Want Some Answers ???
Now regarding 1 Cor.13. Sorry this is at length. You wrote,
>>The matter of what the scripture means "when that which is perfect is come" is an example: Where in the scriptures does it say this is to mean when the original 12 apostles died? Or that this means when the church matured and was established as an institution? And where does it define that? Some Bible scholars, perhaps the ones you read or to whom you listen, say this is so, but cannot say where the scriptures define it so. See what I mean?<<
I see what you mean. The exposition below might answer 1 Cor.13. If not, why? There is four contrasts in 1 Cor.13:8-13. Paul says [vs 8] 3 of the miraculous gifts vanish away, he explains When, How and Why -
(1) That which is in Part and that which is Perfect-----When?
(2) Childish Things and Man's Things--------------------How?
(3) A Glass Darkly and Face to Face--------------------Why?
(4) Knowing in Part and Knowing as Known.----------Why?
(1) That Which is in Part and that Which is Perfect.
The "when" is answered immediately in vs.10 "When that which is perfect is come." "That which is in part" are gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge, "For we know in part, and we prophecy in part." Paul's subject is illumination, the part illumination gives away to "that which is perfect." The gifts provided the early Church that which was later provided by the NT. When Paul wrote this 1 Cor., the only part of the NT in existence was 1 & 2 Thes. The early Church was at a disadvantage, so God gave the miraculous gifts to enable the assimilation of NT truth [so readily available to us]. They were "in part" compared with the "perfection" of completed Scripture. So when the perfect came, the part was done away.
F.F Bruce suggested the "perfect" is 'love' but that doesn't fit with vs.11-13. Robert Thomas says its "maturity", we'll come back to that. Richard Gaffin, Thomas Edgar apply it to Christ's return and heaven. But "That which is perfect" doesn't refer to Christ's return, its in the neuter gender in the Greek. That means tongues and prophecy would continue till He comes, the means to receive truth. Note, Gen 6:9 Dt.32:4 Ps.19:7 Mt.5:48. Rom.12:2 in none of these does "perfect" refer to the future eternal state, but life on earth. Clearly also the connotation in 1 Cor.13.10. The Gifts exercised at Corinth were "in part" and for use in the early days of the Church on earth. It was to this scene "that which is perfect" was to come. The Gifts would be "done away" when the perfect "is come."
"Is come" indicates something coming to earth from God. It's not said, "When we have come to that which is perfect," but "when that which is perfect is come." As James writes - "Every good and perfect gift comes from the above, coming down from the Father..." (Jas.1:17). God was sending it, and when it came, this perfect revelation of truth, the miraculous Gifts, (part revelation) are "done away". The same Greek word is used in Mt.2:2 and proves "is come" can only represent a movement from Heaven to this World. Why read anything else into these words? There is nothing in the passage elsewhere to refer to eternity, so we may be assured that the words have their ordinary simple meaning. "When that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away."
"Shall be done away" [Greek Katargeo] means to render entirely idle or useless, to abolish, to do away, to fail, to vanish away, to make void. So, "When I became a man I put away childish things" means they vanished away having been rendered entirely useless in maturity.
The revelation of truth by the gifts of Prophecy and Knowledge were "in part" contrasted with the Truth through Completed Scripture. But if "that which is perfect" refers to the Future State then where is the contrast? What would be the use of any gift in Heaven? Why ever would Paul hold up these two gifts and say, "Behold these are 'in part,' and Heaven is 'that which is perfect?". What a futile statement that would be! How unlike Paul's consistent crisp thinking! Heaven is perfect, but there is no sense in which these two gifts are particularly and especially "in part" in contrast with Heaven.
No! Paul says "Behold the revelation available through these two gifts is "in part" in contrast with the revelation that will come with Scripture for these are the two gifts which have been serving the Church meantime. With the full revelation of completed Scripture the 2 "in part" gifts vanish and superseded by "That which is perfect." This makes good sound Pauline sense.
