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VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 01:25 AM
Here's an interesting commentary on Paul's thorn . . .

I find it makes sense, but I'm not sure if there is any way to know for sure.



"And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong." (2 Cor. 12:7-10)

This thorn in the flesh that Paul mentioned has been used and misused by Christians to justify submitting to nearly any problem that comes along. Satan has twisted this passage of Scripture to deceive many, many people into believing that God would not heal Paul, so how can they expect to be healed? Let us examine this closely and find out exactly what Paul's thorn in the flesh was.

First of all, this "thorn" came because of the abundance of revelations Paul had received. Until a person has an abundance of revelations, similar to what Paul had, he is not going to have a "thorn." That would disqualify just about all of those who have been hiding behind Paul's thorn.

Then, verse 7 says it came lest Paul should be exalted above measure. Traditionally, that has been interpreted to say the thorn was to keep Paul humble. Therefore, God had to be the author of it, because only God would want Paul to be humble. But there is a godly way of being exalted. First Peter 5:6 says, "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." Those who submit (humble) themselves to God will be exalted by God. Paul was not speaking of exalting himself above measure through pride, but rather, the thorn came from Satan to keep Paul from being exalted by God in the eyes of the people. Many more people would have received what Paul preached if everything was always "rosy" for him. But there was this messenger of Satan who always buffeted Paul and scared away the faint-hearted from committing themselves to Jesus, whom Paul preached.

God magnified, or exalted, Joshua in the sight of his people (Josh. 3:7). He continued to do that with the people He used on into the new covenant (Acts 5:13). So, we see that the exalting spoken of is not a negative kind but a godly kind. That just further strengthens the fact that the thorn was not God's doing.

In verse 7, right after the thorn in the flesh is mentioned, there is a phrase set off by commas which says, "The messenger of Satan to buffet me." This is an explanation of what the thorn was. It was not a thing but rather a demonic messenger. The word used as "messenger" here is always translated as angel or messenger and refers to a created being. So, Paul's thorn was literally a demon sent from Satan to buffet him. The word "buffet" means to strike repeatedly as waves would buffet the shore.

How did this demonic force continually strike Paul? Traditionally it has been taught that it was with sickness, and the thing that made many accept that is the use of the words "weakness" and "infirmity" in verses 9 and 10. Infirmity definitely does mean sickness and is used that way in 1 Timothy 5:23, but that is not the only meaning of the word. The number two definition is any lack or inadequacy. For instance, Romans 8:26 says, "the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities." In this case, the context makes it clear that it is not speaking of sicknesses but rather not knowing what to pray for. Our finite minds are an infirmity, or an inadequacy.

If we look at the context of Paul's thorn in the flesh, we find that infirmity does not mean sickness in 2 Corinthians 12:9 and 10. In 2 Corinthians 11:30, Paul uses the exact terminology of "glorying in infirmities" that is used just a few verses later in speaking about this thorn. In the eleventh chapter he had just finished listing what those infirmities were. In verses 23-29, he lists such things as imprisonment, stripes, shipwrecks, and stonings; none of these speak of sickness. Verse 27 mentions weakness and painfulness, which some have tried to make mean sickness, but it is just as possible he could have been weary and suffered painfulness from such things as being stoned and left for dead (Acts 14:19). All these things listed in 2 Corinthians 11 refer to persecutions as infirmities. So, in context, Paul's thorn was a demonic angel or messenger sent by Satan which continually stirred up persecution against him. This is also verified by three Old Testament references (Num. 33:55; Josh. 23:13 and Judg. 2:3), where people are spoken of as being "thorns in your sides" and "thorns in your eyes."

Paul asked the Lord to remove persecution from him, not sickness, and the Lord told him His grace was sufficient. We are not redeemed from persecution, and Paul later stated that when he said in 2 Timothy 3:12, "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." Most gladly, therefore, he gloried in persecutions, reproaches, necessities, and distresses that the power of Christ might rest upon him (2 Cor. 12:9). The word "glory" is an old English word which means to have dominion over or command. It is used in Exodus 8:9 where Moses told Pharaoh to glory over him, or command him, when to destroy the frogs. So when Paul spoke of glorying in these infirmities or persecutions, he was speaking of victory even in the midst of continual harassment.

In Acts 14:19, Paul was stoned and left for dead, but God raised him up, and the next day he walked at least twenty miles into the next town and started preaching again. The Lord did not stop the persecution, but God's strength was certainly made perfect in Paul's weakness (verse 9). Can you imagine what those that stoned him must have thought? They could see Paul's humanity in the cuts and bruises, but they could also see the supernatural strength of God flowing through him. "For when I am weak, then am I strong" (verse 10).

