Proverbs and Parables in the New Testament
study 3 - 'scorners and fools'
Having dealt with the first stage of declension from the Truth with the consideration of the 'simple ones' (i.e. "those who are really in love with their own ignorance") we must now move on to the 'scorners and fools'. Let us be reminded that these 3 stages are set out in Proverbs 1v22, which it is useful to re-quote here so that it is clearly in our view.
"How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?" The descent (spiritually) is from Jerusalem to Jericho cp Luke 10v30-37, which is scheduled to be dealt with in study 4 - 'The Good Samaritan' - if it is the will of the Lord. Once the downward slide has begun it is necessary to take extraordinary steps to reverse the process. This is why we see in Proverbs the repeated urgent appeals to those in such mortal danger.
The best time to stop this disastrous process of declension from the Truth is before it begins...
and we should follow the timeless advice contained in Proverbs 2v1,10,11,16-19:
"My son, if thou wilt receive my words, and hide my commandments with thee…
when wisdom entereth into thine heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto thy soul…
to deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her
words; which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God.
For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her
return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life".
However, the urgent question must be asked and answered, as it is in Proverbs, what can you do when the downward slide has begun, and even worse still, you discover that you are in the middle of it? This is a shocking discovery, as was the lot of this writer many years ago. However, information is power, and so the first thing to do is to arm yourself with the historical facts. It has been our earnest endeavour, on this web-site, to empower you with these facts which can save you.
The deterioration from "simple one" to "scorner" is very easy to understand - indeed it is a natural progression. When a person is "gullible" and "unheeding" (see previous references to the "simple ones") they become "tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine" (see page 2). Having no stability, they are prone to mock at anything which does not suit them. They hear all types of sounds which are pleasant to their ears, but as far as their predicament is concerned they are completely deaf - cp Matthew 13v15. And in time, they lose all ability to use whatever scriptural facts they may have had - cp Matthew 13v12-15 (they are "dull of hearing", see the definitions below). And finally they descend into the morass of humanity which have no direction and no hope of salvation.
The definitions of the words 'scorner' and 'fool' are as follows: 'scorner' signifies 'to make mouths at, scoff in a contemptuous or arrogant manner'…'fool' signifies 'to be dull, void of understanding'. Proverbs 19v29 tells us - "Judgments are prepared for scorners, and stripes for the back of fools". Jude reminded his readers of "the words of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they told you there should be mockers (= 'scorners') in the last time...the Lord cometh...to execute judgment upon all" (v17,18,14,15). And the Lord foretold of the "stripes" to be meted out in the day when these judgments are administered - see Luke 12v45-48.
The Divine estimation in Proverbs is as follows: "the scorners delight in their scorning" (1v22); "a scorner heareth not rebuke" (13v1); "a scorner seeketh wisdom, and findeth it not" (14v6); "the scorner is an abomination to men" (24v9); "fools despise wisdom and instruction" (1v7); "fools hate knowledge" (1v22); fools die for want of wisdom" (10v21); "the folly of fools is deceit" (14v8); "fools make a mock at sin" (14v9);"the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness" (15v2).
The big problem we have today (common to the "churches" and the bulk of "Christadelphia") is that self-appointed "leaders" have apostacized from the Truth, and led the willing multitudes on the fatal downward path to destruction. This process has been amply documented elsewhere, as you will see if you look at the long list of subjects in our 'site map' including page 2 & 'committees'. There will be no mass reversal of this disaster...the only hope you have is to individually learn the facts and then step out of this race to perdition before it is too late. Some would term this "extreme" and "alarmist", but the verdict of history and prophecy shows us that if anything our warning should be strengthened even more. Again we can learn from Proverbs 31v6 - "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish".
Matthew 24 & 25 contain vitally important parables, upon which we comment further in 'messages' - page 3, because they concern events within "Christadelphia" in these last days. But let us note here that the parables largely have their genesis in Proverbs, dealing as they do with the "wise" and the "foolish", the "faithful" and the "slothful", & "giv(ing) meat" to the Lord's "household" or debauching with "the drunken" . They are all about possessing the Truth in its purity, promoting it to others, and providing spiritual nourishment to those who show their need of it. This theme will be strongly reinforced in the following studies if it is the will of the Lord.
It is a situation endemic to all "last day" epochs, whether of Israel or the Gentiles, and its place in Proverbs ties it to both, as will become evident later in our studies. Jude faced a similar disastrous time at the end of the Jewish Age, and he wrote to his "beloved" fellow-believers as follows:
"And of some have compassion, making a difference; and others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment spotted by the flesh". The figure is taken from the destruction of Sodom, to which he had referred in v7. He warns that "there should be mockers (i.e. scorners) in the last time" - v18, and the "sons in law" to Lot, being "mockers" themselves, dismissed his warning to leave Sodom because it would be destroyed, and "he seemed as one that mocked unto his sons in law" - Genesis 19v14. The angels were "merciful unto (Lot)" and "laid hold upon" him, his wife and his two daughters, "and they brought him forth, and set him without the city" - Genesis 19v16.
They were "pull(ed) out of the fire", but one "looked back from behind him" and Lot's wife perished in the destruction of Sodom. Paul drives home this lesson, writing in Philippians 3v13,14 -
"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: 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". It is worth-while comparing the warning of the Lord in Luke 21 with the record in Genesis 19. It is evident that He had this event well in mind.
Peter also writes that "God...delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation (RV = 'lascivious life') of the wicked" - and also, in an obvious reference to Lot's wife, "for if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world...they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning" - see 2nd Peter 2v6-9, 20-22.
