Epistles of Paul

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 2: Gender Roles in Apostolic Christianity

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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 2: Gender Roles in Apostolic Christianity

This program is subtitled Gender Roles in Apostolic Christianity, which is a discussion for the end of the presentation. We wanted to subtitle it When All is not ALL, and that is a theme as we present the opening verses of 1 Timothy chapter 2. We opted for the subtitle which we did only because of the current war against traditional gender roles in modern society which is now coming to a crescendo. In the end, God will not be mocked. There are only two genders, and they are determined by the biology of one’s birth. Those genders are given peculiar roles assigned to them byt the Creator, and in the end they will once again assume those roles. Everything else is a sickness spawned by the minds of devils.

Paul of Tarsus having had both Timothy and Titus (the Titus Justus of Corinth) in his company for long periods of time, which is evident in Acts chapters 16 through 18 and in various of his other epistles, we may be confident that these men had learned first-hand how Paul believed that a Christian assembly should be organized, and how Christians should conduct themselves in their daily lives and interactions with one another and with the world outside. We may also imagine that these pastoral epistles among Paul’s letters are very likely not the only epistles which Paul had written to his younger companions, but rather, that they are the only ones which survived.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 1: Yahshua [Jesus] Christ is God and His Gospel is for Israel

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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 1: Yahshua [Jesus] Christ is God and His Gospel is for Israel

Now we are going to begin a presentation of Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, as we near the completion of a commentary on the epistles of Paul of Tarsus which we had begun with the epistle to the Romans in the Spring of 2014. This is now the 109th presentation in the series. It may be fitting that the pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus are presented last in order of Paul’s epistles, as they are in most Bibles. However one error that most Bibles make is not to count Hebrews amongst Paul’s other epistles. Furthermore, Philemon belongs with Colossians, and it is not really a pastoral epistle in the sense of those which were written to Timothy and Titus. Going one step further, we have decided to put both of the epistles to Timothy last in order here because we find it appropriate to present 2 Timothy at the very end of our presentation of Paul’s epistles, although 2 Timothy was not actually the last of Paul’s epistles chronologically. When we do finally present 2 Timothy, we hope to make a full explanation of our reasons for that. If we had chosen to make our entire presentation in the order in which Paul wrote his epistles, 1 Timothy would follow Titus, and it in turn would be followed by 2 Corinthians. 2 Timothy would come later, as Paul was under house arrest in Rome when it was written (see Ordering and chronology of the epistles of Paul).

Paul had apparently written his first epistle to the Corinthians not long before he left Ephesus, in what was most likely the Spring of 56 AD, which we had explained in part 3 of our presentation of that epistle. He had initially planned on going to Achaia by way of Makedonia, and spending the winter in Corinth, as he wrote in chapter 16 of that epistle. But some time during the initial stage of his travels Paul decided instead to winter in Nicopolis, which is in Epirus and northwest of Corinth. As we had explained earlier in this series, such as in the opening segment of our commentary on the epistle to Titus, Paul must have received a letter from Corinth in answer to the epistle which we know as 1 Corinthians, and he then decided to delay going to Corinth and spent the subsequent winter at Nicopolis instead. He gave his reasons for that decision in the opening chapters of 2 Corinthians, which was written as he wintered in Nicopolis, and both Titus and Timothy were with him.

Traveling to Makedonia from Ephesus, when Paul arrived in the Troad he had not found Titus, whom he had expected to find, but rather he found that Titus had gone to Crete to settle some problems there. So Paul wrote a letter which we now have as the epistle to Titus from the Troad to Titus in Crete, giving him advice and asking him to meet him for the winter in Nicopolis. But Titus caught up to Paul in Makedonia instead (2 Corinthians 7:5-6), and then he must have accompanied Paul to Nicopolis, as he is there with him when 2 Corinthians is written. Titus later takes that epistle ahead of Paul to deliver it to the Corinthians before Paul’s planned visit there in the early Spring of 57 AD.

Paul's Epistle to Titus, Part 4: The Mercy of God and Justification in Christ

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The Epistles of Paul – Titus, Part 4: The Mercy of God and Justification in Christ

The opening remarks to the podcast have been published separately under the title Dating the Passover.