There are two other passages of Scripture that those who believe Paul's thorn in the flesh was sickness have tried to use to verify that. One is Galatians 4:13-15. Here Paul says that he preached the Gospel to these Galatians through an infirmity of the flesh, and in verse 15, he makes reference to these people being willing to poke out their own eyes and give them to him. From this, I have heard ministers preach that Paul's thorn was a rare, ancient disease which was characterized by runny, puffy eyes. But let us look at whom Paul was speaking to when he said this. He was writing to the people who lived in the region known as Galatia, which had as its major cities, Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium. The instance we mentioned earlier, where Paul was stoned and left for dead, happened in Lystra, a city of Galatia. The next day Paul walked to Derbe, another city of Galatia, and began preaching unto them. I'm sure he had runny, puffy eyes, along with multiple cuts and bruises, but they were not the result of some disease. They were the result of having just been stoned. He also says in verse 13 that his infirmity was "at the first," which leaves the impression it was only a temporary thing that he recovered from.

The next scripture used to say Paul's thorn was bad eyes is also in Galatians, chapter 6, verse 11. It says, "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine own hand." People have said Paul's eyes were so bad that he had to write in large letters, and this is what he was making reference to. That is only a supposition and not a very good one at that. It is a lot more credible to believe that he was simply referring to the long letter he had written to the Galatians.

The reason it is so important to realize that the thorn in the flesh was not something which Jesus died to redeem us from, such as sickness, is so that we won't submit ourselves to these things. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." We have to resist, or actively fight against, the devil and the things he brings, to see them flee. Satan has used traditional teaching about Paul's thorn to bring many Christians to a place of submitting to him. But, praise God, you shall know the truth and the truth, shall set you free.


Comments or opinions?

Edit: This article was written by Andrew Wommack. I would link it for you all, but it is from a site that I don't recommend due to some content in other areas. Many folks use this site for ministering purposes, but there is some inappropriate content in other areas of the site.

karenoka27
May 2nd 2007, 01:51 AM
Wow! And to think I pondered the thought that the thorn was that he was partially blind from the day on the road to Damascus...(I say that because of how he ended some of his writings/letters).
I have heard what you shared before but not in such detail..thank you, I found it very interesting.
When you said, the thorn came because of the abundance of revelations Paul had received...it made me think of Daniel..in Daniel 7:15-"I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me."

ShirleyFord
May 2nd 2007, 04:13 AM
Paul's thorn in the flesh couldn't have been some dibilatating disease that would hinder him in any way from doing what God called him to do. Nothing slowed him down from preaching the gospel wherever and to whomever God sent him. They could lock him up and chain him to prison guards but that didn't hinder him from preaching the gospel and writing letters to the different Churches.

Plus he worked with his own hands to support himself and his co-laborers with him. If there had been very much wrong with him physically, he wouldn't have been able to do much work, especially in his craft of making tents.

Shirley

humbled
May 2nd 2007, 01:19 PM
That's a good article. The first time I heard that position was from MacArthur. Who wrote this one? Do you have a link?

nm I found it ... Andrew Wommack

Walstib
May 2nd 2007, 02:53 PM
I think the article focuses on disproving sickness but does not give a conclusion to what the weakness would be. I thought the tone I found off in places. Like Paul would not have been sick as part of a “everyone should be free from sickness” message.

Some thoughts I am still working out on this.

As I see it having a evil messenger poke a Christian’s flesh to tempt them into sin is nothing new. Why would that kind of event have been special enough to mention. And the new birth has given the faithful victory over the enemy, there is always a way out from the temptation.

So what was the weakness?

Is this Paul admitting there was a sin in his life he was not avoiding? A weakness through his flesh he struggled with personally.

Or is the context that it was only this one demon who made any attempt to temp Paul. This itself to me sounds strange. But then why would that be a weakness if he knew the victory he had over the enemy.

So then could it not be a physical infirmity of the flesh and not about sin. As I see it we are more freed from sin than from sickness.

I have yet to break this logic circle with conviction.

Peace,
Joe

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 03:05 PM
I think the article focuses on disproving sickness but does not give a conclusion to what the weakness would be. I thought the tone I found off in places. Like Paul would not have been sick as part of a “everyone should be free from sickness” message.

Some thoughts I am still working out on this.

As I see it having a evil messenger poke a Christian’s flesh to tempt them into sin is nothing new. Why would that kind of event have been special enough to mention. And the new birth has given the faithful victory over the enemy, there is always a way out from the temptation.

