Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mystics Take on Phillipians 2:1-11

The Passage
Philippians 2:1-11 (New International Version)
Vs 2:1 -4
In doubt do not distress or become conceited, remember that we (they) share a common bound in one faith. Contains He uses a twofold appeal to unity and humility. From this faith we (they) can find common ground amongst the congregation.
Vs 2:5-8
A member of the congregation should reflect that of Yeshua, who prayed the ultimate sacrifice for his faith, the very same faith that does not allow a person to have an air of arrogance or the belief that anyone in a particular congregation is better than another. Through serving every sentient being through faith could a person overcome the fear of death.
Vs. 2:9-11
Because of selfless sacrifice he was able to overcome through death and through this every member is able to exalt this deed along with everyone that has converted on bended knee.

I am not a Christian and my attempt is not to debunk anyone’s faith. My interpretation may reflect a different outlook upon the interpretation of Phillipians 2:1-11.
The Christian church of Phillipi a Roman Colony on the EgnatianWay was established from the letters that Paul wrote a person could tell that his relationship had been warm and cordial church at Philippi had been warm and cordial. Although he had been imprisoned on his first visit there (Acts 16:11-40.)
Paul wrote the letters for different reason one being to show gratitude for their support while he was imprison. The other reason that he wrote the letters is to dispel any animosities that have a arisen in the church which in turn gave seed to a caste system. Verse 2:3 a hint could be felt when in the letter Paul stress “do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but humility consider others better than yourselves.”
From this verse alone a person could detect concern about the moral fabric of the church.
Overall the meaning of the Pauline letter is the act humility to follow Yeshua’s examples in humility.

The city of Philippi was formally established in 356 B.C. by Philip II of Macedon
. Philippi was established as a Roman colony after a famous battle was fought there which involved Mark Antony, Octavian, Brutus and Cassius. Philippi was governed by Roman law with its citizens having all the rights of property ownership and the right to civil lawsuits.
Everything about Philippi was modeled after its mother city, Rome.
The church at Philippi was established by the Apostle Paul on his second missionary
between A.D. 50. The story of the church’s origin is found in Acts
16. The first convert was a woman named Lydia “whose heart the Lord opened” (Acts 16:14). One of the more dramatic moments is when the Philippian jailer and his household were converted after Paul and Silas were thrown into jail after being beaten publicly. Acts 16:30 describes God miraculously opening the jail doors
and releasing the prisoners’ shackles, the jailer distraught was ready to take his own life. The jailer then asked, “What must I do to be saved?”
. To which Paul famously replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt
be saved and thy house” (Acts 16:31).
Interestingly, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians from a different incarcerated
situation. There are three basic theories concerning where Paul was imprisoned at this time: Rome, Ephesus, or Caesarea. The traditional view regards Rome as the location from which Paul wrote to Philippi and this author believes the internal evidence is too strong to overturn this.

The scripture is found in the Letter of Paul to the church in Philippi. Paul is so committed to values beyond himself that he can actually rejoice in his own dire circumstances because they have advanced the opportunity for the proclamation of Christ (1:1 2-14). It is significant to note that while Paul customarily establishes his authority as an apostle in writing to the churches (as in the first verses of Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, and Colossians), in this Epistle he simply calls himself (along with his coworker, Timothy) "servant."
The theme of the letter is to encourage the church of Philippi in persistence (Phil 1:27-28a). In order to support this theme, Paul appeals to the examples of Yeshua humblimng himself to become crucified. Paul attempts to point out that Jesus’ examples of humility and self-sacrifice are fundamental to spiritual growth (Phil 2:1-18). Paul provides his own testimony of perseverance as a warning against being sidetracked and as encouragement for the church (Phil 3). Comments urging the Philippians to resolve divisions, to rejoice in all things and to think as well as do the things of God follow Paul’s testimony (Phil 4:1-9). Paul’s closing comments are a word of thanks for the financial support the church has provided him (Phil 4:10-20).
Philippians 2:1-11 differs from the rest of the letter in its poetic characteristics
Philippians 2:5-11 often refer to as the incarnation of Yeshua for Christians is often described in terms of the "kenosis" (usually translated "to empty")--a term that comes from the Greek word kenovw [KENOW] in Philippians 2:5-11.

