112: Works of the Flesh; Heresies

In today’s article on heresies we shall study the root and foundation of all heresy; which is Gnosticism.

Gnosticism at its foundation means that man can decide right and wrong for himself, and as Satan lied in the garden man can  become God through his own efforts and his own wisdom. 

Gnosticism is to exalt the wisdom of man above the Word of God; Gnosticism  is rebellion against the Word of God, to do as we want like Eve in the garden.

Gnosticism is the fundamental underpinning of all rebellion against any zeal to keep the Word of God; it means [Self] knowledge; as opposed to knowledge revealed in God’s Word.

Oh, they will claim to  use God’s Word, but they will spin and twist it to mean whatever they decide for themselves.  They use human reasoning to twist the Word of God to support their rebellion against the Word of God!

The classic example is to say that: “We observe Sunday in honor of the Lord.”  While in fact, observing Sunday instead of the day that God has commanded actually disobeys and dishonors the LORD.  They use false reasoning to convince themselves that they are honoring the LORD by doing what they want, when they are dishonoring Him.

Gnosticism is appearing to be righteous by doing what man thinks is right; while in fact rebelling against the true righteousness of the Word of God.

Gnosticism is doing and thinking what we think is right, in rebellion against what God says is right; and it is believing the lie that we can achieve godliness by our own good works and by our own ways, as Satan lied to Eve in the garden; saying in so many words: “when you decide for yourself you shall be gods.”

Gnosticism is self wisdom in rebellion against Godly wisdom; it is doing what WE DECIDE; in rebellion against what God’s Word teaches!

Gnosticism is the sin into which the COG Groups have fallen today; self deciding, as opposed to zealously living by every Word of God.


The Works of the Flesh ~ Heresies

This week we look at the thirteenth “work of the flesh” as listed in Galatians 5:19-21 which is called “HERESIES”. And just as with the other works of the flesh, God through Paul tells us that if we embrace this fleshly work it will keep us from entering the Kingdom of God.

The definition of heresy is any teaching or belief system that deviates in any way from God’s Word.

A heresy is an error or falsehood that takes men away from the pure unadulterated truth of God as taught in the Holy Scriptures.  NO human [or spirit] being is above the Word of God!

All religions and all teachings about God and how we are to live our lives are false except for ONE.  That one way is called “THE WAY” in several passages and it is the truth of how we are to have faith in God and we are to live by every Word of God as laid out in the whole Word of God (Acts 19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14.).  That ONE WAY [of the LORD] is true and valid for ALL mankind as the WAY to live. Jesus Christ, our Mediator and Savior is our way to reconciliation with God the Father and only through Him can we know the truth.

John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

Because all the major religions of the world deviate from what God plainly teaches in the Bible, they are all characteristic of this work of the flesh [religions of men].

These are all heretical philosophical systems that do not teach the pure and unadulterated truth of the Bible, but rather embrace falsehoods and the philosophies of men. There are many, perhaps thousands of different belief systems; But there is only ONE God family and only ONE WAY that is TRUE.

God tells us in Isaiah that there is no other true God besides Him.

Isaiah 45:5 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me….

The WAY of God has been hidden from most of humanity throughout mankind’s history and is still hidden even in our modern so-called “enlightened” times. What I mean by hidden is that the truth of God is in plain view but men are so conditioned to believe in lies that they just cannot recognize TRUTH when they see it, or when they hear it.

The truth of God is available to many people in the modern western nations through the Bible, which is readily available to most. Also, all nations have the evidence of God staring them in the face by way of God’s creation in the heavens and the earth and all that surrounds us. The fact that we live in the midst of an intelligent design with perfect order, speaks of the existence of an intelligent CREATOR that designed it all. But just as Romans 1 tells us, mankind for the most part refuses to acknowledge the existence of a good and just God that is sovereign over all and is to be obeyed.

Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 5:20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 5:21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The Greek Word for heresy is hairesis (Strong’s #139) and means: heresy, sect. From haireomai; properly, a choice, i.e. (specially) a party or (abstractly) disunion — heresy (which is the Greek word itself), sect. (Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance)

Here is the English definition of heresy from the on-line Free Dictionary:

1. An opinion or doctrine contrary to the orthodox tenets of a religious body or church

2. The act of maintaining such an opinion or doctrine

3. Any opinion or belief that is or is thought to be contrary to official or established theory

4. Belief in or adherence to unorthodox opinion

Biblically “heresy’; is any deviation from any part of the complete Word of God, contained in the God inspired Holy Scriptures 

From the very beginning in Eden, heresies [turning aside from God’s Word] were a cause of much trouble and grief. Paul warned about a certain heresy when he wrote to the Galatians. He described it as perverting the gospel of Christ.

The biblical definition of Heresy is any teaching that is contrary to any part of the Word of God.

