God is doing a work among His people right now. It is not coming. It is here. The real revival and awakening that everyone has been talking about and been looking for is taking place right now in the hearts of His people worldwide. It is not a movement that is physically seen nor will fill stadiums or football fields, nor be grandiose or flashy, but rather, is a movement of the heart and mind, a radical, deep renewal, and powerful transformation. Because of great tribulation and overwhelming circumstances that are coming on the people of God in wave after wave, God’s people are finally dropping what they are doing and ceasing their ceaseless busyness to seek His face. Indeed, through these trials and pains and sorrows He is preparing the Church for His return. He is looking for a Bride who has her eyes only on Him, whose pleasure is in Him, whose heart is with Him, whose mind is on Him, whose desire is for Him — and ONLY HIM.
Though we are most definitely in the last of the Last Days and it is imperative that end times Scriptures be brought to light (for they are not being expounded on in most pulpits today, or are being misinterpreted and twisted), it is all the more imperative that God’s will for the Church be taught as well. For, Jesus is coming back for a Church that is loving each other, and that love does not look like the definition of love most often taught today. The American church and other churches of the western world are deeply riddled with excused sin, divisiveness, selfishness and unbiblical behavior. Furthermore, they are Biblically illiterate and thus the Holy Spirit cannot even convict — for faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.
Corinth was a city much like our western world, even our American world, with its pleasure seeking, greed, covetousness, violent and sexual entertainment, and entrepreneurial entertainment. God’s awesome power intercepted the enemy and had overturned his plans with the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Corinth, but the sin nature and worldly perceptions still clouded the minds of the Corinthian Christians. And thus, the Christians there looked more like the world instead of like Christ.
And that is where we are today — just before the trumpet sounds and Christ snatches away His Bride to meet Him in the air. We look like the Corinthian Christians who were misled into thinking that their worldly perceptions were Christ-like and their worldly reactions were godly. Thus, it is imperative to delve into the word of God to better understand how we should be living as opposed to how we are.
But before we can delve into the rich cuisine of the Biblical book of 1 Corinthians, we need to know a bit more about the city and its people. So, we are going to begin with a bit of very important historical information that will come into play as we go on to study the various chapters and topics of 1 Corinthians. This knowledge of the Corinthian environment will help us to better understand why the Corinthian people thought as they thought and were doing what they were doing.
The city of Corinth had been established long before the time of the apostle Paul and had been a thriving commercial and idolatrous city of the Grecian world. It’s name is derived from the “currant-like” dried fruit of their own small, special grapes they shipped around the world. In the 6th century BC (the 500s) the narrow piece of land near the city called Isthmus which means “neck” (called that because of its narrowness), made it thrive even more, for it was over this 3.7-5.3 mile strip that leaders unsuccessfully endeavored to build canals and successfully transported their ships across a carved stone track. That’s right, they pulled their ships for upwards to 5 miles across stone paving in order to reach the sea on the opposite side. Trade blossomed because of this route. For years before this special route was paved, sailors had braved the treacherous waters around the peninsula, but now they could save time, their ships and their lives by pulling their ships over the narrow piece of land near Corinth. It is actually because of the city of Isthmus that every other narrow piece of land in the world is called an isthmus, like the Isthmus of Panama.
The New Corinth: The Vanity Fair of the Roman World
Then, in the year 146 BC the city of Corinth rebelled against a young Roman Empire, and Rome razed the prosperous city to the ground. For over one hundred years, it was abandoned as well as the Isthmus. However, in 44 BC Julius Caesar called for the city to be rebuilt and to be dedicated to the goddess Aphrodite of whom he felt he was a direct descendant. Aphrodite was the patron goddess of sex, street walkers and prostitutes. In other words, Julius Caesar wanted to make Corinth great again; he wanted the city to be prosperous and to flourish once more, to be a place where people wanted to travel, trade and build a business.
