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The Analogy of
The Grecian Games In The Word
By J.B. Scaramastro
Paul continues by saying, "but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." The word for "but" is DE and was considered on page --. Again, the apostle Paul is bringing in a contrast. Here the contrast is between the theoretical possibility of considering oneself as having seized the prize and that of the reality of his situation, namely, that he was still running.
The word for "forgetting" is, "EPILANTHANOMAI, to forget upon, that is, over, or in consequence of something else, ..." Bullinger page 302. It occurs in the following New Testament passages:
Phil. 3:13 "forgetting" Paul states that he forgets about what is over and concentrates on what is up ahead in the race.
Heb. 13:2 "Be not forgetful" Paul exhorts the Hebrew brethren not to forget to entertain strangers because of something else is on their mind or occupying their time.
Heb. 13:16 "forget" Paul exhorts the Hebrew brethren not to forget doing good or sharing because of something else is on their mind or occupying their time.
James 1:24 "forgetteth" James warns about a hearer of the law but who is not a doer. He states he is like a man who looks at himself in the mirror but when he goes away he forgets about what he looks like because other things are on his mind and occupying his time.
The word for "behind" is, "OPISO, behind; after, of place or time." Bullinger page 32. The word for "and" is, DE which has been discussed earlier on page --. Again, the apostle Paul introduces a contrast through the use of this word. He is contrasting "forgetting those things which are behind" with "reaching forth unto those things which are before."
The word for "reaching forth unto" is, "EPEKTEINOMAI, to stretch or reach forth towards, ..." Bullinger page 623. "... only middle voice ... stretch out, strain toward something ..." Arndt and Gingrich page 284. It only occurs in this passage in the New Testament.
The word translated "before" is "EMPROSTHEN, of place, before, (as opposite to behind), in front of; of time, earlier, of old." Bullinger page 89.
The word for "press" DIOKO has already been considered on page --.
The word for "toward" is, "KATA, down ... (b) with Accusative, down towards, according to, as to. ... with Accusative (down towards, denoting object, and intention: and tropically, accordance, conformity, proportion) according to, in reference to some standard of comparison stated or implied." Bullinger pages 814 and 24. Thus the mark becomes the standard by which everything else is measured. If something does not support its objective of obtaining the prize then he has nothing to do with. If anything would cause him to veer from his course of running towards the mark then it must be avoided.
The word for "mark" (The definite article "the" is not in the Greek text. Literally "the mark" should be translated "a mark.") is, "SKOPOS, an object set up in the distance at which one looks and aims; hence, a mark or goal ..." Bullinger page 482. This is the only passage in the New Testament where this word occurs.
The word for "prize" (Note that the definite article does occur here.) is, "BRABEION, a prize bestowed on the victors in the public games of the Greeks, such as a wreathe, chaplet, or garland." Bullinger page 604. It only occurs here and in 1 Cor. 9:24 where it is translated "prize" (The definite article occurs in the Greek here as well.) A cognate word is "BRABEUO, to be an arbiter in the public games; sit and act as umpire, be enthroned as decider of everything, ...." Bullinger page 653. It only occurs in Col. 3:15 where it is translated "rule" and we are exhorted by Paul as well as the brethren in Colosse to "let the peace of God rule (or sit as the umpire judging all your thoughts and feelings) in your hearts ..." Another word compounded of the above is, "KATABRABEUO, to give the prize against any one, to deprive of the palm." Bullinger page 646. "... to decide as umpire against one, to declare him unworthy of the prize; to defraud of the prize of victory ..." Grimm-Thayer page 330. It only occurs in Col. 2:18 where it is translated "Let ... beguile ... of ... reward." Here the apostle Paul is warning the brethren in Colosse, spiritual agonists, that if they submitted to the errors of the false teachers that they would be pronounced unworthy by the Judge and lose the prize they could otherwise have obtained if they strove or agonized lawfully. (2 Tim. 2:5).
