Rhema vs. Logos

I was disappointed.

I was disappointed to read a post on the social media page of a popular Christian author. He wrote on January 9.

For logos to be effective in your life, you must intentionally mix it with faith (Heb 4:2). Rhema, in contrast, comes with such vibrancy that it often releases faith with its delivery.

He refers to Hebrews 4:2. This verse contains a word that is translated from the Greek text. The Greek word is logos (λόγος). It can be translated as either “message” or “word.” However, Hebrews 4:2 does not say that a logos lacks vibrancy, nor does it say that a rhema (ῥῆμα) has vibrancy. Hebrews 4:2 doesn’t mention any vibrancy.

Just what does Hebrews 4:2 say?

(ESV) For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

(NASB) For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also did; but the word they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united with those who listened with faith.

If such a thing as vibrancy exists, it would seem that the listeners of Hebrews 4:2 lacked that mysterious element. The word wasn’t inferior in any way, which is what the author is saying that the Scripture says.

The Scripture doesn’t agree with the author’s assessment of logos. The author is not in alignment with the Word of God.

There are two words for “word.”

The writer is pointing at two Bible words that are translated into English as “word.”

  • In Hebrews 4:2, the word used is λόγος (logos).
  • In some other passages, ῥῆμα (rhema) is translated as “word.”

The writer contrasts LOGOS with RHEMA, indicating that a LOGOS word is ineffective at first, but a RHEMA word is immediately effective to “release” faith. He cites Hebrews 4:2 as a source of this explanation.

There are multiple examples from Scripture.

Ephesians 6:17

…and receive the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word (RHEMA) of God

  • This RHEMA refers to the “Gospel of peace” in 6:15 which Paul introduced in Ephesians 1:13 as the “gospel of your salvation.” Paul writes, “…when you heard the word (LOGOS) of truth, the gospel of your salvation.” A written word cannot be heard unless it is a spoken word. Paul treats LOGOS and RHEMA as practical synonyms in this letter.

John 6:63

The Spirit is the one who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words (RHEMATA) that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life. [a]RHEMATA is plural of RHEMA.

  • Jesus helps us understand that he is talking about the spoken RHEMATA by adding “that I have spoken.” If RHEMA is restricted to a spoken word, then Jesus was being redundant. His statement shows that we need clarification in this instance.

1 Peter 1:22-25

Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for sincere brotherly love, love one another fervently from the heart, because you have been born again, not from perishable seed but imperishable, through the living and enduring word (LOGOS) of God. For “all flesh is like grass, and all its glory like the flower of the grass. The grass withers and the flower falls off, but the word (RHEMA) of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word (RHEMA) that has been proclaimed to you.

  • Peter uses LOGOS and RHEMA interchangeably. When the LOGOS was proclaimed to Peter’s audience, he called it RHEMA, not because Peter was using the power of confession to release the creative power of God, but because LOGOS was the message that was spoken.
  • Peter cites from Isaiah 40:6-8. “Grass withers; the flower withers, but the word of our God will stand forever.” In the time of Christ and Peter, the Scriptures, including Isaiah, had been translated from Hebrew into Greek. This “word” (Hebrew: DABAR) from Isaiah is translated into the Greek LOGOS, but Peter substitutes RHEMA for LOGOS. This translation is not a contradiction for Peter if he sees the two words as near-synonyms. If RHEMA and LOGOS are so distinct as suggested, then Peter was making a huge mistake. If RHEMA and LOGOS are as similar as they appear in the other Scriptures, then Peter is justified when he uses RHEMA in place of LOGOS for Isaiah 40:8.
  • RHEMA means a message or a proclamation. When the LOGOS is preached, it can be called RHEMA or LOGOS.

John 18:31,32

So Pilate said to them, “You take him and judge him according to your law!” The Jews said to him, “It is not permitted for us to kill anyone,” in order that the word (LOGOS) of Jesus would be fulfilled that he had spoken, indicating by what sort of death he was going to die.

  • These words of Jesus had not been written down at the time that he spoke them. LOGOS is not always a written word.
  • In the same way as John 6:63, a phrase is employed to clarify that RHEMA is speech in this incidence, “that he had spoken.”

Maybe the mix-up started with someone else.

Kenneth E. Hagin said,

“Faith is always expressed in words. Faith must be released in words through your mouth. We can see that in all of these Scriptures we have read. When you speak something, that is action.”

The truth is that faith is expressed in obedient works and not by confession. The Book of James contradicts the idea that speaking words is action.

