Why Does Christ Say to Call No Man a Fool, Yet He Calls the Scribes and Pharisees Fools?
Hello Steve. In (Matthew 5:22) Christ said to call no man a fool. I know that Greek word translated fool is G-3474 [moros] & it has a much deeper and worse meaning than our English word fool.
But why then would Christ call the scribes and Pharisees that same Greek word [G-3474 moros] in Matthew 23:17? And why would Paul call people not knowing about the spiritual bodies moros, as well, in 1st Corinthians 15:36?
I always assumed they used a different Greek word but I looked into it and it is the same Greek word moros that Christ said to call no man.
Thank you for any answers. You responses to my questions are much appreciated and help a lot.
K.B., as you know, God’s Word never contradicts itself. So when we stumble across an apparent contradiction, it’s our job to dig deeper to see how we’re misinterpreting or misunderstanding the verses in question. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do.
But before we take a deeper look into the Biblical answer to your question, I’d like to point out that in 1st Corinthians 15:36, which you cited as an example of another use of the Greek word moros, St. Paul did not use that word when he said “Thou fool.”
Instead, the Greek text demonstrates that the word used was aphron (i.e., Strong’s G-878), meaning, in this context, ignorant.
St. Paul was simply saying that it’s quite ignorant of a Christian (i.e., meaning ignorance of God’s Word) not to understand that before you can be resurrected into your eternal spiritual body, you flesh body must first die.
That’s quite different than calling someone moros, which, at its most simplistic meaning, denotes a morally dull-minded or stupid person (i.e., a spiritual moron, if you will), and at its most extreme meaning, denotes a wicked and godless person devoid of any chance of salvation.
I’d also like to point out the fact that there’s no specific verse in the Bible saying “call no man a fool.” That’s something man has made up. It’s church tradition.
Christ never said it. Instead, He was very specific in His description of who we should not call a fool (moros). And it wasn’t “no man.”
So, below, we’ll take a good, hard look at what He actually said, and who He said it about, and see what we can learn from it.
Christ is the Judge, Not Us
The simplest answer to your question would be to say that Christ is the Lord, and judgment is solely His. As it’s written in John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son”.
Unlike us, Christ knows everyone’s heart and soul. And, with that intimate knowledge of each and every one of us, if He judges a person to be “moros,” then that person must indeed be “moros,” meaning either a morally stupid person, at best, or a godless person devoid of any chance of salvation, at worst.
As one of the examples you cited in your question, it’s quite true that in Matthew 23:17 Christ judged the scribes and Pharisees to be moros. Indeed, He does the same, again, a few verses later in Matthew 23:19. So let’s take a quick look:
Mat 23:17 Ye fools [moros] and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the temple that sanctifieth the gold?
Mat 23:18 And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty.
Mat 23:19 Ye fools [moros] and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift?
Here, Christ judges as moros the scribes and Pharisees He’s talking to. He also pronounces “Woe” upon them eight times in this 23rd chapter of Matthew. And seven times He calls them “hypocrites,” meaning, in the Greek language, “actors under an assumed character” and denoting their origins as sons of Cain pretending to be Jewish religious leaders.
What’s more, in Matthew 23:14 He even tells these scribes and Pharisees that they’re going to receive the “greater damnation,” which, in the Greek, means superabundant condemnation.
And at the very end of His well-spoken diatribe against the scribes and Pharisees, He states, “Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” i.e., essentially telling them that they’ve been destined for hell, by their own actions.
Christ would certainly know these people’s very heart and soul. And it’s His right to judge them appropriately. After all, He is the judge, and the final arbiter of all things.
But…always keep in mind, at the same time, that our Lord “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (II Peter 3:9)
So for us to sit here, in the flesh, and judge a person to be so wicked and godless that they’re devoid of any chance of salvation, is essentially the equivalent of telling God He doesn’t know what He’s doing, in terms of judgment, and that we’ve got it all figured out for Him.
It’s essentially telling Him to get off the Judgment Seat and let us sit there, in His place, and take over the job.
But we’re not the judge. He is. We’re not capable of knowing a person’s heart and soul, or of knowing their actions in the first age when Satan tried to overthrow God’s very throne. And we’re certainly not capable of determining anyone’s chances for salvation.
So, to judge someone as being moros in its most extreme meaning — i.e., wicked, godless and devoid of any chance of salvation — is to judge without all of the facts in hand. It’s a judgment only Christ can rightly make, because He actually has all of the facts written down in the books of judgment of Revelation 20:12.
