IN WHOSE CASE THE GOD OF THIS WORLD
HAS BLINDED THE MINDS OF THE UNBELIEVING: en tois
o theos tou aionos toutou etuphlosen (3AAI) ta noemata ton apiston: (the god: Mt 4:8,9 Jn 12:31,40
14:30 16:11 1Co 10:20 Eph 2:2 6:12 1Jn 5:19 Rev 20:2,3) (blinded: 2Co
3:14 1Ki 22:22 Isa 6:10 Jn 12:40)
In whose case - Referring to those
who are in a persistent state of spiritual ruin even though they are still
physically alive (2Co 4:3)!
The god of this world - More
literally this is "the god of this age" ("World" is
aion [word study]
= age). This epithet (a characterizing phrase occurring in
place of the name) refers to "the great dragon (who) was thrown down
(to occur at mid-point of "Daniel's 70th Week" see
chart for events at "Midpoint"),
the serpent of old (Ge 3:1) who is called the devil and
Satan" (Rev 12:9-note) (See
also the discussion of the 3 mortal enemies of our soul -
devil). As discussed
below God has granted Satan temporary "squatter's rights" over the earth,
but never forget that God is still on His Throne and the earth ultimately
belongs to Him (eg, see Pr 24:1, 1Ti 1:17). To be sure, Satan has very real
power and authority but he can only do what the Lord permits (eg see Job
1:6, 7, 8, 9 10 11 12).
John MacArthur rightly reminds
us that although Paul uses the same Greek word theos here to describe the
devil, the truth is that...
Satan, of course, is not a god but a
created being. He is called a god because his deluded followers serve him as
if he were one. Satan is the archetype of all the false gods in all the
false religions he has spawned.
J: 2Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press
Guzik has a helpful note
The Biblical truth that Satan is the
god of this age can be understood in a wrong way. Some later Christians
(like the Manichaeans) promoted a dualistic understanding of God and Satan,
and emphasized this phrase the god of this age. Their idea was that
God and Satan were “equal opponents,” instead of understanding that in no
way is Satan the opposite of God. In reaction to these false doctrines, many
early Christian commentators (like Augustine, Origen, Chrysostom and others)
interpreted this verse strangely to “remove ammunition” from the heretics.
But this is wrong. Just because some one twists a truth one way, it doesn’t
mean we can twist it the other way to “compensate.” Calvin well remarks of
this approach, “being hard pressed by their opponents they were more anxious
to refute them than to expound Paul.” Instead, Calvin gives a good sense of
what we should understand by the phrase the god of this age: “The devil is
called the god of this age in no other way than Baal was called the god of
those who worshipped him or the dog the god of Egypt.” (2 Corinthians 4 Commentary)
Satan is the one who has been granted
temporary authority over this fallen world system (see
a truth that is taught in the Devil's temptation of Christ where he offers
our Lord all the kingdoms of the world...
And he (the devil) led Him (Jesus) up and
showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the
said to Him, "I will give You all this domain (exousia
~ the right and the might) and its glory (albeit a passing
glory - 1Jn 2:17-note);
for it has been handed over (paradidomi
= given over into the power of Satan) to me, and I give it to
whomever I wish. "Therefore if You worship before me, it shall all be
Yours." (Lk 4:5, 6,7, cp Mt 4:8, 9).
Comment: Note that the Lord does
not deny Satan's "claim" over all the kingdoms of this world.
Jesus refers to Satan as
a ruler declaring...
Now judgment is upon this world; now the
ruler (archon - first in rank - in the spiritual world over all
spiritual forces of wickedness - Ep 6:12-note)
of this world shall be cast out. (Jn 12:31)
I will not speak much more with you, for
the ruler (archon) of the world (kosmos)
is coming, and he has nothing in Me (There is nothing in Jesus character
wherein the devil can get a foothold) (Jn 14:30)
(Jesus speaking about the Holy Spirit Jn
16:8, 9, 10) and concerning judgment, because the ruler of this world
has been judged. (Jn 16:11)
Comment: The fate of Satan is so
sure that here Jesus speaks uses the past tense to describe the future
judgment of Satan at the Cross, where Christ triumphed once and for all over
the god of this world. (even as foretold in the Protoevangelium
in Ge 3:15, cp He 2:14,15-note,
with Satan's final and eternal punishment in Rev 20:10-note)
Paul calls Satan a prince...
(Addressing the saints at Ephesus who
were once spiritually dead Ep 2:1-note)
in which you formerly walked (conducting your life) according to the course
of this world (kosmos),
according to the prince (archon ~ Satan) of the power of the air, of
the spirit that is now working ("energizing") in the sons of disobedience.
John refers to him as the
evil one over this fallen world..
We (believers) know (perfect
= speaks of a permanent, intrinsic
knowledge God's Spirit has bestowed on believers so that they might be
assured that they are genuinely saved - cp 1Jn 5:13, Jn 20:31 Ro 8:15-note
Gal 4:6) that we are of God (in His family, 1Jn 3:1-note,
His children Jn 1:12, 13), and the whole world lies in the power of the evil
one. (1Jn 5:19)
Blinded - This description recalls Paul's initial
encounter with Jesus on the Damascus Road (Read Acts 9:3, 4, 5, 6) in which the light of the glory of Christ blinded
Paul's physical eyes (Acts 9:8, 9), but opened the eyes of his heart so that
He could see Jesus for Who He really was. The spiritual dynamic Paul
describes here in 2Co 4:4
is essentially the antithesis (direct opposite) of his own personal experience, for
in the present passage, instead of opening the eyes of the mind, Satan
blinds their mind and their spiritual vision, leaving their physical
The upshot (final effect) is that these unbelievers (whose unbelief precedes
their being blinded) are rendered incapable of seeing (comprehending) the light of the Gospel of the glory
of Christ. (See
below for related note
on "blinded" in John 12:40).
Barclay translates it...
In their case, the god of this world has
blinded the minds of those who refuse to believe, in order that upon them
there may not dawn the light of the good news which tells of the glory
of Christ in whom we can see God.