So what was the weakness?

Is this Paul admitting there was a sin in his life he was not avoiding? A weakness through his flesh he struggled with personally.

Or is the context that it was only this one demon who made any attempt to temp Paul. This itself to me sounds strange. But then why would that be a weakness if he knew the victory he had over the enemy.

So then could it not be a physical infirmity of the flesh and not about sin. As I see it we are more freed from sin than from sickness.

I have yet to break this logic circle with conviction.

Peace,
Joe

Maybe I'm not understanding you, but are you saying that Wommack's stance here is that Paul had a sin that he couldn't overcome? I don't see that anywhere in the article. Am I offbase on what you're saying?

Wommack makes it clear on a number of occasions in this article that the thorn sent against Paul was persecution.

Toolman
May 2nd 2007, 03:14 PM
The reason it is so important to realize that the thorn in the flesh was not something which Jesus died to redeem us from, such as sickness, is so that we won't submit ourselves to these things. James 4:7 says, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." We have to resist, or actively fight against, the devil and the things he brings, to see them flee. Satan has used traditional teaching about Paul's thorn to bring many Christians to a place of submitting to him. But, praise God, you shall know the truth and the truth, shall set you free.


This article's purpose is to prove that sickness is something that should not effect the Christian because "Jesus redeemed us from sickness".

The flaw in this theology is easy to see. Christ also redeemed us from death and yet believers will physically die and their body will be as dead as a door nail.

If Christ redeemed our bodies from death (which He did) then why does it die? For the same reason it can get sick which is because the fullness of the redemption of our bodies has not been made manifest yet. We wait for it with hope as Paul points out in Romans 8.

Our spirits have been redeemed (justication), our souls are being redeemed (sanctification) and our bodies will be redeemed (glorification).

Just as our bodies die, our bodies have the potential for sickness and it is not a lack of faith or an issue of sin if a believer becomes sick. It is part of the present suffering of this world.

Romans 8:18-25 - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

Walstib
May 2nd 2007, 03:17 PM
Maybe I'm not understanding you, but are you saying that Wommack's stance here is that Paul had a sin that he couldn't overcome? I don't see that anywhere in the article. Am I offbase on what you're saying?

Wommack makes it clear on a number of occasions in this article that the thorn sent against Paul was persecution.
I see his conclusion in the article where I did not the first couple times reading it. Thanks.

I still wonder with that then. Why was it then a thorn in Paul’s flesh? As I see it that is personal and intimate rather that Wommack's conclusion which is external.

Know what I mean?
Joe

karenoka27
May 2nd 2007, 03:20 PM
Amen Toolman! If I read you correctly I'd like to add to that.
I have an illness in my body. I have prayed and prayed for it to go away and the Lord has seen fit that it stays. It has been active since I was 34 years old...I am now 47. Can I just say I would not be who I am today without it?
I have grown so much through the physical pain and suffering. I have been able to have compassion on those who suffer and know how to pray for them.
But healing? Ah yes! I have been healed from so many pains from my past, that I might be an overcomer and praise Him for all He is able to do!
This body is not meant to be here forever, so a healing in my body may only cause me to have the desire to do so. But because of it, I desire to be free of this body to be in the presence of my Lord where there is no more suffering, or sorrow...Praise Him!

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 03:26 PM
This article's purpose is to prove that sickness is something that should not effect the Christian because "Jesus redeemed us from sickness".

The flaw in this theology is easy to see. Christ also redeemed us from death and yet believers will physically die and their body will be as dead as a door nail.

If Christ redeemed our bodies from death (which He did) then why does it die? For the same reason it can get sick which is because the fullness of the redemption of our bodies has not been made manifest yet. We wait for it with hope as Paul points out in Romans 8.

Our spirits have been redeemed (justication), our souls are being redeemed (sanctification) and our bodies will be redeemed (glorification).

Just as our bodies die, our bodies have the potential for sickness and it is not a lack of faith or an issue of sin if a believer becomes sick. It is part of the present suffering of this world.

Romans 8:18-25 - For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.

With all due respect, Toolman, this topic really isn't intended to get into a debate about whether or not healing of sickness is covered under the work of the cross. This topic is about the nature of Paul's thorn and why it was sent.

Most Christians today want to assume that Paul's thorn was given because Paul would have become conceited without it. I think Wommack brings up an interesting point that it is not the pride of Paul that brings about the thorn, but rather the fact that the people Paul was preaching the gospel to would have exalted him beyond measure. I also believe that Wommack gives a pretty solid argument based upon the meaning of infirmity, along with several Scriptures, that the thorn is persecution rather that some form of sickness or disease.

