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photo credit: Love from the sky via photopin (license)
photo credit: Love from the sky via photopin (license)

For love is as strong as death,
Jealousy is as severe as Sheol;

Song of Songs 8:6 NASB

This couplet is loaded. Were there ever two stronger statements about the love Jesus has for His bride. As you probably have noticed, I'm intrigued by words. And these two lines carry six strong words.

Love
Strong
Death
Jealousy
Severe
Sheol

Striking, aren’t they?

Other than love and death each is translated in many ways, and we’ll take a look as some of those variations.

But first - to love.

Remember, we’re in the Hebrew here, so this is not one of the Greek words for love - though in the Septuagint (a Greek translation of the Old Testament) a form of agape is used here.

I am no Greek or Hebrew scholar (I’m no scholar at all (I had to look up the word scholar)) but what I can tell you is that the word love here is the word used for Jacob’s love for Rachel - it’s a form of the word used to describe Abraham's love for Isaac when God commanded him to sacrifice Isaac on the mountain. It’s as close to agape as we’ll find in the Hebrew.

Now in 1 Corinthians 13, agape is defined for us:

Love
is patient,
is kind
is not jealous;
does not brag
is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly;
does not seek its own,
is not provoked,
does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness,
rejoices with the truth;
bears all things,
believes all things,
hopes all things,
endures all things.

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NASB (tweaked)

But this love Jesus has for His bride as described in Song of Songs 8:6—well—is this the same animal?

Let’s look at these compelling words and how others have translated this verse:

Strong: overpowering, powerful, invincible.

Jealousy: devotion, passion, ardent love, desire, envy.

Severe: unyielding, strong, unrelenting, intense, hard, cruel, fierce, enduring, sharp, relentless.

Sheol: grave, death itself, hell.

So, for today, my paraphrase would sound something like this:

The love Jesus has for us is as invincible as death.
His passion for us is as unrelenting as hell itself.

Last week we looked at Paul’s declaration of how invincible divine love is from Romans 8:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? Just as it is written, "FOR YOUR SAKE WE ARE BEING PUT TO DEATH ALL DAY LONG; WE WERE CONSIDERED AS SHEEP TO BE SLAUGHTERED." But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. - Romans 8:35-39 NASB

And incase you are wondering how unrelenting hell is—Solomon put it this way:

Hell and Destruction are never full; So the eyes of man are never satisfied. - Proverbs 27:20 NKJV

All the power of heaven and hell are wrapped up in the Father’s love for us. Let this sink in. A revelation of this love will change you completely. It will complete ruin low self-esteem. It will destroy doubt. It will drive out fear, and flood your heart with assurance and confidence in the one thing we can surely count on for all eternity. Jesus’ love.

benheadshot1Thanks for coming by

See you again soon

Ben

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Here are a few of the many ways this is translated. I used one of my favorite tools for this study - BibleGateway’s “Every English Translation” tool. Look up any single verse in BibleGateway.com and there is a link at the bottom that will show you every translation they have for that verse. It’s a great way to see how the scholars have positioned the verse you are studying.

Love is as overpowering as death.
Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. (GW)

Love is as powerful as death;
passion is as strong as death itself. (GNT)

For love is as strong as death;
ardent love is as unrelenting as Sheol. (HCSB)

Love is as strong as death.
Desire is as strong as the grave. (ICB)

For love is as strong as death,
passion as intense as Sheol. (ISV)

for love is strong as death; jealousy is hard as Sheol; (JUB)

for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: (KJV)

for love is strong as death;
passion is fierce as Sheol; (LEB)

Love is invincible facing danger and death.
Passion laughs at the terrors of hell. (MSG)

Love is as overpowering as death.
Devotion is as unyielding as the grave. (NOG)

For Love is strong as Death,
longing is fierce as Sheol. (NABRE)

For love is as strong as death,
its jealousy as enduring as the grave. (NLT)

For love is as strong as death,
and jealousy is as relentless as the grave. (Voice)

for love is strong as death, envy is hard as hell; (WYC)

For strong as death is love, Sharp as Sheol is jealousy, (YLT)

You can check them all out here.

GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) Copyright © 1995 by God's Word to the Nations. Used by permission of Baker Publishing Group;
Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society;
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.;
International Children’s Bible (ICB) The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.;
International Standard Version (ISV) Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.;
Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB) 2000, 2001, 2010 by LIFE SENTENCE Publishing;
King James Version (KJV) by Public Domain;
Lexham English Bible (LEB) 2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software;
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson;
Names of God Bible (NOG) The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group. ;
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE) Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner. ;
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.;
The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved. ;
Wycliffe Bible (WYC) 2001 by Terence P. Noble;
Young's Literal Translation (YLT) by Public Domain

Lucifer, by William Blake, for Dante's Inferno...
Lucifer, by William Blake, for Dante's Inferno, canto 34 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My new friend Felicia from http://www.alifesanctified.com/ has asked another great question this week.

Q. Since God is omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent; why did He create Satan?

I love this question. And it even has some hooks to the question we played with this morning.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I have a feeling there is a fairly widely held belief that Angels were created with no free will.

We talk in Christian circles as though angels are heaven’s robots.

Or perhaps we have an upstairs – downstairs kind of impression of angels. Like they are the servant class creation, serving the needs of humans.

But I believe scriptures teach a different truth. I believe that angels are beings with a will, and with the freedom of choice much as man is. (ok – if you missed the first Q&A today, you might want to go back to it here, where I discussed the free will of man.)

You see, the way I see it, if angels did not have free will, they would not have been able to rebel in the first place – would they?

Remember God did not create an angry vengeful devil in a red suit who started his existence as an evil beast.

Lucifer was a wonderful angel of light – the head of all the angels.

How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit ~ Isaiah 14:12-15 (NKJV)

He exalted himself in pride and wanted to be like God. Hmmm – sounds familiar doesn’t it – pretty much the same temptation he threw at Adam and Eve.

So we come back to - Why did God create a being that  - if He knows everything, end from the beginning and all – He knew full well would make a mess of things?

Based on my assumption that angels are free beings with choice, and options, you can see that this is a lot like saying why create Hitler, or Bin Laden, or my crabby neighbor, or – well – me for that matter. Where do you draw the line?

Thank God that He did not draw the line. Instead He planted a cross, the plan where by all of the above could have relationship restored (with the exception of Lucifer, I am pretty sure it was too late for him by the time we get to the garden.)

So what do you think? How would you answer Felicia’s question?

Join in below, or blog about it and leave us a link!

Ben NelsonThanks for stopping by today.

See you again soon.

Ben

By the way, if you have questions of your own, click on the link on the right and let us toss them around a bit.