The bottom line is that a morally decrepit person still has a chance of being saved, unless the Lord has judged otherwise. That’s not our job. That’s His.
We, as flesh men and women, all-too-often tend to judge things impulsively and emotionally, just as the apostles James and John once did when they asked Christ if He wanted them to call fire down from heaven to consume an entire Samaritan village that had failed to accept Christ as He hastily passed through on His way to Jerusalem.
As it’s written:
Luk 9:51 And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,
Luk 9:52 And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.
Luk 9:53 And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.
Luk 9:54 And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?
Luk 9:55 But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.
Luk 9:56 For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.
So for us, as humans, it’s quite unrighteous to judge a man (or woman) to be so godless that they could never find salvation, and are instead, destined for the fire. It’s a sure sign that we don’t know “what manner of spirit ye are of,” which, of course, is supposed to be the spirit of salvation.
But for Christ, it’s His job to judge. Again, as it’s written in John 5:22, “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son”. Christ is the judge. He has all of the facts before His face. And therefore He has every right to judge someone as being moros.
Digging a Bit Deeper
Now what I’ve just stated is correct. But let’s not take the easy way out. Let’s instead take a good, close look at the context of Christ’s statement to call no man a “fool” (i.e., moros), and see what additional insight we might gain from it.
After all, you can’t just take statements out of the Bible, and turn them into hard-and-fast rules, without staying within the bounds of the original context the statements were made in. Failing to do so is what leads people to believe the Bible contradicts itself, when in reality it doesn’t.
A Sin as Bad as Murder?
To that end, in Matthew 5:21-22, Christ is talking about the seriousness of certain sins, and comparing them to the sin of murder. Let’s take a look at what He says, and carefully note the context as we parse these two verses:
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:
When Christ states, “Ye have heard” He’s speaking of the public reading of the law, which always took place on the three major religious holy days — Passover, Pentecost (or Feast of Weeks) and Tabernacles — as well as in the synagogues on the weekly Sabbaths.
As you likely know, the word “kill” in this verse should have been properly translated as murder (Strong’s G-5407). So the verse actually reads, “Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt do no murder; and whosoever shall commit murder shall be in danger of the judgment.”
Clearly, Christ’s initial subject matter is murder. And whenever I think of murder, in terms of Bible teaching, I think of Cain as the original murderer. Keep that in mind for a moment as we move on through these verses.
In the Greek manuscripts, the term “the judgment” actually means “the for or against.” This refers to a Jewish religious tribunal, which, at that time, decided cases based on divine law (see Strong’s G-2920). This was a lower religious court consisting of 23 members, which heard cases brought before them, and then punished those found guilty of serious crimes, like murder, by strangling or beheading. (See UCRT Cross References on Matthew 5:22)
So Christ was setting the stage with the seriousness of the crime of murder. He’s pointing out that even a lower religious court could find you guilty of such a blatantly criminal act, and have the death penalty instituted, under the Jewish religious law of that time.
Next, Christ moves on to three additional sins that He tells us are as egregious as murder in God’s eyes. And as He discusses each of these three sins, we see the correspondent level of judgment rise. Let’s take a look, and as we do, be sure to watch for the context:
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.
Note first that Christ never said, “Call no man a fool.” Instead, He gave us context. He stated that someone who’s “angry with his brother without a cause” would be “in danger of hell fire” should they go so far as to judge their brother to be moros, meaning, in this case, a wicked and godless person devoid of any chance of salvation.
So, basically, Christ states in the above two verses that murder is not the only sin that can put you at risk of hell fire. He points out three other sins that can put you in a real spot with both God, and three corresponding levels of judgment for those sins. They are:
Sin #1: Angry at a brother without a cause;
Corresponding judgment: “Danger of the judgment.”
Sin #2: Judging a brother as being Raca.
Corresponding judgment: “Danger of the council.”
Sin #3: Judging a brother as “thou fool.”
Corresponding judgment: “Danger of hell fire.”
Let’s take a look at each of these three sins, and their corresponding levels of judgment, and see what more we might learn from all of this:
Sin #1.) To be “angry with your brother “without a cause,” which can put you “in danger of the judgment.”
Being angry at your brother “without a cause” is the proper context for understanding Christ’s teaching here.
So let’s ask the obvious question: Why would mere misplaced anger put you in danger of “the judgment,” meaning that lower religious tribunal we discussed briefly, earlier, when we looked at verse 21? Let’s dig a little deeper:
The word “angry,” in this case, was translated from the Greek word orgizo, meaning much more than mere anger. It implies out-of-control passion, and it means to be enraged (Strong’s G-3710), or to exercise wrathfulness.