Now, we can have another healing debate in another topic, but I'm afraid it would just take this one off course. I certainly disagree with your stance that sickness is apart of this body simply because this body eventually will die. If that were truly the case, then there would be no way that God could promise the Old Testament saints health, but He indeed did, and He followed through with that promise if they remained under His covenant. Now if the covenant we are now under is supposed to be better than the old one, I would say health could just as easily be promised to us as well. However, like I said, that is a different thread all together. This is about the thorn in Paul's flesh.

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 03:33 PM
I see his conclusion in the article where I did not the first couple times reading it. Thanks.

I still wonder with that then. Why was it then a thorn in Paul’s flesh? As I see it that is personal and intimate rather that Wommack's conclusion which is external.

Know what I mean?
Joe

I see what you're saying. However, I would think that if a thorn was in my flesh that would be external. A thorn sticks in your flesh from the outside, no? This passage makes it clear that it is obviously a demonic presence coming against Paul's flesh. That is external, and demonic spirits influence people to commit certain actions. I think this is what Wommack is insinuating. He states that this demonic spirit stirred the people up to persecute Paul. Wommack states that this may be the reason Paul was stoned in Lystra.

Toolman
May 2nd 2007, 03:44 PM
With all due respect, Toolman, this topic really isn't intended to get into a debate about whether or not healing of sickness is covered under the work of the cross. This topic is about the nature of Paul's thorn and why it was sent.

I agree but part of Womack's position is that we are redeemed from sickness, which is a faulty position, so it must be pointed out so that is clear. He uses that as part of his argument so it must be shown to be false so as to weigh all options as to what the thorn may have been.


If that were truly the case, then there would be no way that God could promise the Old Testament saints health, but He indeed did, and He followed through with that promise if they remained under His covenant. Now if the covenant we are now under is supposed to be better than the old one, I would say health could just as easily be promised to us as well. However, like I said, that is a different thread all together. This is about the thorn in Paul's flesh.

Well, may not want to bring up a counter point unless you want to discuss it :)

Christ promised that those who believe in Him would never die (John 11:26, John 8:51), yet we will physically die. How can this be?

Because the promise of the full redemption of our body comes in the resurrection where pain, death and sickness are forever done away with.

Our spirits, once saved and redeemed, never die, never get sick... our bodies do until the time they are redeemed in the resurrection.

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 03:57 PM
I agree but part of Womack's position is that we are redeemed from sickness, which is a faulty position, so it must be pointed out so that is clear. He uses that as part of his argument so it must be shown to be false so as to weigh all options as to what the thorn may have been.

It's faulty according to you. I happen to agree with him, but as I said, this isn't really the purpose of this thread.


Christ promised that those who believe in Him would never die (John 11:26, John 8:51), yet we will physically die. How can this be?

Because the promise of the full redemption of our body comes in the resurrection where pain, death and sickness are forever done away with.

Our spirits, once saved and redeemed, never die, never get sick... our bodies do until the time they are redeemed in the resurrection.

People died under the old covenant as well, Toolman. However, God was still able to promise them health if they remained under His covenant. Is this covenant not better than the previous?

However, you see the can of worms this is opening. Regardless of your view on healing, I'm sure we can discuss the main purpose of the article without the need for a cover to cover dissertation on biblical instruction involving healing.

humbled
May 2nd 2007, 04:05 PM
This article's purpose is to prove that sickness is something that should not effect the Christian because "Jesus redeemed us from sickness". Hmmm ... I must've skimmed over that part. The message I got from it was that the thorn was persecution and not sickness.

And with that, I agree. As for us being freed from sickness, I also agree ... as long as we're talking SPIRITUAL sickness.

karenoka27
May 2nd 2007, 04:08 PM
I am so sorry. I misunderstood. I thought the thread was allowing us to discuss our thoughts on what the thorn was or wasn't not telling us what it was. I followed suit from my own experience. Not that I am like Paul or anything.
I just wanted to stop in and apologize...

Frances
May 2nd 2007, 04:10 PM
:hmm:
(1 Timothy 5:23) "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities."

If no one in the early church was ever sick in any way (including Paul) why the above advise to Timothy? Why didn't Paul lay hands on him and ensure he was Healed instantly if that were possible?

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 04:12 PM
I am so sorry. I misunderstood. I thought the thread was allowing us to discuss our thoughts on what the thorn was or wasn't not telling us what it was. I followed suit from my own experience. Not that I am like Paul or anything.
I just wanted to stop in and apologize...