Word of Faith authors appear to agree with the author, saying that LOGOS is the written word and that RHEMA words are faith-filled spoken words that release the creative power of God when spoken.

When the Holy Spirit speaks to you, He quickens a Scripture verse or specific direction to you—a specific word for a specific time and purpose. [b]https://www.rhema.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2679:what-is-rhema

There is no great distinction between the two words.

The truth is that the New Testament does not demonstrate this distinction. Jesus is called the LOGOS, and he is not the written word. The creative power of RHEMA is a concept that comes from outside the Scriptures and has been substituted for the direct teaching of Scripture.

Consider this official position stated by the Assemblies of God:

There are two major problems with this distinction. First, the distinction is not justified by usage either in the Greek New Testament or in the Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament). The words are used synonymously in both. [c]The General Council of the Assemblies of God, Assemblies of God: Position Papers (Springfield, MO: The General Council of the Assemblies of God, 1972–2017).

Consider the full definition found in Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words.

Proponents of the LOGOS/RHEMA distinction depend upon a partial quotation from W. E. Vine.

rhḗma (ῥῆμα in Greek); that which is spoken, what is uttered in speech or writing;1 an utterance (individually, collectively, or specifically);2 the word by which something is commanded, directed, or enjoined;3 something that is spoken clearly and vividly, in unmistakable terms and in an undeniable language. In the New Testament, the word rhema carries the idea of a quickened word.[d]https://www.rhema.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2679:what-is-rhema

Vine includes more information that may be intentionally left out since it does not reinforce the strong distinction needed by RHEMA teachers. Vine tells us that RHEMA is not a completely different concept from LOGOS.

The significance of rhema (as distinct from logos) is exemplified in the injunction to take “the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,” Eph. 6:17; here the reference is not to the whole Bible as such, but to the individual scripture which the Spirit brings to our remembrance for use in time of need, a prerequisite being the regular storing of the mind with Scripture. [e]W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.

On the same page, Vine also gives a definition of LOGOS that includes spoken words.

logos (λόγος) denotes (I) “the expression of thought”… (a) as embodying a conception or idea… (b) a saying or statement…  (c) discourse, speech, of instruction. [f]W. E. Vine, Merrill F. Unger, and William White Jr., Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Nashville, TN: T. Nelson, 1996), 683.

Stay Alert

If you care about the authentic Word of God, don’t fall for tricksters that use the RHEMA/LOGOS false distinction that is contrary to the teachings of Scripture. They will want you to believe that this doctrine is original from the Bible, and it is not.

Stop living out of alignment with the Word of God.

Notes[+]

Are You Sinning Because You Have Alzheimer’s Disease?

This week, a fellow minister visited my church for a district ministers’ conference. He preached that:

When a person is born into a family where there are abnormalities, it is very easy to come into agreement with negative things.

He said that sickness is an abnormality and used the specific example of Alzheimer’s Disease. Furthermore, he indicated that Alzheimer’s is caused by a demonic spirit. The apparent cure for Alzheimer’s Disease is simply taking authority over it. Furthermore, you are sinning when you allow a family member to have Alzheimer’s disease because you are in agreement with a demonic spirit.

The preacher asked us to turn to Genesis chapter 3.

4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die:
5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.
6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

The passage does not say that Adam attempted to “take authority” over the serpent, Satan. Therefore, the original sin was not disobedience to God’s command, it was actually Adam’s agreement with Satan and his failure to take authority over his wife.

At this point, the minister encouraged the audience to shout and praise the Lord in acclamation of his new teaching. It was incredible.

Incredible.

Literally incredible.

 

How Christians Use Conjuration

Should we accept as true anything that we hear, see, or experience without some type of godly analysis or evaluation? How should we perform such an analysis?Are we using Scripture as God intended?

Some Words to Consider

Conjuration – the performance of a supernatural act by means of a magic incantation or spell.

Incantation – the chanting or utterance of words employed as a magic spell.

Spell – magical words, influence or powers.

Magic – the power to influence the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces

Stopping Blood by Incantation

Years ago, I knew a woman that had grown up in the hills of Kentucky. She knew that I was a Christian minister. One day, she asked me, “What is that scripture that can stop blood?” I had no idea what she was asking me. “My mother used to speak a Bible verse over us if we had a cut, and it would stop blood. I wondered if you knew which verse that is.”

bloody-arm

Later on I learned that she may have been looking for Ezekiel 16:6, It is referenced in the 1997 movie “The Apostle”. Robert Duvall plays the Pentecostal self-proclaimed-apostle E. F. ‘Sonny’ Dewey. In the opening scene, Dewey comes upon a bloody automobile accident, grabs his well-used Bible, runs to the wreck ahead of the sheriff, lifts his hands over the vehicle, and speaks over the driver and passenger,

And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.