In his description of the superiority of
the New Covenant Paul had just explained that the minds of most of
the Jews in the Old Testament (excepting the believing
were hardened; for until this very day at
the reading of the old covenant the same veil remains unlifted, because it
is removed in Christ. (2Cor 3:14-note)
Comment: In other words, because
they refused the light God had given them, they experienced His divine
retributive judgment ("hardened" is in the
= which speaks of action on the subject from an outside source, i.e., in
this case God!) and were consequently unable to comprehend (cp "a veil lies
over their heart" - 2Co 3:15-note)
the true significance and purpose of the Old Covenant (which pointed to
Christ in shadows and types and which shut men up in their sin, teaching
them the sinfulness of sin but also leading them like a tutor to Christ)
But the one who hates his brother is in
the darkness and walks in the darkness, and does not know where he is
going because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (1 Jn 2:11)
from tuphlos/typhlos = blind from
a root tuph/typh- = to burn, smoke, cp tuphos = smoke) to
envelop with smoke and in the active sense means to make
blind, to rob of sight. The passive sense means to go blind, to be blinded,
to be unable to see clearly. The figurative sense means to be unable to
"see" (understand, comprehend) some truth, especially spiritual truth.
Ralph Enlow writes that...
Scripture often employs the imagery of
blindness to describe the spiritual condition of persons who are either
unable or unwilling to perceive divine revelation. The things of God are
perceived not by observation and inquiry, but by revelation and illumination
(Mt 11:25, 26, 27; 1Co 1:21; 2Pe 1:19, 20, 21-note).
It is the Lord who "gives sight to the blind" (Ps146:8-note;
The New Testament reveals that believers
are subject to spiritual blindness. Peter deems those who fail increasingly
to exhibit diligence in pursuit of spiritual virtue as blind or nearsighted
And the exalted Lord of the church views the lukewarm but haughty Laodicean
church as wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked (Re 3:17-note).
Spiritual blindness, then, refers in some instances to the inability of
unbelievers to comprehend spiritual truth, specifically failure to recognize
the true identity of the Incarnate Word, Jesus Christ (Jn 1:1, 14)
It is vital, therefore, to conduct all
in dependence on the Holy Spirit
(Ac1:8 2:4 4:8 4:31 6:5 8 10 7:55 9:17 10:38 11:24 13:52)
Who works to counteract the cataracts of
Satan and to reveal the truth of God (cp Lk 24:45 Ac16:14, 26:18). But
spiritual blindness can also afflict believers who fail to perceive their
true spiritual condition. To avoid the plague of spiritual blindness and
escape the condemnation of leading others into spiritual ruin, believers
must be quick to appropriate and obey the Word of God. (Read the entire
Blindness - Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical
Theology) (Bolding and color added for emphasis)
Paul uses the figurative sense
meaning to cause someone not to be able to understand or comprehend the Good
News of Jesus.
NIDNTT comments that the root noun
may even be applied to dark, obscure
things, and also to rivers and harbours choked with mud. The barbaric custom
of blinding for revenge or punishment is well attested.
There are only 3 uses (2Co 4:4, Jn 12:40,
1Jn 2:11) of tuphloo
in the NT and all are used with the figurative meaning referring to blinding
of one's ability to understand something. (One occurrence in the non-apocryphal Lxx = Is 42:19)...
John 12:40 "HE HAS
BLINDED THEIR EYES AND HE HARDENED THEIR HEART, SO THAT THEY WOULD
NOT SEE WITH THEIR EYES AND PERCEIVE WITH THEIR HEART, AND BE CONVERTED AND
I HEAL THEM." (Quoting Is 6:10)
in understanding this passage (see Jn 12:37, 38, 39) In Jn 12:37 John
records that the Jews were not believing in Jesus and explains that this
fulfills the prophecy in Is 53:1. Then John quoted Is 6:9,10 to explain that
Israel as a whole was unable to believe (Jn 12:39 = "They could
not believe"!). Jn 12:39 teaches that it is possible to harden one's
heart to the point that he cannot believe. The corollary caution is because
of this danger, we must believe while there is still light. Israel as a
nation (excepting the believing
had repeatedly rejected God’s righteous revelation and the result was that
God had punished them with judicial blindness. John MacArthur adds that
"Although God predestined such judgment, it was not apart from human
responsibility and culpability (see Jn 8:24)."
Guzik comments: There comes a
place where God will strengthen us in our decision, whether for Jesus or
against Jesus. Ultimately, before God, we get what we want, and those who
push Jesus away will not have to endure eternity with Him. (2 Corinthians 4 Commentary)
William MacDonald comments on Jn
12:40: This quotation was from Isaiah 6:9, 10. God blinded the eyes of
the people of Israel and hardened their hearts. He did not do this at first,
but only after they had closed their eyes and hardened their own hearts. As
a result of Israel’s stubborn and willful rejection of the Messiah, they cut
themselves off from sight, understanding, conversion, and healing.
W & Farstad, A. Believer's Bible Commentary: Thomas Nelson or
I love Warren Wiersbe summarization of
Jn 12:37-41: The key word in this section is believe; it
is used eight times (in Jn 12:37-49). First, John explained the unbelief of
the people. They would not believe (John
12:37–38, with a quotation from Isa. 53:1); they could
not believe (John 12:39); and they should not
believe (John 12:40–41, with a quotation from Isa 6:9, 10).
W: Bible Exposition Commentary - Old Testament. Victor
1Jn 2:11 But the one who hates (present
tense = habitual
brother is (present
continually) in the darkness and walks (present
tense = habitual
conduct) in the darkness, and does not know
where he is going because the darkness has
blinded his eyes.
The penalty of living in the darkness is not merely that one does not see,
but that one goes blind. The neglected faculty is atrophied. Compare the
mole, the crustacea in the Mammoth Cave of Kentucky. Commenting on the words
“has blinded,” Vincent says: “The
blinded, indicates a past, definite, decisive act. When the
darkness overtook, it blinded. The blindness is no new state into which he
has come.” This person is, of course, an unsaved person professing
Christianity. Habitually conducting (present
tense = habitual
conduct) one’s self in the sphere of darkness is indicative of an unsaved
state (cp 1Jn 3:15).