If "that which is perfect" is Heaven, then the change is future and the two "in part" gifts are our mode for receiving Revelation of Church Truth. This is of course nonsense for we get our Church truth today from the Bible not men with miraculous gifts. Also, Scripture claims to be a complete Revelation and the last chapter of the completed Truth contains a warning against attempts to add to the Book [Rev.22:18]. Dan.12:4 suggests one day the Word of God would be made complete. These gifts cannot operate now the NT has come and that accounts for v.8 they ceased, when the perfect has come.
Some say it's not Miraculous Gifts referred to here, but ordinary Knowledge and Prophecy in its widest sense. This idea fails for 2 reasons:-
(A) V.8 speaks not only of Knowledge and Prophecy, but also tongues. They are obviously one of the miraculous gifts of ch.12. It's inescapable 3 things cease in v.8 are 3 miraculous gifts.
(B) If it's ordinary Knowledge and Prophecy in its widest sense referred to here, when do they cease? The Knowledge we now have, we carry into eternity, that does not cease. Prophesy in the wide general sense does not cease either. God's Word which contains all prophecy remains operative after the Rapture. The most sure word of Prophecy does not cease. God has a program to fulfil after the Rapture, and all Prophecy is preserved, abides and will be performed.
How will the miraculous gifts cease? In what manner?
"When I was a child..I became a man and put childish away." [NIV]
The manifestations of Prophecies, Miraculous Knowledge and Tongues were in the figure of this verse, the "Baby" [KJV] ways of the Church. But the full revelation of God gave the Church maturity in contrast with Baby ways. When the full revelation came the Baby ways vanished. After the early Apostolic letters were circulated the need for these ceased. And as the church become more Gentile the need for the sign to Israel (tongues 1 Cor.14.21-22) ceased.
The figure of Childhood agrees with the method of giving of the gifts and their cessation. The gifts of Prophecies, Knowledge and Tongues were given to the infant Church by the sovereignty of God's Spirit. In its infancy it was normal and accepted for the Church to speak in tongues, understand by miraculous Knowledge and think as the Prophets taught.
But as Scripture was given the Church gradually cast off those things until they disappeared just as a child gradually changes from childhood's ways to adult manners and notions. Obviously it is not the change that comes at the Lords Coming (or Rapture) in view, for that's a sudden change. How unlike Paul to say, "when I became a man I put away Baby things" and mean a sudden change. Obviously he had no such thought. An Infant does not suddenly put away childish things to become a man.
"Become a man" is mentioned in Eph 4:11-14 where it states Apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers are for the "perfecting" of the saints "Till we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God to a perfect man, to the fullness of Christ." So pastors and teachers help bring each individual in the Church unto a perfect man - RV. "A full-grown man." Here again if the eternal state were intended by "full grown" surely the change would not require the assistance of Pastors and Teachers. "Full-grown" means the individual in Eph.4: 13 - full Christian Spiritual maturity in this scene. But in 1 Cor. 13:11 "When I became a man" directs the mind to the adulthood of full revelation as compared with the childhood of part Revelation. So the "perfect" (to teleion) is contrasted with imperfect revelation gifts. The tenses employed give force to the illustration; 3 imperfects 'spoke', 'thought' 'reasoned' (as a child). 'Becoming a man' gives the sense of completeness. The 'gave up' (Katergeka) verb katargeo previously rendered 'will pass away' underpins again the transitionary nature of the gifts. The NT is not a 'dim revelation, it's not 'in part', a riddle, an enigma, fragmentary or a distorted image of divine reality.
(3) NOW A GLASS DARKLY - THEN FACE TO FACE.