In the last portion of this commentary on Titus, we had made a few brief remarks on the closing verses of Titus chapter 2, and promised to elaborate on a few things when we resumed. So to begin this evening, we shall repeat those verses, beginning from Titus 2:11 where Paul wrote:

11 For the delivering favor of Yahweh [א interpolates “the Savior”; the text follows A, C, D, and the MT which varies slightly] has been displayed to all men, 12 teaching us that, rejecting impiety and the lusts of this Society, discreetly and righteously and piously we should live in this present age,

Paul’s words seem to take it for granted that men should understand the favor of Yahweh once they hear the message of the Gospel. But the lesson to be learned is not merely a personal lesson in admonitions to do or not to do certain things. Christ would not have had to die on the Cross for that, and it is unlikely that His enemies would have even killed Him for that. Rather, the message of the Gospel is much deeper than that: in large part it is a historic lesson, that the children of Israel were alienated from Yahweh their God for their sins, and they were oppressed and ruled over by the enemies of God and man because of their alienation. But they were reconciled to God in Christ when He died on their behalf, which made their reconciliation possible according to His law. All of the nations to which Paul had brought the Gospel were descended from those ancient Israelites who had been alienated from Yahweh their God, and who have to learn the lesson which Paul describes.

This is evident in other places in Paul’s writings, such as Galatians chapter 3 where Paul had told them that “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ”, and, for example, in Ephesians chapter 2 where he wrote “8 For in favor you are being preserved through faith and this, Yahweh's gift, is not of yourselves, 9 not from works, lest anyone would boast, 10 for His work we are, having been established among the number of Christ Yahshua for good works, which Yahweh before prepared in order that we would walk in them. 11 On which account you must remember that at one time you, the Nations in the flesh, who are the so-called 'uncircumcised' by the so-called 'circumcised' made by hand in the flesh, 12 because you had at that time been apart from Christ, having been alienated from the civic life of Israel, and strangers of the covenants of the promise, not having hope and in the Society without Yahweh; 13 but now you among the number of Yahshua Christ, who at one time being far away, have become near by the blood of the Christ.”

The Epistles of Paul – Titus, Part 3: The Cleanliness of God

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The Epistles of Paul – Titus, Part 3: The Cleanliness of God

As we have already discussed at length in the opening segments of our presentation of Paul’s epistle to Titus, when the apostle arrived in the Troad he must have been informed that Titus was in Crete, and that there were some problems there among the assemblies. So in the opening verses of chapter 1 of this epistle we had observed where Paul addressed Titus as a true member of his race, according to the common belief. We interpret that statement to mean that even though Titus was a Greek by race, perceptibly he was of the race of the ancient Israelites, and therefore should be accepted as such. Then after reminding Titus of why he was sent to Crete in the first place, in order to organize the Christian assemblies there, Paul advised him to ensure that elders, which are the overseers or bishops of each assembly, were established, and that the offices be filled by men who had endeavored to maintain a virtuous way of life. The foremost of the examples of virtue which Paul gave was that they were to have been the husbands of one wife, and that they had children without the possibility that they themselves could be accused of disobedience. We also perceive this to mean that men who would be leaders of Christian assemblies should have experience raising families of their own, they should be committed to those families, and that their children in turn must also be true members of the race, since otherwise the men would be chargeable.

Making these admonitions to Titus, Paul advised him that the “Cretans are always liars”, evidently quoting the Cretan poet Epimenides. Since Epimenides was a Cretan, modern commentators interpret the statement paradoxically, but we have asserted that Paul and other early Christian writers did not interpret it in that manner. Rather, they accepted it at face value. The early 2nd century Greek writer Plutarch also accepted the statement of Epimenides as being true, and it seems to have been a common observation, as he even used the term κρητισμός, or Cretan behavior, to describe the act of lying. Paul himself had said of the saying of Epimenides that “13 This testimony is true, for which cause you must censure them relentlessly, that they would be sound in the faith, 14 not giving heed to myths of Judaism and injunctions of men turning themselves away from the truth.” So Paul seems to be using the line from Epimenides as a rhetorical device in order to warn Titus of how important it is that he make certain that the most pious and virtuous men among the Christians in Crete were given the responsibility of supervising each assembly, men who exhibited piety in the conduct of their lives, and not merely men who professed piety with their lips.