Galatians 1:6 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace [mercy and redemptive sacrifice] of Christ unto another gospel [Paul here clearly defines the “gospel” as the way of salvation through Jesus Christ]: 1:7 Which is not another [is not another gospel because there is NO other gospel, but is a heresy]; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ [which is the whole Word of God].

Galatians 1:8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you [the way of salvation through Jesus Christ], let him be accursed.

Did you get that?  The true gospel is NOT about some coming Kingdom of God although that is the reward;  the true gospel is about the way to eternal life in the Kingdom of God!

The true gospel is the gospel of sincere repentance and the application of the sacrifice of Jesus followed by a commitment to “go and sin no more”.  

Brethren, we have been deceived away from preaching the true Gospel of Salvation, into teaching about the coming Kingdom while neglecting the way into that Kingdom!

In order to appeal to the public in our outreach message, we are putting the reward before the gospel task of conversion from carnality into godliness!  

The true gospel is not about the reward; it is about the way to salvation; so that men can obtain that reward!  

Since 1968 the COG groups have been NOT been proclaiming the true  gospel!  

They have not obeyed our LORD and proclaimed sincere repentance and the application of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ the Lamb of God  with a sincere commitment to “go and sin no more”  as the way to salvation!

Isaiah 58:1  Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

Peter addressed the issue of heresy when he wrote his Epistle to the Ekklesia and he too warned them [and us] to be aware of those who would bring in damnable heresies and warned them and us not to follow their pernicious [seductive and insidious] ways.

2 Peter 2:1 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. 2:3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

As we read in many of the books of the New Testament, the apostles had to fight against heretical philosophies that were coming from all sides even in the first century. The Book of Acts and the Epistles are full of warnings of what was happening in the assemblies, warning the brethren to be aware of wolves in sheep’s clothing that were sneaking into the church and catching the people off guard and indoctrinating them with false ideas. Jude exhorted the Ekklesia about how important it is for God’s people to contend for the truth always.

Those warnings and instructions are just as applicable to the people of God in our modern day as they were for the people 2000 years ago. (Please see the whole book of Jude.)

All heresies [ANY departure from the Word of God] were condemned by the true apostles and teachers of God’s Word, but many heresies still infiltrate the Ekklesia in our present day. 

The Doctrine of the Nicolaitans is described at length in great detail in Lessons 101 to 106 at TheShiningLight School of Biblical Studies site.

A basic components of all heresy is Gnosticism and it still effects those of us in the Ekklesia to this day. It was a very predominant heresy in the early church and had several variations, one of which stated that good and evil are equally powerful and that material things are evil. 

“Gnosticism” simply means man leaning to his own understanding, and Gnostics have come up with an almost endless variety of explanations of the spiritual and physical worlds.  

How can we tell the difference between heresies and the truth?  By studying the truth! Then anything deviating from the truth is easily discerned to be a heresy!  

Brethren, your defense is to ground yourselves in the Word of God.  Our TheShiningLight School of Biblical Studies has line by line studies through the entire Bible as well as Doctrinal Studies.

2 Peter 3:17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before [in advance], beware lest ye also, being led away with the error [heresies] of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

When Jesus was rebuking certain folks for their lack of belief, He knew who they were OF and who was influencing them.

He explained to them that because they were following after heresies [false teachings], that the devil was their real father, meaning that children tend to think and behave like their fathers (and mothers) and it is the same spiritually.

We take on the attributes, mindsets and behavior of those that we follow after. In verse 47, Jesus told them that if they were truly of God, they would listen to and live by every Word of God and would understand what He was speaking about; and being grounded in the scriptures they would believe and obey His words rather than follow after their own false heretical traditions.

John 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 8:45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not. 8:46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me? 8:47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God.

Since it is Satan that abides not in the truth and is the father of lies, he is the father of all heresies and that “work of the flesh” called heresy  began with him a when he rebelled against God.

God gave His truth to Adam and Eve just after He created them, but Satan approached Eve and lied against her Creator and was able to turn Eve and then her husband against God’s truth as well.

Paul saw false teachers in his day, and he warned there would be many more false techers of false heresies in the Ekklesia in our day today. (Acts 20:29-30; 2nd Corinthians 2:17).

The apostle John also warned the church members with his letters to the church congregations against heresies and apostasies (1 John, 2 John, 3 John,) and the messages to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3.

Faithful teachers from God expose heretical false doctrine and warn the brethren to stay faithful to God’s true doctrines (1 Timothy 4:1-6, Titus 1:9-11). The whole world has been deceived, and deception and heresies are also rife in the church of God today.

Revelation 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

Galatians 2:16 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified [we are saved and justified by sincere repentance and the application of the sacrifice of Christ; after which we are to remain in sin NO LONGER but to STOP our sin and internalize the very nature of God]. 2:17 But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners [law breakers], is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid.

Galatians 4:9 But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements [heresies and sin], where unto ye desire again to be in bondage? 4:10 Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years  [the pagan times like Sunday and  Christmas, and not what God has commanded].