Why will the miraculous gifts cease? For what reason? The reflected truth was blurred and imperfect compared with the glory of the full revelation of Scripture. The gifts of Prophecy, Knowledge and Tongues, reflect the glory and truth of God "in part" or "through a glass." The RV says, "For now we see in a mirror." The word "darkly" [AV] is rendered "in a riddle" [RV] "poor reflection" [NIV]. So the early Church received truth "mirrored" through the gifts of Prophecies, Knowledge and Tongues.
Paul says "Now" (when he wrote) truth was mirrored and "in a riddle" but "then" (when Tongues cease, Prophecies and knowledge vanish away) ''Then'' when the full revelation of God is given to man through the completed NT, "Then" you shall see "face to face." And that's exactly the wonder of God's Word in its complete form. We don't have divine truth, mirrored, riddled, but face to face. The full Divine Truth shines face to face with us as we read it, with the Spirit's help.
What's "face to face"? [Scripture always interprets itself]. On Sinai God spoke with Moses "face to face". What God did with Moses in revealing the mysteries of the old Economy of Law so now He will do for the Church giving it a face to face revelation from the written word of God, revealing all His truth to the end of time. "The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend." God does that to His people today through His Word. See also Nums.12:1-10, 14:14.
The face of the Saviour is seen in such a way that each Christian mirrors or reflects to the world something of His Glory [2 Cor.3:18]. In 1 Cor. 13:12 the vanishing gifts are spoken of as mirrors. In 2 Cor. 3:18 the individual Christian mirrors God's Word that he reads face to face.
Note Gen.32:30, "And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved." What happened? His experience [an earthly one, in the days of pilgrimage] was not the commencement of his eternal state.
We wrestle and struggle, relating affairs in our lives with the Power of God's Word, and as we move forward we realize that "I have seen Him face to face, and my life has been preserved." Paul is saying that the miraculous gifts of the early Church "reflected" the glory and truth of God and presented truth "in a riddle;" but that when these gifts give place to the completed Word of God, then the Church would be brought "face to face."
'In a Riddle (Darkly): also illustrates this. Genesis confirms prior to Moses the manner of revealing Truth had been "in visions," "in dreams" and "dark speeches" [as a 'riddle']. The visions, dreams and dark sayings had to be interpreted and explained. So also in Paul's day, Prophets and Tongues and the revelation of Church truth through the Miraculous Gift of Knowledge were as in a riddle and darkly. What is meant by "Face to Face"? Jacob said he saw God face to face. But did he see God's face physically? No. He said "I have seen the Lord face to face and my life is preserved." God says in Ex.3:20 "There shall no man see Me and live." So although Jacob saw the Lord "face to face" he did not physically view the Lord's face. Jacob saw a man who was a manifestation of God - a Theophanies (a physical manifestation of God's presence, in the appearance of a human body). God did not reveal His face to the gaze of Jacob, but Jacob was made to realize he had been face to face with God.
This is exactly what God's Word achieves for us. We do not see God physically, but as the revelation does its work with us powerfully and effectively and clearly we are made to feel and know that we have been "face to face."
Also Moses spoke with God "face to face" he did not see the face of God as is made clear in Ex.33. But he was hid in the cleft of the rock, covered with the hand of God and then allowed to see His "back parts." This is to see God face to face, and exactly what Scripture does for us today. He makes His goodness pass before us, proclaims His Name and reveals His mercy and grace. Jesus said "Behold I stand at the door and knock; and if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me." [Rev. 3:20]. Is not this face to face? How do we sup with Him? Surely it is through the miracle of "that which is perfect" we meet Him face to face.
Paul's says in the Church Dispensation, the gifts of Prophecy, Knowledge and Tongues are like the riddles dreams and visions prior to Sinai. But "that which is perfect", the full truth of God, when available will be a "face to face" revelation of truth for the Church a the law was to Israel (Heb.12:18-25)
Now and Then:
The Greek word for "Now" means "at this present moment.". "Now we see but a poor reflection" is the emphatic "Now" meaning at the moment when Paul wrote. Now, when there is no NT and when truth is only given through the gifts of Knowledge and Prophecy, Now we see in a mirror darkly, but then, when the NT will be available, then face to face.