The Epistles of Paul – Titus, Part 2: Leadership Morality, A Husband of One Wife

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Fragment ot Titus 1:11-15 from Papyrus 032 dating to circa 200 AD.

The Epistles of Paul – Titus, Part 2: Leadership Morality, A Husband of One Wife

In the opening segment of this presentation of Paul’s epistle to Titus we set forth the assertion that Titus is the Titus Justus, or Titios Justus, of the older manuscripts of Acts 18:7, who became a colleague of Paul from the time when Paul had stayed in his house in Corinth, around 49 or 50 AD. We also demonstrated, by referencing Paul’s own statements concerning Titus in his second epistle to the Corinthians, that this epistle was written from the Troad as Paul left Ephesus in 56 AD, and that Titus met with Paul in Makedonia shortly thereafter, spending the winter months with him in Nicopolis of Epirus before bringing Paul’s second epistle to the Corinthians to Achaia in very early 57 AD, ahead of Paul’s planned visit there. With that we had asserted that the statement made by Paul here in this epistle, that he had left Titus in Crete, must have referred to an earlier time, to an event which happened between 52 and 55 AD, as Titus was with Paul when he travelled to Antioch after departing from Corinth in late 51 or early 52 AD, something which is evident in his epistle to the Galatians which was written just after that visit to Antioch, or perhaps in Antioch after the visit to Jerusalem which was on the way to Antioch.

Now, departing from his three-year stay in Ephesus (Acts 20:31) and arriving in the Troad, Paul had expected to find Titus there, and was disappointed when he did not find him. Writing this epistle, after his opening salutation Paul says “5 For this reason I had left you in Krete: that you would set in order the things which are wanting, and establish elders by city, as I have instructed you.” Understanding the context of these events within the chronology of Paul’s ministry much better than we had when we did our original translation in 2001 and 2003, we are going to revise the phrase “I have left you in Crete” to “I had left you in Crete”, since the verb is in the Aorist tense and either interpretation is possible. It is now evident to us that Paul had left Titus in Crete at some point in the past, but Titus did not remain there, especially since here, as he departed from Ephesus, Paul expected to find Titus in the Troad, which we have seen from his statement in 2 Corinthians. Later it is evident that Titus did not return again to Crete, or reside there permanently, as he spent the following winter with Paul in Nicopolis, went on to Corinth, and he is not mentioned again until the during the period of Paul’s detention in Rome when he had gone off to Dalmatia.

Paul's Epistle to Titus, Part 1: Purity Spiraling in Apostolic Christianity

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Paul's Epistle to Titus, Part 1: Purity Spiraling in Apostolic Christianity

The early manuscript evidence for the epistle to Titus is found in the papyrus designated P32, which is esteemed to date from around 200 AD; the 4th century Codex Sinaiticus (א); the 5th century Codices Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C) and Vaticanus 2061 (048); and the 6th century Codices Claromontanus (D) and 088, which is an unnamed manuscript that may be a little older than that, and in which survive only a few fragments, parts of the first 13 verses of this epistle as well as parts of the final chapters of 1 Corinthians. Additionally, Paul’s epistle to Titus is cited or mentioned in the epistles of Ignatius, which date to around the very beginning of the 2nd century, and also by Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria, who are both of the late 2nd century, and by Tertullian, Origen, and Cyprian, all of whom wrote in the early half of the 3rd century. However none of these early sources add anything to our knowledge of Titus himself or his work in the ministry of Christ.

