Wednesday, December 10, 2014

FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I AMONG THEM.” - Matt 18:20 By Tuese Ahkiong

FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I AMONG THEM.” -  Matt 18:20
By Tuese Ahkiong


I often hear people use this verse to support their view that Christ is now with us because there is a minimum of 2 or 3 of us gathered.  I’m like, so, if we’re by ourselves does that mean Christ is not with me? 
-Confused look on their faces appears.

I’m like, YHWH is omnipresent, so how the heck could anyone ever be out of His presence? 


Psalm 139:7-12

Where shall I go from your Spirit?  Or where shall I flee from your presence?
If I ascend to heaven, you are there!  If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
If I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me, and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me, and the light about me be night,” 12 even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is bright as the day, for darkness is as light with you.

Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

*If God abides in a believer NOW, how is it that Christ is in the midst of 2 or more believers?  In what sense is Christ among a plural gathering of believers?


Matthew 18:20 is such a butchered verse.  It’s one of those verses that people love to take of context because it sounds so nice when Christians are in a prayer meeting or fellowship time.  But what does it mean in the context?  That’s the question the student of the Bible should be asking.  A simple reading of the context would easily give the answer.  The passage is about church discipline or conflict resolution involving 2 or 3 witnesses as established in The Old Testament.

Matthew 18:15-20

15 “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. 16 But if he does not listen, TAKE ONE OR TWO OTHERS ALONG WITH YOU, THAT EVERY CHARGE MAY BE ESTABLISHED BY THE EVIDENCE OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES. 1If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I AMONG THEM.”

The following is a couple examples from the Old Testament regarding witnesses being established.

Deuteronomy 17:6

ON THE EVIDENCE OF TWO WITNESSES OR OF THREE WITNESSES the one who is to die shall be put to death; a person shall not be put to death on the evidence of one witness.

Deuteronomy 19:15

“A single witness shall not suffice against a person for any crime or for any wrong in connection with any offense that he has committed. ONLY ON THE EVIDENCE OF  TWO WITNESSES OR OF 
THREE WITNESSES SHALL A CHARGE BE ESTABLISHED.  

 

The following are few NT examples of using the principle of 2 or 3 witnesses.

2 Corinthians 13:1

This is the third time I am coming to you. EVERY CHARGE MUST BE ESTABLISHED BY THE EVIDENCE OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES.

1 Timothy 5:19

Do not admit a charge against an elder except on THE EVIDENCE OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES.

Hebrews 10:28

Anyone who has set aside the law of Moses dies without mercy ON THE EVIDENCE OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES.

So, Matthew 18:20 is NOT about Christ being present when 2 or 3 Christians are gathered in fellowship or a prayer meeting, rather, Christ is present to exercise discipline when the church elders and leaders were present to proclaim Christ’s discipline.

Here is a case example of Paul scolding “The church gone wild” Corinthians for tolerating a dude doing the nasty with his father’s wife.

1 Corinthians 5 
It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father's wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.
For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and AS IF PRESENT, I HAVE ALREADY PRONOUNCED jUDGMENT on the one who did such a thing. WHEN YOU ARE ASSEMBLED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS AND MY SPIRIT IS PRESENT, WITH THE POWER OF OUR LORD JESUS, YOU ARE TO DELIVER THIS MAN TO SATAN FOR THE DESTRUCTION OF THE FLESH, SO THAT HIS SPIRIT MAY BE SAVED IN THE DAY OF THE LORD.
Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump? Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed. Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— 10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world. 11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one. 12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? IS IT NOT THOSE INSIDE THE CHURCH WHOM YOU ARE TO JUDGE? 13 God judges those outside. “PURGE THE EVIL PERSON FROM AMONG YOU.”

**The assembling in The Name of The Lord (v4) is the 2 or 3 witnesses gathered to exercise judgment (with a lower case j). 
Here’s 2 bones for you thinkers.  Satan in this passage is apostate Israel (I will cover this in another article).  And another bone is The Day of The LORD was in 70A.D. 

·      “FOR WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED IN MY NAME, THERE AM I AMONG THEM.”
This passage is NOT about fellowship or a prayer meeting among 2 or more Christians.
This passage is about Christ being among 2 or 3 witnesses in the sense of authority to exercise discipline.

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