Now (when Paul wrote)-
1. There was the Gift of Prophecies, Tongues, Knowledge.
2. Revelation was 'in part."
3. Childish things were still in use.
4. Truth was seen mirrored and as in a riddle. Knowing was "in part."
5. Faith, Hope and Love were abiding.
But 'when that which is perfect is come':- Then:-
1. Prophecies shall be done away.
2. Tongues shall cease.
3. Knowledge shall be done away.
4. That which is in part shall be done away.
5. Childish things shall he done away.
6. We shall see face to face.
7. We shall fully know as we are fully known.
8. Faith, Hope and Love will still abide or continue thereafter
(4) PART KNOWING AND KNOWING FULLY.
Why will the Miraculous Gifts cease? For what reason? 1 Cor.13:12 concludes "Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as I am known.".
Two different Greek words are used for "knowing" here. In the clause relating to Spiritual Gifts "Now I know in part" is the simple usual verb "ginosko", meaning, "To be aware of, to know, to perceive, to understand." But in the comparison - "But then shall I know, even as also I am Known," the word "know" and "known" is the rarely used emphatic verb "epiginosko" meaning "To know upon some mark - to recognize-to become fully acquainted with." This Greek Verb is first used in Scripture in Mt.7:16 "Ye shall know them (or recognize them) by their fruits."
"That which is Perfect", the Bible, is also the revelation of Jesus Christ who is Himself, the Living Word of God. The miraculous gifts of the Early Church were fruitful in providing a part-knowledge of Him. But it was only part knowledge. "Now" when Paul wrote, they had this Part Knowledge. But "when that which is perfect is come" they would be able to fully recognize and be acquainted with Him. He is the Head of the Body and knows each member. "When perfection comes" then the members will be able to know Him fully, as He knows them.
This does not mean the members have all the Omniscience of the Head. When the Church is with Christ in eternity, He will still remain the Head, and have the quality of Omniscience the Church won't have. He remains God Blessed for ever and we remain His creatures. We shall share His Inheritance and knowledge. All eternity will provide for the Church a progression of knowledge as God reveals more of His wonders. But Christ knows all these things being God. He is Omniscient.
The word here does not mean that we shall share His Omniscience saying, "I shall know even as I am known," Impossible! But as He knows us, our character, names, life, purposes, hopes and desires, so we also may fully know His Character, Names, Life, Purposes, Hopes and Desires. Also His Power, Grace, Love and Glory. What a wonderful revelation of Christ God's Word is! How full is "that which is perfect" of Him! Surely today we "may know Him and the Power of His Resurrection."
Paul's prayer for the Churches for full knowledge is recorded in many places, but Eph.1:17-19 is clear , "That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of His power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of His mighty power." Paul's prayer for full knowledge, that the Church may fully know Him and His power was answered in the completing and providing for the Church of "that which is perfect."
Why do the miraculous gifts vanish away? Because they are superfluous when that which is perfect is come. There is no need for "part knowledge" in the face of "full" knowledge. "That which is Perfect" means the NT Scriptures. And so -
1. The Contrasts or this chapter make the meaning obvious. What else could contrast with the Part Revelation of the miraculous gifts, but the full revelation of NT Scripture?
2. What else could supersede the miraculous gifts but the NT?
3. Historically this happened. The miraculous gifts vanished when the NT appeared.
4. The expression "That which is perfect" beautifully and accurately describes completed Scripture.
5. The whole passage sings together in harmony with the whole of God's Word when it is understood "that which is perfect" is the completed Scriptures of truth.
6. Scripture will not harmonies with any other view, for then it is necessary to show:-
(A) That Faith and Hope are carried into eternity and continue there.