Bringing all of the above information together, we find that Paul as a runner in the race for the stephanos of life, the prize associated with and belonging to his "high calling (literally above calling) of God in Christ Jesus," follows a very simple rule made up of two parts. Firstly, he completely forgets about everything which is behind him and everything of no importance to the race so that he can concentrate upon what he as a spiritual athlete must be doing in order to win. Secondly, he himself (middle voice: the subject does something to itself) stretches out straining to reach the mark which is clearly set in front of him along with that part of the race course not run as yet. He is eagerly and earnestly running towards the mark. He is giving it all that he has with every muscle strained along with every fiber in his body working together as a unit governed by its head in order to be successful. In its individual application every spiritual athlete must be constantly studying, applying, preaching and practising the word of the Deity. As the ecclesia, the bride of Christ, the mature man, we must work together in strengthening, encouraging, teaching and helping one another, as well as, witnessing to the Truth. (See 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:11-16; Rom. 12:4-5; 15:5-6; 1 Cor. 10:17; Gal. 3:28; Eph. 2:14-16; Eph. 4:4-6; Phil. 1:27; 2:2; Col. 3:15.) All must run individually and collectively according to the standard established by the Deity, manifested by Christ Jesus and represented by the mark we suppose to be aiming at. It is clearly visible as long as our spiritual vision is not blurred. Of course, the only way we can have sound spiritual eyesight is by the constant meditative study of the Word of Yahweh.
If we follow Paul's advice, then we shall be successful for we know that he was successful 2 Tim. 4:7,8. Of course, the one upon whom he patterned himself after, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ was successful also as has been seen in our previous discussion. Therefore, let us not hesitate to follow their example so that the prize can be ours as well. Let us take heed to the words of exhortation by Paul based upon what he has said already as contained in Phil. 3:15-17 for the Lord, the righteous judge is waiting to give us the prize, namely, the stephanos of life.
Consider the following quotations from first of all the notes on Philippians by the Adelaide young people pages 46 and 47, and second of all from Wuest's Word Studies in the Greek New Testament vol. 3 pages 54 and 55, and thirdof all from Carke's Commentary vol. 6 page 503:
1. "The way to gain the victory is simple and Paul is about to define his proven technique. He does not worry about the past at all, but is fully given to concentration on the goal... To win a race an athlete must look to the goal and not be distracted by his rivals behind. Why? (1.) Past failures might discourage him, (2.) past successes might engender complacency. Both contain dangers, so those who are positive are not given to reminiscences of the past, but are eager for the future. ... The figure is that of an athlete in his single-hearted desparate straining of every muscle fiber to ensure the prize. Even so, to overcome in Christ one must be Positive and "make no provision for the flesh" (Rom. 13:14): "RESIST the devil..." (James 4:7): "walk IN the SPIRIT..." (Gal. 5:16). The battle involves control of self and in the bringing of every thought into subjection to Christ (2 Cor. 10:4-5). ... The prize is the crown ("stephan" = coronal wreathe) of righteousness which the righteous Judge will bestow on Paul and like spiritual athletes in that day (2 Tim. 4:7-8). Like his Lord, the "glory set before him" caused him to "endure afflictions and despise shame." The Lord has been the first to win the race of faith and obtain the prize. He is the "pacemaker," and Paul pursued him. He is watching and cheering us on, and at length he, as the bearer of Grace, shall come to meet us with the prize and crown in his hand (Heb. 12:1-15; Rev. 2:10)."
2. "In Philippians 3:13,14, we catch a glimpse of Paul's knowledge of racing technique. He uses the illustration of a runner "pressing toward the mark for the prize," that is, literally, "pursuing down toward the mark for the prize." See him flashing down the race course. He forgets the things which are behind. The word is a strong one, "completely forgetting." Paul knew that the moment a Greek runner would think of the men behind him, the thud thud of their pounding feet, his speed would be slackened. So he presses home the lesson that when a child of God thinks of his past failures, the things he should have done and failed to do, the things he did which he should not have done, his onward progress in the Christian life is hindered. When a Christian has made things right with God and his fellow-man, the proper technique is to completely forget them."
3. "I press toward the mark .... I pursue along the line; this is a reference to the white line that marked the ground in the stadium, from the starting place to the goal, on which the runners were obliged to keep their eye fixed; for they who transgressed or went beyond this line did not run lawfully, and were not crowned, even though they got first to the goal."
