Philippians 4:4-7 - The duality of Yahweh and Son, God and the Lord, Jesus and a Christ
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Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. Let your gentleness be known to everyone. The Lord is near. Do not worry about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
This is the Epistle reading to be read aloud on the third Sunday of Advent, Year C, according to the lectionary for the Episcopal Church. It will follow a singing of Zephaniah’s song from his final chapter. Two verses sing, “Yahweh has taken away the judgments against you, he has turned away your enemies. The king of Israel, Yahweh, is in your midst; you shall fear disaster no more.” That song will be followed by Isaiah’s first song, from his twelfth chapter [called Canticle 9 by the Episcopal Church], which sings in part: “Surely, it is el who saves me; I will trust in him and not be afraid. For the Lord is my stronghold and my sure defense, and he will be my Savior.” All will accompany the Gospel reading from Luke, where John the Baptist told followers, “Bear fruits worthy of repentance. Do not begin to say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham as our ancestor'; for I tell you, God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham. Even now the ax is lying at the root of the trees; every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.”
This reading is included in a longer reading presented in Year A’s Ordinary after Pentecost season [Proper 23]. I wrote about these verses in 2017 and posted those views on my website at that time. A link to that commentary is here. Feel free to read those views, which are placed within a greater context that the vacuum of this parsing for Advent. It is for that reason I will re-address these verses now.
In these four verses, I want to point out the words that are found repeated. They are “Rejoice” [“Chairete” and “chairete”], “the Lord” [“Kyriō” and “Kyrios”] and “God” [“Theon” and “Theou”]. All of those words repeated are capitalized, with the exception of “chairete” being in the lower-case. The reading ends with two other capitalized words, which are “Christ” [“Christō”] and “Jesus [“Iēsou”]. I want to point out that “Christ” is another way of Paul saying “God” and “Jesus” is another way of him stating the name of “the Lord.”
The two spellings of “Chairete” and “chairete” can then be seen also as being representative of “God” (the capitalized spelling gives it a divine level of meaning), with the lower-case spelling then equating with Jesus, as the Son is not the equivalent to God, being limited to a soul in flesh. Still, “Rejoice in the Lord” becomes a divinely elevated statement about the presence “in” one’s being (soul-flesh) that makes one become “the Lord,” because of Yahweh bringing “in” that heavenly level of “Rejoicing.” Thus, when Paul then said, “again I say , rejoice,” with an exclamation point, this becomes a statement about the Saint having been made able to “rejoice,” due to the presence of Yahweh’s Spirit, making one “rejoice” as Jesus reborn.
While the NRSV realized the genitive case of “Theou” and actually translated it correctly as “of God,” this means the possessive is Paul pointing out how “peace” is only truly possible through the possession “of God.” This possession follows one’s “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving,” which become one’s “requests be made known to God.” There, the Greek word “gnōrizesthō” – “let be made known” – has to be seen as prayers to become divinely married to Yahweh – soul to Spirit – wo ‘knowledge’ is not casual, but through submission of self. It is a request to be possessed by God, so become ”of God.”
While that recognition of possession is seen in “Theou,” the NRSV ignores the same genitive case spelling of “Jesus,” as “Iēsou.” To translate this simply as “Jesus,” Paul would have written “Iésous.” The Greek spelling “Ἰησοῦ” (“Iēsou”) is the genitive case spelling of “Ἰησοῦς” (“Iésous”), meaning that Paul actually wrote “in Christ of Jesus.” That is not the same as him writing “in Christ Jesus,” as that could easily be indicative of Jesus’ name being ‘Jesus Christ,’ which it is not. By writing “Iēsou,” being “in Christ” – from “Christō” meaning “Anointed by Yahweh” [as divinely elevated by capitalization] – that “Anointment” makes one become “of Jesus,” where his soul is resurrected within one’s soul (thus the flesh it animates), making that soul-flesh become Jesus-possessed.
The reason this parsed down reading is read aloud on the third Sunday of Advent is because the celebration (“Rejoicing”) of an anticipated delivery “of Jesus” in one’s being is expected to come. One is called to be one with Yahweh (“God”) and know His “peace” as one’s own. This is so beyond “understanding” that it can only be told as “Rejoice.” One’s “heart” is one’s soul [“kardias” means “inner self,” with a “self” equating with a “soul”], so Yahweh’s presence writes the Law upon one’s “heart” through His Son Jesus. To receive Jesus – one’s inner child to be born – one must be “Anointed” by Yahweh (“God”), as His Son, with His Spirit poured out upon one’s soul from marriage.