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Listener Question -
"not pray for the world” but "pray for kings" - what?
I would like your comments on what appears to me to be a disconnect
between Jesus’ words that He ”does not pray for the world”, which
certainly seems to mean all of this world’s systems including
governments, authorities, etc. in the secular realm and the
counterfeit religious systems; and Paul’s instructions to pray for
all governments and authority figures whether they are good, evil or
whatever. If Christ/Messiah doesn’t pray for them why should we? God
certainly told the prophets to stop praying for Ephraim and others.
Are there some mistranslations or misapplications in the
texts that would clear this up? I think that people like Obama and
his crowd are deluded dingbats…
"not pray for
the world” but "pray for kings" - what?
I must say, this is a really excellent question regarding the
difference between what Messiah said, that He does ”not pray for the
world” and Paul’s instructions to pray for ”kings and all who are in
high places.” These ideas do seem to be at odds with each other.
Here are the two respective quotes:
”..I don’t pray for the world, but for those whom you have given me,
for they are yours.” John 17:9
”I exhort therefore, first of all, that petitions, prayers,
intercessions, and givings of thanks, be made for all men: 2 for
kings and all who are in high places; that we may lead a tranquil
and quiet life in all godliness and reverence. 3 For this is good
and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior; 4 who desires all
people to be saved and come to full knowledge of the truth.”
In John 17 Messiah is praying for all who put faith in Him of every
age, whom the Father takes ”out of the world” (vs 15). In this
long-term sense it would be useless to pray for the world because
the world (world system) must come to ultimate destruction. This is
why Messiah prays for those whom He has saved ”out of the world”
since they will endure forever.
By contrast, Paul is speaking in a much more immediate sense, being
concerned for people and believers presently living during his
apostolic watch. The sort of prayer for ”kings and those in high
places” that he advocates is for a purpose, namely, ”that we may
lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and reverence.” His
real concern here is for the welfare of believers, so that the
prayers he has in mind are in accord with that. In other words, that
the king and those in authority not be allowed to do mischief or
violence toward the believers. It seems that when ”deluded dingbats”
are in charge such prayers are more needed, rather than less. Of
course, we should pray for ”all people” to be saved, since this is
the Father’s will, even though we know most will not accept that
gift. When we consider the full context of Paul’s words, he is not
advocating that we pray for the world system itself, but for people
to be saved out of the world, and for world leaders to act in a way
that allows the believers to live in relative peace. That intent is
not at odds with Messiah’s words.
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Family can really get complicated sometimes. That is certainly true
of Jacob and Esau. Who could be closer than twin brothers? And yet,
from before they were born they struggled against each other as the
worst of enemies. It got so bad, in fact, that Esau planned to
murder his brother, causing Jacob to literally flee to a foreign
land for his life. After twenty years away Jacob finally came back
to the Land to face the wrath of his brother Esau once more.
In our latest midrash we consider that encounter between Jacob and
Esau as found in Genesis 33. Here, "Esau ran to meet [Jacob],
embraced him, fell on his neck, kissed him, and they wept." Surely,
this means that after twenty years apart the war is over between the
brothers and all is well, right? ...Wrong, as a deeper consideration
of the text will reveal.
Eliyahu ben David
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