Who Kissed Me?
May 4th, 1980 @ 8:15 AM
WHO KISSED ME?
Dr. W. A. Criswell
5-4-80 8:15 a.m.
We also welcome the uncounted thousands who listen to the service on the two radio stations that bear it. This is the pastor of the First Baptist Church in Dallas, delivering the message entitled Who Kissed Me? And more than one have asked me, "Now, just what is that?" And I have replied, "It is from the Word of the Lord and is a message more centered in the Holy Book than you could ever realize."
So, we are going to begin, Who Kissed Me? We turn to Genesis chapter 27. The twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Genesis is the story of Rebekah, who is the wife of Isaac and the mother of Esau and Jacob. And the day has come in Isaac’s old age, being now blind, for him to give the blessing, which means that his lineage and descendants shall be the one favored of God through whom the King of glory shall come.
And Isaac loves Esau and intends to give the blessing to Esau. But Rebekah loved Jacob; and she covers Jacob with a hairy skin and prepares for him venison to take to his father.
Now we begin at the eighteenth verse, Genesis 27, verse 18:
And Jacob came unto his father, and said, My father:
and he said, Here am I; who are thou, my son?
And Jacob said unto his father, I am Esau thy firstborn;
I have done according as thou badest me: arise, I pray
thee, sit and eat my venison, that thy soul may bless me.
And Isaac said unto his son, How is it that thou hast
found it so quickly, my son? And he said, Because
the Lord thy God brought it to me.
And Isaac said unto Jacob, Come near, I pray thee,
That I may feel thee, my son, whether thou be my
very son Esau or not.
And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father;
and Isaac felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob’s
voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.
And he discerned him not, because his hands were
hairy, as his bother Esau’s hands: so Isaac blessed
And he said, Art thou my very son Esau? And Jacob
said, I am.
And Isaac said, Bring it near to me, and I will eat of
my son’s venison, that my soul may bless thee: And
he brought it near to him, and he did eat. . .and his
father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and kiss
me, my son.
And Jacob came near, and kissed him: and Isaac
smelled the smell of his raiment, and blessed him. . . .
And then follows the blessing, verse 30:
And it came to pass, as soon as Isaac had made an
end of blessing Jacob, and Jacob was yet scarce
gone out from the presence of Isaac his father,
that Esau his brother came in from his hunting.
And he also had made savory meat, brought it
to his father, and said unto his father, Let my father
arise, and eat of his son’s venison, that thy soul may
And Isaac his father said unto him, Who art thou?
Who kissed me?
And he said, I am thy son, thy firstborn Esau.
And Isaac trembled very exceedingly, and said,
Who kissed me?
Where is he that hath taken venison, and brought it
to me, and I have eaten of all before thou camest,
and have blessed him? Yea, and he shall be blessed.
And when Esau heard the words of his father, he cried
with a great and exceeding bitter cry. . . Bless me. . .
O my father.
Verse 38: "And Esau lifted up his voice, and wept."
Who kissed me? Third-nine times in the Old Testament is some form of that word: nashag, translated, "to kiss," or, "a kiss." Thirty-nine times is it used in the Old Testament.
In the New Testament, phileō – which is usually translated, "friendly love" – three times it is translated, "kiss." Kataphileō, "to kiss tenderly," in the New Testament is used six times. And philēma, the Greek word for kiss, is used seven times in the New Testament.
Sometimes – a very few times – the word, nashag in the Old Testament is used in beautiful, poetic imagery. For example, in the third chapter of the Book of Ezekiel, Ezekiel describes the wings of the cherubim that they – and the King James’ Version translates it – "they touched each other" [Ezekiel 3:13]. The word is nashag, which means, "They gently kissed each other."
In Psalm 85:10 is a beautiful verse: "Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other."
In the Book of Proverbs, the twenty-fourth chapter and the twenty-sixth verse, is another illustration of the poetic imagery of a kiss. "Every man shall kiss his lips who answereth rightly – correctly" [Proverbs 24:26].
In the Talmud – one of the most beautiful, poetic, imageries in literature – could you find in the Midrash on the last chapter of Deuteronomy, describing the death of Moses. The Midrash says, "Moses died with the kiss of God upon his lips." Or we might say it, "Moses died when God kissed his breath away."
