By Larry Ray Hafley
From Nigeria: “What is the real meaning of revellings?”
“Revellings” is one of the works of the flesh that is in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-23). Those guilty of engaging in revelerous deportment cannot go to heaven. They will go to hell (Gal. 5:21). Therefore, it is imperative that we understand what it means to be involved in “revellings.”
Scholarly Comments On Revellings
1) Barclay says: “Komos (revellings) expresses a lustful excess in physical and sexual pleasure which is offensive to God and to man alike. It may well be that the best translation of it is that the J. W. C. Wand, when he translates it debauchery” (Barclay, Flesh and Spirit, p. 62).
2) Vincent says: “The word originally signifies merely a merry-making; most probably a village festival . . . . In the cities such entertainments grew into carouses, in which the party of revellers paraded the streets with torches, singing, dancing, and all kinds of frolic” (M. R. Vincent, Word Studies in the New Testament, p. 314).
3) A. T. Robertson says: “Revellings (komoi, old word also for drinking parties like those in honor of Bacchus, in N.T. only here and Rom. 13:13; 1 Pet. 4:3)” (A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, Vol. IV, p. 312).
4) Albert Barnes says: “Revelling; denoting the licentious conduct, the noisy and obstreperous (boisterous, unruly-LRH) mirth, the scenes of disorder and sensuality, which attend luxurious living” (Albert Barnes, Barnes Notes on the New Testament, p. 652).
5) Macknight says: “The word . . . comes from . . . Comas, the god of feasting and revelling . . . he was a god of the obscene . . . and his rites consisted in feasting and drunkenness, and every kind of obscenity. Hence, . . . Comas, denotes revelling, that is, feasting with lascivious songs, accompanied with music. According to Suidas, . . . `The Comas in a drunken dance, which, when the drinking is continued, provokes lasciviousness, and makes the feast a scene of very dishonorable actions’ ” (Macknight on the Epistles, Vol. I, p. 454).
6) Greek authorities say: Revellings are “feasts and drinking-parties that are protracted till late at night and indulge in revelry (carousal-LRH)” (Thayer). “A jovial festivity, with music and dancing; a revel, carousal, merrymaking” (Liddell and Scott).
Modern cocktail parties, “falsely so called” happy hours at bars and taverns, most all rock music concerts held out of doors, some celebrations of victory by sport fans, office Christmas parties, company or employer sponsored beer drinking picnics, “and such like” are all condemned by the term “revellings.” It is not wrong for Christians to rejoice, to celebrate, to be happy, but it is wrong to dance, to drink, to engage in boisterous, unruly acts that are associated with drinking parties, drunkenness, and sexual immorality. Riotous conduct and revellings of all kind must be condemned by faithful Christians in thought, in word, and in deed. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret” (Eph. 5:11, 12). “They which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:21).
Truth Magazine XXI: 19, p. 290
May 12, 1977