Throughout this discussion the role of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Judge has come up constantly. Now that we have brought Paul as the runner to the end of the race, we learn from 2 Tim. 4:7-8 that he had "agonized the good agony" and had finished his race course (See notes on page -- and --.) and had kept the faith: Henceforth there was laid up for him a stephanos of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give him at that day (referred to in verse one): and not to him only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. Here we have the role of the Judge set out before us. It was brought out in Phil. 3:13 when Paul states that he was "apprehended of Christ Jesus" and inherent in the meaning of the word for prize and its cognate word which means umpire or Judge. It was also being brought out when Paul told the Hebrew brethren in 12:2 that Jesus was "the author and finisher of the faith." Thus, let us look at Jesus as the Judge.
The Greek word for "Judge" referred to in 2 Tim. 4:8 is, "KRITES, he who decides, a judge, umpire. The presiding judge; one who decides according to equity and common sense." Bullinger page 426. It occurs in the following New Testament passages:
Acts 10:42 "Judge" Peter states that Jesus "was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick (living) and dead."
2 Tim. 4:8 "judge" Paul states that the Lord Jesus Christ is the righteous Judge who will award himself as well as all others who love his appearing at the day of judgment.
Heb. 12:23 "Judge" In the absolute, the Deity is the Judge of all who are His for the power Christ Jesus wields at his return is his Fathers and not his own. (See John 5:19-30; 6:37-40, 44; 10:27-30.)
James 5:9 "Judge" James warning to the people at that time was, "Grudge not one against another, brethren, lest ye be condemned: behold, the judge standeth before the door." This is a message that we who live in the latter days should take to heart!
A cognate Greek word is, "KRINO, to divide, to separate ..., to make a distinction, come to a decision, to judge, to pronounce final judgment. Not merely sentence of condemnation, but also aa decision in anyone's favor." Bullinger page 427. "... separate, out asunder, distinguish ... II. pick out, choose ... 2. decide ... b. decide a contest, that is for a prize ..." Liddell and Scott page 996. It occurs in the following New Testament passages:
Matt. 19:28 "Judging" Jesus states that those who have followed him shall be co-rulers with him when he returns and sits on his throne of glory. He promises that they will sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes.
Luke 19:22 "will I judge" Jesus tells a parable about a nobleman, who represents himself, who went away to receive a Kingdom and returns rewarding the good and wicked servants according to their deeds. Here the wicked servant is referred to and Jesus says that he will pronounce final judgment upon him based on the words of his mouth.
Luke 22:30 "judging" His twelve disciples will sit upon the twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. See notes on page -- under "throne"
John 3:17 "condemn" Jesus on his first mission was to bring salvation to the world not judgment. Judgment will be the purpose of his second coming.
John 3:18 "is not condemned ... is condemned" He that has faith in Jesus, God's son, will not be the recipient of condemnation when judgment is poured out upon the wicked and those that believe not.
John 5:22 "judgeth,"30 "judge" Jesus states that the Father passes sentence upon no man but this duty has been delegated to himself as the Son of man. Of course his judgment is in harmony with what his Father stands for and upon whom the standard is based.
John 8:50 "judgeth" Jesus was not seeking his own glory but that of the Father and He would be the one that would seek to establish His glory and pass judgment in harmony with it.
John 12:48 "Judge," 48 "that judgeth ... shall judge" Jesus states that his word would be the basis of judgment.
Acts 17:31 "judge" Paul states that the Deity has appointed a day when he would judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he had ordained for this purpose, namely, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rom. 2:12 "shall be judged" Paul states that as many as have sinned in the law would be judged by the law.
Rom. 2:16 "shall judge" Judgment would take place upon the day set for it by the Deity when he would judge the secrets (or things that were hidden, or concealed) of men by (through) Jesus Christ and according to the gospel preached by Paul.
Rom. 3:6 "shall God judge" God shall judge the unrighteous and unbelievers.
1 Cor. 4:5 "judge" Paul exhorts the brethren in Corinth not to pass judgment upon anyone before the Lord Jesus Christ comes for then, he will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts. In other words, people will be revealed foe what they really were, not for what people thought they were.