We know that Satan lied to a third of the angels to convince them to rebel against God but we do not know what he told them; but we do have the record of what he said to Eve in the Garden of Eden. What he told her is very similar to the lies that are propagated by Gnostic reasoning.

Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtle [cunning] than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? 3:2 And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: 3:3 But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. 3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: 3:5 For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.

This is why this Bible study is so very important.  False leaders in today’s assemblies mislead us into disobeying God by proclaiming that they are the deciders, thus usurping the Holy Scriptures.  Then with their Gnostic reasoning they decide it is alright to pollute God’s Sabbath and Holy Days and to reject God’s Biblical calendar for a man made heresy! 

Isaiah 3:12 As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths [our elders are leading us out of the paths of God].

Those who teach heresy may sincerely believe that they are right, yet they reject what God has already said in His inspired Word.  

In today’s Ekklesia there is so much idolatry of men that it appears that people do not even do Bible study to see if what others have taught them is congruent with what God teaches.

Numbers 23:19 God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.

The following, is what Paul wrote to Timothy, about what would happen in the last days; the “last days” meaning all time since the time of the apostles but especially our time today as we near the end of the age..

Apostasy from the truth of God began in the garden and continued from there through the days of the apostles as we can see from all their epistles, and apostasy for God’s Word has continued right up to our day just before the return of Christ. From the time of the early apostles, the church has accumulated false doctrines and traditions of men, and they have been handed down to the end time generation and in this generation we have fallen much further.

Most of God’s people are not even aware that we have strayed so far.

1 Timothy 4:1 [addressing today’s Ekklesia] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

One cannot “depart” from something one never had; therefore this is a prophecy about the condition of today’s church of God groups.

Satan was created as a very intelligent being, but he uses his intelligence to beguile and to lead people into many heresies against the truth in God’s Word.

He seeks to destroy the faithful obedience to God of God’s people with dubious means. There are other heresies that have made their rounds in the Church of God teaching that we must pronounce God’s name in a certain way in order to have salvation, which again, undermines the fact that nowhere does God teach such things. The Word of God is under attack probably more now than at any other time in history.

Those who are steadfast in the sound doctrine of every Word of God and who reject any departure from any part of the Word of God, will receive the reward of eternal life in the Kingdom of God.  

This preaching of a coming 1,000 year millennial Kingdom of God [which is true, but only a small part of the truth]  is transcended by the true gospel of sincere repentance, sanctification by the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and eternal salvation!

Romans 2:7  To them who by patient continuance in well doing [living by every Word of God] seek for glory and honour and immortality, eternal life:

Romans 6:23 For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Proverbs 12:28 In the way of righteousness is life: and in the pathway thereof there is no death.

Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?

Ezekiel 18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.

In 1 Timothy 6:16  Paul writes that God alone has immortality; no human has it, which includes all persons even true Christians. Only after they have qualified in this life and if they are chosen after death by God to be a member of His first fruits will they then receive the gift of eternal life.

1 Timothy 6:16 Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

The Scriptures teaches that there will be a resurrection from the dead to immortal spirit beings for those who are called and who respond positively to God’s call during their lifetimes; living by every Word of God and rejecting all heresies [rejecting any departure from living by every Word of God]

Eternal life is a marvelous GIFT from God; we do not have it as a possession from birth as Satan would have us to believe. God gives it as the reward of being faithful to Him after we have received forgiveness through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ and then spend the rest of our lives overcoming and committing ourselves “to go and sin no more.”

In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul explains that all those who are faithful to live by every Word of God will receive immortality at the resurrection to spirit.

1 Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 15:51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 15:53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 15:54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 15:55 O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Revelation 11:15 And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

If we are one of the chosen to be resurrected from the dead to be part of the first fruits; it is only then that we, the saints, will be changed and will be given new spiritual bodies. We are told in 1 John 3:2 that we will be like Jesus in His spiritual state.

It is God’s prerogative to decide who will be resurrected and be granted the privilege of living forever more. That means that God holds total sovereignty over His creation. He can let die those who show during their lifetimes that they are NOT willing to be subject to His way of life, those who will NOT keep all of His commandments and who refuse to allow God to have the rule in their lives.

God is not obligated to give eternal life to anyone but he does promise to give it to His own beloved children who prove themselves faithful by believing the truth and living by every Word of God forever.

However, by negating the truth about how one does attain to eternal life through the 


The Great Lie: Man can know and understand right from wrong without God

In Satan’s encounter with Eve Satan lied saying that by deciding for herself contrary to God’s Word, that partaking of the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, would open her eyes and she would then be like God deciding good and evil for herself. 

Satan’s main deception which is the foundation of all heresies is that human beings can decide right from wrong without God, that man can decide right and wrong for himself and contrary to the Word of God.