K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans
J Vernon McGee agrees: My friend,
John has given here a tremendous statement: “He that hates (continually) his
brother is in darkness, and walks (continually) in darkness, and knows not
where he goes, because that darkness has blinded his eyes.” If you want to
know for sure that you are a child of God, apply this test to your own life.
If you are hating your brother, you are dwelling in (the kingdom of)
darkness (cp Jn 3:18, 20, 21). If you are loving your brother, you are
dwelling in (the kingdom of) light (cp the "transfer" that all believers
experience when they are first born again = Acts 26:18 and 1Pe 2:9-note).
It is worthy noting that the noun
tuphlos/typhlos is used 15 times in John 9 (Jn 9:1, 2, 13, 17, 18,
19, 20, 24,25, 32, 39 40 41)
Mounce comments: In John 9, the
literal typhlos of the man born blind is blended with the figurative
typhlos of the Jews (Jn 9:40). There is further irony in the Jews
being referred to as typhlos (Jn 9:39), for it was a matter of pride
to them that they were the teachers and guides to the blind (Ro 2:19-note).
Jesus directly confronts the Jews with their typhlos of unbelief,
declaring that they are blind guides of the blind (Mt 15:14). See NIDNTT-A,
Joseph Beet commenting on 2Co 4:4
Many of those to whom Paul preached had
evidently never seen the image of Christ portrayed in the Gospel. For they
were unmoved by it. To them, therefore, the Gospel was veiled. And, since
the truth was set plainly before them, the hindrance to sight was not in the
Word but in the hearts of those who did not believe it. By not seeing the
image set before them they proved themselves incapable of seeing it. And
their blindness was so unnatural that it must have been inflicted. And it
could be a work only of the enemy of the race. Since the blinded ones were
wholly occupied with things of the present life and were thus prevented from
beholding the Gospel light, Paul says that they were blinded by the God of
this age. And, since the inevitable result of their blindness was that they
were unable to see the light which shines forth from Him who reveals to men
the face of God, he properly speaks of this as the dire purpose of the
blindness inflicted by their foe.
This blindness was wrought, not only by
Satan, but by God: as is taught expressly in 2Th 2:9 10 11 12; Ro 11:8;
Jn 12:40. In just punishment God surrenders to the cruelty of Satan those
who reject the Gospel, that He may destroy their capacity for receiving it.
This dual source of spiritual insensibility is illustrated in 2Sa 24:1 and
1Chr 21:1. The blindness is also attributed to the word, and to those who
preach it: Is 6:10; Mk 4:11 12. For, by God’s ordinance, the Gospel
hardens those whom it fails to soften.
This blindness, though terrible, is not
necessarily final; any more than is the death described in Ro 7:9,10, 11 12
13. For Christ, who raises the dead, gives sight (Lk 4:18) to the blind.
But the blindness and death are such as no earthly power can save from. Yet
in our deepest darkness we know the direction of the light. And, as we turn
towards it, the light of life by its creative power gives eyes to the blind.
(2 Corinthians 4 Commentary)
2Co 4:4 and 2Co 4:6
Satan blinds to
of the Gospel
of the knowledge
of the glory
of the glory
Who is the image of God
In the face of Christ
John Piper (above table is
credited to Dr Piper also) writes..
In 2Co 4:4 Satan blinds the mind; in 2Co
God creates light in the heart. 2Co 4:4 describes the problem; 2Co 4:6
describes the remedy. These two verses are a description of the condition of
all people before conversion, and what happens in conversion to bring about
salvation. More than any part of the Bible that I know of, the connections
between 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 2Corinthians 4:6 shed light on the ultimate
meaning of good in the term good news.
Let’s be clear that we are talking about
the gospel in these verses. The fact that Paul does not mention the facts of
Christ’s life and death and resurrection does not mean he has left them
behind. They remain the historical core of the gospel. There is no gospel
without the declaration of Christ crucified for sinners and risen from the
dead (1Co 15:1 2 3 4). This is assumed here. When Paul speaks of “the gospel
of the glory of Christ,” he means that the events of the gospel are designed
by God to reveal the glory of Christ. This is not incidental to the
gospel—it’s essential. The gospel would not be good news if it did not
reveal the glory of Christ for us to see and savor. It is the glory of
Christ that finally satisfies our soul. We are made for Christ, and Christ
died so that every obstacle would be removed that keeps us from seeing and
savoring the most satisfying treasure in the universe—namely, Christ, who is
the image of God.
The supreme value of the glory of Christ
revealed in the gospel is what makes Satan so furious with the gospel. Satan
is not mainly interested in causing us misery. He is mainly interested in
making Christ look bad. He hates Christ. And he hates the glory of Christ.
He will do all he can to keep people from seeing Christ as glorious. The
gospel is God’s instrument for liberating people from exulting in self to
exulting in Christ. Therefore Satan hates the gospel.
Thus 2 Corinthians 4:4 says that Satan
blinds people to keep them from seeing “the light of the gospel.” He has
more than one way to do this. One way, of course, is to prevent the
preaching of the gospel. This he does by derailing many preachers and
missionaries. They may die, or be thrown in prison (Rev. 2:10), or forsake
the ministry (2Ti 4:10). Or they may abandon the truth and speak “a
different gospel” (Gal. 1:6 7 8; Acts 20:30).
But in 2 Corinthians 4:4 the way Satan
keeps people from seeing “the light of the gospel” is not by preventing
preaching, but by preventing spiritual perception. The words of the gospel
are heard. The facts are comprehended. But there is no “light.” What does
this mean? It means that blinded persons consider the facts of the gospel
but see no compelling spiritual beauty, no treasure, nothing supremely
precious. They see facts. They may even agree that the historical facts are
true. Satan surely does. But they do not have “true sense of the divine
excellency of the things revealed in the Word of God, and a conviction of
the truth and reality of them thence arising.”
That last quote is from Jonathan Edwards.
