Believed Not & Recap of Faith Words in the GospelsVolume 3, Number 72
Created Date: July 11, 2013
Posted Date: July 11, 2013
Those who believed not:
After a 10-study side trip (Vol 3, No 62through Vol 3, No 71) examining the mysteries, or secrets revealed in New Testament Scripture we return to our primary subject of faith. Our method is to study the passages in which the Greek words translated “faith, faithful, of little faith, believe, believe not, unbelief” are found. The entire Word of God, including the individual words therein, were inspired by the Holy Spirit, & , so by studying each occurrence of a word and comparing it to its use elsewhere we can better understand the Holy Spirit’s meaning/ teaching of that word. We’re still in the first 3 Gospels, i.e., Matthew, Mark and Luke. A brief recap of our findings to date:
1. The Greek word pistis, which is normally translated “faith” (Smith’s # G4002) is found 24 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke where, generally speaking, Jesus used it to point out the faith of those He healed and the general lack of faith in Israel, i.e., the very ones to whom He came as their Messiah (Vol 3, No 11- 20.)
2. The word pistos, usually translated “faithful” but sometimes translated with other words such as believe, believing, faithfully, etc. (G4003) is found 12 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Jesus used it generally to teach the qualifications necessary to enter His Kingdom on earth (Vol 3, No 22- 25.)
3. The Greek word Oligopistos, used only 5 times in Matthew and Luke is always translated “of little faith.” (G3540) Every time Jesus used this word was to point out the little faith of His disciples. (Vol 3, No 26- 31)
4. Pisteuo, unusually translated “believe” (G4000) but sometimes with other words such as “commit unto,” “commit to (one’s) trust,” etc. is found 35 times in Matthew, Mark and Luke, (Vol 3, No 33- Vol 3, No 61) as follows:
1. Once by the Angel Gabriel sent from God to speak to the Priest Zacharias, Vol 3, No 35,
2. Once by Elizabeth, wife of the Priest Zacharias, mother of John the Baptist, speaking to Mary, mother of Jesus, Vol 3, No 36,
3. 25 times by Jesus Himself, Vol 3, No’s 33, 34; 37 - 48; 53 - 59,
4. 5 times by Chief Priests, Scribes & Pharisees, Vol 3, No’s 60 & 61,
5. Once by the father of the demon possessed boy, Vol 3, No 50,
6. Twice by the Gospel writer Mark in his narrative.
Today we examine:
5. The Greek word Apisteo (G569) used 7 times where it is always translated “believe not,” found four times in the Gospels, once in Acts and twice in Paul’s epistles.
This word is akin to the word Oligopistos, translated “of little faith,” (G3540) listed as # 3 above, which was recorded as spoken 5 time by Jesus in Matthew and Luke where He used it to point out the little faith of His disciples. Apisteo, translated believe not, is used 3 times about Jesus’ disciples not believing reports He had risen from the dead. The context of these 3 passages are quoted as follows:
•“Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils. And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept. And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not”..
•“It was Mary Magdalene, and Joanna, and Mary the mother of James, and other women that were with them, which told these things unto the apostles. And their words seemed to them as idle tales, and they believed them not.”.
These two passages point out that the Disciples simply did not understand what Jesus had told them before He died about His resurrection. And so when they heard this report from the women they had no reference point, it was beyond their understanding; they simply did not believe the report.
It is also used in the passage about the two disciples who met but did not recognize the risen Jesus while walking on the road to Emaus. After Jesus opened their eyes of understanding: “And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread. And as they thus spake, Jesus himself stood in the midst of them, and saith unto them, Peace be unto you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And he said unto them, Why are ye troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I myself: handle me, and see; for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he shewed them his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said unto them, Have ye here any meat?”.
These are the Disciples who were with Jesus during His 3-year ministry. They had witnessed His cruel death but they didn’t understand what He told them prior to His death, that is, He would be resurrected from death. “They yet believed not for joy” is a phrase similar to our present day expression “it was too good to be true.” They saw the evidence but believed it was too good to be true. And it could not soak into their minds until Jesus opened their understanding, as we see a few verses later: “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, (emphasis mine) that they might understand the scriptures,”. These incidents occurred prior to the Holy Spirit coming upon the Disciples and other believers gathered in Jerusalem to celebrate Pentecost, as recorded in .
We who live in this age of Grace are taught by the Apostle Paul: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ..
In the case of the Disciples who had accompanied Jesus during His 3-year ministry; He had to open their understanding in order for them to believe the truth of his resurrection. In the case of those Jews celebrating Penticost in Jeruselem as recorded in the first part of Acts, the Holy Spirit came upon them. And as to us, living today during this age of Grace, we must depend upon the Holy Spirit in order for us to understand and therefore believe: “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit:” 1 Corinthians 2:10a.”
On the other hand, the fourth time this word Apisteo, translated believe not, is found in the Gospels, it refers to those who will be rejected from Christ’s Messianic Kingdom here on earth: “And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”.
The Jewish believers at Pentecost experienced these miraculous signs for a short time after Christ ascended into heaven but after Israel rejected Jesus Christ as their Messiah and persecuted those who did believe, Christ withdrew His offer for a time, as described in Romans 9, 10 & 11. However, after the Church, the Body of Christ, is raptured, the miraculous gifts will come to fruition again and will continue for the 1000 year Kingdom reign of Christ on earth, as promised. Those who believe will be saved into the Kingdom and those who don’t will be damned, period.