Monday, 3 November 2014

Listen and hearken

As a child I was told on many an occasion that if I don't have ears I'll have to feel, implying that should I not listen to the guidance given by my parents, I'll have to bear the consequences of my action (whether commission, omission or just my own plain mission).

Let's get a Revelation

In addressing the seven churches in Revelation, Jesus at every instance utters these exact same words:

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Rev 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13 

Seven times. 

The Greek word for hear is akouō meaning to hear, give audience, understand, or to listen attentively.

Strong hearing (!)

It is this very last explanation from James Strong's concordance that awakened my hearing. Because sometimes, like a child, we hear but do not listen. To listen is to hear with understanding. This is the way God wants us to hear ... or listen.

This is alluded to in Isaiah 48 and 49 where God says that He will, in His great mercy and goodness, defer his anger even though 

Yea, thou heardest not; 
yea, thou knewest not; 
yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened: 
for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the womb. Isa 48:8 

Hear and listen together

The only scripture where both the Hebrew words for hear and listen are found together in one sentence (also in light of the previous chapter in Isaiah) is Isaiah 49:1 where it says:

Listen, O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath he made mention of my name.

Analyzing hear and listen

In the Hebrew listen is שָׁמַע (shâma‛), meaning to hear, listen, obey, hear with attention, hear with interest, proclaim. The pictograph is consume (or take in) the flow of what is revealed.

The word for hearken is קָשַׁב (qâshab), means to be attentive, heed, pay attention, attend, give full support. The pictograph is back of the head (the mind) take in the house.

Both words appeal to our understanding, to really hear with attention and desire what it is that flows from God's heart and not to be far-off.

Hear first speak then

It follows in verse 2 of Isaiah 49 that from the very first day, being formed in the mother's womb, He called us to speak His Truth, his Word - Jesus, not denying Him.

Jesus also used the very same phrase following the key parable of the sower when he said He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. Mar 4:9, Luk 8:8 and talking about salt gone stale in Luk 14:35.

It's about Faith

When Paul says So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God in Romans 10:17, this is exactly what he is saying.

He says to hear God and what He has to say about Himself and to let Him be true and everyone else a liar Rom3:4.

Who should we hear?

On the mount of transfiguration Peter was told not to hear Moses or the prophets, but the Father answered This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. Mat 17:5

In Revelation Jesus addresses the seven churches or ekklēsia (which can be better translated as those who are called out from amongst - see this post). He appeals to them to hear what the Spirit saith unto them. He points out, as a loving God, where it is that they go wrong ... to guide them. He even shows them where to go ... just as Jesus did before He ascended, promising to send us His Holy Spirit Who will teach us all things. Isn't this just awesome?

Who is called?

You and I, from the bowels of our mothers, when He formed us (Isa 49:1).


In three instances in Rev 2 He reveals His promise to the overcomer (see thge post on nikaō) those who prevail in Him:

Verse 7 - To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Verse 11 - He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death

Verse 17 - To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.  

How then do we overcome?

By receiving and giving (testifying) what He has already done for us.

By hearing (experiencing) our Faith (Jesus) so attentively that we'll never be able to deny His goodness.

By placing our trust ... and being in the rest of the One who overcame death on our behalf!

Jesus says exactly how we overcome.

And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Rev 12:11 

Only one of those ekklēsia in Revelation is not criticized by Jesus. We'll do good to hear attentively. This ekklēsia is the called of Philadelphia (meaning brotherly love - the way that Jesus loves us).

Let's check it out.

And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth;

I know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and hast not denied my name....

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.

Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches. Rev 3:7-13
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