Edwards thought more deeply about this spiritual “light of the gospel” than
anyone I have ever read. Here is how he describes what Satan prevents in
verse 4, and what God gives in verse 6.
[It is] a true sense … of the excellency
of God and Jesus Christ, and of the work of redemption, and the ways and
works of God revealed in the gospel. There is a divine and superlative glory
in these things, an excellency that is of a vastly higher kind and more
sublime nature than in other things, [and] a glory greatly distinguishing
them from all that is earthly and temporal. He that is spiritually
enlightened truly apprehends and sees it, or has a sense of it. He does not
merely rationally believe that God is glorious, but he has a sense of the
gloriousness of God in his heart. (from Jonathan Edwards' sermon
A Divine and Supernatural Light)
Seeing this “light of the gospel of the
glory of Christ” is not neutral. One cannot see it and hate it. One cannot
see it and reject it. If one claims to see it, only to reject it, one is
“seeing” it only the way Satan sees it and wants us to see it. In that case
we are still in the grip of his blinding power. No, the kind of seeing that
Satan prevents is not the neutral seeing that sets you before a meal with no
taste or distaste for what you see. The kind of seeing that Satan cancels
(v. 4) and God creates (v. 6) is more like spiritual tasting than rational
This kind of seeing is not the
circumstantial inference that the brown fluid in the bottle with the wax
comb must be honey. Rather this seeing is the immediate knowledge that it is
honey because of putting some on the tongue. There is no series of arguments
that awakens the certainty of sweetness. This is what seeing light means. If
you are blind, someone may persuade you that the sun is bright. But that
persuasion is not what Paul is talking about. When your eyes are opened—that
is, when God says, “Let there be light”—the persuasion is of a different
kind. That’s what happens in the preaching of the gospel. It’s what happens
when God moves with Creator power over the darkness of human hearts. (The
interested reader is strongly encouraged to read the entire chapter by Dr
Piper online in his book
God Is the Gospel by John Piper - go to
page 54 in the Pdf and read chapter 4)
from noéo = perceive
in turn from noús = mind) is literally the result of the activity of
the "nous" or mind, that part of man which thinks. Noema means
that which is thought (a thought), perceived with the mind (a mental
perception), understood, pondered, or considered.
The basic idea of noema is what
results from directing one’s mind (nous) to a subject.
Don't miss an important point in this
passage - While Satan clearly works men's hearts (Ac 5:3 - and some might
equate "mind" in this passage with "heart"), the primary "battlefield" in
our spiritual war (Ep 6:12-note) is our mind. And the spiritual war is not a
power struggle but a truth struggle.
Noema - 6x in 6v in NAS -
2Co. 2:11; 2Co 3:14; 4:4; 10:5; 11:3; Phil. 4:7. NAS renders -
minds(4), schemes(1), thought(1).
BDAG divides noema into two
1. That which one has in mind as product
of intellectual process = thought, design, purpose, intention.
2. The faculty of processing thought = the mind or the understanding
Paul uses noema with a negative
connotation in his description of our Adversary writing that...
in order that no advantage be taken of us
by Satan; for we are not ignorant of his schemes (his devices or
designs = noema). (2Corinthians 2:11)
John MacArthur notes that...
Unregenerate people cannot
think properly about spiritual truth (1Co 2:14) because they have a
“depraved mind” (Ro 1:28-note;
1Ti 6:5; 2Ti 3:8-note).
No matter how slick the presentation is, it will not persuade a depraved
mind to respond favorably to the gospel. Only God can turn on the light in
the human heart (cf. 2Co 4:6-note;
Lk 24:45; Acts 26:18) so that it can respond in saving faith to the gospel
of the glory of Christ.
J: 2Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press
(apistos from a = without +
= believing, faithful) means lacking in faith, without faith, disbelieving,
unbelieving - in this
apistos is one who does not believe the
Good News about Jesus Christ (1Ti 5:8, Titus 1:15, Rev 21:8). It is used
once to describe that which is incredible (Acts 26:8), but most NT uses
describe those without faith, not trusting, unfaithful
In secular Greek use apistos
described reports, etc as incredible. BDAG gives a example of
an ancient secular use of apistos in the description of...
a patient (who) sneers in disbelief at
healings recorded in a shrine of Asclepius and subsequently receives the
sobriquet (a descriptive name) : "Apistos"
- 23x in 20v in NAS - Mt 17:17; Mk 9:19; Lk 9:41; 12:46; Jn 20:27;
Acts 26:8; 1Co 6:6; 7:12,13,14; 10:27; 14:22, 23 24; 2Cor 4:4; 6:14 15;
1Ti 5:8; Titus 1:15; Rev 21:8. NAS = incredible(1), unbeliever(4),
unbelievers(7), unbelieving(10), unbelieving one(1). Used twice in Lxx - Pr
17:6, Is 17:10.
repeatedly used apistos in his letters to the church at Corinth because of
their great need to understand how to interact with unbelievers (1Co 6:6;
7:12,13,14; 10:27; 14:22, 23 24; 2Co 6:14 15). For example, Paul commanded
the believers at Corinth...
Do not be bound together with
unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness,
or what fellowship has light with darkness? (2Co 14, 15)
Henry Morris Comments:
Paul is here using a metaphor based on Deuteronomy 22:10 and Leviticus
19:19, which forbade plowing with an ox and ass yoked together or attempting
to interbreed animals of different kinds. The clear inference is that
believers and unbelievers are so different in character and interests (as
well as ultimate destiny) that they should never be "yoked" together in
situations requiring strong agreement of attitudes and goals (marriage,
churches, business partnerships, lodges or other organizations with
religious overtones). The prohibition is not intended to require complete
repudiation of all secular or charitable organizations (1Co 5:10) or
friendships. When one's Christian faith is in jeopardy, or his Christian
conduct and influence is endangered, then such connections should be
severed. One can witness to unbelievers without partaking of their beliefs
or sinful behavior. (Defender's
Study Bible online)
apistos even to describe the weak faith that characterized His very own
disciples (as indicated by the
= Mt 17:20, eg see example of their weak faith = Mt 15:33) albeit to
a lesser extent than Israel as a nation who for the most part continued in
Matthew 17:17 (cp Mk 9:19 Lk
9:41) And Jesus
answered and said, "You unbelieving and perverted (twisted and
distorted throughout) generation (recalling Moses' words to Israel Dt 32:5,
20), how long shall
I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me (Mt
17:14 15 16)."
alludes to the ultimate dreadful destiny and destruction of unbelievers...
