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Bible verses about Greek Mythology
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Jeremiah 38:19

At this juncture, God has not made an irrevocable decision concerning the evil He will soon create for His people (Isaiah 45:7); He has not condemned Zedekiah to death, the house of Pharez to extinction, or Jerusalem to flame. Zedekiah, by making the right decisions, can salvage the situation in part. Given the historical moment—the burden on the king—his answer to Jeremiah appears almost surreal: "I am afraid of the Jews who have defected to the Chaldeans, lest they deliver me into their hand, and they abuse me" (verse 19).

History would have been different if only he had obeyed God. To Zedekiah, a prophet of God is nothing more than a crystal ball with legs, valuable as a source of knowledge of things future. Jeremiah shares the fate of Cassandra, a woman of Greek myth who, though blessed with great prophetic power, is cursed to be always disbelieved.

Zedekiah's "I am afraid" reveals a pathetic character indeed. He fails to understand his obligation to heed the pronouncements of the prophet God has so graciously provided. He lacks the resolve to obey God, his fear for his safety overruling his sense of responsibility to his subjects and to his capital.

Charles Whitaker
Servant of God, Act One: Going Around, Coming Around


 

Romans 2:5-7

Notice that Paul separates "immortality" from "eternal life" as though they are different. The words assuredly share a common idea, that is, both indicate a long, enduring period. Immortality simply means "unending existence" because the being does not corrupt, decay, and die.

However, "eternal life," as used by the Bible's writers, includes something "immortality" does not, introducing a shade of difference between the two words. Unfortunately, in many minds, "immortality" corresponds exactly with "eternal life." They are not the same.

Perhaps a good way to illustrate this is to refer to the Greek myths with their pantheon of gods. In these myths, the gods had immortality but—by biblical definition—not eternal life. This is because immortality speaks only of endless life, not its quality. The Greek gods acted, reacted, and had passions and attitudes just like human beings, mere mortals, whereas eternal life in the biblical sense is life lived the way the true God lives it. It indicates the totality of life, which, as we will see, we already possess in principle. To put it into a more human setting, eternal life is to live life endlessly according to the will of God. Thus, we can understand that the demons, like the Greek gods, have immortality but not eternal life.

John 5:24 helps us to begin to understand when Jesus says, "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life." Notice that he who believes has already passed from death to everlasting life. We can connect this to Ephesians 2:1: "And you He made alive who were dead in trespasses and sins." Before repentance and conversion, God views us as dead even though we are physically alive.

Though we possess animal life, before God's calling we are totally unaware of the spiritual life of God, even as those who are physically dead are unaware of the pleasures, cares, and amusements of the living. They hear no music, enjoy no food, can see neither beauty nor ugliness—they are unaware even of people trampling on their graves! Before conversion, we are likewise unaware of the spiritual life of God, the beauty of holiness, and the joy, power, abundance, peace, honor, and glory of that life. Conversion is a life slowly expanding into a new dimension that we never knew existed before—everlasting or eternal life.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Six): Eternal Life


 

2 Peter 2:4

"Hell" comes from the Greek tartaroo, and it means "a place of restraint." God did not spare the angels, but He cast them down to a place of restraint, a kind of prison.

In Greek mythology, Tartarus was the lowest hell, the place where the Titans (who were defeated by Zeus) were restrained. It is described as being as far below Hades as heaven is high above the earth. As far as we can apply Greek mythology, we can understand that these angels were cast so far down as to be out of sight. Their place of restraint was so far down that one would think they would never be able to crawl out.

God is trying to get across that the angels have been defeated—cast down from heaven to the earth, as Revelation 12 shows. The earth, then, is a place of restraint, a prison, for them.

To add to the imagery, they are bound in "chains of darkness." This amplifies the thought that Peter is making: The demons are restrained. There is some disagreement among scholars whether Peter uses the word that is translated here as "chains" or whether he means "silo." Almost everyone understands what a silo is. To an American, it is a tall, cylindrical object in which grain is stored. To the Greek, a silo was an underground pit where grain was stored. Whether it is a chain or a silo, it does not matter. God is trying to assure us that the demons have been restrained.

They are being restrained because they are facing judgment. Unfortunately for us, they are restrained in the place where we live! The earth is the silo, the storage bin. We are sharing this place with them. Worse, as they would see it, we are intruders in their space. They consider us invaders.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Satan (Part 1)


 

1 John 2:3-6

This passage helps us understand how we can have the right attitude and emotion in our obedience. We come to know God through the same general process we get to know fellow human beings—by fellowshipping or experiencing life with them.

Around 500 years before Christ, Greek philosophers believed they could come to know God through intellectual reasoning and argument. This idea had a simple premise: that man is curious! They reasoned that it is man's nature to ask questions. Since God made man so, if men asked the right questions and thought them through, they would force God to reveal Himself. The flaw in this is seen in the fruit it produced. Though it supplied a number of right answers, it did not—could not—make men moral beings. Such a process could not change man's nature.

To them, religion became something akin to higher mathematics. It was intense mental activity, yielding intellectual satisfaction but no moral action. Plato and Socrates, for example, saw nothing wrong with homosexuality. The gods of Greek mythology also reflect this immorality, as they had the same weaknesses as human beings.

A few hundred years later, the Greeks pursued becoming one with God through mystery religions. One of their distinctive features was the passion play, which always had the same general theme. A god lived, suffered terribly, died a cruel, unjust death, and then rose to life again. Before being allowed to see the play, an initiate endured a long course of instruction and ascetic discipline. As he progressed in the religion, he was gradually worked into a state of intense expectation.

Then, at the right time, his instructors took him to the passion play, where they orchestrated the environment to heighten the emotional experience: cunning lighting, sensuous music, fragrant incense, and uplifting liturgy. As the story developed, the initiate became so emotionally involved that he identified himself with and believed he shared the god's suffering, victory, and immortality.

But this exercise failed them in coming to know God. Not only did it not change man's nature, but the passion play was also full of lies! The result was not true knowing but feeling. It acted like a religious drug, the effects of which were short-lived. It was an abnormal experience, somewhat like a modern Pentecostal meeting where worshippers pray down the "spirit" and speak in tongues. Such activities are escapes from the realities of ordinary life.

Contrast these Greek methods with the Bible's way of knowing God. Knowledge of God comes, not by speculation or emotionalism, but by God's direct self-revelation. In other words, God Himself initiates our knowing of Him, beginning our relationship by drawing us by His Spirit (John 6:44).

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Fruit of the Spirit: Love


 

 




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