Tuesday, June 18, 2024

On Prayer

I recently saw a YouTube video where the guest was being interviewed about the importance of prayer. 

Now, prayer is definitely an essential part of living out the Christian faith. Jesus' disciples asked Him to teach them to pray, and He responded with what is popularly known as "The Lord's Prayer." Paul wrote in many of his letters about the importance of prayer.

The person being interviewed in the video talked about a dream/vision he had once while praying. In the dream, he saw Jesus before the throne in heaven:
He's moving from place to place. His activity was this. As He would step to a place, He would face the throne of the Father and begin to pray. His intercessory prayer was exactly again what Hebrews says, "He ever lives to make intercession for us," and He was praying with intercessions. And we speak of groans that can't be uttered, but His was different. He was declaring things clearly to the throne, but they weren't clear to me. Because His voice, John said, again, sounded like many waters.
We need to put the focus more on the "many" than on the "water." It's not the sound of a great waterfall, and the noise of it. It was that He was praying so many things at one time, that His ability to pray for the whole world, for so many needs, for so much simultaneously, is so far beyond us. I don't even know how many languages He was using, or if it was only the language of heaven, because I couldn't tell. But in that dynamic, I knew that as He was praying to the Father, something was shifting, and things were being changed by the prayers of Jesus. And they weren't going to change if Jesus didn't pray. That heaven was dependent on the prayer life of Jesus, on the intercessory work of Jesus—that earth was dependent on the intercessory work of Jesus. And it's a breathing, living, active part of the process that we're living in the middle of right now. 

And I was seeing that. I wasn't even sure how to respond. I didn't know what to think. I couldn't put my mind around it. It was too much. And I was watching it happen, and it was in the midst of that, that angels began to pass in front of me and go to the earth. And they were sometimes a thousand, sometimes one or two or ten or fifty in groups—who knows? I couldn't keep up with all of that. But the Holy Spirit then said, "Look up!" And when I did, I saw this area, this circle. Remember, we're in this circle of the earth mentality. The circle continued above me as a great stadium. Even one of the original words John uses lines up with the word we would get stadium from. And he said "encircling this"—that's the word, "encircling"—encircling this were angels, ten thousand times ten thousand times ten thousand. That's John's description. They just continued on. I don't know if John was being literal, if that's the actual number of if John was just traying to make a point that there's more than you can count. 

So the reality of that, these angels were being sent on assignment, and what I knew in my spirit—I just knew—that the prayers of Jesus to the Father were being responded to, and the Father was sending angels in response to those prayers, and to answer those prayers, and to be a participant so that heaven and earth were very much united in the process, and this divine impact was happening. 

First, I find it curious that this speaker claims that "heaven was dependent on the prayer life of Jesus, on the intercessory work of Jesus." If heaven is, by definition, the place where God is enthroned in glory, why would it be dependent on the prayers of the second Person of the Trinity? Would its very existence not be predicated on the fact that God himself is present there, and not on prayers from the Son offered up to the Father?

Second, this speaker makes a claim that "one of the original words John uses lines up with the word we would get stadium from." This is the point into which I wish to dive more deeply. 

The Greek word for "encircling" in Rev. 5:11 (which is the passage this visionary experience is based on) is κύκλῳ. According to the Dictionary of Biblical Languages in Logos Bible Software, it is an adverb meaning "all around, in a circle, surrounding." The word is also found in Mark 3:44, Mark 6:6, Mark 6:36, Luke 9:12, Rom 15:19, Rev 4:6, and Rev 7:11.

None of those talk about a stadium, and this Greek word has no relation to the English word "stadium" or "arena." Neither the KJV, NIV, or NLT has the word "stadium." While the NIV uses "arena" in 1 Cor. 4:9, the phrase "in the arena" was inserted by translators to clarify how those "condemned to die" would meet their end. There is no word for "arena" or "stadium" or any similar word for the location of their deaths in the Greek text in this verse. 

The Greek word στάδιος (stadios), which bears resemblance to the English "stadium,"  is used in Rev. 14:20 and 21:16, but in those contexts it is used as a unit of measurement for distance, and has nothing to do with a stadium or arena surrounding someone, as this speaker was describing. The related word στάδιον is used in 1 Cor 9:24, and is translated as "stadium" in some English versions, but this is the only instance of such a use in the New Testament.

What is my point with all of this investigation, and taking the time to write this? It's to point out that we must always examine carefully statements made by writers and speakers. If the person in question isn't recognized as a scholar in the pertinent biblical area of study, take claims about the original language and its relation to our English words with a grain of salt. 

Anybody can say anything. It's up to use as listeners and reader to be good Bereans and examine claims carefully.

No comments:

Post a Comment