Paul’s Thorn Notes from teaching by Andrew Wommack 2 Corinthians 12:6-10 NLT 6 If I wanted to boast, I would be no fool in doing so, because I would be telling the truth. But I won’t do it, because I don’t want anyone to give me credit beyond what they can see in my life or hear in my message, 7 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. · Messenger of Satan: not a messenger of God. God did not give it to Paul! Messenger = angel, and in this case an angel that serves Satan—a demon. · It is TRADITION that has changed what the word plainly states. · “Buffet”—hitting over and over again. · “Exaltation”—comes from God. Godly exaltation! Paul was humble, saying he did not want people exalting him, that God was to get all the glory. · Satan came to keep him from getting magnified, to keep success at bay. Verses 9-10 re: INFIRMITIES: · Not a sickness · Take this passage in context to what came before also: 2 Corinthians 11:22-30 22 Are they Hebrews? So am I. Are they Israelites? So am I. Are they descendants of Abraham? So am I. 23 Are they servants of Christ? I know I sound like a madman, but I have served him far more! I have worked harder, been put in prison more often, been whipped times without number, and faced death again and again. 24 Five different times the Jewish leaders gave me thirty-nine lashes. 25 Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked. Once I spent a whole night and a day adrift at sea. 26 I have traveled on many long journeys. I have faced danger from rivers and from robbers. I have faced danger from my own people, the Jews, as well as from the Gentiles. I have faced danger in the cities, in the deserts, and on the seas. And I have faced danger from men who claim to be believers but are not. 27 I have worked hard and long, enduring many sleepless nights. I have been hungry and thirsty and have often gone without food. I have shivered in the cold, without enough clothing to keep me warm. 28 Then, besides all this, I have the daily burden of my concern for all the churches. 29 Who is weak without my feeling that weakness? Who is led astray, and I do not burn with anger? 30 If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am. · Above find a list of hardships—none were sicknesses! · Refers to lack or inadequacy ONLY! · “Infirmities” referred to persecution, demonic opposition. · Romans 8:26 And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words. -Infirmities refers to any lack or inadequacy, and in this case it is the not knowing how to pray. Purpose of the affliction: · To temper the people’s response to the mighty message of the gospel of Jesus Christ THORNS ARE PEOPLE! The following 3 references show us that thorns are always referred to as people. Paul was writing to the Jews, and it would be clear to them what he was meaning using the word “thorn” because of the past usage in scripture. The thorn always refers to someone---not illness. It is people-related. Numbers 33:55 But if you fail to drive out the people who live in the land, those who remain will be like splinters in your eyes and thorns in your sides. They will harass you in the land where you live. Joshua 23:13 then know for certain that the Lord your God will no longer drive them out of your land. Instead, they will be a snare and a trap to you, a whip for your backs and thorny brambles in your eyes, and you will vanish from this good land the Lord your God has given you. Judges 2:3 So now I declare that I will no longer drive out the people living in your land. They will be thorns in your sides, and their gods will be a constant temptation to you.” 2 Corinthians 12:10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 5 things are listed, and 4 clearly are NOT sickness. · Reproaches · Necessities · Persecutions · Distresses · BUT: Infirmities does not refer to sickness---it is merely referring to a hardship due to demonic opposition Romans 3:4 Certainly not! Indeed, let God be true but every man a liar. As it is written: “That You may be justified in Your words, And may overcome when You are judged.” Take the word as it is given: Nowhere does it say that Paul dealt with sickness in his ministry. We must cease from following after tradition, wipe the slate of our minds clean and re-read the word as if we have never read it before. Only then can we see the truth, without the influence of tradition colouring our understanding. We must follow only what scriptures say, lest we fall into the trap of false doctrines that actually are now teaching us based on the false assumptions concerning Paul and illness, that God’s will is for us to be sick! That is heresy! 1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. Our healing is already done---we just need to appropriate it. The thorn idea is used by people erroneously to say that God will put sickness on us for various reasons, such as to teach us something. They hide behind this teaching of the thorn to put forth such false ideas. They ignore that 2 Corinthians 12:7 distinctly says that this thorn was a “messenger of Satan”. They also ignore the fact that it was due to the abundance of revelation that Paul had. 2 Corinthians 12:2-5 I was caught up to the third heaven fourteen years ago. Whether I was in my body or out of my body, I don’t know—only God knows. 