However, and for whatever reason, no one wanted to populate the newly built city, and so Julius Caesar made offers to various people groups in his empire and eventually made a deal with freed slaves, retired sailors, former soldiers and legionnaires who agreed to start fresh in the city of Corinth. Those who moved to Corinth had no great family name or famous lineage or history. Instead, they made a name for themselves. And though they moved there as part of the lower class, they grew to prosper in various forms of business and trade, especially when the Isthmus was operational again and the Isthmian Games were reinstated around 7 BC and AD 3.
The Isthmian Games, dedicated to the god Poseidon, were second only to the Olympic Games, and had been around since 582 BC. These games, however, unlike the Olympics and two other games (as apart of the PanHellenic Games) were more violently competitive for they included wresting, boxing, and chariot racing. Those attending the games would stay in the nearby accommodations of Corinth. All in all, the new Corinth was a place of potential fame and prosperity for those who elsewhere were nothing and could accomplish nothing.
Corinth was founded by a lower class, crude people on the basis of ambition, competition, and the sex industry. The city was riddled with extortioners, swindlers, prostitution, alcoholism, and idolatry. Pick pockets were everywhere, drunkenness was rampant, people on sex holidays came regularly, and people trying to talk one out of their money seemed to be on every corner. In several excavated homes in Corinth large containers in the cellar have been found wherein large quantities of alcohol were stored so that the household would not run out. Like in Pilgrim’s Progress, Corinth was like the city of Vanity Fair. And as in America, Corinth was akin to Las Vegas, San Fransisco, and New York City all rolled into one.
The term “Corinthian” was known throughout the Greco-Roman world. The playwright Aristophanes coined the phrase, “Fast as a Corinthian” because of the Isthmus that became a speedy route for ships to cross over land. It meant one who moved quickly, or one who found the faster way to do something.
However, the term “Corinthian” was usually used in a derogatory manner. If one was a drunk in another city or country of the Roman world, they were not called a drunk; they were called a “Corinthian”. And if one was sexually immoral, they were not called sexually immoral, but rather were called a “Corinthian”.
The Corinthian Christians
Now, the apostle Paul enters the Corinthian scene, and I Corinthians 6:9-10 makes it clear that the Corinthians who converted to Christianity were former fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexual (abusers of themselves with mankind), thieves, excessively greedy for everything (covetous), users of foul, crude language (revilers), and extortioners. This is their background. This is their history up to this point. This will help us to understand what is being said in I Corinthians better. And it will most importantly express more potently the incredible, transformational power of almighty God in the life of those who believe in Jesus no matter who they are or what they’ve been or done.
Let’s now turn to Acts 18:1-18 to lay some ground work. Let’s read a bit about Paul’s evangelism to Corinth, of the opposition to the Gospel by Corinth’s new Jewish population, and the hope of salvation even for the debauched Corinthians.
“After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.12 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat,13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.16 And he drave them from the judgment seat.17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.18 And Paul after thistarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.”
It says in verses 9 and 10 that God told Paul not to be afraid, which must have meant that Paul was afraid. So often I think when I read Scripture that the person in the Bible story was not afraid and was full of boldness, especially Paul. People can even think that he was extroverted and unfazed by difficulties or burdens or fears. But, Paul says of himself in 1 Corinthians 2:1, 3, “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God…3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.”
The apostle Paul had come into a very polluted, idolatrous, sexually immoral, drunken, greedy city, and presented the Gospel with fear and trembling and in great weakness (possibly physical) to a group of excessively damaged people. Indeed, this city was unlike any city in which Paul had traveled (Paul, His Life and Teaching, by John McRay, pg 170). And on top of this, there were a new, large Jewish population intermixing in this Vanity Fair of the Roman world because of the Emperor Claudius’ law that had expelled them from the city of Rome. “It would undoubtedly have been the last city of all those through which Paul traveled that he might have expected to be receptive to the gospel” (Paul, His Life and Teaching, by John McRay, pg 170).
Two things we can take away with us today are these. Number one, God can use us no matter how fearful or weak we may be and no matter how impossible or evil a situation may seem. And number two, the power of the Gospel still changes lives no matter how corrupted or foul or hopeless they may appear.