1 Cor. 5:13 "judgeth" God judges them that are without or in the world.
1 Cor. 6:2 "shall judge ... shall be judged" In the Kingdom Age, the saints shall judge the world.
! Cor. 6:3 "shall judge" In the Kingdom Age, the saints will separate between angels.
2 Tim. 4:1 "judge" Paul states that the Lord Jesus Christ shall pass final judgment upon the living and the dead.
Heb. 10:30 "shall judge" Paul quotes from Deut. 32:36 pointing out that the Scriptures state that "the LORD (Yahweh to Israel after the flesh) shall judge His people.
Heb. 13:4 "will judge" Paul states that the Deity would judge the whoremongers and adulterers.
James 2:12 "be judged" James admonish the brethren to speak and act in harmony with the knowledge that they would be judged by the law of liberty.
1 Pet. 1:17 "who ...judgeth" The Father will pass final judgment without respect of persons and according to every man's work. In other words, it is not who you are but what you are in God's sight that will be the basis of your judgment by Him.
1 Pet. 2:23 "that judgeth" The Lord Jesus Christ when experiencing all that he did in regards to his death upon the cross committed himself completely unto the Deity who judges righteously.
1 Pet. 4:5 "to judge" The wicked shall give account to him that is ready to pass final judgment upon the living and the dead.
1 Pet. 4:6 "might be judged" "... Macknight has translated the statement as follows: "... although they might be condemned indeed by men in the flesh." He thus contrasts two things: though men might condemn them (See verse 4), Christ will not. The Diaglott and Rotherham render it in a similar way. The word "judged" signifies "to divide, separate, to make a distinction,to come to a decision." Men of the world, looking at one converted to Christ, will judge him and condemn him according to the reasoning of flesh, whereas, actually, he is "living according to God in the spirit." The spirit in question relates to the spirit-word (John 6:63; 1 John 5:6), concerning which Paul exhorts, walk in the spirit and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the Flesh" (Gal. 5:16) ..." H. P. Mansfield. To The Strangers Scattered Abroad. page 47.
Rev. 6:10 "dost ... judge" Just as Abel's blood cried out for judgment, the blood of those slain by Pagan Rome cried out for Divine Judgment upon it.
Rev. 11:18 "be judged" This refers to the time when the dead shall be raised and judged and rewarded.
Rev. 16:5 "hast judged" In reference to the Napoleonic judgment which were poured out upon the Papacy and the Holy Roman Empire. Of course, this was Divine judgment: Napoleon was just an instrument of His wrath.
Rev. 18:8 "who judgeth," 20 "hath avenged" This is in reference to the Deity's final judgment upon the Babylonian Harlot and her supporters.
Rev. 19:2, "hath judged," 11 "doth judge" True and righteous are the Deity's judgment as manifested in and through his son and the glorified saints.
Rev. 20:12,13 "were judged" This is in reference to when the dead shall be judged by the Lord Jesus Christ after they have been resurrected and brought to his judgment seat.
Another cognate Greek word is "KRIMA, the result or issue of the verb KRINO; the decision arrived at, the sentence pronounced, unfavorable to those concerned." Bullinger page 427. It occurs in the following New Testament passages:
Matt. 23:40 "damnation" Jesus' statement that the scribes and Pharisees would receive the greater damnation thus guaranteeing their resurrection for judgment and punishment.
Mark 12:40 "damnation" Similar to Matt. 23:40.
Luke 20:47 "damnation" Similar to Matt. 23:40.
Acts 24:25 "judgment" Paul's reference to judgment that would be meted out by Christ at his return.
Rom. 2:2 "judgment" Paul says that we are absolutely certain that the Deity's judgment is according to truth.
1 Tim. 5:12 "damnation" Paul warns the younger widows to marry unless they wax wanton (See note one below for meaning of this word) and bring judgment upon themselves for having cast off their first faith.
Heb. 6:2 "judgment" Paul refers to aionian judgment as one of the foundation principles that the Hebrew brethren should know.
James 3:1 "condemnation" James states that a master (teacher) stands related to greater condemnation if unfaithful because of his position of responsibility.