For the historical background on Titus, we must also include a brief discussion of Paul’s travels in relation to the epistles which he had written to the Corinthians and the Galatians, as Titus is mentioned in both of them. The first surviving epistle to the Corinthians was written during the time that Paul stayed in Ephesus (1 Corinthians 16:8, 19), as it is described in Acts chapter 19. After spending approximately three years in Ephesus, Paul departed from the city in 56 AD. His departure may be reckoned by counting backwards from the time of his detention in Caesareia which is given by Luke in the final chapters of the Book of Acts, by comparing the times of the terms of office of the Roman procurators Festus and Felix which are known from history. The primary witness for this in Luke's writing is at Acts 24:26-27 where he says of Felix “But after two years Porcius Festus came into Felix' room: and Felix, willing to shew the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” Many historians debate whether it was 58 AD or 59AD, but the one-year difference is close enough for us. We cannot be absolutely certain, but for various historical reasons we are confident that the year was 59, and we can count back through the Book of Acts to this point in 56 AD. That is also the year in which we believe this epistle to Titus was written, in the Summer of 56 AD, or perhaps the Spring of that year if Paul had to leave Ephesus before the Pentecost which he had planned on spending there (1 Corinthians 16:8).

This map of the empire in the time of Augustus shows Nicopolis in Thrace to the north, and Nicopolis in Greece, in Epirus, on the coast opposite the tip of Italy. Click here for higher resolution.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 18: The Walk of the Faith

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 18: The Walk of the Faith

Throughout the early chapters of this epistle to the Hebrews Paul sought to convince his readers that Yahshua Christ is indeed the ultimate prophet and messenger of God, citing many of the Messianic Psalms and attesting that they are prophecies of Christ as the promised Son of Scripture, the Messiah or Anointed Son through whom Israel would ultimately attain salvation. Doing this he illustrated the profession of David that this Son would belong to a priesthood other than that of Levi, and from the Genesis account he showed that this priesthood, after the order of Melchizedek, transcended the priesthood of Levi. In relation to all of these things, Paul had also cited accounts from the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy, and held up aspects of the lives of Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon all as types for Christ. And while doing this he sought to show that the entire history and purpose of the Old Testament interaction between Yahweh and Israel was to bring the children of Israel to the New Covenant in Christ, for which reason He is called in other scriptures the “lamb slain from the foundation of the world”. Then in his discourse on the faith of the Old Testament saints, Paul asserted that their actions were all in anticipation of this assurance of the faith which these Hebrews had now possessed, for which reason they must not reject their Messiah, who is the confirmation of the promises to the fathers.

Convincing the Hebrews that all of these things were so, if indeed they continued to read his epistle to this point, Paul then sought to convince them to depart from their earthly trappings under the Old Covenant and grasp the eternal inheritance assured by the New Covenant, through the perpetual propitiation offered by the transcendent Christ, which is the true substance of the Faith found in the promises to the patriarchs. But, as he illustrates by his explanation, this faith is the faith of history, and the recipients of the promises have not changed with the change in covenants. So we see in Hebrews chapter 11 that Paul extolled the ancient Israelites for turning to flight the armies of the aliens through their faith. Then in Hebrews chapter 12 he warned that those who do not stand correction fail because they are bastards, and not sons. With this illustration he upheld Esau as an example for those who lose their birthright on account of their fornication, or race-mixing, and finally he made an analogy which showed that any beast – ostensibly anyone who is not of the race of the children of Israel – who touches the mountain of God shall be destroyed.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 17: The Mountain of God

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 17: The Mountain of God

In the last several segments of this presentation of Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews, we spoke at great length concerning the racial exclusivity of the covenants which Yahweh had made with Abraham and with Israel. This is because this important and most basic doctrine of Christianity is disregarded entirely by the denominational churches of today, who are all worshipping at the Baal altars of Babylon, Sodom and Gomorrah.

In Hebrews chapter 11, Paul of Tarsus had extolled the Old Testament saints for their ability to turn “to flight the armies of the aliens” through their faith. Then in Hebrews chapter 12, and in relation to his own time, he warned his readers that if they were without discipline then they are bastards, and not sons. The King James Version has chastisement in Hebrews 12:8, where we have discipline. The Greek word is παιδεία, a word which basically refers to the training or education of children. It is derived from παῖς, a word for son. While any or all creatures may suffer trials in this world, only the children of Israel are being schooled through those trials for the Kingdom of Heaven which is to come. As Paul told the Galatians, who were descended from the long-scattered Israelites of the Assyrian deportations, “the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ”, thusly he wrote here to the Hebrews, the Israelites of the remnant in Judaea, in a very similar way.

