Last time we examined most of the 13 verses of chapter 13 concerning the enduring "charity" or christian love. The signs and wonders were a part of a temporary manifestation of the powers of the age to come (Heb 6:5). This reminds us that the "Mystery" given to PAul the prisoner was not a part of the revelation given to the Acts believers. This has many consequences when interpreting this thirteenth chapter.
The bomb shell for those of us who were taught that "the body of Christ" began in Acts is the Fact that this is wrong and any structure built on this mid Acts assumption will ultimately crash to the ground.
Chapter 13: 8-13
It is instructive to look at the verbs in verse 8
TBT 1 Corinthians 13:8 ἡ ἀγάπη οὐδέποτε ἐκπίπτει· εἴτε δὲ προφητεῖαι, καταργηθήσονται· εἴτε γλῶσσαι, παύσονται· εἴτε γνῶσις, καταργηθήσεται.
Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.
Love does not ever fqll from its place of prominence, the verb here is " ἐκπίπτει" which is in the present, indicative active -- love does something -- it never fails, it is not operated on and made to stop, it has a life of its own and never (oudepote) loses its place and position. On the other hand prophecies and knowledge are made void -- the verbs in these cases are, for prophecies - καταργηθήσονται, and for knowledge καταργηθήσεται both future, indicative, passive of the same verb. That is they do not remain and endure but are made to become void by forces outside themselves -- they are operated on and made to become of no function. The verb is use almost exclusively by Paul many times (26 times and 25 verses). The one time not used by Paul is very instructive and found in Luke:
TBT Luke 13:7 εἶπε δὲ πρὸς τὸν ἀμπελουργόν, Ἰδού, τρία ἔτη ἔρχομαι ζητῶν καρπὸν ἐν τῇ συκῇ ταύτῃ, καὶ οὐχ εὑρίσκω· ἔκκοψον αὐτήν· ἱνατί καὶ τὴν γῆν καταργεῖ;
KJV Luke 13:7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
Luke 13 -- This Parable
This is a part of "this parable" given by the Lord in 13:6 and continues a thought begun in 12:54 concerning the hypocrites who discern the meteorolgical signs but fail to discern the time of the Lord's coming ("this time"), their sins and responsibilities were evidenced in not doing that which was right among themselves and looking at others as great sinners simply because they suffered calamities like the tower of siloam episode 13:4. The hypocrites shall not escape, the same requirement was on all Israel:
TBT Luke 13:5 οὐχί, λέγω ὑμῖν· ἀλλ᾽ ἐὰν μὴ μετανοῆτε, πάντες ὁμοίως ἀπολεῖσθε.
KJV Luke 13:5 I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish.
Except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish!! This is the key -- repentance was required of all Israel. This is where the parable begins.
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. 7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? 8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: 9 And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down. 10 And he was teaching in one of the synagogues on the sabbath. (Luk 13:1 KJV)
The fig tree (see Judges 9.8-12, Jer. 24:3, Hos. 9:10, Matt 21:19) is in the vineyard (see Ps 80.8-11, Isa. 5:2). These symbols are all connected with Israel and specifically their priviledges -- the idea was that Israel was given a chance to repent 3 years and one in extra grace (dig about it and dung it) but time would run out -- don't look to others as being sinners above measure -- "thou art the man".
The same verb "to make void" is used in the active voice -- why make void the ground, the ground would otherwise be good for producing food -- CUT IT DOWN!
When did this finally come to Israel? Acts 28 supplies the answer.
Tongues stop! The verb is παύσονται future, indicative middle deponent, a deponent verb is a verb that is active in meaning but takes its form from a different voice, most commonly the middle or passive. In this case we simply translate this as an active. Tongues simply stop. 1 Cor 13:
9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.
Notice here "when that thing which is perfect is come then that thing which is in part shall be done away" The perfect thing does not simply refer to Christ but includes all that the kingdom promises included. The part looked forward to that which would fulfill it. The part was not the whole, but the whole could not be of some other substance than that which the part pre-figured.
11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
The economy then was "out of a part" it was during a time when the ground was being tilled and dunged to help the fig produce, but israel did not repent and therefore the axe was applied to the trunk. Verse 12 shows how and in what way the "part" shall be removed -- face to face, then shall I know even as I am known.
13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
TBT νυνὶ δὲ μένει πίστις, ἐλπίς, ἀγάπη, τὰ τρία ταῦτα· μείζων δὲ τούτων ἡ ἀγάπη. (1Co 13:13 TBT)
There remains to the then present faith hope and love -- the greatest is love.