1Kor 1,20 | Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?
28. set … in the church—as He has “set the members … in the body” (1 Co 12:18).
first apostles—above even the prophets. Not merely the Twelve, but others are so called, for example, Barnabas, &c. (Ro 16:7).
teachers—who taught, for the most part, truths already revealed; whereas the prophets made new revelations and spoke all their prophesyings under the Spirit’s influence. As the teachers had the “word of knowledge,” so the prophets “the word of wisdom” (1 Co 12:8). Under “teachers” are included “evangelists and pastors.”
miracles—literally, “powers” (1 Co 12:10):ranked below “teachers,” as the function of teaching is more edifying, though less dazzling than working miracles.
helps, governments—lower and higher departments of “ministrations” (1 Co 12:5); as instances of the former, deacons whose office it was to help in the relief of the poor, and in baptizing and preaching, subordinate to higher ministers (Ac 6:1–10; 8:5–17); also, others who helped with their time and means, in the Lord’s cause (compare 1 Co 13:13; Nu 11:17). The Americans similarly use “helps” for “helpers.” And, as instances of the latter, presbyters, or bishops, whose office it was to govern the Church (1 Ti 5:17; Heb 13:17, 24). These officers, though now ordinary and permanent, were originally specially endowed with the Spirit for their office, whence they are here classified with other functions of an inspired character. Government (literally, “guiding the helm” of affairs), as being occupied with external things, notwithstanding the outward status it gives, is ranked by the Spirit with the lower functions. Compare “He that giveth” (answering to “helps”)—“he that ruleth” (answering to “governments”) (Ro 12:8). Translate, literally, “Helpings, governings” [ALFORD].
diversities of tongues—(1 Co 12:10). “Divers kinds of tongues.”
29. Are all?—Surely not.
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Bd. 2, S. 288). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
great—in size and significance.
wonder—Greek, “sign”: significant of momentous truths.
in heaven—not merely the sky, but the heaven beyond just mentioned, Rev 11:19; compare Rev 12:7–9.
woman clothed with the sun … moon under her feet—the Church, Israel first, and then the Gentile Church; clothed with Christ, “the Sun of righteousness.” “Fair as the moon, clear as the sun.” Clothed with the Sun, the Church is the bearer of divine supernatural light in the world. So the seven churches (that is, the Church universal, the woman) are represented as light-bearing candlesticks (Rev 1:12, 20). On the other hand, the moon, though standing above the sea and earth, is altogether connected with them and is an earthly light: sea, earth, and moon represent the worldly element, in opposition to the kingdom of God—heaven, the sun. The moon cannot disperse the darkness and change it into-day: thus she represents the world religion (heathenism) in relation to the supernatural world. The Church has the moon, therefore, under her feet; but the stars, as heavenly lights, on her head. The devil directs his efforts against the stars, the angels of the churches, about hereafter to shine for ever. The twelve stars, the crown around her head, are the twelve tribes of Israel [AUBERLEN]. The allusions to Israel before accord with this: compare Rev 11:19. “the temple of God”; “the ark of His testament.” The ark lost at the Babylonian captivity, and never since found, is seen in the “temple of God opened in heaven,” signifying that God now enters again into covenant with His ancient people. The woman cannot mean, literally, the virgin mother of Jesus, for she did not flee into the wilderness and stay there for 1260 days, while the dragon persecuted the remnant of her seed (Rev 12:13–17) [DE BURGH]. The sun, moon, and twelve stars, are emblematical of Jacob, Leah, or else Rachel, and the twelve patriarchs, that is, the Jewish Church: secondarily, the Church universal, having under her feet, in due subordination, the ever changing moon, which shines with a borrowed light, emblem of the Jewish dispensation, which is now in a position of inferiority, though supporting the woman, and also of the changeful things of this world, and having on her head the crown of twelve stars, the twelve apostles, who, however, are related closely to Israel’s twelve tribes. The Church, in passing over into the Gentile world, is (1) persecuted; (2) then seduced, as heathenism begins to react on her. This is the key to the meaning of the symbolic woman, beast, harlot, and false prophet. Woman and beast form the same contrast as the Son of man and the beasts in Daniel. As the Son of man comes from heaven, so the woman is seen in heaven (Rev 12:1). The two beasts arise respectively out of the sea (compare Da 7:3) and the earth (Rev 13:1, 11): their origin is not of heaven, but of earth earthy. Daniel beholds the heavenly Bridegroom coming visibly to reign. John sees the woman, the Bride, whose calling is heavenly, in the world, before the Lord’s coming again. The characteristic of woman, in contradistinction to man, is her being subject, the surrendering of herself, her being receptive. This similarly is man’s relation to God, to be subject to, and receive from, God. All autonomy of the human spirit reverses man’s relation to God. Woman-like receptivity towards God constitutes faith. By it the individual becomes a child of God; the children collectively are viewed as “the woman.” Humanity, in so far as it belongs to God, is the woman. Christ, the Son of the woman, is in Rev 12:5 emphatically called “the MAN-child” (Greek, “huios arrheen,” “male-child”). Though born of a woman, and under the law for man’s sake, He is also the Son of God, and so the HUSBAND of the Church. As Son of the woman, He is “’Son of man”; as male-child, He is Son of God, and Husband of the Church. All who imagine to have life in themselves are severed from Him, the Source of life, and, standing in their own strength, sink to the level of senseless beasts. Thus, the woman designates universally the kingdom of God; the beast, the kingdom of the world. The woman of whom Jesus was born represents the Old Testament congregation of God. The woman’s travail-pains (Rev 12:2) represent the Old Testament believers’ ardent longings for the promised Redeemer. Compare the joy at His birth (Is 9:6). As new Jerusalem (called also “the woman,” or “wife,” Rev 21:2, 9–12), with its twelve gates, is the exalted and transfigured Church, so the woman with the twelve stars is the Church militant.
2. pained—Greek, “tormented” (basanizomene). DE BURGH explains this of the bringing in of the first-begotten into the world AGAIN, when Israel shall at last welcome Him, and when “the man-child shall rule all nations with the rod of iron.” But there is a plain contrast between the painful travailing of the woman here, and Christ’s second coming to the Jewish Church, the believing remnant of Israel, “Before she travailed she brought forth … a MAN-CHILD,” that is, almost without travail-pangs, she receives (at His second advent), as if born to her, Messiah and a numerous seed.
3. appeared—“was seen.”
wonder—Greek, “semeion,” “sign.”
Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Bd. 2, S. 578–579). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.