This is the same word (orgizo) we derive our English word “orgy” from, meaning passion so out-of-control that everyone ends up having wild and unrestrained sex with each other, as a group, instead of controlling their passions and obeying God’s laws on marriage and sex.
In other words, it refers to undisciplined and out-of-control passion, anger or other emotion. It means rage, within the context of this verse.
My personal belief is that the level of rage referenced by Christ in this verse is an allusion to Cain, who murdered his own brother for no valid reason. He had no “cause” whatsoever to be enraged with his brother, and he certainly had no valid cause to kill his brother. As St. John would later state, in 1 John 3:10-12:
“In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.”
God considers it unrighteous to fail to love your brother, especially if your brother is clearly righteous.
So Christ was, in essence, warning that such out-of-control rage, or misplaced wrath, against an innocent person — one’s own brother, no less — demonstrates a level of unrighteousness that can lead to even worse acts, such as that committed by Cain. Therefore, such wrath can land you “in danger of the judgment.”
Again, in this verse, the term “the judgment” refers to a lower Jewish religious court consisting of 23 members, which decided cases based on divine law.
This is a court you don’t want to be “in danger” (i.e., liable) of ending up on trial before. But it’s never-the-less a lower religious court. As you’ll see in a moment, each of the final two sins warned against by Christ in Matthew 5:22 above can lead to correspondingly higher levels of judgment, in higher courts.
Let’s take a look at the next level of sin Christ describes:
Sin #2.) To call your brother “Raca” can put you in danger (i.e., liable) of “the council.”
“The council,” as used in verse 22 above, means judgment by the higher Jewish religious court known as the Sanhedrin.
Indeed, the phrase “the council” in verse 22 above literally means “a joint session” and specifically refers to the members of the Sanhedrin court (i.e., Strong’s G-4892 — sunedrion), which was composed of 70 elders of the people and chief priests and scribes.
So now we’ve moved up to a higher level of risk, and judgment, than that of merely being enraged at your brother without a valid cause.
Let’s continue examining this verse: The word “Raca” means “O, empty one” (i.e., Strong’s G-4469), and implies absolute worthlessness. This was a term of utter denigration and vilification in Jewish religious circles.
In other words, in this context, the individual is judging his brother as being utterly worthless. It strongly implies that he’s been judged by his brother to be not worth the effort of saving.
Again, keep in mind that, in this particular context, which Christ set in verse 22 above, the brother has actually done nothing wrong to deserve such a label. So he’s being falsely accused of being unworthy of salvation, by a sibling who’s wrongly enraged at him, as Cain was wrongly enraged at Abel.
And that’s the actual sin, i.e., the false accusation and false judgment (by a Christian, no less!) involved in so angrily labeling an innocent and undeserving person as being “Raca,” or not worth the effort to save.
In this case, a Christian’s misplaced wrath against his brother has led him to judge the brother as being unworthy of salvation effort — in essence, judging him to hell. That means the Christian has, in essence, taken on the role of the devil, who is the “accuser of our brethren” (Revelation 12:10).
Put another way, you’re in essence telling the Lord to get off the Judgment Seat, and let you take over the judgment of your brother, as if know his heart and soul better than the Lord would.
And what does the Lord say about this kind of unjust judgment? As it’s written in Matthew 7:2, “For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”
In other words, when you judge unjustly, in uncontrolled wrath, Father will make sure that the severity of the judgment you placed on an innocent person will be the severity of judgment with which you’ll ultimately be judged for your own grievous sins.
So again, this particular sin ratchets you up a notch in terms of your risk of condemnation and damnation. It places you before the higher religious court, the Sanhedrin, which is composed of the Elders of the people and the Chief Priests and Scribes.
And in such a case, since your angry (and, yes, devilish) judgment of your brother is that he’s “Raca” — i.e., not worth saving — you, too, will be judge by that standard when the Judgment Day of the Lord arrives.
Let’s move on to the final one of the three sins Christ discussed as being comparable to murder, in terms of the judgment that will be meted out for it:
3.) To call your brother “thou fool” can put you in danger of hell fire.
Now, we’re at an even higher level of sin and judgment than the previous two instances recited by Christ.
This is the level at which you can end up in hell, meaning the heavenly Father Himself has judged you, rather than some earthly court. It’s the highest level of judgment you can get, and it takes place at the time of the great White Throne judgment of Revelation 20:11.
But why is calling your completely innocent brother “thou fool” such a horrific sin that it could potentially cost you your very soul in the lake of fire at the great white throne judgment of God?