Luke 12:46 the master of that
slave will come on a day when he does not expect him, and at an hour he does
not know, and will cut him in pieces (Figurative description of the severity
of the final judgment of unbelievers! eg Lk 13:27, 28, Mt 24:51), and assign
him a place (The final destination of unbelievers =
Lake of Fire
- see also the related discussion of the Second Death in chart on
Births, Deaths, and Resurrections)
with the unbelievers.
used apistos in addressing His disciple Thomas...
John 20:27 Then He said to
Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand,
and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing."
Titus Paul used apistos to describe those who profess to know Christ
but are unregenerate and detestable...
To the pure, all things are
pure; but to those who are defiled (miaino
= spiritually corrupted and tainted ~"dyed with another color",
= their persistent state) and unbelieving, nothing is
pure, but both their mind and their
are defiled (same verb again in
= their persistent state). They profess to know God, but by
their deeds they deny Him, being
(they "stink") and
for any good deed. (Titus 1:15-note,
Morgan said that...
The god of this world is able
only to blind the minds of the unbelieving...Why has he had power to blind
them? Because of unbelief. The whole teaching of the letter to the Hebrews
has dealt with that. The one sin that will bring men ultimately to perdition
is the sin of unbelief, unbelief as refusal of Christ, refusal of the
Gospel, refusal to accept what God is offering to them. To put it quite
bluntly, if anyone goes down to perdition, why will they go? Because of
their sins? No, but because of their sin, the sin of rejection of Jesus
Christ. "If our Gospel is veiled, it is veiled in them that are perishing."
Who are they? Those who refuse that Gospel, blinded by the god of this age,
blinded because of unbelief. Refusal to believe is the secret and reason of
the blindness that happens to men. Oh, it does not matter people are told,
what we believe. Believe me, it does matter. It matters very much what we
believe and whether we believe at all. That is the whole picture here. (Commentary
on 2 Corinthians - go to page 221)
Dave Guzik's point that...
Satan can only blind those who
do not believe. If you are tired of having your mind blinded by the god of
this age, then put your trust on who Jesus is and what He has done for you!
Then Satan can’t blind you anymore! (2 Corinthians 4 Commentary)
Hughes has an encouraging illustration of Guzik's point...
Recently I heard a member of my
congregation tell how she had repeatedly explained the gospel to another
woman who simply did not get it, though she apparently wanted to. So finally
she said to the woman, “You have a veil over your heart. And you need to
pray that God will remove it.” A few weeks later the woman called, elated,
as she explained that she had gone to bed the night before perplexed, but
when she awoke that morning everything was clear. The veil was gone forever.
Nothing had been wrong with the gospel. The gospel had been veiled to the
woman because it was veiled in her. The veil was in her heart and mind, not
over the gospel.
R. K. 2 Corinthians: Power in Weakness. Preaching the Word. Crossway
- The famous agnostic Thomas Huxley was once lovingly confronted by a very
sincere Christian. This believer stressed to Huxley that he was not in any
way impugning Huxley’s sincerity. Nevertheless, might it not be possible
that mentally the great scientist was color blind? That is, some people
cannot see traces of green where other people cannot help but see it. Could
it be that this was Huxley’s problem—that he was simply blind to truth that
was quite evident to others? Huxley, being a man of integrity, admitted that
this was possible, and added that if it were, he himself, of course, could
not know or recognize it.
SO THAT THEY MIGHT NOT SEE THE LIGHT
OF THE GOSPEL OF THE GLORY OF CHRIST, WHO IS THE IMAGE OF GOD: eis to me
augasai (AAN) ton photismon tou euaggeliou tes doxes tou Christou, os estin
(3SPAI) eikon tou theou: (That they might not: 2Co 4:6-note
Jn 8:12 12:35 Ac 26:18 Col 1:27 1Ti 1:11 Titus 2:13)
OF THE GOSPEL =
THE GLORY OF CHRIST
John Piper writes that...
This is one of the most remarkable
descriptions of the Gospel in the whole Bible. There is nothing else quite
like it. It defines the Gospel as “the Gospel of the glory of Christ.” And
it says that this Gospel of Christ’s glory emits, as it were, a “light”—“the
light of the Gospel of the glory of Christ.” And it says that Satan does not
want us to “see” this light. Seeing “the light of the Gospel of the glory of
Christ” is what liberates people from his power. (I
highly recommend that you take time to read chapter 4 of Dr Piper's online
God Is the Gospel- go to page 54 in the
Pdf to begin Chapter 4)
Barclay gives a straightforward
rendering the Gospel is...
the good news which tells of the glory of
Christ in Whom we can see God.
So that they might not see -
Figurative use of "see". Refers to inability to see spiritual
truths (cp 1Co 2:14). Their inability to see is a divine judgment
given to them because they refused to believe. God in a sense turned them
over to Satan who was given the power to blind their spiritual vision. This
is a horrible consequence of willful, intransigent (unwilling to change
one's views, obstinately maintaining an attitude of) unbelief.
When even brilliant intellectuals are
unable to understand and accept the easy-to-understand gospel of Christ
(that even a child can comprehend - Mt 18:2, 3 Mk 10:14, 15 Lk 18:16, 17 ~
all speak of the the unquestioning trust of a little child), especially His
works of creation and redemption, it is because their spiritual eyes (their
mind, their heart) have been
blinded and they are unable to behold the glory of Christ in
the radiant light of the Gospel.
