in Christ and the latter to those dead in sin.  But, again, what does it matter since Jason has admitted that the entire command is addressed to the unregenerate?  But, of course, he contradicts himself, for he at first said that the command was addressed to those already "quickened" (regenerated) and now says it is addressed to those not regenerated!  Consistency thou art a jewel! 

Brown wrote:

"We are not debating whether the nekros refers to the spiritually dead, but whether katheudo refers to individuals that already believe."

And what is your view?  Do you not contradict yourself when you say that the command is to those who are already "quickened" and now later say it is a command to the "unregenerate"? 

Brown wrote:

"So, that gives the Primitive Baptists Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary, Albert Barnes, John Gill, and all the resources pasted below...for a total of 16, almost 17, including, possibly, Calvin. The Primitive Baptist view is 3-4 times more prevalent than the support Brother Garrett offers. I think it's fair to say that that is a vast majority. These resources could hardly be thought of as having bias toward the Primitive Baptists."

JFB applied the first clause, as do other commentators, to Christians, but the latter clause to the lost.  But, as I have shown, this is totally untenable as the same class of people are addressed in both clauses.  But, JFB does affirm that the command to "rise from the dead" is addressed to the spiritually dead via the Gospel.  Those who affirm that "rise up from the dead" is a command to Christians is the minority view and is without foundation.  Not until one can show that being "among the dead" does not equate with being dead will such a stance have weight and validity. 

Further, let us ask Jason how many of the commentators he cites will agree with him that men are born again apart from the preaching of the Gospel?  If he wants to go by the majority view of the commentators, then let him accept what they say about James 1: 18, I Cor. 4: 15, and I Peter 1: 23.

Brown wrote:

"Now, come to, Brother Garrett, it is high time for you to repent of your excesses."

But, until you prove that I am guilty of excess, the exhortation is meaningless.  Why don't you repent of your Hardshell presuppositions and twisted hermenuetics? 

Why is it that Jason is fighting the idea that God addresses the spiritually dead through the Gospel?  Is it not because it uproots Hardshellism?  But, of course, he sometimes agrees that the address of Eph. 5: 14 is to the unregenerate and spiritually dead and then at other times says it is addressed to the regenerate and spiritually alive. 

Both John 5: 34 and Eph. 5: 14 truly uproot Hardshellism and its Pelagianism.

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