Proof of God’s Approval

On a Christian forum, I found a statement that tells a lot about gullible Christians. The person posting the statement stated that she learned the incantation of Ezekiel 16:6 from her mother who learned it from her grandmother. The incantation supposedly must be made three times for it to work. The writer used the incantation to stop a nosebleed. She considered it a sign from God because it worked.

However, we need to pause and work out some critical thinking.

Magic or Miracles?

Christians must believe in supernatural events, also called miracles. A miracle is a divine preemptive action in the natural world. We believe in the existence of a supernatural Creator. We believe in the miraculous birth of Jesus Christ. We believe Jesus and the Apostles performed miraculous signs and wonders. We believe in the supernatural revelation of the 66 books of the Bible.

However, Christians should not unquestionably accept every mysterious event. Just because it sometimes comes up with an appropriate answer does not qualify Magic 8-ball as miraculous. Christians should also be skeptics, not dupable chumps. Christians should investigate the claims of a miracle.

Dr. Geisler, in his first volume of systematic theology, defines a miracle:

A miracle, then, is a divine intervention into, or an interruption of, the regular course of the world that produces a purposeful but unusual event that would not (or could not) have occurred otherwise.

Magic is the power to influence the events of life through mystical forces. Sometimes magic and illusion are the same thing, in which the illusion is just a natural deception, not a supernatural act.

However, the Bible teaches that there are demonic forces at work in the natural world as well.

 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
[Second Thessalonians 29-10
]

A miracle accomplishes the purpose of God through the power of God. Magic is accomplished through either deception or a demonic power.

A miracle glorifies God. Magic is not limited to this scope. Magic may seem to credit God, but may also credit a fairy or a witch.

Since a miracle always brings glory to God, a miracle is always good. There is no such thing as an evil miracle or a black miracle. Magic does not have this limitation.

A miracle is always scriptural, always subject to the authority of Scripture, always reinforcing the truth of the Bible. Magic functions outside of the teaching of the Bible, sometimes in contradiction to the Bible.

The proof of God’s approval is not whether or not a miracle “worked”. The proof of God’s approval is that the miracle is scriptural.

Using Scripture as Intended by God

The Bible did not come from the will of man and therefore should not to be used as an incantation to perform the will of man.

 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.
[2 Peter 1:19-21]

The power of God’s Word is that it can transform our lives and empower us to live according to God’s will. It is an act of heresy to twist God’s Word for our own purposes:

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.
[2 Peter 3:14-16]

When we read God’s Word, it reveals the motives for our behavior.

 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
[Hebrews 4:12]

Paul commands us to handle God’s Word responsibly, not as an ordinary book or some superstitious nonsense.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness.
[2 Timothy 2:15]

Scripture was intended for us to read and hear what God says, so that we might respond with obedient actions.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
[2 Timothy 3:16]

We are to memorize Scripture, apply it, and live it out.

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.
But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
[James 1:21,22]

magic-hat

Using Scripture to Perform Magic

Scripture can be abused if it is used with false motives or selfish intent. Even Satan quoted the Bible. He quoted from Psalm 91 when he tempted Jesus Christ in Luke chapter four.

“If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down from here. For it is written:
‘He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you,’
and,
‘In their hands they shall bear you up, lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”
And Jesus answered and said to him, “It has been said, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’ ”

It does not sanctify a magical incantation when you use a Scripture to stop blood or for any other conjuration. The Bible is not a book of magic spells and good luck charms.

Incantation and conjuring are pagan practices associated with spell-casting and witchcraft. Sadly, some Christians have adopted pagan superstitious practices. Scripture is not for incantations, speaking words over objects or people to manipulate them.

Don’t have anything to do with pagan practices. Distance yourself from superstition and magic.

Instead, read God’s Word. Hear the Word. Memorize it. Preach it. Live it.

 

 

Stop Speaking Words of Death

Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

Proverbs 18:21 explains the power of your tongue.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.

Hateful comments are words of death.

It is important to notice that Proverbs 18 has a context that provides necessary information for understanding verse 21. Look at verses 17-21.

The first in his dispute is deemed righteous, but his neighbor will come and examine him. The lot will put an end to disputes, and between powerful contenders it will decide. A brother who is offended is worse than a city of strength, and quarrels are like the bars of a fortification. From the fruit of a man’s mouth, his stomach will be satisfied, as for the yield of his lips, it will satisfy. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love her will eat of her fruit.

