Hello everyone. We’re continuing our study through the Bible on the Trinity and tonight, we’re going to finish up the book of 1 Corinthians and note how Paul finishes up this book. In the last few verses, Paul refers to Christ several times in quite strong language. Rather than just merely type about it, let’s go to the text and then comment on it. Our text will be 1 Cor. 16:22-24.
22If anyone does not love the Lord—a curse be on him. Come, O Lord!
23The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.
24My love to all of you in Christ Jesus. Amen.
Let’s begin with the first one. For Paul, all who are Christians are to love the Lord. If not, they will be anathema, which we will see is a play on words. When Paul speaks of a curse in Galatians, he is referring to the curse of death. Could he be saying the same thing here? Could he be stating that if one is not in the Lord then they are cut off from life itself? (And I mean it in a qualitative sense. I do not hold to the idea of annihiliation.)
The next verse speaks of the coming of the Lord with the word “maranatha.” Hence, we have “anathema maranatha.” Whereas some were to be cursed for not being in right relation to Jesus, others were blessed and were in fact looking forward to the coming of the Lord. The terminology used here is not to be ignored as the language itself speaks of deity, but could there be something more?
Yes! Now I’m not going to go into eschatology here as I don’t even go into my own eschatological stance, but the biblical writers of old were always looking for the day of YHWH. This was the day when YHWH would come and defeat his enemies. It was an act of deity in judging a nation that had gone against him.
Paul is using similar terminology here and is instead saying that he is looking forward to the coming of the Lord Jesus. The coming of Jesus in the New Testament is to be compared to the coming of YHWH in the Old Testament. When we go through the Old Testament and see passages where the coming of YHWH is taught, we need to consider that in the time of the New Testament, that early Christians used such terminology to speak of the coming of Jesus.
Paul closes with the love being in Christ Jesus. It is noteworthy that also in the Old Testament that believers were all joined together under the covenant of YHWH. In the New Testament, Paul doesn’t hesitate to apply the same sort of idea to Jesus. There is no mention of God here, which does not mean that Paul is disrespecting him, but rather showing the high view that Paul has of Jesus in that the love of Jesus is the love of God and being in right relation with Jesus is being in right relation with YHWH. In fact, Jesus is the last word that Paul writes in this epistle. Paul wanted to end on the best note and he did. He has spoken of a curse on those who deny the Lord, the looking for the coming of the Lord, the fellowship of believers in the Lord, and then the name of the Lord is his last word. Could Paul have been telling what the belief was about Jesus in the early church perchance?
Tomorrow, we shall begin the book of 2 Corinthians.