Well, let’s take a look, while keeping in mind that this innocent brother is being judged by his angry brother “without a cause.” In other words, he’s innocent of the charges being brought against him by his angry brother. That’s the context Christ gave us. So let’s not lose sight of it.
As you rightly pointed out in your question, the term “thou fool” in this verse is translated from the Greek word moros, from which we get our English word moron.
It means to be morally dull or stupid (i.e., Strong’s G-3474). But it also means to be so morally decrepit as to be unsaveable. Thayer’s Greek Definitions tells us that it can even mean “impious” (a person with no respect for God) or “godless” (no belief in God, therefore no afterlife).
In other words, keeping things in proper perspective and context with Christ’s teaching, the enraged and accusatory brother is judging his innocent brother to be a godless moral blockhead who is without chance of salvation.
As the original Webster’s Dictionary, in which Biblical references abound, puts it:
“In scripture, fool is often used for a wicked or depraved person; one who acts contrary to sound wisdom in his moral deportment; one who follows his own inclinations, who prefers trifling and temporary pleasures to the service of God and eternal happiness. Example: The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God. Psa 14.”
In short, judging an innocent brother to be a “fool” is to judge him as being so wicked and depraved that he has neither God nor life eternal. And that judgment — which only Christ can legally make — can put you in danger of “hell fire,” which means judgment by the Lord Himself, in the final judgment at the end of this age, since He’s the only one who can commit a person to the lake of fire.
Looking a bit further into this verse, the term “hell fire” is transliterated from the Greek words geenna (i.e., Strong’s G-1067) and pur (i.e., Strong’s G-4442), meaning “the Gehenna of fire.”
It refers specifically to the burning garbage dump to the east of Jerusalem in the Valley of Hinnon, where the city’s trash was burnt, including the dead bodies of animals and even criminals who didn’t have a burial place. Biblically, it’s used as a metaphor for hell, which is to say, the great lake of fire of Revelation 20.
So when you start judging, out of uncontrolled anger or wrath, your perfectly innocent brother to be such a moral, godless blockhead that he deserves hell fire, you’re inadvertently placing that same judgment onto yourself.
After all, the Scripture clearly tells us that the level of judgment (condemnation) we mete out to others for their sins is the same level of judgment (condemnation) that will be meted out to us, for our own sins.
And the Word of God tells us repeatedly that Christ is the sole judge, in terms of the One who passes sentence. We, as Christians, can judge right from wrong, based on God’s Word. And we should. Always.
But we do not get to pass judgment onto others, no matter how egregious their sins might be in our own eyes. In short, we’re not allowed to damn others to hell. The Lord is the final judge. Not us.
Now, as we come to the final verses in this passage, let’s see how Christ tells us to resolve this very serious problem with unbridled anger leading undue judgment against one’s brother. Keep Cain and Abel in mind as we look:
Mat 5:23 Therefore if thou bring thy gift [i.e., sacrifice] to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;
Mat 5:24 Leave there thy gift [i.e., sacrifice] before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift [sacrifice].
Here, Christ is saying that if you’ve wronged your brother in some way (i.e., “thy brother hath ought against thee”), God doesn’t even want your sacrifice until you’ve reconciled with your brother.
Think back to the book of Genesis when Cain and Abel reached the age of accountability simultaneously, and offered simultaneous sacrifices to God. God accepted Abel’s sacrifice, and blessed Abel, because Abel was righteous in His eyes. But God rejected Cain’s sacrifice, and did not bless Cain, because Cain was unrighteous in His eyes.
This leads me to ask, did Cain harbor undue animosity toward his brother Abel, even before the sacrifice? And did Cain, in his passionate envy and anger toward his brother, fail to seek reconciliation with his brother before the sacrifice? I leave it up to you to decide if that’s implied here. But I believe it is.
The word “reconciled,” by the way, is translated from the Greek word diallassō, meaning “to change thoroughly” or “to conciliate” (i.e., Strong’s G-1259). In other words, it requires the person with the misplaced anger against his brother to thoroughly set the anger aside, completely change his mind, and make things right with the innocent and unduly accused brother. It’s a form of sincere repentance.
And, of course, looking back to Genesis again, for just a moment, this is clearly something Cain failed to do, even arrogantly demanding of the Lord, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” when confronted by Him over Abel’s murder.
So when Jesus said in Matthew 5:22 that you should not call an innocent brother a fool, contextually He was speaking of those who were so angry, without cause, that they had wrongly judged their own brother as being unworthy of salvation or eternal life.