But we can (and should) always
intercede with our Father for their souls asking Him to send His Spirit "to
open their eyes and to turn them from darkness to light and from the power
of Satan to God" (Acts
Pastor Hughes' encouraging example)
John Calvin said that...
the blindness of unbelievers in no way
detracts from the clearness of the Gospel, for the sun is no less
resplendent because the blind do not perceive it.
from auge = dawn [in Ac 20:11]) transitively means to see distinctly,
to discern, to view in the clearest light and then to understand.
Intransitively augazo means to shine forth (Lev 13:24, 25, 26, Lv 14:56
24:25). Augazo was used by Euripides of the sun meaning to beam upon
or to illumine (One could imagine a play on words here with the Son beaming
upon, illumining receptive souls).
Hodge observes that augazo
"signifies the brightness emitted by a radiant body."
means a. “to shine forth,” b. “to
illuminate,” and c. “to see.” In 2 Cor. 4:4 b. is impossible, and while
older translations (See KJV in list of translations above) and variants favor a., the parallel in 2Co 3:13 strongly
supports c. (“that they should not see”).
Augazo - Only here in the NT.
Seven times in seven verses in the non-apocryphal
- Lev 13:24, 25, 26 28, 38, 39; 14:56
from phos = light <> from
phao = to shine) the giving of light, illumination in the physical
sense. Figuratively, it describes an enlightenment, something made fully
known by revealing clearly and in detail, in this passage referring to that
which has been revealed as true -- the spiritual illumination in the Gospel.
In 2Co 4:6-note photismos describes
the bringing to light or a revealing (revelation).
Photismos - Only 2x in NT - 2Co
4:4,6. Six times in 6 verses in the non-apocryphal
- Job 3:9; Ps 27:1; 44:3; 78:14; 90:8; 139:11.
Psalm 27:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD is
my light (Lxx = photismos) and my salvation; Whom shall I
fear? The LORD is the defense of my life; Whom shall I dread?
Spurgeon: Here is personal
interest, "my light," "my salvation;" the soul is assured of it, and
therefore, declaring it boldly. "My light;" -- into the soul at the
new birth divine light is poured as the precursor of salvation; where there
is not enough light to see our own darkness and to long for the Lord Jesus,
there is no evidence of salvation. Salvation finds us in the dark, but it
does not leave us there; it gives light to those who sit in the valley of
the shadow of death. After conversion our God is our Joy, Comfort, Guide,
Teacher, and in every sense our Light;
He is light within,
light reflected from us,
and light to be revealed to us.
Note, it is not said merely that the Lord
gives light, but that He "is" light; nor that He gives salvation, but that
He is salvation; he, then, who by faith has laid hold upon God has all
covenant blessings in His possession.
Psalm 44:3 For by their own sword they
did not possess the land, And their own arm did not save them, But Your
right hand and Your arm and the light of Your presence, For You favored
Psalm 78:14 Then He led them with the
cloud by day And all the night with a light (Lxx = photismos)
Comment: It is interesting to see
photismos used to describe the pillar of fire which was
associated with the presence of the
Angel of the LORD,
Who most observers agree was a preincarnate manifestation of Christ (Ex
13:21, Ex 14:19, Ex 14:19NLT).
Psalm 90:8 You have placed our iniquities
before You, Our secret sins in the light of Your presence.
The light of the Gospel - The
Gospel has inherent power (Col 1:5, 6 = the Gospel is likened to a
"supernatural seed" [cp 1Pe 1:23] which is has the power to be "constantly
bearing fruit") which brings supernatural spiritual light to liberate
those entrapped in the kingdom of spiritual darkness.
(The Gospel has the power) to open
their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the
dominion of Satan to God, in order that they may receive forgiveness of sins
and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.'
(Acts 26:18, cp Isa 29:18 35:5 Isa 42:6,7)
The LORD (Jehovah)
opens (Lxx translates with "sophoo" in the
= Jehovah continually makes
wise, gives wisdom to) the eyes of the blind (Lxx =
tuphlos/typhlos); The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD
loves the righteous (Ps 146:8-note)
Spurgeon comments: Jesus did this
very frequently, and hereby proved himself to be Jehovah (See
Jehovah = Jesus).
He who made the eye can open it, and when He does so it is to His glory. How
often is the mental eye closed in moral night! And who can remove this
dreary effect of the fall but the Almighty God. This miracle of grace He has
performed in myriads of cases, and it is in each case a theme for loftiest
praise. Spiritual blindness, its curse, cause, and cure.
The Lord raises them that are bowed down.
This also Jesus did literally, thus doing the work peculiar to God. Jehovah
consoles the bereaved, cheers the defeated, solaces the despondent, comforts
the despairing. Let those who are bowed to the ground appeal to him, and he
will speedily upraise them.
William Law: Precious lessons are
learned from contemplating God's gracious dealings. His people are born in
the prison-house of Satan. God removes the shackles; they go forth free.
They are (spiritually) blind by nature. He opens their eyes to
see all the wonders of redeeming love. Heavy burdens often oppress them. He
enables them to lay aside every weight so as to run with patience the
heavenward road. He delights to cheer them with manifestations of His love.
They are strangers and pilgrims in an enemy's land. He is their constant
guardian. In family destitution He brings relief. But just wrath burns
fiercely against His adversaries forever and forever. God shall reign
inhabiting the praises of His people. Bless the Lord, O our souls. Amen.
F B Meyer: The Lord opens the eyes
of the blind.--What a true portraiture is this of the ministry of Christ
through the ages (Luke 4:18; see also john 9:1-33). Mark these present
tenses! This is His unceasing work. Victor Immanuel--Emancipator!
Charles Simeon: To the blind and
willing slaves of sin—[The world at large are in bondage to their lusts, and
to that wicked one (Satan) who leads them captive at his will; and they are
shut up under a sentence of condemnation for their numberless violations of
the law of God (Ga 3:23).
Yet, so blind are they to their real
that they cannot see, and will not believe it.