We know that verses 20 and 21 are joined by the concepts of mouth, lips, and tongue. They are also joined by the principle of words producing fruit. It is verses 17-19 that introduce the specific situations by which the words of our mouth produce fruit. Verses 17-19 address the problems of contention, strife, offensiveness, and quarrels.

On one hand, selfish arguments create bondage in our relationships, the fruit of death. On the other hand, we can speak fruitful words that bring life to others.

Peacemakers speak words of life.

God’s Word tells us that our words have the power of death or the power of life when we speak them. Jesus understood this principle of Scripture when he spoke in Matthew 12:33-37.

“Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad, for the tree is known by its fruit. You brood of vipers! How can you speak good, when you are evil? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Some people are offended if you merely mention Jesus Christ. That is on them because they hate Jesus. The Prince of Peace warned about the divisive reactions of people in Luke 12:51.

Do you think that I have come to grant peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division!

However, some Christians say hateful things about other people. Christians will be held responsible for their words of hate. This is why Paul taught in Romans 12:18-21 that we are responsible for our part of living together in peace.

If it is possible on your part, be at peace with all people. Do not take revenge yourselves, dear friends, but give place to God’s wrath, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. But “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by doing this, you will heap up coals of fire upon his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Christians are not to be vengeful or angry. Christians are to love their enemies and care for them. Some Christians hate sinners. I would ask them, how much hate does it take to turn a sinner to Jesus? I believe that it is impossible to hate a person into turning to Jesus, but it is possible to love a person well and so influence them to give themselves to Jesus Christ.

Words of love toward an enemy are words of life.

Christians must follow the teachings of Jesus Christ in Matthew 5:43-48.

“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor’ and ‘Hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven, because he causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and he sends rain on the just and the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not the tax collectors also do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing that is remarkable? Do not the Gentiles also do the same? Therefore you be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Words of peace are words of life.

Hebrews 12:14

Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.

Words of comfort are words of life.

1 Thessalonians 5:11-24

Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as indeed you are doing. Now we ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and rule over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them beyond all measure in love, because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. And we urge you, brothers, admonish the disorderly, console the discouraged, help the sick, be patient toward all people. See to it that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue good toward one another and toward all people. Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in everything; for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but examine all things; hold fast to what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your spirit and soul and body be kept complete, blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. The one who calls you is faithful, who also will do this.

Words of condemnation are words of death.

Romans 14:19-23

So then, let us pursue what promotes peace and what edifies one another. Do not destroy the work of God on account of food. All things are clean, but it is wrong for the person who eats and stumbles in the process. It is good not to eat meat or to drink wine or to do anything by which your brother stumbles or is offended or is weakened. The faith that you have, have with respect to yourself before God. Blessed is the one who does not pass judgment on himself by what he approves. But the one who doubts is condemned if he eats, because he does not do so from faith, and everything that is not from faith is sin.

False teachers tell us, “You are suffering because you are full of unbelief and doubt. You are out of God’s will when you are suffering. It is a sin when you don’t take authority over sickness and set yourself free from suffering.” We should never add to the suffering of another person by damning them, shaming them, and passing judgment upon them.

It is shocking to hear those Christians who condemn other Christians for physical illness and suffering. Especially, when we know that Jesus wants us to speak words that comfort and encouragement.

It is hateful and sinful to condemn a person who is suffering.

Words of encouragement are words of life.

Instead of putting someone down, we ought to be lifting them up.

2 Corinthians 13:11

Finally, brothers, rejoice, be restored, be encouraged, be in agreement, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.

Humble words are words of life.

There are false teachers that arrogantly preach that God’s will for you is selfish indulgence and carnal comfort. These fakers boast about God giving them luxurious homes, expensive airplanes, and so much money that they seem unable to count it.

This is not how the Scriptures tell Christians to live or talk.

Ephesians 4:1-3

Therefore I, the prisoner in the Lord, exhort you to live in a manner worthy of the calling with which you were called: with all humility and gentleness, with patience, putting up with one another in love, being eager to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace;

Words of gratitude are words of life.

You do not need to be longing for more money and more stuff. You can be grateful where you are. You can be grateful for what you have now. This is the will of God.

Colossians 3:15-17

And the peace of Christ must rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body, and be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another with all wisdom, with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God, and everything whatever you do in word or in deed, giving thanks for all things in the name of the Lord Jesus to God the Father through him.