1 Pet. 4:17 "judgment" Peter points out that the time was at hand for the judgment of God to begin at the House of God and then to pass upon those that obey not the gospel of God.
2 Pet. 2:3 "judgment" The false teachers would be judged.
Jude 4 "condemnation" The false teachers would be judged.
Rev. 17:1 "judgment" John was going to be shown the judgment or sentence that was pronounced upon the Great whore - the Roman Catholic Church.
Rev. 18:20 "avenged you" is literally, "avenged your judgment" See note on this verse on page --. Reference is made to the sentence pronounced upon the Babylonian Harlot and that all true saints should rejoice at her destruction.
Rev. 20:4 "judgment" The right to pronounce judgment was given unto the glorified saints. See notes on pages -- and --.
Note one: "KATASTRENIAO, ( KATA, against, and STRENIAO, to live strenuously, rudely, as English, "to live hard," revel, run riot); to run riot against, lead a life of luxury and gaiety, to the neglect of another or in opposition to him." Bullinger page 853. 1 Tim. 5:1 is the only place where the word occurs in the New Testament.
The last cognate word we are going to consider is, "KRISIS, separating, sundering; judgment, especially, of judicial procedure; the act or time of pronouncing sentence." Bullinger page 427. "... 1. a separating, sundering, separation; a trial, contest. 2. selection. 3. judgment; that is opinion or decision given concerning anything, especially concerning justice and injustice, right and wrong ..." Grimm-Thayer page 361. It occurs in the following New Testament passages:
Matt. 5:21,22 "judgment" Those who kill, (is angry with his brother without a cause) or refer to him as a fool are in danger of having the Deity pronouncing judgment upon them.
Matt. 10:15; 11:22,24 "judgment" Against any city that the disciples shook the dust of their feet off against, then judgment would be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city. Jesus then pronounces judgment upon Chorazin and Bethsaida and Capernaum indicating that in the day of Judgment that it would be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon and Sodom.
Matt. 12:18 "judgment" Matthew quotes Is.42:1-3 showing they were fulfilled by Jesus. Here it states that he would pass judgment upon the Gentiles when he returns.
Matt. 12:20 "judgment" Jesus would send forth or issue judgment unto victory or until his mission at his return is accomplished.
Matt. 12:36 "judgment" Jesus warns that all will have to give account of every idle word that they speak in the day of judgment when the act of judging will be accomplished.
Matt. 12:41,42 "judgment" Jesus points out that the men of Nineveh and the queen of the south will rise in an act of judgment with this generation and in contrast would condemn that wicked generation.
Matt. 23:33 "damnation" Jesus warns the scribes and Pharisees by addressing a rhetorical question to them, namely, how can ye (ye generation of vipers, ye serpents) escape the act of divine judgment which is represented by Gehenna. See Appendix.
Luke 10:14 "judgment" Similar to Matt. 11:22,24.
Luke 11:31,32 "judgment" Similar to Matt. 12:41,42.
John 3:19 "condemnation" This is the decision of the Deity in regards to the word, or this is the Deity's judgment, namely, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 5:22 "judgment" See page -- and note on this verse. The Father hath committed the act of judgment unto the Son.
John 5:24 "condemnation" "He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath aionian life, and shall not come into condemnation" (judgment or act of the Judge to pronounce judgment against.
John 5:27 "judgment" The Father hath given the Son the authority to execute the act of judgment.
John 5:29 "damnation" Those who have done evil will come forth unto the resurrection of judicial punishment.
John 5:30 "judgment" See page --. Jesus acts of judgment are just.
John 12:31 "judgment" Now is the time of pronouncing judgment against the world which would be accomplished through Jesus' sacrifice.
John 16:8,11 "judgment" The prince of the world is sin and against it was the judicial sentence being pronounced through Jesus' sacrifice.
2 Thess. 1:5 "judgment" Paul states that their endurance in all their persecutions and trials is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God.
1 Tim. 5:24 "judgment" Paul tells Timothy that some men's sins are open going before to the time of judgment.
Heb. 9:27 "judgment" Paul states that it is appointed unto men once to die then afterwards the time of judgment.
Heb. 10:27 "judgment" For those who sin wilfully after coming to an understanding of the Truth there was no more sacrifice for sin but just a certain fearful looking for the time of pronouncing of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.