It’s important to understand that there’s a righteous form of anger which is not sinful (Eph. 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin…” ), as well as an unrighteous form of anger that’s extremely sinful (James 1:20, “for the anger of man does not achieve the righteousness of God”).
When we’re angry with someone, we all-too-often add our own judgment or condemnation to the anger, which is what can make it unrighteous. Keep the judgment (and the anger) out of it.
But when God is angry with someone, He is always righteous in His anger. Jesus, being God in flesh, can righteously be angry with people and pronounce upon them the utter foolishness (i.e., moros) of their deeds — which is exactly what He did with the scribe and Pharisees, as we’ve seen above, in Matthew 23:17 and 23:19.
A Few More Pertinent Thoughts
I’d also like to add the following pertinent thoughts:
When Christ called the Pharisees “fools,” you have to ask yourself: Were they His innocent brothers, being unrighteously judged by Him?
The answer: No. They were Kenites (i.e., the false Jews of Revelation 2:9 and 3:9) who hated, loathed and despised Him, and were in the process of plotting how to murder Him.
So when Christ called them fools (i.e., moros) in Matthew 23:17, it did not fit the context of His warning in Matthew 5:22 not to call an innocent brother a fool out of unbridled wrath and self-righteousness.
Do you see the profound difference?
The original warning against calling someone a fool was in the context of declaring that an innocent person was unworthy of salvation. It was an emotional judgment, pushed forth by orge — unbridled and undeserved anger, or rage.
But when Christ called the scribes and Pharisees moros, it was done in complete righteousness. It was not done in unbridled or undeserved anger. It was not done in rage. And, since the scribes and Pharisees had already rejected Him, and were plotting His murder, they certainly were not His “brother,” either.
So Christ’s admonition against unjustly declaring an innocent brother to be so morally bankrupt as to be unworthy of salvation (moros) simply did not apply to Christ’s very righteous and true judgment of the scribes and Pharisees in Matthew 23.
Additional Instances in Which Moros Is Used
The Greek word moros is used in 13 different Bible passages — translated variously as “foolish,” “fools,” “fool,” and “foolishness” — so it might be helpful to take a look at several of these, and discuss them briefly.
What’s more, derivatives of the Greek word moros are also used in several places. Examining them can also prove helpful.
Let’s start with a section of Scripture in which both the word moros, and one of its derivatives, moria, are used by St. Paul in order to make a point:
1Co 1:23 But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness;
Here, the Greek word translated “foolishness” is moria (Strong’s G-3472), meaning “an absurdity.” It’s directly related to the Greek word moros, which, in its strongest sense, refers to someone so morally decrepit they no longer have a shot at salvation.
Here, St. Paul tells us that to many of the Jews, preaching Christ crucified was seen as a stumblingblock, meaning a trap.
And to many of the Hellenist Greeks, who were utterly absorbed in the philosophies of men, the idea of a crucified Messiah was deemed to be absolutely absurd, just as many so-called “wise men” in the world do still deem it so, even today.
1Co 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God.
We, as Christians called into service by God, nevertheless preach the “foolishness” of Christ crucified, because it’s the truth. Christ’s crucifixion and subsequent resurrection is the world’s only source of salvation.
It’s those who are truly called of God — from among the Jews and the Gentiles alike — who understand Christ as being the personification of the power and wisdom of God, i.e., He’s the Word made flesh, who created all things and who sustains all things by His own great power (i.e., John 1:1-14).
1Co 1:25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
This time, the word translated “foolishness” is actually the Greek word moros, which we’ve been studying. Paul is saying that God, even at the height of His folly, if such a thing were possible, is far wiser than any man.
What’s more, Paul states that any weakness that can be found in God, if such a thing were possible, is far stronger than any strong man at the very height of his strength.
In other words, at his very best, flesh man can’t hold a candle to God. His ways are always higher than ours.
1Co 1:26 For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
God doesn’t call into His service many “wise men after the flesh.” (In other words, people considered by the world to be wise.) Nor does He call many mighty men, or so-called “nobles,” meaning royalty or people of otherwise high rank in society.
1Co 1:27 But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;
Once again, the word translated “foolish” in the above verse is translated from the Greek word moros.
Many of us were on the road to hell before being called into His service, because, we were, by God’s standards, so foolish as to be, essentially, godless.
Maybe we weren’t Christians at all, at the time of our calling from the Lord. Or maybe we were indeed Christians at that time, but were so blasé about it, or so wrapped up in empty church tradition, that we missed the bigger picture — the deeper truths of God’s Word — and were thus not fit for the kingdom (for Christians who fit this category, see Matthew 7:22-23).