But outside of those few poetic instances, any time those words – nashag, or phileō, or kataphileō, or philēma – anytime they’re used in the Bible, they refer to the caress of human lips – what we call a kiss. And one of the strangest things in the Bible is the first time the word "kiss" is used is in this passage in the twenty-seventh chapter of the Book of Genesis [Genesis 27:26-27]. And it comprises a strong and strange illustration of the twofold way that a kiss can be employed. It can be one of deception and seduction and hypocrisy; or it can be beautiful and precious and tender – the prelude to a blessing.
First: the employment of a kiss in hypocrisy and seduction, in the use that belies the real feeling – the feigned feeling – of the one who is offering the kiss. In the story of Absalom, the Bible says in 2 Samuel that Absalom stole away the hearts of the men of Israel when they came to David, his father, to be judged with some grievance to be righted, some wrong to be ameliorated – that Absalom kissed the man who came saying, "Would God I were the king." And he stole away the hearts of the men of Israel with a kiss [2 Samuel 15:4-6].
In the rebellion against David, Amasa was made by Absalom the captain of the hosts [2 Samuel 17:25]. And after the defeat of the rebellion, David, who was generous in heart – seeking to heal the breach in Israel – made Amasa captain of the hosts, displacing Joab, who had been leader of the army of David in the rebellion [2 Samuel 19:13].
And Joab, hating Amasa, met him on the road. And he took his face in his hand to kiss him; but Amasa did not notice that under the garment, the outer garment of Joab, was his sword. And when Joab held Amasa’s face to kiss him, he took the sword from the girdle and plunged it through Amasa. And he wallowed there in death in his blood [2 Samuel 20:9-12].
In the seventh chapter of the Book of Proverbs is described in treacherous detail the kiss of a harlot. Verse 7:
I beheld and discerned among the youths, a young
man void of understanding,
Passing through the street near her corner; he went
the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in
the black and the dark night.
Behold, there met him a woman with the attire of a
harlot, and subtle of heart.
She caught him, and kissed him, and with an impudent
face said unto him,
I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry. . .I have
perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon.
Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us
solace ourselves with loves.
With her much fair speech she caused him to yield,
with the flattering of her lips. . .
He goeth after her. . . as an ox goeth to the slaughter,
as a fool to the correction of the stocks;
Till a dart strikes through his liver; as a bird hasteth to
the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life.
– the kiss of the harlot.
And of course, the most famous of all the stories of a seductive and deceptive kiss is when Judas said to the Sanhedrin, "He whom I shall kiss, the same is He. Arrest Him. Hold Him fast" [Matthew 26:47-48].
And he came up to Jesus and said, "Hail, Master; and kissed Him" [Matthew 26:].
And the Lord replied, "Betrayest thou the Son of Man with a kiss?" [Luke 22:48].
The kiss is also depicted in the Old Testament as a way of worshipping idols. When Elijah said to the Lord, "And I, I only am left" [1 Kings 19:14], do you remember the Lord replied to His prophet, "I have reserved for Me seven thousand in Israel who have not bowed the knee to Baal, and who have not kissed him"? [1 Kings 19:18].
In the thirty-first chapter of Job, Job – speaking of his integrity – says, "Nor have I kissed my hand in adoration, in worship of the sun and of the moon" [Job 31:26-28].
And in the thirteenth chapter of the Book of Hosea, Hosea – describing the apostasy of Israel – speaks of their kissing the calves at Bethel and at Berea [Hosea 13:2]. I remember being in a church where they had kissed the big toe of one of the idols completely away: kissing an idol, a way of worshipping an image.
These are some of the ways that nashag, philēma, kataphileō can be used in the Bible in seduction, in deception – feigning an affection that the man does not feel – the deceptive kiss.
But most of the times in the Bible, a kiss is an outward expression of an inward endearment, and beauty, and preciousness of feeling and love. So it is that we read in the story of Jacob – when he fled from his brother – going to the home of his forefathers in Haran, he saw Rachel. And seeing her – beautiful, pure, godly, lovely – he kissed her [Genesis 29:11].
In the Song of Solomon, it begins – and this is its text – the first verse of the Song of Solomon:
The Song of songs, which is Solomon’s,
Let him kiss me with the kisses of his mouth. . . .