James 2:13 "judgment ... judgment" James warns that those who hath showed no mercy shall experience a judicial procedure or trial without mercy.
2 Pet. 2:4,9 "judgment" The angels who left their first estate are being reserved for the time of judgment. The Lord knows how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished.
2 Pet. 3:7 "judgment" The Political heavens and earth are being kept in store by the Word of God for the day when the Divine act of judgment will be pronounced against the ungodly men who make them up.
1 John 4:17 "judgment" Herein is our love (agape) made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day when judicial sentences are pronounced.
Jude 6,15 "judgment" The angels who left their first estate are reserved in aionian chains under darkness unto the time of judicial sentencing of the great day. Enoch warned of the time when the Lord Jesus Christ would execute the act of judgment upon the ungodly.
Rev. 14:7 "judgment" This refers to the time when the acts of judicial judgment would be executed against the world leading to the establishhment of the Kingdom.
Rev. 16:7;19:2 "judgments" The Deity's acts of judgment as manifested through His son and the glorified saints are true and righteous.
Rev. 18:10 "judgment" The kings who make up western Europe and symbolized by the beast will lament the signal act of divine judgment against the Babylonian Harlot.
Three other words we must consider at this point are KATAKRIMA, KATAKRINO, and KATAKRISIS all of which are terms made from combining those we have already considered with the preposition KATA. Let us look at each of these terms in the order as set out above.
First of all KATAKRIMA means, "the sentence pronounced against, condemnation, ..." Bullinger page 178. "... probably not 'condemnation,' but the punishment following sentence, punishment, doom ..." Arndt and Gingrich page 413. It only occurs in the following New Testament passages:
Rom. 5:16 "condemnation"
Rom. 5:18 "condemnation"
Rom. 8:1 "condemnation"
Second of all KATAKRINO means, "to give judgment ... against; hence, to condemn, the crime or punishment being implied ..." Bullinger page 177. "... to judge worthy of punishment ..." Grimm-Thayer page 332. It only occurs in the following New Testament passages:
Matt. 12:41 "shall condemn"
Matt. 12:42 "shall condemn"
Matt. 20:18 "shall condemn"
Matt. 27:3 "was condemned"
Mark 10:33 "shall condemn"
Mark 14:64 "condemned"
Mark 16:16 "shall be damned"
Luke 11:31 "condemn"
Luke 11:32 "shall condemn"
John 8:10 "hath ... condemned"
John 8:11 "do I condemn"
Rom. 2:1 "condemnest"
Rom. 8:3 "condemned"
Rom. 8:34 "that condemneth"
Rom. 14:23 "is damned"
1 Cor. 11:32 "should not be condemned"
Heb. 11:7 "condemned"
James 5:9 "be condemned"
2 Pet. 2:6 "condemned"
Third and last of all KATAKRISIS which means, "judgment against, (denoting the action incomplete and in progress.)" Bullinger page 178. It only occurs in the following New Testament passages:
2 Cor. 3:9 "condemnation"
2 Cor. 7:3 "condemn"
Bringing the above information together, we receive a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ as the righteous judge whose acts of judgment are true and righteous both towards his household and towards the ungodly and wicked. As his Father is no respector of persons neither is he for his judgment is in complete harmony with the Father's will who hath committed all judgment into his hands as the Son of Man. Of course, his title as the judge is the Son of Man as indicated by himself in John 5:27.
We learn that the judges of the Olympic games were purple-robed and this is significant. Purple is the symbol of God-manifest in the flesh as well as royalty. Thus the appropriateness of the parallel for the Lord Jesus Christ was the manifestation of the Deity in the flesh as well as the rightful heir to the throne of David.