But God nevertheless chose us and called us out of the world, to serve Him, instead of calling some “wise” person (meaning wise in the ways of the world and renowned for that worldly so-called wisdom).
And after He chose and called us, He enlightened us in His Word, through the power of the Holy Spirit, sharing with us His great wisdom, which changes us from the inside out.
Likewise, the above verse tells us that He also chooses His servants from among the weak (i.e., the physically or spiritually feeble). And why does He do this?
To “confound the things which are mighty.”
In other words, to the shame or disgrace (see G-2617) of those who are considered by the rest of the world to be wise, powerful and strong, He chooses the foolish and the weak to help carry forth His Word.
It demonstrates His great power. He can take a moron, if you’ll grant me that terminology, and turn that moron into a strong, effective and thoroughly faithful Christian.
God is essentially saying that He calls and raises up into His service people like St. Paul, who, in his supposed “wisdom,” was foolishly persecuting God’s fledgling Christian church, and thus was on the road to hell, before being called into God’s service.
What’s more, God raises up little “Davids” from the sheepcotes of this world, who are considered by worldly men to be too weak to handle the battle (I Samuel 17:33), but are considered by God to be just right for the fight.
1Co 1:28 And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are:
God can use anyone and anything He wants to serve His purposes, and help fulfill His will, which is to save His children.
The word “base” in the verse above means not high-born. God chooses more paupers than princes, so to speak, to serve Him. More low-born than high-born.
He chooses His faithful servants from among those who are despised or are considered to be contemptible in the sight of the elite of this world (think of Obama’s elitist characterization of conservative Christians as “bitter clingers,” or Hillary’s characterization of conservative Christians as “a basket of deplorables”).
And again, why does He choose His servants in this manner? Why does He choose His servants from among the weak and lowly and low-born, rather than the strong and high-born? Here’s the answer:
1Co 1:29 That no flesh should glory in his presence.
Flesh man tends to take credit for everything. But a true servant of God knows to give God all of the credit.
A true servant of God — called and chosen by Him — remembers what life was like before the calling from the Lord came and they were changed from the inside out.
And they’re humbled in God’s presence, because they know if it wasn’t for Him, they’d still be unwitting moros — moral blockheads racing along through life on the fast-track to hell.
Another Quick Example
Let’s take a quick look at another example of the use of the word moros and one of its derivatives in the Scriptures, so we can further drive this point home:
1Co 3:18 Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool, that he may be wise.
In the verse above, God’s Word says you’re better off looking like a complete fool (i.e., moros) to the rest of the world, than being wise in the ways of this world.
And why? That you might gain true wisdom, which is not the wisdom of this world, but the wisdom of the Holy Spirit of God and His Word.
1Co 3:19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness [moria] with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.
The wisdom of this world will tell you that there was a “big bang,” and that as a result of that great cosmic concussion a tiny germ was created that “evolved,” over long periods of time, into a tiny worm, and eventually grew legs and eyes and evolved into a lizard, and the lizard then grew wings and feathers and evolved into a bird, and the bird…well…you get the picture.
But such worldly wisdom is foolishness (i.e., moria; absolute absurdity) with God, who created all things exactly how they are in their natural state, and Who sustains all things by His great power.
What’s more, the above verse tells us that God entraps the wise of this world in their own craftiness…their own sophistry…which is to say, their fallacious arguments and high-minded schemes.
The bottom line is that the world considers Christians to be moros, because the world can’t fathom God’s Word and does not operate under God’s Spirit of wisdom and understanding.
But God considers the wisdom of this world to be moros, because it rejects Him and His great plan of salvation — often with great anger and indignation. In other words, it rejects and despises Him and His Wisdom without a cause.
An Example that Might Surprise You
Okay, let’s take one last example, which I think might surprise you, but which also backs up some of the things we’ve learned, above, about the Greek word moros and its varied usages.
You’re familiar with the parable of the ten virgins. But did you know that five of them, according to Christ Himself, were moros?
Mat 25:1 Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
These 10 virgins — representing Christians — knew that the end was near, and took their lamps and headed out to meet the Lord at His Second Coming.
Mat 25:2 And five of them were wise, and five were foolish [moros].
Oh, my goodness. Five of these virgins were wise (i.e., sagacious, meaning they demonstrated keen mental discernment and good judgment).
And five of them were…drum roll, please…moros.
They had no spiritual discernment of their own, but instead, were tag-alongs, hopping a ride, so to speak, along with the five wise virgins, and likely feeding off their wisdom and discernment along the way rather than studying for themselves and locking God’s Word away in their minds.
