1 Corinthians 14:21 describes how God can use words in a strange language to warn people in a very severe manner. In 1 Corinthians 16:22, there are two such words in the King James Bible: ‘ANATHEMA MARANATHA’. Their purpose is to warn people very severely.
Our Bibles should probably translate the word ‘ANATHEMA’. It is a word in the same Greek language that Paul used for all his letters. It means a curse, in other words, an extremely severe punishment. Some people were using that same word to declare a curse against Jesus (12:3). However, their words would have no effect; nobody can declare a curse against God. God defeats all his enemies. So, instead, the curse would be against them, because they had made themselves God’s enemies.
There is only one way to avoid this terrible punishment. If we do not want to be God’s enemies, we must become his friends. We can love God because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). He sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer the punishment for our evil deeds (John 3:16). However, if we refuse his kind offer to forgive us, we will suffer his judgement against us.
Love for Christ is not something different from love for God. The Father, Son and Spirit are one God. Whoever loves the Son, loves the Father too.
The word ‘MARANATHA’ comes from the Aramaic language. It means, ‘the Lord (Christ) is coming’ as in Jude 14. Or it may be a prayer: ‘Lord, come’ as in Revelation 22:20. That is wonderful for the people who are friends of God. The Lord is coming to rescue them from every enemy.
However, it is terrible news for anyone who has chosen to join God’s enemies. The Lord is coming to carry out his judgement against his enemies.
Please use the links at the top of the page to find our other articles in this series. You can download all our articles if you go to the download page for our free 450 page course book.
© 2014, Keith Simons.