As we have already learned the judges had to be strictly honest, no respecter of persons, andd completely knowledgeable of all the rules. Likewise, the Lord Jesus Christ is honest, no respecter of persons and completely knowledgeable of the rules which govern the race for aionian life. In fact, one of his titles was "the word was made flesh" indicating how perfectly he knew, understood and lived his Father's word. Also, he is repeatedly referred to as righteous throughout the New Testament. (Matt. 27:19,24; Mark 6:20; Luke 23:47; John 5:30; Acts 3:14; 7:52; 22:14; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet.3:18; 1 John 1:9; 2:1,29; Rev. 15:3; 16:5,7; 19:2; 22:11. In all of these passages, the Greek word translated "just" or "righteous" is, "DIKAIOS, right, just, that is fulfilling all claims which are right and becoming; just as it should be; a right state, of which God is the standard. Used of God, it denotes the perfect agreement subsisting between his nature (which is the standard for all) and his acts." Bullinger page 647.)
The Judge's responsibilities included entering the contenders and the giving of the prize. Likewise, Paul indicates these aspects are true of Jesus when he refers to Jesus as "the author and the finisher of the faith" in Heb. 12:2, and that he was "apprehended of Christ Jesus" in Phil. 3:13, as well as, inherent in the meaning of the word for prize.
The Lord Jesus Christ as the righteous Judge is very eager for our success and will aid us to be victorious if we just seek his help through prayer and the study of the word of Yahweh. It is his desire that he might give us the prize, namely, the stephanos of life. (See Luke 12:31; Rom. 8:28-39; 5:6-8,10; John 10:11-15; 15:13-14.)
Paul significantly indicates that he will give the stephanos of righteousness unto all them also thar love his appearing which links up with the statement he makes in Heb. 11:13,39,40: "These all died in faith not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them, and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. And these all, having obtained a good report through faith, received not the promise: God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us shall not be made perfect." Thus, all who love his appearing will receive the reward at the same time together defined by Paul in 2 Tim. 4:1, "...the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; ..."
Again, the parallel between the Olympic games and the race for aionian life is brought out for the victors in the Olympic games did not receive the prize at the end of each of the individual contests but all received it together on the same day at a victory celebration. They were all given palm branches after the Judge had decided upon the winner in the individual contests as a symbol of victory. Likewise, the successful spiritual agonists are represented as holding "palms in their hands" in Rev. 7:9. The natural athletes on the day of victory were then paraded with palms in their hands into the temple of Zeus and given the corruptible stephanos which symbolized a linking of the victor with his god. Likewise, the successful spiritual agonist will form the spiritual temple of the Deity and their being awarded the stephanos of life would become linked with Yahweh becoming equal unto the angels.
Just as a victory celebration is kept with meat being provided from the sacrifice on the third day of the Olympic games, we have the sacrifice of Jesus and his resurrection upon the third day which becomes the basis of the marriage supper of the Lamb. (See Is. 25:6; Matt. 16:21; 17:23; 20:19; 22:1-14; 25:1-13; 26:26-29; 27:64; Mark 14:22-25; Luke 9:22; 12:35-37; 13:32; 18:33; 22:15-18; 24:7,21,46; Acts 10:40; 1 Cor. 15:4; Rev. 3:20; 5:9-10; 7:13-14; 19:7-9.)
There is another interesting parallel for after the athlete completed his contest he had to await the decision of the judges. (See note on page -- on Rev. 2:17.) Likewise, for those, such as Paul, who have fallen asleep in Christ, they await the period when restored to life they stand with the living and are judged by the Lord, the righteous Judge as to whether they are worthy or not. At this point, I would like to introduce the following quotation of Fairbairn as recorded in "All the Trades And Occupations of The Bible by Herbert Lockyer on page 44: "There was a period when the runner in the games was an uncrowned victor. It was after he had ceased to run, and while the judges deliberated on his claim, ere the crown was placed in his hand. He was at rest, all his labor over; he was calm for he was assured of victory; but he was also expectant till the sign of victory was actually given to him, the sentence passed, his name proclaimed, his crown was given to him." This quotation takes in the period which encompasses the very end of the spiritual agonist's life; his rest in death, and the period of anticipation after his resurrection and before he was given the stephanos of life. Thus the parallel between the natural athlete and the spiritual athlete is very complete and exact. Thus, let us study and learn from this most beautiful Bible analogy and let us follow the advice of Paul when he says,
"Agonize the good agony of the faith, lay hold on life ..." 1 Tim. 6:12 and again,
"So run, that ye may obtain." 1 Cor. 9:24.
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