In other words, these five foolish (moros) virgins were needy, spoon-fed Christians instead of strong, self-reliant Christians.
Instead of studying God’s Word for themselves, diligently, and absorbing and growing in the wisdom that comes forth from that Word through the aid of the Holy Spirit, they sat around all day on Facebook (bringing this parable more up-to-date) asking other Christians to tell them what God’s Word means, and then sorting through the dozens of conflicting answers, as if truth could be derived from such a tortuous process.
Mat 25:3 They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
There it is, again: moros. Yes, five of these 10 virgins — each one Christians, mind you — were morally unfit for the Kingdom of God.
And why were they morally unfit? We’ll discover the answer in just a moment…
The word “lamps” in this verse simply means a torch, or a lantern. And the word “oil” is translated from the Greek word elaion (i.e., Strong’s G-1637), meaning olive oil, which, when properly refined, can be lit and burns brightly in a lamp, providing bright light in the darkness for a traveler.
Oil, as you know, is symbolic of the wisdom of God’s Word of truth. Just as oil was carried in the reservoir of a lamp or lantern, for light, we as Christians are to carry the wisdom we’ve gained from our studies of God’s Word in the reservoir of our mind, for spiritual light on the long journey through the growing darkness of this flesh world age.
It’s this oil (spiritual wisdom) that gives us the discernment we need to get through the darkness of this final generation, and to our ultimate destination, which, in the case of this parable, is the Kingdom Wedding at Christ’s Second Advent.
These moros (i.e., foolish) Christians took their lamps (symbolic of their minds), but failed to fill their lamp’s reservoirs with oil (i.e., wisdom from God’s Word). That’s kinda like setting out on a long journey in one’s car, without first filling the gas tank.
In short, any Christian who’s not studying and absorbing God’s Word into their minds on a regular daily basis, is simply running on empty (moros), and is unlikely to make it all of the way to the Kingdom Wedding.
Mat 25:4 But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
As you can see, the wise (Gr. phronimos, meaning someone who is sagacious, or demonstrating keen mental discernment and good judgment), “took oil in their vessels with the lamps,” meaning they filled the reservoirs of their lamps with oil so they could see in the dark as they traveled.
Again, this represents studying God’s Word and absorbing it into the reservoir of one’s mind, so that you can have enough discernment, wisdom and understanding to make it through the growing spiritual darkness of the final generation of this flesh earth age.
Mat 25:5 While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.
Here we see the spiritual clock strike midnight, which means the Lord is about to arrive for His Kingdom Wedding.
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
All 10 virgins trimmed the wicks on their lamps, so that their lamps would burn brightly as they made their way through the spiritual darkness of the midnight hour.
Mat 25:8 And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.
Ah, yes. This is the first symptom of being a tag-along, spoon-fed Christian.
Rather than taking the time to study diligently for themselves, and develop their discernment through intimate daily long-term contact with God’s Word, they seek a handout from others who have already done the work.
It’s almost socialistic, isn’t it? The foolish virgins think “Well, you have God’s Word. I need God’s Word. And since you have it, and I don’t, you should just give it to me on demand. Right now.”
It almost makes sense. After all, we as Christians are here to teach.
But how will the five wise virgins react to this request, now that things are down to the very wire, and the Kingdom Wedding is about to begin?
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.
The wise — those who took years to study God’s Word in-depth, and hone their discernment and understanding of God’s Word — say to the moros virgins, “No way, baby. Go find your own oil. If we share ours at this point, we might run out.”
Meaning, of course, that there’s a time coming when you have to stand on your own, like an adult…like a fully mature Christian. And you need to prepare yourself in advance for that time, through the diligent study of God’s Word and concurrent development of your spiritual discernment and wisdom.
You can’t wait until the last minute, thinking others are somehow obligated to be there for you. They’ll have jobs to do, for the Lord, at that time. They’ll be in battle mode, so to speak. They won’t have time to molly coddle the unlearned, who had plenty of opportunity to study and absorb God’s Word, but lazily depended upon others to do the work for them, instead.
The moral is that we, as Christians, need to get rid of all of the time-sucking distractions (including Facebook and other addictions, if this fits you), and start filling the mental reservoir of our “lamps” with the wisdom of God’s Word, now, so we’ll be ready when the time comes.
That way, when the time finally arrives, you’ll be wise (filled with discernment and understanding) instead of being one of the five moros virgins — the unprepared moral blockheads who love to play at Christianity, but never quite get around to studying and absorbing His Word on their own.