That is exactly what this thread is for. I'm simply giving a commentary on this subject that I just read yesterday and thought was interesting. I've always held to the opinion that Paul's thorn was given because he would have been prideful without it. This commentary has opened my eyes a little bit to another position that seems more plausible to me. As for the thorn itself, I think persecution is a very good possibility, but I'm not claiming that this is definitely the case. I would believe that over sickness, but it could have something to do with his vision. Like I stated in the original post, it's really difficult to know for sure.

What I was explaining to Toolman is that I don't want this thread to turn into an argument on whether or not freedom from sickness and disease is covered under the work Jesus Christ provided on the cross.

You are more than welcome to share your opinion on what you think Paul's thorn may have been.

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 04:14 PM
:hmm:
(1 Timothy 5:23) "No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities."

If no one in the early church was ever sick in any way (including Paul) why the above advise to Timothy? Why didn't Paul lay hands on him and ensure he was Healed instantly if that were possible?

I don't think anyone here is arguing that people in the early church got sick, Frances. In addition, there were probably numerous reasons why Paul didn't lay hands on Timothy and heal him. Any guesses as to why would simply be speculation, so is there really much of a point?

Berean
May 2nd 2007, 04:20 PM
2Co 12:1 I must needs glory, though it is not expedient; but I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord.
2Co 12:2 I know a man in Christ, fourteen years ago (whether in the body, I know not; or whether out of the body, I know not; God knoweth), such a one caught up even to the third heaven.
2Co 12:3 And I know such a man (whether in the body, or apart from the body, I know not; God knoweth),
2Co 12:4 how that he was caught up into Paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
2Co 12:5 On behalf of such a one will I glory: but on mine own behalf I will not glory, save in my weaknesses.
2Co 12:6 For if I should desire to glory, I shall not be foolish; for I shall speak the truth: but I forbear, lest any man should account of me above that which he seeth me to be, or heareth from me.
2Co 12:7 And by reason of the exceeding greatness of the revelations, that I should not be exalted overmuch, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, that I should not be exalted overmuch.
2Co 12:8 Concerning this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
2Co 12:9 And he hath said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my power is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
2Co 12:10 Wherefore I take pleasure in weaknesses, in injuries, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.
2Co 12:11 I am become foolish: ye compelled me; for I ought to have been commended of you: for in nothing was I behind the very chiefest apostles, though I am nothing.


I (personally) sometimes think we overanalyze scripture and pick it apart. Not that we shouldn't for dig for deeper meanings but some things are unknowable.

The overall message (one of them at least) is that no matter what our weakness (spiritual, mental, physical) God's grace is sufficient for us and His power is made manifest in our weadnesses.

The other main message is that this thorn kept him humble, kept him from becoming arrogant and haughty in his understanding and knowledge.

Oh and one more. That he rejoiced in his sufferings and persecutions no matter their source.

What exactly Paul's thorn was we will never know this side of heaven. Better to learn from why he had it and what behavior/attitude it caused him to have. And from this emulate his behavior and attitude. We don't really need to know what it was. God tells us only what we really need to know to follow, obey, and worship Him. The actual thorn will never be known. But there are many other layers here to be learned about and applied.

In other words, we are on a "need to know basis only". Another mystery if you will.

Peace, Berean

karenoka27
May 2nd 2007, 04:29 PM
That is exactly what this thread is for. I'm simply giving a commentary on this subject that I just read yesterday and thought was interesting. I've always held to the opinion that Paul's thorn was given because he would have been prideful without it. This commentary has opened my eyes a little bit to another position that seems more plausible to me. As for the thorn itself, I think persecution is a very good possibility, but I'm not claiming that this is definitely the case. I would believe that over sickness, but it could have something to do with his vision. Like I stated in the original post, it's really difficult to know for sure.

What I was explaining to Toolman is that I don't want this thread to turn into an argument on whether or not freedom from sickness and disease is covered under the work Jesus Christ provided on the cross.

You are more than welcome to share your opinion on what you think Paul's thorn may have been.

Thank you! Then I did understand the purpose of this thread after all...I thought what you shared was very interesting. It actually might make even more sense than a physical ailment because what I shared..that doesn't make you stop, it only causes you to press on. Paul certainly was one that pressed on. It seems right that possibly something spiritual would be the one thing that would slow him down. The more I think about it, even though it seems that he never received his full eyesight back as he had others write some of his letters or on occasion, and he seemed excited when he wrote onhis own.."see what large letters I write.." Gal 6:11, 2 Thes 3:17.., he never speaks of it being a hinderance.