This is the same lie that many religious leaders including the called out Ekklesia embraced when they declared that thee were the decider and that they were the “Peter” having the right to bind and loose the Word of God!  This is the damnable Nicolaitane heresy that a layer of men come between the brethren and God, and that these men must be obeyed without question above the Word of God, because they are the deciders; that holds nearly all of today’s Ekklesia in its despicable grip.

Those who embrace Gnosticism, which means “those who decide for themselves”, pursue spiritual knowledge from all kinds of sources except God’s Word, deciding for themselves what is right and what is wrong.

They believe the worldly knowledge which they seek will give them an enhanced spiritual experience through a series of spiritual advancements that brings them into higher levels of “consciousness” in ascending into the spiritual realm. It is very confusing as they make up their own rules and regulations especially in the area of ascetic living as we read in Colossians.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil [rob you through deception] you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

Colossians 2:20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, 2:21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; [after the traditions of men and not according to the scriptures]; 2:22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men.

But for those who overcome and live by every Word of God, the Book of Revelation gives us God’s promise of the right to the Tree of Life.

Revelation 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Revelation 22:14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. 

None of the world’s religions teach that one must strive to keep all of God’s commandments. Every last one of them teaches things contrary to the need for the righteousness of God [which is to live by every Word of God].

It is through Jesus’ atoning death applied to our past sins and then committing to go and sin no more, which meets God’s standard of righteousness.

If we are chosen at the resurrection to spirit, it is at that time that God grants eternal life to us which is His gift. That life will not only be eternal but it will be a glorious life that is full of virtue and goodness, the kind of life that God has and the kind that brings everlasting joy and peace.

The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil represents deciding for oneself the right way to live.  For an in depth study in this subject begin with Lesson 101 in this category.

On the other hand the Tree of Life represents the way of life that requires overcoming the works of the flesh and growing in all the things that God says is His standard of righteousness; keeping God’s commandments and walking in the fruits of the Spirit.

The only persons who are allowed to partake of the Tree of Life are those who have changed their carnal natures through the power of God’s Holy Spirit and who set it in their minds that they want to live in the same manner as God lives and to walk the way Jesus walked when He was living on earth in the flesh.

They are the saints who have internalized the divine nature of God to replace their carnal human nature, who love God and want to be like Him in every way. These are the people who have rejected all heresy and they will be the only ones that will be able to enter God’s Kingdom. Those who embrace any part of the heresies of this world will not be in God’s Kingdom.


The End Results of Satan’s Lies

First Eve, then Adam succumbed to Satan’s temptation, ate of the forbidden fruit and ever since, man has rejected God’s standard of righteousness and instead follow the dictates of his own heart and embraced the deceptions of Satan. Therefore we have the miserable conditions that we have had all thorough the history of mankind and continues to our day in our modern world. All because mankind believes Satan’s lies.

The Gnostics cherry pick what they want to keep and they throw out huge sections of God’s Word. Gnostic creeds are not against every law that is in the Bible but they make up their own requirements for their standards of righteousness and often interpret, add to, take away from, or twist God’s Word 

Where is the logic? If we break one of God’s laws it is the same as breaking all the laws yet they make the laws of God of no effect by their own made up laws. Thus, just as was done in the Garden of Eden they decide for themselves what constitutes the way of righteousness.

James 2:10 For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.

Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 5:18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 5:19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

The ultimate decision of human beings is whether we will submit to God’s rule over our lives or try to decide what is good for ourselves or what we believe will work for humanity. Mankind has done this throughout history and is still doing it every way except the right way. Almost 6000 years of man’s trying to rule himself and others have proven to be disastrous, thus we are learning the hard way that taking this knowledge does not work and only leads to misery, pain and death, the very opposite of what Satan promises.

Satan and what he proposed to our first parents has proven himself to be a liar and not to be trusted. Soon God will set up His Kingdom that will be based on every Word of God.  Only God’s ways will bring true lasting peace and happiness if men will only follow God’s commands and not listen to Satan.

Soon mankind will come to know that only God’s way results in eternal life in peaceful prosperity, but eternal life comes with an obligation to submit oneself to God’s truth and to His laws. It requires keeping all of God’s commandments, statutes, ordinances, precepts and judgments, and overcoming our human nature; the works of the flesh.

Satan, who is the ultimate source of all heresy conversely seeks to persuade us to seek our own self-righteousness and to usurp God’s sovereignty and God’s prerogative to define what is right and wrong.



As we can see, Gnosticism or “man decides right from wrong for himself”, is the foundation of all heresy.

Paul in addressing this very thing, taught that self knowing or self deciding tends to cause people to be puffed up (to be prideful), but that true godly love edifies; meaning that to edify we build up the church by exhortation, encouragement, rebuking all sin, expounding the Word of God

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. [Worldly] Knowledge puffeth up, but charity  [Godly knowledge and godly love to teach God’s truth; destroys idols!] edifieth.