As it’s written in Hebrews 5:12-14, “For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.”
Think about it. Being moros puts you at grave risk of losing your salvation, as you’ll see a few verse hitherto.
Mat 25:10 And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
The five foolish (moros) virgins were sidetracked with their last minute search for wisdom and understanding.
But the five wise virgins were “ready” (i.e., fit; prepared — Strong’s G-2092), and “went in with Him to the marriage.” And then, “the door was shut.”
Mat 25:11 Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.
This reminds me very much of those who, at Christ’s Second Advent, will run up to Him shouting “Lord, lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” (Matthew 7:21-23)
But just as the Lord tells that motley crew, “I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity,” in like manner He’ll respond to the five moros virgins, saying:
Mat 25:12 But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
He didn’t see their faces in His Word each day, studying diligently to show themselves approved. He didn’t see them working to fill the reservoirs of their minds with the oil of His wisdom and understanding. He didn’t see them honing their discernment over the long course of time.
And He didn’t hear them praying to Him for understanding, and then acting on His promises in Luke 11:9-13, where He states, “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.”
Instead, He saw them posting on Facebook groups all day (again, to bring this parable up-to-date with modern times), and depending upon others to spoon feed them the answers to their spiritual questions.
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
The word “watch” in the above verse means to be diligent, from a root word meaning to collect one’s faculties (i.e., Strong’s G-1127 and 1453). It means you’ve got to be rigorously conscientious about preparing yourself in advance for the coming darkness.
A word to the wise is sufficient: Don’t be a moros.
Sure, it takes lots of time, diligence and hard work to be wise in God’s Word. But spending all of your spare time on Facebook or other social media posting and reading silly memes and sorting through thousands of conflicting opinions, or wasting time in other endeavors rather than diligently studying God’s Word for yourself, isn’t going to cut it. The five moros virgins prove this fact.
God’s Word is not on Facebook, or in any other social media, for that matter. All you’ll get there is the crumbs. And sensationalism. And argumentation. If that’s what you like, then enjoy the heck out of it. Some folks need the daily drama. But don’t complain later when the Lord brands you as moros for your choices.
If you’re wise, you’ll want to eat from the whole loaf — the Bible — rather than from the online social media crumbs…if you don’t want to be counted by the Lord as one of the moros at the time of His Second Advent.
So what, exactly, was it that made the five foolish (moros) virgins so…well…so darned foolish that they’d be locked out of the Kingdom Wedding at Christ’s Second Advent?
That’s easy. They knew the end was upon them. Yet they still didn’t study God’s Word in any great depth, for themselves. They still didn’t work hard to develop that ongoing relationship with God the Father through His Word and His Holy Spirit which brings about keen discernment and understanding.
Instead, they depended upon others to know God’s Word for them…to spoon feed them, like little babies…and to guide them through the spiritual darkness of the end times. But that’s not the job of the wise. They’re not babysitters. They’re spiritual warriors. And at the time leading up to the Kingdom Wedding, they’ve got preparations to make and other work to do, for the Lord.
In other words, in regards to the most precious thing in life — God’s Word — the five foolish virgins were irresponsible. And ultimately, they were lazy.
Rather than studying for themselves, they took social media shortcuts. They wanted the easy way into the Kingdom Wedding. But there isn’t one. It has to be earned over long periods of time through diligent study, prayer, and thoughtful mediation on God’s Word.
So, as a result of their irresponsibility and laziness in not filling the reservoir of their minds with the oil (truth) of God’s Word, Christ used them as examples of the epitome of fool-hardiness. He labeled them as moral blockheads.
You see, it’s not just the impious and ungodly who can end up being judged as foolish (moros) by the Lord at His Second Coming. Even Christians can. And they can lose out, big time, over it. We know this, because Christ clearly showed us via the parable of the ten virgins.
To Sum It Up
To sum it all up, Christ never said “Call no man fool.”
But He did say that angrily judging a brother to be an unsalvageable moral blockhead, for no valid cause, can end up being grounds for losing one’s own chance at eternal life.
And that’s because we’re all going to be judged by the same standards with which we’ve judged others.
Discern, yes. Judge whether things are right, or wrong, yes. But to judge others as being “fools,” in the most negative Biblical sense of the word, is the same as judging them to be unworthy of eternal life. And that’s a judgment that only the Lord Himself can make.
The one you angrily judge to be a “fool” (moros) might very well be the one God is most interested in saving. And instead of judging, you might better be found working to help the person come to the Lord, lest you be judged as moros, as well.
Regards in Christ,
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