Very interesting topic. Though we may never know. However, no matter what causes us to want to slow down, or have a burden lifted..if it isn't..then we must trust that God's grace "is" sufficient.

Toolman
May 2nd 2007, 04:35 PM
I've always held to the opinion that Paul's thorn was given because he would have been prideful without it. This commentary has opened my eyes a little bit to another position that seems more plausible to me.

I think, from the context, that this is a very possible cause of Paul's thorn was so that others would not think highly of Him because of His revelations. It also seems possible the thorn was two-fold for both the "others" and for Paul Himself.

But I refrain from it, so that no one(others) may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated.

DMA
May 2nd 2007, 06:31 PM
Interesting ideas for sure but I agree with karenoka27 when she mentions Gal. 6:11 and II Thess 3:17 which speaks about the big print with which Paul writes. Another verse to consider is Gal. 4:1515 "Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me". I think all these speak of something wrong with his eyes. Just my view.

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 06:38 PM
Interesting ideas for sure but I agree with karenoka27 when she mentions Gal. 6:11 and II Thess 3:17 which speaks about the big print with which Paul writes. Another verse to consider is Gal. 4:1515 "Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me". I think all these speak of something wrong with his eyes. Just my view.

Wommack addressed those Scriptures in the article. I used to think the same as you, but now I'm beginning to see it differently. It's still impossible to know completely either way, but the evidence given from chapter 11 of 2 Corinthians when Paul described his infirmities makes Wommack's case incredibly strong.

Pilgrimtozion
May 2nd 2007, 06:44 PM
My personal conviction is that the verses in 2 Corinthians 12 need to be read in the context of the whole epistle and chapter 11 in particular. If you read the last few verses of chapter 11, you see Paul talking about all the stuff he has been through, all the things he has suffered, all for the sake of Christ because he was His apostle. Then look in verse 10 - with chapter 11 in mind - and listen to what it sounds like: "Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ's sake." The relationship between the two chapters seems quite evident to me. Verse 7 of chapter 12 tells us why Paul is made to put up with these things - "to keep me from exalting myself". Obviously Satan brought them on, but God allowed them and points to His grace as being sufficient.

I see no relationship whatsoever between these verses and sickness. Any such connection is at best speculation in my opinion, and it would seem that the context provides ample proof to show he's talking about his sufferings and persecutions.

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 06:49 PM
I see no relationship whatsoever between these verses and sickness. Any such connection is at best speculation in my opinion, and it would seem that the context provides ample proof to show he's talking about his sufferings and persecutions.

I definitely agree that the thorn was not sickness. I'm also leaning pretty heavily now to believing that he is speaking of his persecutions also.

Jesusinmyheart
May 2nd 2007, 06:56 PM
I looked at these scriptures, and i read that a "thorn" in the side was given to Paul. Further it is described being a messenger from satan to torment him, in order to keep him humble, which would make others see Paul as one of their own.

The phrase "in the flesh"
In the Ot means:

H1320
בּשׂר
bâśâr
baw-sawr'
From H1319; flesh (from its freshness); by extension body, person; also (by euphemism) the pudenda (external genitals) of a man: - body, [fat, lean] flesh [-ed], kin, [man-] kind, + nakedness, self, skin.

in the NT

G4561
σάρξ
sarx
sarx
Probably from the base of G4563; flesh (as stripped of the skin), that is, (strictly) the meat of an animal (as food), or (by extension) the body (as opposed to the soul (or spirit), or as the symbol of what is external, or as the means of kindred, or (by implication) human nature (with its frailties (physically or morally) and passions), or (specifically) a human being (as such): - carnal (-ly, + -ly minded), flesh ([-ly]).

now for the thorn:

G4647
σκόλοψ
skolops
skol'-ops
Perhaps form the base of G4628 and G3700; withered at the front, that is, a point or prickle (figuratively a bodily annoyance or disability): - thorn.


So either it was some form of disability or some bodily annoyance that kept him humble. As far as disability is concerned, it would have to be something annoying or mild yet humbling to where he could still do the things God wanted him to do.

I imagine that it was something carnally inclined where it would come to his mind often.

I imagine he was envious or lustfull in some way.