1 Corinthians 12:77 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal.

Sumpheró: (Strong’s #4851) to bring together, to be profitable bring together, be expedient, be profitable for. (Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament)

The phrase “common good,” means “to bear or bring together, to carry with others, to collect or contribute in order to help, to help, to be profitable, to be expedient.” (Word Study Helps)

Gnosticism, man deciding right and wrong for himself apart from living by every Word of God, is a foundation of all heresy and we must guard against this kind of mindset. As the people of God we must seek the right kind of knowledge which is gained in a life long learning process by studying God’s Word, meditating upon it and applying what we learn to our lives. In fact the more we do keep God’s ways, the more correct knowledge and Godly wisdom He will give to us. God says through David:

Psalm 111:10 The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: a good understanding have all they that do his commandments: his praise endureth for ever.

If we fear God and tremble at His Word; that will safeguard us from believing in the lies of Satan.

RIGHT knowledge is extremely important and if we find it, it will never contradict anything that God says in His Word. Ultimately Jesus is going to banish all false so called “knowledge” and heresies from the earth; in the meantime we are to buy the truth and sell it not and guard the truth with all our being.

God the Father gave His only begotten Son so that we could be redeemed from the deception of this world, be forgiven for our sins, and then use our lives to seek the true way to life in peace with others. Reject Satan’s lie that comes to you in any form of heresy for its intent is take away your chance for eternal life.

Proverbs 23:23 Buy the truth, and sell it not; also wisdom, and instruction, and understanding.

Hebrews 12:16 Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

Don’t exchange God’s precious truth and the golden opportunity to be with him in His Kingdom forever, for any kind of cheap imitation heresy. Just as Paul says in Hebrews about Esau; he sold his blessing for a temporal bowl of pottage because he did not treasure what was going to be given to him as his right as the firstborn son. If we listen to heresy, if we tolerate it even in small amounts, we could very well lose the birthright of our calling; I speak to myself as well.

The exhortation in Galatians 5:20 is a very serious warning that those who are polluted with the work of the flesh that is called “heresy”, WILL NOT be in God’s Kingdom.

James 1:13 Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. 1:16 Do not err, my beloved brethren.

One way to avoid being ensnared by heresies is to be vigilant, to know the truth so completely that we will recognize heresy when it is presented to us and then immediately reject it.

1 Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

If God’s faithful people are alert and awake they will recognize the voice of their Lord, though, and they will follow Him wheresoever He should go. They will look to their Good Shepherd to keep them safe from heresy if they are only listening to His voice and they refuse to listen to the voice of evil doers who tempt them to depart from God’s truth.

John 10:3 To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. 10:4 And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. 10:5 And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers.

Proverbs 4

This is not just the words of Solomon, it is Holy Scripture inspired by God our Father in heaven and by the Son. 

Every person should take this as a personal instruction from God our Father in heaven; because that is exactly what it is.  When it says “hear your father;” consider that our heavenly Father is speaking to and instructing us personally.

Let us hear and KEEP the teachings of our Father in heaven and seek understanding from him.

Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a [God our Father in heaven] father, and attend to know understanding.

The Almighty Eternal Father is the fountainhead of the Sound Doctrine of Holy Scripture and the Law of Life Eternal.

4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

Romans 7:12   Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.

Proverbs 4:3 For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother.

Attend to the words of the Father of light; for his teachings are good and his law is life eternal.

4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

Seek out a good understanding of the teachings and commandments of God’s Word; to KEEP them and DO them.  Turn neither to the right nor to the left in seeking understanding of the Word of God with all your might and diligent zeal.

Yes, seek God and never compromise in zeal for his ways.

NEVER exalt any man, organization or tradition over what you learn from God’s Word!  If we obey him; God’s Spirit will continually lead us into more truth; and we shall become more and more like our Father in heaven!

4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of [Our heavenly Father’s mouth] my mouth.

Love the Word of God, the teachings and commandments of Christ and God the Father; which is the whole of the Holy Scriptures; and KEEP them diligently without any hint of turning or compromise!

If you truly loved Christ and the Father; you would do what they say!

To compromise with God’s Word is to turn away from Christ and  quenches the Spirit of Truth.

4:6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee.

Wisdom is a good understanding and a faithful doing of the teachings and commandments of Christ and God the Father.

Wisdom is learned through the practical application of the teachings and commandments of Christ and God the Father.  We can read and hear forever, but if we do not apply and do, what we see and hear in the Word of God; we shall never learn spiritual wisdom.

The wisdom of God; comes from KEEPING the commandments of God.  Our heavenly Father tells us to get wisdom; and wisdom is gotten through the zealous KEEPING of all of the teachings and commandments of God’s Word.

Those who do not rebuke departures from God’s law [which is sin], and who think that keeping a way that leads to many sorrows and death; are spiritually ignorant and foolish.  

Today all the major Church of God Groups are cut off from God, because of their compromising and idolatry.