Their cunning adversary has undertaken to
be their guide, but has led them into the heart of the enemies’ country,
and, if mercy does not interpose, into the very jaws of (everlasting)
destruction (cp 2 Kings 6:18 19 20 21). But the Lord Jesus is not an
unconcerned Spectator of their misery: He is ready to weep over them as over
the murderous Jerusalem: and even while they reject Him, He “would gladly
gather them, as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings.” *(Mt 23:37) He
would give them an eye-salve, whereby they should be enabled to see clearly
(see Rev 3:18-note):
He would cause their chains to fall off (Lk 4:18), and would say to them, go
forth, and show yourselves (Is 49:9 with Ac 5:18, 19, 20 cp Lk 17:14):
yea, so desirous is He to exercise mercy towards them, that nothing but a
determined rejection of His grace can involve them in final ruin. (Read his
The Extent of Christ's Compassion on Ps 146:7,8)
(In Col 1:9, 10, 11 Paul is praying for
the saints at Colossae) giving thanks to the Father, Who has qualified (hikanoo
- the moment we believed in Christ) us to share in the inheritance of the
saints in light (~"the kingdom of light"). For (explaining what happened
when we first believed and were set free from kingdom of darkness ruled by
Satan) He delivered (rhuomai
- rescued us from danger of perishing - cp 2Co 4:3) us from the
~ the right and the might) of darkness (and from the power of
the ruler of this kingdom!), and transferred us to the kingdom of His
beloved Son (the "kingdom of light") (Col 1:12, 13)
(Jesus' reading Isa 61:1 in the synagogue
declared He was the fulfillment) 18 "THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME,
BECAUSE HE ANOINTED ME TO PREACH THE GOSPEL TO THE POOR. HE HAS SENT ME TO
PROCLAIM RELEASE TO THE CAPTIVES, AND RECOVERY OF SIGHT TO THE BLIND,
TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE DOWNTRODDEN (Lk 4:18)
(Jesus post-resurrection appearance with
His disciples) Then He opened their minds to understand (spiritually
"see") the Scriptures (Lk 24:45, cp Lk 24:44)
And Jesus said, "For judgment I came into
this world, that those who do not see (spiritually blind) may see;
and that those who see may become blind." (Jn 9:39)
Comment: While Jesus first coming
was not specifically for the purpose of judgment (Read Jn 3:17), it
inevitably did result in judgment for all who rejected Him. See Mk 4:12 and
from dokeo = to think)
speaks of a manifestation of God's true nature, presence, or likeness. In
simple terms doxa means to give a proper opinion or estimate of
something and thus the glory of Christ expresses all
that He is in His Being and in His nature, character, power and acts.
He is glorified when He is allowed to be
seen as He really is. To be where He is will be glory.
The glory of Christ - How can one
even comment on such an infinite, transcendent truth! For the majority of
His earthly life he veiled His glory, except that His Transfiguration was a
"preview of coming attractions."
Joseph Beet writes that...
Of the invisible Father the Son is a
visible manifestation and outshining, visible once on earth, though veiled
in human flesh, and visible now to those who surround His throne. We know,
in part, what God is because we have seen Christ reflected in the gospel
mirror. That Christ is the image of God, reveals the greatness of His glory
and of the light which proceeds from the Gospel in which His glory is
reflected, and the infinite loss of those whose blinded thoughts cannot see
this glorious light. (2 Corinthians 4 Commentary)
MacArthur comments that...
The privilege of seeing God’s glory
revealed in Christ is granted only to those to whom God in His mercy grants
The apostle John wrote of the
glory of Christ...
And the Word (Jn 1:1) became flesh, and
dwelt (tabernacled) among us, and we beheld His glory, glory
as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (Jn 1:14)
When did John, Peter and James
behold the glory of Christ? Matthew records that...
And He was transfigured before them (Mt
17;1); and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as
light. (Mt 17:2, Mk 9:2, 3, Lk 9:28)
Years later Peter testified to
having seen having witnessed the glory of Christ...
For we did not follow cleverly devised
tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus
Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. (2Pe 1:14-note)
In his letter to Titus Paul
pictures saints now as exhibiting a "lifestyle of looking", of looking with
anticipation and expectation for the appearing of the glory of Christ
and as a consequence living in the light of God's sure promised of this
future event (See
Table comparing Rapture vs Second Coming).
(Those who have been saved by grace
and are daily being instructed by grace [Titus 2:12-note]
are continually [present
prosdechomai) for the Blessed Hope
and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus
One day future all men will see the
glory of Christ...
Therefore (because of His perfect
obedience - Php 2:7, 8-note)
also God highly exalted Him (see Jn 17:4, 5 - "glorify Thou Me
together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee
before the world was"), and bestowed on Him the name which is above
every name, that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHOULD BOW, of those who
are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue
should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the
Father. (Php 2:9, 10, 11-note)
BEHOLD, HE IS COMING (in glory -
see below) WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who
pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. Even so.
Amen. (Rev 1:7-note)
But immediately after the tribulation
(referring to the last 3.5 years =
Great Tribulation) of those
days THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED, AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, AND THE
STARS WILL FALL from the sky, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken,
and then the sign of the Son of Man (Note = No need to speculate!
"He" Himself is the sign!) will appear in the sky, and then all the tribes
of the earth will mourn, and they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE
CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory. (Mt 24:29, 30)
But when the Son of Man comes in His
glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious
throne (On the earth - when He sets up His
And throughout eternity we will join
the chorus with all the saints and angels to praise Him for His great
saying with a loud voice "Worthy is the
Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and
honor and glory and blessing." And every created thing which is in
heaven and on the earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all things
in them, I heard saying, " To Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb,
be blessing and honor and glory and dominion forever and ever." (Re
Chorus" will testify to the glory of Christ...
After these things I heard, as it were, a
loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Hallelujah! Salvation
and glory and power belong to our God (Rev 19:1-note,
cp Re 19:6-note,
Indeed His glory shall be our
And the city has no need of the sun or of
the moon to shine upon it, for the glory of God has illumined it, and
its lamp is the Lamb. (Re 21:23-note)
A. T. Robertson has this
description of the glory of Christ...
