Who Is A Fool?

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Hi again V____,

Your question dealt with Christ telling His disciples that if they called anyone a fool, they would be in danger of Gehenna fire, and then He called the scribes and Pharisees fools in Mat 23.

Let’s look at those two sections of scripture. Here is what Christ said in Mat 5.

Mat 5:21  Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment:
Mat 5:22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mat 5:23  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Mat 5:24  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

As you can see from the use of this same Greek word below, there would be nothing unscriptural in saying that it would be very foolish if one did not go and be reconciled to his brother before offering himself in service to God. Christ’s whole point is not the use of the literal word ‘fool,’ but the fact that we are never to hold an unresolved grudge against a brother.
Be free from the blood of all men, be free from offending a brother and then offer your gift to God. Being angry with your brother for no reason is very bad. That is exactly how King Saul felt toward David. David had done nothing to warrant King Saul’s anger, yet King Saul hated David (who is symbolic of God’s elect) simply because Saul knew he had been rejected because of his unrepentant and puffed up spirit.
While David had been anointed as a king “after God’s own heart,” King Saul considered David to be an empty and worthless person. David never considered King Saul as such, not even after King Saul’s death. David knew that King Saul, his arch enemy, was actually God’s anointed, and as such was anything but empty or worthless. When we fail to see that it is God who is working all things after the counsel of His own will,” then we too, are “in danger of the counsel.”
But when we take it upon ourselves to condemn our brother’s actions as his own personal stupidity, then we are in danger of Gehenna fire. When we say “you fool” as if God Himself could not help our brother, or as if the fact that our brother hates us is of our brother’s own making, then we are in danger of Gehenna fire. Our enemies are sent to be our enemies by God. Joseph’s brothers did not despise Joseph of their own free will. When we “remember that our brother has ought against us,” we need to remember that our brother’s feeling of being offended is a work of God, and not a work of our brother’s own fabled ‘free’ will. In other words, when we call our brother a fool, we are really calling God a fool.
Here is what Strong’s has to say of these two Greek words:
G3474
μωρος
mo ros
mo- ros’
Probably form the base of G3466; dull or stupid ( as if shut up), that is, heedless, (morally) blockhead, (apparently) absurd: – fool (- ish, X – ishness).
 
G3474
μωρος
mo ros
Total KJV Occurrences: 13
foolish, 7
Mat_7:26, Mat_25:2-3 (2), Mat_25:8, 1Co_1:27, 2Ti_2:23, Tit_3:9
fools, 3
Mat_23:17, Mat_23:19, 1Co_4:10
fool, 2
Mat_5:22, 1Co_3:18
foolishness, 1
1Co_1:25
G4469
ρακα
rhaka
rhak- ah’
Of Chaldee origin (compare [ H7386]); O empty one, that is, thou worthless (as a term of utter vilification): – Raca.

None of this denies that God sends our brother to do foolish things as all 13 entries above demonstrate. But look at who Christ was addressing when He called the scribes and Pharisees ‘fools.’

Mat 23:1  Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples,
Mat 23:2  Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat:
Mat 23:3  All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, [ that] observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.
Mat 23:4  For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay [ them] on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.
Mat 23:5  But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments,
Mat 23:6  And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues,
Mat 23:7  And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi.

Not once did Christ ever personally attack any man. His harshest words ever were directed at his own chief apostle, Peter, and even then they were spoken in chastening love:

Mat 16:22  Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.
Mat 16:23  But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

But Christ knew that Peter’s attitude is common to us all as Mark’s gospel demonstrates:

Mar 8:33  But when he had turned about and looked on his disciples, he rebuked Peter, saying, Get thee behind me, Satan: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but the things that be of men.

Christ recognized that Peter’s mistakes, like all of our mistakes, were being orchestrated by God to admonish others. Christ was not personally attacking Peter as a fool, even though Christ knew fully well that Peter, just like the scribes and Pharisees and the five virgins, was at that moment acting foolishly. Christ never attributed anyone’s foolishness to that person. Christ knew that “all things are of God.”

Rom 11:36  For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen

I hope this has helped you to see that when Christ warned us against calling our brother a fool, He was speaking of our unforgiving attitude toward our brother more that He was speaking of the use of the word ‘fool.’

Mat 5:22  But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.
Mat 5:23  Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Mat 5:24  Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

It is the lack of reconciliation that is at issue, and not the use of the word ‘fool,’ a word which is used to describe the many foolish actions of many, including the hypocritical scribes and Pharisees. Their actions were not of their own free will but were ordained of God Himself  Who “is working after the counsel of His own will.”

Act 4:27  For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together,
Act 4:28  For to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Eph 1:11  In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

We all act as fools in our own appointed time.

Eph 2:2  Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:
Eph 2:3  Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

We have all been foolish children. Let us all come to see ourselves a “chief of sinners” and never let us be guilty of ascribing our’s or our brother’s foolishness to our own free will. That will lead us to an unforgiving attitude, and this is the result of not being reconciled to your brother:

Mat 18:33  Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee?
Mat 18:34  And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him.
Mat 18:35  So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

This is the message of Mat 5:22. As Christ’s “ambassadors” we are to be conciliatory toward the world even if it is not reconciled to us.

Your brother in Christ,
Mike>

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