3 Yes, only God knows whether I was in my body or outside my body. But I do know 4 that I was caught up to paradise and heard things so astounding that they cannot be expressed in words, things no human is allowed to tell. 5 That experience is worth boasting about, but I’m not going to do it. I will boast only about my weaknesses. Paul had a HUGE revelation from God! And according to verse 7, “even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.”, unless you have had such a mighty revelation, you have no right to lay claim to any thorn in the flesh—which is not even sickness. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud. 8 Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. 9 Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong. FURTHERMORE: 1 Timothy 5:22-23 Never be in a hurry about appointing a church leader. Do not share in the sins of others. Keep yourself pure. 23 Don’t drink only water. You ought to drink a little wine for the sake of your stomach because you are sick so often. In this case, “infirmities” did refer to sickness. Timothy had recurring problems, obviously with his stomach and it can be reasonably inferred that it was due to his consistent taking in of foreign water wherever he traveled, as Paul’s sage advice was to take wine instead, as the fermentation of wine is a known killer of bacteria. We must be wise with our activities, including eating and drinking on foreign soil. This passage is NO proof or indicator that God doesn’t heal everybody. Nor is it a reflection on Paul when someone in his inner circle gets sick or is not perfectly healthy. Everyone is responsible to believe and to exercise their faith for healing. This passage about young Timothy is only proof that if we travel we must be careful that should we drink polluted water, you can become sick as a result. However, we must also remember that we are protected by God from anything untoward that is inadvertent, according to Mark 16:18: “and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them.” Now there are even some who will say that due to the wine advice that God is approving medicine for sickness. Well, sure, but it is not worthy of building a doctrine on it that somehow God wants us sick for any reason. ALSO re: Trophimus See 2 Timothy 4:20: “Erastus stayed at Corinth, and I left Trophimus sick at Miletus.” Some people will extrapolate that God wants people sick because of this tiny reference to Trophimus, and that Paul’s actions support their views. Who says Paul didn’t pray for Trophimus? Who says that Paul had to keep to his schedule and didn’t say to him that they would meet up later when he is well---which they did in Jerusalem. Who says that healing is always immediate? Who says that everyone has perfect faith for their own healing? Trophimus could have had a weakness in that area, and was denying faith in his own healing at that time. Is that an indicator that he is condemnable because he had a weakness? No. It is entirely possible that Paul did pray for Trophimus and couldn’t wait around. THERE IS NO BIBLICAL PROOF THAT TROPHIMUS WAS SICK ACCORDING TO GOD’S WILL. You would have to manufacture a story to build such a doctrine out of that. Isaiah 53:5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. Matthew 8:17 This fulfilled the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, who said, “He took our sicknesses and removed our diseases.” 1 Peter 2:24 He personally carried our sins in his body on the cross so that we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. By his wounds you are healed. 3 John 1:2 Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit. Acts 10:38 And you know that God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. Then Jesus went around doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 17 times is it said in scripture that Jesus healed EVERYONE present! There is no single instance where Jesus couldn’t heal or chose not to heal, apart from people’s lack of belief. John 14:12 “I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. We will do His works of healing. James 5:14-15 Are any of you sick? You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord. 15 Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well. And if you have committed any sins, you will be forgiven. Anoint and pray the prayer of faith. The motivation to stand against healing is fueled by the belief that when people die people refuse to believe it because of the lack of faith. They think it is somehow a condemnation on them to lack faith…or a hostile criticism, that they are horrible Christians. It doesn’t mean that at all. We can all come up higher in our faith---even the most victorious and mature among us. Having a weakness in the area of faith for healing as part of the atonement is not condemnable. The believer will still go to heaven if he gets sick and dies, but God has more for us and it isn’t His will that we die without the faith to be healed. We can walk in divine health, knowing that we need to walk in constant faith that sickness does not have to take hold of us.