2 Corinthians 4
2 Corinthians 4:1
Therefore seeing we have this ministry, even as we obtained mercy, we don’t faint.
2 Corinthians 4:2
But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by the manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every mans conscience in the sight of God.
2 Corinthians 4:3
Even if our Good News is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish;
2 Corinthians 4:4
in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good News of the glory of Messiah, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them.
Anti-missionaries have accused the New Testament of promoting dualism based on this verse. Delitzsch renders the Greek word θεος (theos, god) by the word אל “el.” In Hebrew thought, neither “el” nor “elohim” exclusively refers to HaShem. This is evident in Exodus 4:16 and Psalm 82.
“When Israel stood at Mount Sinai and said, ‘All that the Lord had spoken will we do, and obey’ (Ex. XXIV, 7), the Holy One, blessed be He, called the angel of death and said to him: ‘Even though I made you a universal ruler (קוזמוקטור, kosmokator) over earthly creatures, you have nothing to do with this nation.”
Leviticus Rabbah 18:3, Soncino Press Edition
As the above demonstrates, the word “el” in this context means the “authority.” Yeshua says in relation to his impending death,
“Now is the judgment of this world. Now the prince of this world will be cast out.”
It is important to note the extent of the Accuser’s authority is limited to “this world.” This phrase in Hebrew is “olam hazeh” and carries a precise theological meaning in Jewish thought. It is contrasted with the word “Olam Haba” the World to Come. The “olam hazeh” is the world in which sin and death are prevalent. Yeshua says,
“My kingdom is not of this world.”
That is, “my kingdom is not of the olam hazeh, but of the olam haba.”
2 Corinthians 4:5
For we do not proclaim ourselves, but Messiah Yeshua as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Yeshua’s sake;
2 Corinthians 4:6
seeing it is God who said, “Light will shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Yeshua the Messiah.”
2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in clay vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves.
2 Corinthians 4:8
We are pressed on every side, yet not crushed; perplexed, yet not to despair;
In the process of sculpting a clay jar, the potter needs to press on every side to ensure everything is shaped properly. Isaiah says,
“But now, HaShem, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you our potter; and we all are the work of your hand.”