[Song of Solomon 1:1-2]
– the kiss of love and endearment, the foundation of marriage and of the home.
There’s not a more beautiful poem in the English language than "Summum Bonum," the highest good, the sweetest preciousness, written by Robert Browning:
All the breath and the bloom of the year
In the bag of a bee:
All the wonder and wealth of the mind and
The heart of one gem:
In the core of one pearl all the shade and
The shine of the sea:
Breath and bloom, shade and shine,
Wonder, wealth, and how far above them,
Truth that’s brighter than gem,
Trust that’s purer than pearl,
Brightest truth, purest trust in the universe,
All were for me, in the kiss of one girl.
The beautiful expression of a true and pure love expressed in a kiss.
A kiss also in the Bible is a beautiful expression of family endearment. When Joseph made himself known to his brothers in Egypt, the first thing Joseph did was to kiss his own full brother, Benjamin, and then kiss all of his brethren [Genesis 45:14-15].
And all of us are moved by the story of the prodigal son. When he came back home, his father ran, had compassion upon him and kissed him [Luke 15:20].
The kiss also is a beautiful expression of firm and faithful friendship. Moses worked for Jethro for forty years, became his son-in-law, and when they were coming out of Egypt, Jethro met Moses and Moses kissed him [Exodus 18:7].
In the story of Samuel, in the tenth chapter of 1 Samuel when Samuel, who so greatly loved and admired Saul – when Samuel anointed Saul to be king over God’s people, he kissed him [1 Samuel 10:1].
And of course, in one of the moving incidents in the Bible, when David fled before Absalom in the rebellion, he crossed over Jordan. And beyond Jordan was a Gileadite named Barzillai; and he took care of David and his army. And when David won the war and was returning to Jerusalem, he invited Barzillai to accompany him and to be with him at the king’s table in Jerusalem [2 Samuel 19:33]. But Barzillai replied, "I am fourscore years old – I am eighty years old, and I ought to stay among my own people." And the Book says that David kissed Barzillai and went over Jordan [2 Samuel 19:35-39].
Sometimes the kiss is in farewell. Laban kissed his daughters and his grandchildren goodbye when Jacob went back to the land of promise [Genesis 31:55]. Ruth begins with the story of the girls kissing their mother-in-law, Ruth and Orpah, kissing her, went back; but Ruth clave unto her mother-in-law [Ruth 1:14].
In the farewell kiss, I do not know of a more moving incident in the Bible than this one in the last of Acts:
When Paul had thus spoken with the Ephesian elders,
he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.
And they wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck,
and kissed him,
Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake,
that they should see his face no more.
The kiss of farewell is familiar to us all. There’s no one of us that has not experienced it. And sometimes it brings that final farewell in death.
Genesis closes like this:
Joseph charged and said, I am gathered to my people:
Bury me with my fathers.
This is Jacob speaking to Joseph and his brothers.
Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field
of Ephron the Hittite,
In the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is
before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham
bought from Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a
There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there
they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I
The purchase of the field and of the cave that is therein
was from the children of Heth.
And when Jacob had made an end of commanding
his sons, he gathered up his feet, and yielded up
the spirit. . .
And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept, and
What a beautiful and precious and phileo devotion. "And Joseph fell upon his father’s face, and wept, and kissed him." So we are introduced to the kiss of holiness, and reverence, and gratitude before our great God.
The second Psalm is a messianic psalm. It speaks of those who are gathered against the Prince of glory. But it closes, "Kiss the Son. . . . Blessed are they that place their trust in Him" [Psalm 2:12].
And a beautiful scene in the life of our dear Lord is His being seated as a guest in the home of Simon the Pharisee. And while He is there – in the Oriental manner of leaning on the arm at the table and the feet extended to the side – there comes in a sinful woman, breaks an alabaster box, anoints His feet, wipes them with the hair of her head, and kisses His feet [Luke 7:36-38].
Thus, we have a beautiful picture of the people of God who are gathered together in the sacred family and body of Christ. In Romans 16:16, "Salute one another with a holy kiss." That is repeated in 1 Corinthians 16:20, in 2 Corinthians 13:12, in 1 Thessalonians 5:26, in the passage you just read.