As we begin our various studies from within the pages of I Corinthians, let us keep these two very amazing truths in mind! God’s empowering is greater than our weaknesses and fears and impossible situations, and the power of the Gospel instantly saves the gravest of sinners making them believers; and then patiently and persistently transforms those believers by the renewing of their minds.
God is doing a work among His people right now. The real revival and awakening is taking place right now in the hearts of His people worldwide. It is not a movement that is physically seen nor will fill stadiums or football fields, but rather, is a movement of the heart and mind, a radical renewal, and powerful transformation. He is preparing us for His return. Are you ready?
Have any of you felt the palpable heaviness recently? It presses upon every event, every holiday, every special occasion, every moment of every day. It’s like a thick darkness has covered everyone and everything, a darkness that can be felt. With this darkness has come a spirit of heaviness upon the people of God. The symptoms of this are experienced through depression, lack of motivation, anxiety, and a host of other emotions as well as physical illness and even the death of those we love. Though this dark heaviness has encompassed the saved and unsaved alike, I am speaking specifically to Christians – those who are called by Christ’s name.
Though I have written other more in depth articles that address this topic, what is being written here is not about research but is a word of encouragement to those who are suffering beneath this very real burden. And it seems that those who have had Covid and the brain fog that follows feel it the most acutely.
Those of you going through this very real struggle, please be encouraged in 1 Peter 5:7-11 which says, “6Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,7casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.11To Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.”
You see, what is happening is a demonic attack, and we as the children of the Most High must be alert and set in battle array against the enemy. We cannot and should not just roll over and play dead nor simply allow the depression to take hold of us. Curling up into a fetal position is not an option either. Child of God, it is time to get up, to throw our very real struggle upon Him, to resist the devil, and to be encouraged that you are not the only one who is going through this. Take note that your brothers and sisters are going through the same fight, the same emotions, the same spiritual attack, the same darkness throughout the world. We do not have time to feel sorry for ourselves. Quit believing the lies being whispered or shouted at you, but instead hold fast what God’s word says and do not waver.
Though this site is not a blog and thus is not about my personal journey or stories, I will share with you briefly my own testimony regarding this heaviness. I, like many others, had brain fog after Covid, and found it nearly impossible to get motivated or even to pray, and depression set in on me both physically and emotionally. However, the Holy Spirit shook me awake to the fact that this was being caused by the enemy and that I needed to take a stand against it. He reminded me of one of Pastor Coverstone’s dreams wherein a battle was being fought. Those not involved in the battle were ambushed, but those who were actively involved in the battle were not taken by surprise nor were defeated. On top of this, I began reading God’s word aloud to a family member who had just gotten home from the hospital, and began to sing and play the piano again. Then, I commanded the heaviness to go and resisted the enemy. In accordance with God’s word, the enemy fled.
Was this easy to do? No. I had no motivation. I had no energy. I had no strength. But, you see, Jesus is the strength of my life — my light and my salvation, my stronghold (Psalm 27), and He was the One who empowered me by His Spirit to do this. And though I still feel the evil that is hovering everywhere –and yes it is very real and very present– it no longer has its tentacles on me.
Please, give God your burden today. Cast your care on Him today. He cares for you. The burden you are bearing is keeping you divided and distracted and depressed. Quit putting up with it. Quit trying to avoid it. Please, throw it away. Give it to God. Leave it at His feet. He cares for you. And resist the devil, for when you do so in Christ’s strength and by the empowering of His Holy Spirit, the devil MUST flee.
Even so, I encourage you in 1 Peter 5:7-11. May it empower you to know you are not alone, for other Christians around the world are going through the same struggle. May it inspire you to stand on God’s word and not falter as you actively resist the enemy. May it stimulate you to pray for your burdened brothers and sisters. May it even bring healing to your body, soul and mind. Even today. Even now.
Keep looking up dear saints, for our redemption is nearer now than ever before!!