Pilgrimtozion
May 2nd 2007, 09:40 PM
I moved the whole discussion concerning healing into a new thread in Controversial Issues. You can continue your discussion on that topic there! :)

VerticalReality
May 2nd 2007, 10:24 PM
I moved the whole discussion concerning healing into a new thread in Controversial Issues. You can continue your discussion on that topic there! :)

Thanks, my friend. Toolman and I just had this conversation about a month or two ago, so there really isn't anything left that hasn't already been covered. :lol:

Righton
May 4th 2007, 10:32 AM
I believe I have suffered this thorn personally [still do to this day] and I believe I know from my own experience what Paul's thorn was.

I hesitate to mention this to other Christians because whenever I do, I invariably hear, "Well, you should turn to Jesus Christ and He will heal you" or "You must not be living right" or "You must have some unconfessed sin in your life" or "Here, pray with me, and I will pray that you be healed from this affliction." Believe me, no one I've met is more dedicated to following Christ or obeying his commandments than myself. No, it is not sin in my life or not being healed by Christ. My affliction is actually a physical illness, much like diabetes. Though I don't hear these same Christians telling diabetics they need Jesus to overcome their diabetes. Or cancer patients.

I am brand new here, so I guess my mentioning this and reading replies, assuming there are any, will tell me about those of you who congregate at this site.

But I suffer from schizophrenia. It began its deepest manifestations while I was serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. Today, I am on disability for it, but that's not what I want to talk about.

Initially, this started happening before that point. See, I confessed my sins and repented of them to Jesus Christ when I was 12, at my father's urging. I got baptized then and became a new creature. But along the way from there, The LORD started showing me things. His presence has gotten stronger in my life, but so has the illness. It seems to come with it.

Later, I started suffering fainting spells. Once, when I was in high school, I just started fainting while in the school cafeteria. I fainted about four times, just fell down, got back up, then fell again. [The shame is, not one student or even adult on duty came over to help me.] This happened here and there while I was in the USMC as well. I don't mind admitting to you all that I have been persecuted a lot in my life, and this persecution has led to this illness. But I don't think it is a mere illness but is related to this calling I believe I have, the call of prophecy. I believe they go hand-in-hand.

Now this persecution has continued since I was discharged [honorable, they have now determined that my illness is irreversible and I am on full disability, though it took some hospitalizations and things for it to get to that point]. I also receive Social Security disability, so you would think without the pressures of having to work, the schizophrenia would go into remission, right? Wrong.

And during this time, the past several years I have had dreams of future events. Believe it or not, I dreamt a curious dream six years before the 2000 election in the U.S. I dreamt that Al Gore was running for president, and I was running against him, as were other contenders. He literally ran across the finish line first and celebrated his victory. But I looked at him and told him, no, he did NOT win either! He then became angry and chased me, wanting to kill me. I went upstairs in an abandoned house and hid, but he came for me. I went to the balcony, he went to push me off, but he fell instead. He was dead. But then all of a sudden he rose, stood up, pointed at me, and said he was coming for me. I went back inside, and prayed for deliverance. He did not come. I went back out to the balcony and looked. He was no longer there, but the imprint from his body was. Then sundown came.

Now that was largely how the 2000 election came out. Then, on Sunday night before Tuesday's election, I dreamt that this young man, sort of my alter-ego, came to give me an announcement. He announced to me that Al Gore had won enough states to give him the presidency. But my home state of Florida [I was living in Tennessee... oddly Al Gore's home state at this time] was a toss-up, and people would have to wait several weeks until Florida could tell us. "So which candidate wins Florida?" I asked the messenger. "Bush does," he said.

And so when the news media were announcing [before the polls in Republican-rich Northwest Florida were closed at that!] that Gore won Florida, my mother called me on the phone. "Gore won Florida!" she said, depressed. I told her not to worry about it, that I knew my dream would come true. And it did.

Reminds me of another: In 1996, I felt I had a dream [I can't remember the dream, but I know I had it] that scientists were about to clone something. I told my mother on the phone. "Aw, that's crazy!" she said. "They won't be able to do something like that for YEARS!" And the next week, they released the news of Dolly the cloned sheep. Or maybe it was 1997.

Those are three examples of dreams I have had which came true. I have also dreamt of my relationship with family members, places I would wind up living, even the house I am in now I dreamt that I lived in it before I moved here. Sometimes the dreams are unsettling, as they give me bad forebodings as well as good tidings. Good or bad, they are of things which wind up happening.

Now onto the thorn part. I hope I'm not boring anybody.

One of the side effects is...

I feel I am under attack by demons. See, one day even the Spirit of Prophecy, which I think is one of the manifestations [not the only one] of the Holy Spirit, spoke to me. One day, as I was swimming in a pool somewhere, I heard a deep voice in the pit of my stomach, rising to my brain from inside me, tell me I would receive bad news in the mail that day, but not to worry, for "I will be with you, and I will give you success." That day I found out I was being let go from a job I had been given but which the govt wanted to "investigate". So there are times when I have either dreams or the Holy Spirit just speaks to me directly, within my body. I say that as a precurser to what is next.