In such an urgent endeavour, "group or peer pressure" is always a big obstacle. No-one likes to "step out of the crowd" and thus be suddenly exposed to ridicule and separation from associates. But there is, in these last days, no alternative if, as Lot, we wish to "escape for (our) life" - Genesis 19v17 - cp Luke 21v21. And the faithful have always done just that - cp Exodus 32v26; 33v7-14 & the context of apostacy in Israel with the Lord's words in Matthew 11v28-30. A bitter-sweet experience is common to such an event. When Ezekiel and John were given visions of the future concerning national and spiritual Israel, they found the judgments of God to be "in my mouth as honey for sweetness" (Ezekiel) and "in my mouth sweet as honey" (John). But when the fatal course of apostacy within God's own people was revealed, the digestion (i.e. the full implications) of this horror resulted in much bitterness - cp Ezekiel - "cause thy belly to eat, and fill thy bowels...and I went in bitterness" and John - "as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter". As Ezekiel was told - "For thou art not sent to a people of a strange speech and of a hard language, but to the house of Israel". See Ezekiel 3 and Revelation 10. This theme is filled out in 'the Lord's day' - vision 4 & 2nd Timothy 2.
The "simple ones" are to be pitied - as the wayward "my son" they are the only ones to whom our Heavenly Father affectionately appeals - but unless they retrace their steps they will continue down the long road to destruction. On the way down they will turn into "scorners", justifying their lack of faith and their disobedience by all nefarious means at their disposal, including the denigration of those who are faithfully standing aside from such evil. And then, when they finally hit the bottom, they will turn into "fools", losing all comprehension of what has happened to them. The Book of Proverbs endorses this horrible picture which we have painted above.
The first thing we must do is to endeavour to obey the words of Proverbs 19v25 - "Smite a scorner, and the simple will beware" - which means to rebuke those promoting disunity by heresy in doctrine or practice - cp Romans 16v17,18 - "avoid them...which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned...and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" - cp page 2. If the ecclesia is obedient, we are promised that the following will occur - "When the scorner is punished, the simple is made wise" - Proverbs 21v11. "Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease" - Proverbs 22v10. But what if the ecclesia (and other ecclesias) fail in their duty and instead endorse the heretic(s)?
The Lord has given His infallible solution in such a situation - link to 'foundation' - page 2 - withdrawal is necessary. Paul endorses the discipline which must be exercised by either the ecclesia, or failing that by one or more faithful individuals, in 1st Timothy 5v20, and he also shows that if obedience is not forthcoming, ecclesias must be dealt with in the same manner - 2nd Corinthians 13 - note the scope of his words - "to them which heretofore have sinned, and to all other...I will not spare...I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness". His words not only echo Proverbs, but also Deuteronomy 13 (they are a direct quotation from v11)...and note that he had already quoted from Deuteronomy 13v5 in 1st Corinthians 5v13 - also link to 'heresy'. Peter adds his testimony in 2nd Peter 2v1,2 - quoting from Deuteronomy 13v1,2,5,11. It is absolutely essential that we fully understand the implications of these inspired words of the Lord & His apostles, for only then are we able to obey them. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life" - John 6v63.
In a desperate situation, strong corrective measures are called for. When we realise that there is no basis of sound doctrine and fellowship in whatever group with which we might be associated, we must heed and act upon the words of Proverbs 5v7,8 & 6v3-5. Personal associations, however deep, must not be allowed to stand in the way of your own obedience, for your life depends upon it. "My son, if thou be surety for thy friend, if thou hast stricken thy hand with a stranger, thou art snared with the words of thy mouth, thou art taken with the words of thy mouth. Do this now, my son, and deliver thyself...make sure thy friend (mg. 'so shalt thou prevail with thy friend'). Give not sleep to thine eyes, nor slumber to thine eyelids. Deliver thyself as a roe from the hand of the hunter, and as a bird from the hand of the fowler". We saw in page 2 the repeat of similar urgent warnings by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Note in Proverbs 6v1 that the "friend" is equated with "a stranger" i.e. an apostate. David and the Lord both suffered from betrayal by their "own familiar friend", and we are warned that we must expect similar treatment - Psalm 41v9; John 13v18-30; 15v18-21. Moses and Jesus Christ both command that even family & other close associations must not prevent us from obeying God - Deuteronomy 13v6-11; Luke 12v49-53; Matthew 10v32-39. The man "born blind" made the right choice, and found fellowship with the Lord - link to 'signs' - the 6th. And "the children of Korah" did likewise, and "died not" - link to 2nd Timothy 2. We can be certain that if we are faithful there will be the same result. A clear conscience and peace with God are precious possessions which none can destroy.
It is summed up in Proverbs 9v6 - "Forsake the foolish and live". We must try to help others, but if they will not be helped, we must save ourselves..."then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD...none...can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him" - Exodus 30v12; Psalm 49v7. The Lord has figuratively paid that ransom (when "God...condemned sin in the flesh" - Romans 8v3) for all who love and obey Him - link to 'sacrifice' & 'love'. It is now our time and our opportunity to demonstrate our love and our obedience. He has left us with these comforting words - "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid" - John 14v27.
"It is a faithful saying: for if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: if we suffer, we shall also reign with him...of these things put them in remembrance" - 2nd Timothy 2v11,12,14.
(this 3rd study is now completed)
the 4th study will be commenced as soon as possible according to the will of the Lord
so far we have shown the urgent need for immediate action - or it may be too late
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