Many persons had looked on the face of
Jesus while in the flesh who did not understand Him. There was beyond doubt
a wondrous fascination in the face of Jesus that no artist has succeeded in
putting upon canvas. The pictures of Jesus are either too effeminate or too
crude. No face has ever so haunted and baffled the greatest artists. This
face was really human but free from the taint of sin and disease. No specter
of the past looked through those eyes, no shadows of forbidden secrets
flitted past. Pity, unutterable compassion looked out of the depths of
purity and unsullied strength. Untarnished truth looked out on a world of
lies. The noblest impulses of man met the shock of hate and envy. The clear
light of heaven's love gazed longingly at the suffering and the sinning.
Those eyes could flash with terrific power upon hypocrites who used the
livery of heaven to serve the devil in. Before His wrath, men slunk away
like cowed beasts guilty and condemned. But the penitent and the contrite
saw a new hope as they looked in the face of Jesus. There were some who
could never forget the thrill of joy which came to their hearts as they
gazed into that face. At moments they could be amazed at the struggling
emotions in His countenance. There were three who beheld His majestic glory
on the mount. But not all men could see all this in the face of Jesus. The
rabbis were angered to desperation as they saw that calm and powerful face.
Its very innocence enraged them (The Glory of the Ministry)
George Matheson who himself was
blind wrote these words about Paul's vision of the glory of Christ...
Remember the Christ whom Paul first saw
was the Christ of heaven. He never gazed upon the man of Galilee. His
earliest vision was the vision of a Jesus glorified, not on the road to the
cross did Christ meet him. He came to him panoplied in heavenly splendor.
What his inner eye beheld was the Christ of the future, a Christ of majesty,
a Christ if power, a Christ who came clothed in the lightning and wreathed
in the conqueror's robe. That was the first Christ Paul's soul saw. It is
wonderful that it should have been the first Christian image in his
JESUS THE IMAGE
THE RADIANCE &
expresses two ideas (1) likeness, as in the image on a coin or
the reflection in a mirror and (2) manifestation with the sense that
God is fully revealed in Jesus. Eikon does not denote mere likeness
or resemblance. Eikon conveys the meaning that Christ is whatever God
is--spiritual, omnipotent, omniscient, holy--all the attributes of the
eternal God. The Lord Jesus is the image of God in the sense that "He
who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
Earlier Jesus had emphasized
His intrinsic unity with His Father declaring
"I and the Father are one." (Jn
Henry Morris rightly says that:
Such a claim, if not that of a madman (and this is unthinkable in view of
the age-long influence of the incomparable teachings of Jesus), can only be
understood in terms of the doctrine of the "hypostatic union"--the
indissoluble union of eternal God and perfect Man in the person of Jesus
The writer of Hebrews says that
is the radiance (see comment
below) of His (the Father's) glory and the exact representation of His
and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made
purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
Comment: It is notable that the
word radiance is related to the same word Paul used above for "see"
(augazo). Thus radiance is apaugasma (from apaugázo =
emit light or splendor in turn derived from apó = from + augazo
= shine) and literally means "off-flashing" and then the brightness beamed
forth which describes the effulgence (from Latin effulgere = to shine forth
and thus radiant splendor or brilliance emanating from an original light
body), splendor or light emitted or issuing from a luminous body. It is not
preceded by the definite article, which makes the term highly descriptive of
character or nature.
Exact representation is the Greek word
charakter (derived from charasso = to
engrave and source of our English word character which describes one of the
attributes or features that make up and distinguish an individual) was used
in classical Greek of an engraver who mints coins or an engraving tool, a
die, a stamp, a branding iron, a mark engraved, an impress or a stamp on
coins and seals. Later it came to mean the impression itself, usually
engraved, cut in, or stamped on in the form of a character, a letter, a mark
or a sign. This impression or mark with its particular features was
considered to be the exact representation of the object whose image it bore.
As a figure of speech charakter described a distinctive mark "impressed" on
a person, by which he is distinguished from others. It is thus a
characteristic of that person and was a Greek idiom for a person’s features.
The author is saying that whatever the Divine essence is, Jesus is the
perfect expression and thus affirms the deity of Jesus Christ and alludes to
the the plurality of God. Jesus is distinct from God the Father and yet
identical with Him. Charakter conveys the idea of exact correspondence as
when Jesus said that "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (Jn 14:9)
He who had seen Jesus had seen
the Father because Jesus is the exact representation, the
exact expression of the Father's attributes, nature, etc so that all that
God is, Jesus is, and yet two distinct Persons of the Godhood. Jesus is all
that God is, not has been given what He is! God hasn't given Jesus
something. He already is!
Paul explains that
And He is the image (eikon)
of the invisible God, the first-born (pre-eminent) of all creation. (Col
Henry Morris comments that: This
is a clear affirmation of the absolute deity of Jesus Christ. Christ is
whatever God is--spiritual, omnipotent, omniscient, holy--all the attributes
of the eternal God. The word image (Greek eikon) conveys this meaning. Jesus
Christ represents--and indeed He is--"very God of very God." Jesus said, "He
that hath seen me hath seen the Father," (John 14:9). God in His essence is
invisible (John 1:18), but we see all His attributes in Christ. Christ is "the
firstborn," not in the sense that He ever came into existence from a
prior condition of non-existence (Like the Jehovah's Witnesses
claim this passage teaches - but they ignore the following
= He is
the Creator of ALL things Col 1:16), but rather as eternally proceeding from
the Father, the only begotten Son, always manifesting the Father. This truth
can be called the doctrine of eternal generation. He is from eternity to
eternity in relation to the Father as a Son. Some are sons of God by
creation (angels--Job 1:6), and we can become sons of God by adoption (Ro
8:14,15), but He is the Son by eternal generation (or eternal relation), the
only-begotten of the Father. He also has the right of inheritance of the
firstborn (Hebrews 1:2) and is "the firstborn from the dead" (Col 1:18).
(1820-1915) used the image of God as an inspiration to evangelism in her
Down in the human
heart, crushed by the tempter,
Feelings lie buried that grace can restore;
Touched by a loving heart, wakened by kindness
Chords that are broken will vibrate once more.
Rescue the perishing, care for the dying;
Jesus is merciful, Jesus will save.