But there is a dark side to prophecy and visions. There are times when evil spirits come after me as well. The difference is, they are on the outside of my body. But they come at me to my brain. They work to put me down. They tell me I'm no good, that everyone is laughing at me. If they were to go further, they'd tell me that I was worthless and I'd be better off dead, that I should kill myself. But I always instantly recognize their presense and I tell them to leave. They do... until next time. Many's the time I asked the LORD to free me from them, but His reply seems to be the same He gave Paul: "Do not worry about them. For my power is greatest when you are weak."

Many people do not understand schizophrenia. Because they live their lives in fear, they are afraid. Maybe afraid I will come with an ax and murder them as they sleep, I don't know. But it does not work that way. I seem from all accounts to be as normal as anyone else. After all, I'm here talking to you, I am coherent, I am intelligible. I appear as sane as anyone [and I am]. But for whatever reason, he has given me this illness, and it most definitely keeps me humble.

Just how proud can you get when they come after you in your head and tell you how no good you are and worthless? The source they use is things I have said or done in the past that might be interpreted as being strange or something. It's like, "Remember the time you said that? People are laughing at you! You're no good!" It makes me put my head into my hands, and I want to cry out, "NO! Go away! Leave me alone!" Sometimes I say that aloud, though it doesn't happen much in public, only when I'm alone.

A severe case to be sure, but I feel like, based on my understanding of scripture, what I see in my life, the visions, the dreams, the Holy Spirit directing me at times, telling me what will happen, warning me the consequences of a certain action.

Not long ago, this Prophecying Spirit told me I would be involed in a car wreck. I normally do not wear my seat belt but I attached it then, and then I asked the spirit if it would be major, should I pull over. "Oh no, just a fender bender" or something to that extent. Well, I was on the interstate. I was just about to get off. When I did, and was stopped at a left-turn light, I looked ahead to the next light and saw that IT was red, after my own turned green. I tapped my breaks, as did those in front of me. But someone behind me, apparently not paying attention or talking on a cell phone, suddenly screeched her breaks and hit the back of my car with her truck. I almost got whiplash, though it was a minor thing. She was a big black woman in a big red truck.

But the thing is, the Prophecying Spirit spoke to me and warned me. Likely my pulling over would have averted the problem, but then I would not have known of the prophecy that day.

So if I am evil, if I need salvation from the demons, why does the Holy Spirit show me things? Why do I trust Christ for my salvation if I need deliverance from wicked spirits? Well, the answer is, I don't. But this is part of the Spirit of Prophecy which The LORD has given to me as a gift. These are indeed manifestations of "acting as Satan's buffer to keep me from pride. Three times I asked The LORD to take it away, but he said, 'My grace is all you need. For when you are weak, then I am strong.'"

Anyway, I thought I'd share that with you. Part of the reason, I think, the VA decided I was permanently disabled is... I shared with them a belief I have that I personally am in the book of Revelation. No, not in a bad way, but in a good way. I believe there is a prophecy in Revelation which pertains to me and my family. Is that because of my illness? Could be. But I believe it to be so, and so I believe I have much insight into the mysteries of God. I don't think I should tell you what it is, specifically. Unless I feel The LORD moving me to, and depending, I guess, on if anybody wants to ask me about it. But it's definitely there, and I feel I know that as well as I knew about Dolly the cloned sheep, which has since died. Or about Gore's election.

Am I saying Gore is the anti-Christ? Could be, but not necessarily. But if I'm not mistaken, the Man of Perdition will come back from the dead at some point. That's one of the horns on his head, that had died but apparently came back to life. I'm thinking if that happens it means Satan will rise with this man's body himself at the resurrection of this body. And no, I do not believe that man is me, in case you are wondering. I KNOW it isn't!

Boy, being at this site is really good for my spirit! I don't know, yet, if my sharing this part of my life will be a help or a hindrance. I guess that depends on you all. But it does feel good to get it off my chest and to see it in print form.

Thank you for listening. If your spirit felt itself stirring as you read this, I'd say that's a good thing. I would take that as the Holy Spirit manifesting itself. I sure feel charged up writing about it.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to ask. Any prayers, I'd much appreciate them. Just please don't ask me to give my life to Jesus and He'll heal me if I only believe. I have already done all that. And I continue to.

Thank you.