4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

4:8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

4:9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

God the Father on heaven says:  hear the words of eternal life and do them; that thy life may be forever.

4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many.

The Holy Scriptures are the right paths to internalize the wisdom of the King of the Universe and the way to eternal life.

4:11 I [God the Father has] have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I [God the Father has] have led thee in right paths.

If we diligently study to learn the ways of God and then zealously KEEP them; we shall become fit to be chosen as a part of the bride and enter eternal life.  Anyone who says “buy food in restaurants on Sabbath” or tolerates any other sin without rebuke and instruction in righteousness; is working against Christ, and is stealing your crown of life!

4:12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble.

KEEP the teachings and commandments of God and you shall be delivered into his bride at the resurrection of the faithful.  Eternal life abides in the instructions of the Father and Christ!

4:13 Take fast hold of [God the Father’s] instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

NEVER compromise with the ways of God; no matter what ANY man says.  Prove men by the Word of God; do not twist scripture to follow men away from our zeal for God.

4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men.

4:15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

Keep the commandments of God with righteous zeal and turn not aside for ANY false teacher who refuses to rebuke sin, tolerates false doctrine and tries to exalt  himself above the Word of God.

It is the delight of these wicked deceivers to lead many astray so that they are not alone in their evil deeds.

4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall.

4:17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

The acceptable to God learn more and more and KEEP more and more each day, until they come t the fullness of complete UNITY with God the Father and Christ!  And as they learn, and DO they grow and become a beacon of godliness, as an example to others, of the wonder of God and his awesome magnificent wisdom and commandments. 

4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.

Those who compromise or reject the commandments of God are in deep spiritual darkness; knowing not the way to life and salvation.  The willful breaking of the teachings and commandments of God is the way to sorrows, death and final destruction.

4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

Our Beloved Father in heaven has given us the way to peace, fulfillment and eternal life; follow the Father’s words and ways with enthusiastic zeal that we may be like him forever. 

Let the sayings of Christ and God the Father NEVER depart from our minds and our deeds forever!

4:20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

4:21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart.

The Word of God, the sayings of Christ and the Father are life eternal to those who KEEP them.

4:22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh.

Keep our hearts and minds pure from all sin and rebellion against our Father; for obedience to God is life eternal; and compromise and rebellion is death eternal.

Oh, how far we have fallen from life towards death; because of their idolatry and rebellion against our Righteous Father.

4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

Do not teach false doctrine, or the perversity of compromise with God’s commandments!

Do not speak against the righteous commandments and teachings of Christ and God the Father, as many elders do today in promoting the sin of organizational idolatry!

4:24 Put away from thee a forward [stubborn, rebellious, contrary] mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee.

Keep our eyes fixed on the truth of God’s Word.

4:25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee.

Think on the Word of God and choose wisely our words and actions, that we may be established in God’s sight.  Do what is right in the eyes of the Father always, and refrain from all evil, so shall we be established in his sight!

4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established.

4:27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.


Proverbs 4 Commentary

One way we can combat heresy is to seek after God’s truth and to turn away from any teaching that leads us away from sound doctrine.

To be filled with the right knowledge, we need to go to the right source: God’s Word, filling our minds daily with every Word of God and then applying those words in our lives.

*Proverbs 4:1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding.

Proverb 4 is a call from a father to his children to give them some wise instruction and he begins by affectionately admonishing his sons and daughters to attend to know understanding. He lets it be known right in the beginning of his instruction that he is appealing to them to make every effort and care to KNOW understanding. The subject of this father’s message, is to have their greatest pursuit in life to the attaining of the knowledge of the spiritual things of God and to apply those things to their lives. Included in this proverb, this father appeals to his children to HOLD FAST to UNDERSTANDING, to never forget it and never let it slip away from them.

We know Solomon wrote most of the Proverbs and in this proverb it is he, Solomon, speaking to his children. This is also recorded in God’s Word as an allegory of God our Father in heaven and His advice to those He has called and who have become His faithful beloved children. This is the advise of our Father who instructs us to “pay attention in order to gain and to know intelligent discernment, comprehension, and interpretation of spiritual matters.”

*Proverbs 4:2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law.

God our Father loves us and is concerned that we remember all the things that He has taught us. He has called us to know His Word [God’s Word is Truth], and he has given His only begotten Son to atone for our sins. In this second verse, just like Solomon gives instruction to his children, God reminds us that He has given us good doctrine and tells us not to ever forsake His law, which is every Word of God. 

*Proverbs 4:3 For I was my father’s son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4:4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live.

When he [Solomon] was a son with his father [David], tender and the only beloved son of his mother [Bathsheba]; his father had taught him then, and now Solomon teaches his own sons and daughters. He is following God’s command that parents are to teach their children, – one generation instructing another generation – just as David [and Asaph] spoke of in many of their Psalms. Solomon tells his children, just as God the Father tells us, to keep these words of instruction, keep God’s commandments and by doing so you will LIVE!
Jesus said something similar to the rich young man about true “life”.