Ralph Philip Martin, Brian J. Dodd :Westminster John Knox Press(1998)


Phillipians interpretation as with every passage in the bible needs careful examination in order to develop a reasonable interpretation.
Paul is writing the letter to the Philippians congregation to give urgent advice to the about humility and instructing the followers of Christianity to follow Yeshua’s example in humility.
Exposition of Philippians 2:1-11
The verses consist of four clauses
each beginning with if you and if any
Each of these four clauses refer to the shared experience of the Philippians and Paul are introduced to promote unity among these Christians. The four “if” clauses, should not be interpreted as a mere possibility by Christian standards, but as an assumption of the truth. All four of the clauses found in verse one introduce the command found in verse two.
In verse two Paul’s conditional statement is given. It is a command based upon the assumed common experiences of verse one. The command is to emphasize unity by synonymous expressions. The way in which the
Philippians can give Paul’s joy is by having “the same mind,” “the same love,” being “one-souled,” and by being. The command is for unity.
In verse three Paul introduces an appeal to humility as the pathway to unity.
Paul urges the
Philippians to do “nothing according to selfishness nor according to conceit”
Instead they are to “in humility consider each other surpassing yourselves.” When everyone in the church values everyone else’s needs and desires above his or her own needs and desires, the end result is unity.
In verse four Paul clarifies what he means by his command to “look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” This verse contains no new command, merely a clarifying of the command of verse three.
In verse five Paul offers an illustration of the kind of humility to which he is exhorting
the Philippians by pointing them to the condescension of Yeshua. In the following verses Paul either composes or utilizes an already existent hymn to detail the humiliation of Christ.
In verse six Paul describes how Yeshua did not regard his position as a highly prized possession. This verse is used to indicate that he did not regard his equality with God.

In verse seven Paul describes the first of two actions of Yeshua in His humiliation. The first action is explained by the verb kenoo “made himself nothing.” The kenoo generally means “to empty.” Some scholars have argued that this term means that he gave up His divine nature.
The text goes on to explain that He was taking the position of being a servant therefore, “emptying” of Himself or His acceptance to martyrdom.
In verse eight Paul describes the second of two successive acts of Yeshua in His
humiliation. Here we see His final step downward. He “humbled himself”
to “death. But not just any death, the “death of a cross”.
In verse nine Paul describes the last step in Yeshua’s journey from glory to glory, His exaltation by the Almighty. The verse begins with “therefore” which ties together
verses 9-11 with verses 5-8. This simply means that Yeshua’s voluntary humiliation described in verses 6-8 is the basis for His high exaltation in verses 9-11. The word translated “exalted”
u`peru,ywsen means to “raise someone to the loftiest height”. The Great Architect
has given Yeshua to. o;noma to. u`pe.r pa/n o;noma “the name above every name.”

James R. Davila,Carey C. Newman, Gladys S. Lewis, The Jewish Roots of Christological Monotheism: papers from the St. Andrews Conference on the Historical Origins of the Worship of Jesus: Brill Academic Publishers(1999)
Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine: Zondervan(1994)

The Phillipians passage is not consider an echo of the Old Testament but a claim for Christians that Yeshua has return to a majestic divinity by stating
“every knee will bow”
In verse eleven Paul continues to explain the purpose of God in giving Christ “the
name above every name” (v. 9). Not only will “every knee bow,” but as noted above, “every
tongue will confess” “that Jesus Christ is Lord” o[ti ku,rioj VIhsou/j
Cristo.j. The verb evxomologh,shtai has the idea here of “frank, open confession” (Vincent,
Philippians 2:11).
It is an open acknowledgement for Christians by stating “Every tongue will one day confess openly that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”.

Summary and Application
The application of this passage is obvious in my opinion. Since
Philippians 2:1-11 is part of a larger hortatory section in which Paul is urging the Philippian believers towards unity by emulating t Yeshua’s humility. Paul’s desire is the same as any mystic: to see his followers walk in unity. The means to that unity is a humility that regards sentient beings as more valuable than ones self. Christian are urged to follow the example of Yeshua and in their (Christian) viewpoint held a valuable position in which he relinquished in order to become a martyr.
on the cross to purchase their salvation.
Regardless of an individuals stance on Yeshua’s position in the theological hemisphere no one cannot deny it took someone special to willingly embrace death in the most horrific manner.
Few would follow this direction therefore, I believe people can attain a divine connection with their belief through faith regardless what that maybe.
“Whether one believes in a religion or not, and whether one believes in rebirth or not, there isn't anyone who doesn't appreciate kindness and compassion.” Dalai Lama

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