And Simon Peter writes the same address in 1 Peter 5:14, "Salute one another with a holy kiss," the comradeship and the fellowship that binds the people of God in one body, in one love, in one dedication, in one mercy, in one gratitude, in one commitment to our precious Lord. And that is the spirit, and the heart, and the life, and the attitude of the true child of Jesus – one of affection, and love, and mercy, and tender care.
There was a godly woman who was standing in a throng before a great iron gate of a police station – and a police court, and a temporary prison – in one of the great cities of America. Some of the throng that was there – some of the crowd standing there by that iron gate – were there for curiosity, just watching. Some of them were there because they had relatives on the inside. And while they were standing there waiting, the great iron gate began slowly to open. There was a heavy shuffling of feet and cries.
And above all of the sound and the noise, there was one cry, that of a woman, high and shrill. Her voice was filling the air with curses and with oaths. And in a moment, as the big iron gate continued to open, there came out a policeman on this side and a policeman on this side, each one holding a struggling woman. Her hair was disheveled and matted. There was a bruise on her temple. Her clothing was tattered and dirty and torn. And she violently struggled as she screamed, as those two policemen dragged her toward the gate and toward the van, to place her in the state penitentiary.
When she came to the gate, dragged by those two stalwart policemen, that godly Christian woman standing there, what could she do? Could she sing a song? That would have been ridiculous. Could she have given her money? She could not been allowed to take it. Could she pray a prayer? There wasn’t time. Could she quote a Scripture? The woman would not listen. Then, as though it were something from heaven – as though an angel said it – that godly Christian woman ran to that screaming inmate, and tenderly holding her face in her hands, kissed her.
Evidently, these policemen were so amazed at what had happened that temporarily they may have released their grip. But with a violent [wrench] the woman became free, and raising her hands, she cried, "My God, who kissed me? Who kissed me? No one has kissed me like that since I was a little girl and my mother kissed me. Who kissed me?" Subdued and weeping, she was escorted to the van and to the penitentiary by the policemen.
In the days that followed, that godly Christian woman went to the penitentiary and asked the warden if she could visit that friend. The warden replied, "I think she has lost her mind. Every time she sees me, she asks, ‘Who kissed me?’ And anyone that sees her, she asks, ‘Who kissed me?’"
The warden said, "Yes." So the door of the cell was opened, and this godly Christian woman was allowed to enter in. And the first question, "Who kissed me? Do you know who kissed me?"
And the woman said, "Why do you ask?"
And the prisoner replied, "My widowed mother died in a dark basement on the back side of an alley when I was seven years old. But before she died, she drew me to her, and held my face in her hands and kissed me, and said, ‘My darling girl, what will become of you? I pray God’s blessings upon you.’"
The woman said, "I have not been kissed like that until that day when the policemen dragged me through that iron gate. Who kissed me?"
And the godly woman replied, "It was I who kissed you," and told her of the love, and mercy, and grace of our wonderful Lord. And the ending of that story that I read, she became the model prisoner, and in her testimony in that penitentiary, many, many came to know the Lord.
I don’t deny that once in a while you’ll find somebody won to the Lord by a sermon, by the delivering of a message. But it has been my experience now for over fifty years, that most people are won to the Lord by some gracious, sweet, precious remembrance on the part of a mother, or a friend, or a family, or a Sunday school teacher – somebody who cares.
This is the Christian faith. This is its expression: "We’re interested. We care. We pray. We love. We express that interest and care, not to pass by indifferently on the other side, but to stop, to remember who kissed me."
May we stand together? Our precious Lord, forgive us anytime, anyplace, we have ever been indifferent to the hurt, and the need, and the cry of people. Give us that wonderful spirit of loving compassion, even as our Lord cried, wept [Luke 19:41-42; John 11:35] – compassionate, tender, sympathetic, understanding, even today in glory, touched, moved with the feeling of our infirmities. Help us, Lord, to be like that, to be loving, and tender, and sweet, and thoughtful. And if ever we are not, may God forgive us. May we learn to be more like the tender and gentle Jesus. And, Lord, bless our word of love and testimony. And bless it, today. Bless it this hour. And in this appeal, may God grant a precious harvest.
While our people pray, and while we wait before the dear Lord – a family you, a couple you, just one somebody you, down that stairway out of the balcony, down one of these aisles on this lower floor, "Pastor, today, we have decided for Christ, and here we stand."