 Matthew 19:17 ….. but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

God’s instructions for parents to teach the things of God to their children is woven throughout Scriptures. We are all familiar with the verses in Deuteronomy 4 and 6 which commands us to teach our children and our grandchildren.

This instruction is also reflected in Psalm 78:2-7; this is a beautiful passage of Scripture that gives the big picture of why we are to teach our children about the things of God. If all parents would keep this command to teach their children the importance of keeping all of God’s commandments, passing this knowledge to every generation, God’s truth would not be forgotten. In this end time generation, this is exactly what has happened. Many children do not have a clue about what the Bible teaches and they do not know the importance of keeping God’s law because the parents neglect to teach them.

Deuteronomy 6:6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;

Psalm 78:2 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

78:3 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

78:4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the Lord, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

78:5 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:

78:6 That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

78:7 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

*Proverbs 4:5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 4:6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 4:7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

In these 3 verses we have a father’s impassioned plea to his children to get wisdom and understanding whatever the cost, and then for them not to forget and not let them slip away because of neglect or by putting other things above them.

The promise is that if they will do this, understanding and wisdom will keep them protected, and it will guard them from evil.

In verse 7 the father declares that wisdom is the PRINCIPLE thing, the most important thing that we could ever pursue in life. Wisdom begins with the Word of God.  Please see our Seven Pillars of Wisdom Study.

Without wisdom and knowledge of the things of God, we will fall away from godliness and into much heresy, and we will bring misery and destruction upon ourselves.

With all your might, mind and strength GET understanding (skillful and godly discernment, comprehension, and interpretation). God the Father says do whatever it takes to attain it, to make our life on this earth count by first using our time to study, learn and grow in the ways of God, and do not let anything come between us and the acquiring of God’s truth. Put seeking His truth and His righteousness first and He will take care of the rest.

*Proverbs 4:8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her.

This verse emphasizes the supreme value of wisdom. The person who holds God’s wisdom in highest esteem and embraces it fully will be exalted and honored with the crown of life.

This is an allegory of God the Father stating that if we prize godly Wisdom and Understanding highly and exalt them above all other pursuits; then our efforts will pay off at some point, even if it is not until the resurrection to spirit.

She [godly wisdom and understanding personified] will cause us eventually to be exalted and promoted in a way that really counts, and not in the counterfeit positions of fame and fortune that the world so highly esteems. If we embrace God’s Word and His way of life, even if we have to suffer for doing so or to endure mocking and persecution because we do not esteem the ways of the world and we put God’s commandments above them, she [wisdom and understanding of the things of God] will bring the right kind of honor when God bestows it upon us for being faithful and for enduring to the end.

*Proverbs 4:9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.

Having the virtues of godly wisdom and understanding in a godly person’s life; will be like an ornament of grace and a crown of glory. These striking metaphors are compelling calls to help encourage God’s children to wholeheartedly respond and to give heed to all of God the Father’s instructions concerning His counsel.

If every Word of God is embraced and applied to all our thoughts, words and actions, “she” shall give to our head an ornament of grace [we will receive God’s mercy]; a crown of beauty and glory [we will become the kings and priests of God in the resurrection to spirit] will be given to us.

If we embrace the wisdom of God and apply it in our lives, it will lead us to eternal life and we shall rise up in the resurrection to spirit endowed with new, beautiful, and glorified spiritual bodies. But most importantly, we will be able to live with God the Father and the Son and be a member of their team in bringing many more sons to glory, all those He will be working with in the Millennium and in the Great Fall Harvest.

If we are “faithful unto death”, we will be given a crown of glory, eternal life living in God’s presence (Revelation 2:10). The apostle James describes eternal life with God as the “crown of life” given to those who love God in return for His love.

James 1:12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.

*Proverbs 4:10 Hear, O my son, and receive my sayings; and the years of thy life shall be many. 4:11 I have taught thee in the way of wisdom; I have led thee in right paths. 4:12 When thou goest, thy steps shall not be straitened; and when thou runnest, thou shalt not stumble. 4:13 Take fast hold of instruction; let her not go: keep her; for she is thy life.

These verses present more appeals to the children to walk in the ways of godly wisdom and understanding.

Solomon in an allegory of God the Father here, says that He has led His children into right paths and if they will stay on the right paths, all their steps will be guided and they will not stumble and fall because of sin. In verse 13, the Father reiterates the importance of holding fast and never letting go of God’s wisdom for it is our life. We are also told in Revelation 3:11 to hold fast to what we have been given.

Revelation 3:11 Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.

*Proverbs 4:14 Enter not into the path of the wicked, and go not in the way of evil men. 4:15 Avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it, and pass away.

In verse 14 and 15, Solomon as a type of God the Father, switches gears somewhat and warns His children to stay off the path of wicked men [to stay away from heresies Against the Word of God] and not to go in the way of sinners. He says do not even go close to these people [or their doctrine and heretical teachings] that they should avoid them and quickly flee from them.