(B) That miraculous gifts of Prophecies and Knowledge are still with the Church today and we receive truth by part-revelations direct from God (contrary to the warning in Rev.22 against adding to "the words of the prophecy of this Book.")
(C) That "is come" does not mean that, but when "we go" to heaven.
(D) That Paul describes the Rapture as a baby gradually losing its baby ways (yet two chapters further describes the Rapture as, "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye...we shall be changed.")
(E) That "To become a man" describes a sudden change!
(F) That we are still only receiving a mirrored, poor reflection of truth in riddles.
Having looked at the contrast between the miraculous gifts and the completed Bible under its 4 sub-contrasts as portrayed in v.9-12 the word "Now" [v.13] brings the overall contrast of the chapter. The 3 named miraculous gifts of v.8 are to cease when the perfect is come, but 3 other things will abide or continue - Faith, Hope and Love.
We have seen that the "Now" of vs.12 is the urgent "now" of time, meaning 'right now at this moment'. But in v.13 it's not time that's referred to but the "now" of argument. 'This being so, now therefore,' the following things apply. As is shown in the RV, the first word of the sentence should be "But" not "And" so the force of the argument of the "Now" is contrast. Paul demonstrates from the premise of v.1-12 a proposition of contrast and he says "But now." This is very forceful and the point must not be missed or His whole argument lost.
"But now," (while 3 miraculous gifts shortly to cease, when the whole Word of God is come, in the manner of their vanishing is like the ways of a "baby" being forgotten in "manhood". For the reason that the full revelation is "Face to Face" compared with the part revealing of the gifts, and for the further reason that a full knowledge of Christ will then be open to the Church).
"But now remains faith, hope, love, these three: and the greatest of them is love."
Some things cease, others remain. Today we are in the era of Faith, Hope and Love. This is the day for these. They characterize Christian life and have done so before and since the miraculous gifts faded when that which is perfect came.
Which scene is most easily recognizable as the sphere of Faith, Hope and Love? Heaven or Here? Which period do these things best describe? The eternal future or present? Which fits best? Is he saying the miraculous gifts carry to the Rapture and then Faith, Hope and Love continue in Heaven? Or that the miraculous gifts fade out when the NT is complete and Faith, Hope and Love carry on to the end of the age? Surely the latter.
Faith is the very breath of spiritual Life in this age on earth. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." "Whatever is not of Faith is sin."
Hope is the comfort, joy and inspiration of the Saints in this life "who look for a City which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God."
Love is the greatest of all and eternal. But in this chapter love is related to life here. It is the "more excellent way" for the Church. Tongues is just like sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal without love. That Divine Love, shed abroad in the believer's heart is greater than Faith and Hope and all the gifts are profitless without it. Love is viewed in the setting of this scene. It is compared with the gifts, which belong to this scene. It is urged on the Church then and now in this scene, and it is spoken of in relation to "envy," "boastings," "being puffed up," "behaving unseemly," "seeking her own," "being easily provoked," "thinking evil," "rejoicing in iniquity."
These are all earthly things that never enter Heaven. So Love, Faith and Hope are all portrayed in this chapter in relation to the period of the Church's course on earth. Now there must be a period when the things abide, continue after the things that ceased. Faith and Hope abide only until Christ returns for the Church, and then they also cease, for Faith "gives place" to sight, and Hope to realization.
Faith ends at the Rapture. Jesus said to Thomas "Because you have seen you believe; blessed are they that have not seen and yet believe." Faith will give place to sight, and we shall see Him. Faith will end that day but continues in the present Church Age.
Hope is also of limited duration although it abides in the present Church age. "Who hopes for what he already has?" Rom.8:24. During this Age of the abiding of Hope, we hope for Christ's return and for all that means. But when He returns, we will hope no longer, for we shall have the fact of His presence. Hope abides for this age but gives place to realization at His return.
So if Hope and Faith end at His return, Prophecies, Tongues and Miraculous Knowledge must have ceased long before, if the passage is understood.