*Proverbs 4:16 For they sleep not, except they have done mischief; and their sleep is taken away, unless they cause some to fall. 4:17 For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence.

Wicked men are a snare for they live to deceive and do evil; their whole lives show the effects of their lack of godly wisdom. They are those who decide for themselves how they should live. They are not only are stumbling themselves in life, but they desire to make others fall as well. Instead of their thoughts being consumed with the thoughts of God and His precepts, their thoughts are consumed in thinking up mischief or scams to ensnare others to do their bidding.

*Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. 4:19 The way of the wicked is as darkness: they know not at what they stumble.

These two verses contrast the two ways that men go; the difference between the path of the just and the way of the wicked gives us cause to reflect.

The way of wisdom is straight, it is lit up and safe; and the path that the just and righteous choose is like the light of dawn, that shines more and more [brighter and clearer] until the perfect day [it reaches its full strength and glory in the middle of the day] which can symbolize that day when we reach [with God’s help and the Holy Spirit] perfection or completion as a result of seeking God and His wisdom.

Matthew 5:48 Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

Proverbs 4:10 says that the way of the wicked is like deep darkness, it is the way of sin and evil and leads to darkness – death. Because of their ignorance of the ways of God, for that is what they choose, the wicked stumble and do not even consider why they stumble. The wicked love darkness [secrecy] and hate exposure of their deeds by the light.

There are two paths; one is a path of light, the other of darkness; one leads to promise and eternal life, the other to darkness which causes people to stumble and leads only to destruction.

In Hosea, the prophet also warns the priests [elders] of  spiritual Israel that because they reject right knowledge and do not seek understanding especially in this latter day, they will forfeit their chance to be a resurrected priest unto God. This is a warning to all of God’s spiritual children as well.

Hosea 4:6  My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.

*Proverbs 4:20 My son, attend to my words; incline thine ear unto my sayings.

In verse 20, Solomon as a type of God the Father repeats His appeal to His children to pay attention to His words and to let these things sink down deep into their ears and take them to heart.

Revelation 2:29 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

*Proverbs 4:21 Let them not depart from thine eyes; keep them in the midst of thine heart. 4:22 For they are life unto those that find them, and health to all their flesh. 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life. 4:24 Put away from thee a froward mouth, and perverse lips put far from thee. 4:25 Let thine eyes look right on, and let thine eyelids look straight before thee. 4:26 Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. 4:27 Turn not to the right hand nor to the left: remove thy foot from evil.

The rest of this Proverb, verses 21- 27, is more timely advice to Solomon’s children and is also meant for us, all those who are the children of God the Father. If we read these verses with the thought of achieving godly knowledge and avoiding heresy at all cost, these verses will help to guard us from being beguiled away from the truth of God.

From this Proverb we see that “knowledge” is a very good thing if it is the knowledge of true doctrines and living by every Word of God. It is only when we begin to decide right from wrong for ourselves that we become filled with pride and go astray.

To seek to be filled with the wisdom, understanding and knowledge of God are the greatest treasures we could ever possess.

Brethren, heresy and looking to the traditions of men are rampant in the church of God in these end days, just as the apostles warned in so many of their letters and in Revelation. It is time to turn back to God to seek out His truth with all of our might and remove all heresy from our midst.

God the Father is calling and Jesus Christ is knocking to let them come in and to sup [eat internalize God’s Word] with each one of us personally.

I will end this commentary with the passage in Revelation which speaks to our generation as well as all those that have come and gone since the time of the apostle John who recorded these words of Christ.

These warnings too can be applied to heresy for if we say that we as the church of God do not have any heresies and that we already have all the truth, we lie.

God the Father admonishes his sons and daughters to attend to know knowledge and [godly] wisdom, so too our loving and passionate Lord, Savior and Espoused Husband appeals to us to repent of our Laodicianism, our lack of zeal to search the Scriptures daily; to see if the things that we believe and what we have been taught are really Biblical and are consistent with every Word of God.

Revelation 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: 3:18 I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see.

3:19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me. 3:21 To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne. 3:22 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.

Matthew 13:45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 13:46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

The merchant man sold all that he had to purchase a valuable pearl; how much more valuable is the knowledge of God as laid out in the Holy Scriptures which our LORD has so graciously given to us.

Solomon, in Proverb 4 gives us the wisest advice we could ever receive: “Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding”!

And in another place Solomon appeals to his readers declaring to them that there is nothing more valuable than the KNOWLEDGE OF GOD!

Proverbs 8:10 Receive my instruction, and not silver; and knowledge rather than choice gold. 8:11 For wisdom is better than rubies; and all the things that may be desired are not to be compared to it.

James Malm and Constance Belanger

Note- Constance submitted the original rough draft of this article in 2016, which I then completed for posting.

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