Further on in Hebrews chapter 12 Paul explained why Esau really lost his birthright: because he was a profane man and a fornicator. Esau, who despised his birthright and sold it to his brother, took Hittite wives, and for that reason he could not recover what he had lost. Bastards are the product of fornication, which is race-mixing. So we see in reference to fornication that Yahshua Christ, in Revelation chapter 2, forewarned that He would destroy the children of those who commit fornication, ostensibly because they are bastards.

Some of these things which Paul had said concerning bastards and the fornication of Esau in Hebrews chapter 12 must have discomfited more than a few of his readers. As Paul had explained in Romans chapter 9, and as we may clearly see in the histories of Flavius Josephus, many of the Judaeans of his time were Edomites that were converted to the religion of the Judaeans nearly two hundred years before this epistle was written. Here in this chapter of Hebrews Paul is very bluntly explaining the implications of this situation. Today, most denominational Christians have a race-mixer in their own family, and we see how offended they get when they are informed of the consequences. Many of Paul’s Hebrews were very likely just as offended. Even Josephus, while he understood and recorded the history, had Herod Agrippa II as a good friend, and their families apparently even intermarried. Josephus, a Levite and a Pharisee, knew that the family of Herod were Edomites, but was evidently oblivious to the Scriptural implications, not much different from today’s denominational so-called pastors.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 16: The Sins of Esau: No Birthrights for Bastards

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 16: The Sins of Esau, No Birthrights for Bastards

Finishing his description of the faith of the Old Testament saints, Paul of Tarsus had referred to them as a “great a cloud of witnesses lying around us”, a reference to either the well-known past history of his Hebrew readers, or perhaps allegorically to the parchments upon which the accounts were written, lying around him as he wrote this epistle. In any event, Paul’s explanations were meant to describe how these Old Testament saints had acted upon their faith, and were therefore accredited for their actions.

Christians, even Identity Christians, sometimes see faith as some mystical substance which can rather magically save them regardless of what they may do in this world. They have it all wrong. While none of us are perfect, we must at least endeavor to keep the commandments of Yahweh our God and the expectations of Christ if we expect the favor of God. We can go back to our description of the Roman jailer in Acts chapter 16, which we had also discussed when we presented Hebrews chapter 4 here a couple of months ago. There we said, in part, that:

… as it is described in the Book of Acts, once the warden of the jail where Paul and Silas were kept realized the power of Yahweh, the God of Paul and Silas, when the earthquake had opened the doors of his jail, he went to Paul and inquired what it was that he must do to be “saved”. The jailer, who was about to slay himself fearing what would happen if any of the prisoners escaped, was a Roman pagan. Therefore he had no consciousness of the possibility of eternal life in Jesus. He only sought earthly salvation from the punishment he expected for which he nearly killed himself…. [But when he was about to do so Paul intervened and we read:] “28 But with a great voice Paul cried out saying ‘Do nothing evil to yourself! For we are all here!’ 29 And requesting a light he burst in and coming trembling fell before Paul and Silas, 30 and leading them outside he said ‘Masters, what is necessary for me to do that I be saved?’ 31 And they said ‘Believe in the Prince Yahshua and you and your house shall be saved.’”

When the jailer in Philippi was afraid that his prisoners escaped, Paul assured him that they were all present. The jailer must have been relieved, but feared his position and the Roman authorities above him, because of the circumstances, deciding that he should trust Paul he asked “what is necessary for me to do that I be saved?” When the jailer asked this, he had no concept of Jesus and he was ignorant of Christian concepts of salvation, being a pagan. He just didn’t want to lose his earthly hide. Paul’s perspective was different. Paul was confident the prisoners were not going to escape, so the jailer would not be punished, and he was indeed focused on the greater prospect of salvation in Christ. So Paul assured him that accepting the faith in Christ he and his whole house would be preserved, and Paul said this even though his house had not yet heard of Jesus, because keeping the commandments of Christ and loving one’s brother are the way to life in this world. Therefore speaking of the jailer of Acts chapter 16 we concluded:

The jailer being the head of his house, if he chose to keep the commandments of Christ then the household would follow by necessity. Turning to Christ, the jailer and his household would ostensibly keep the commandments of Christ, and that is the way to preservation in this life, by which the children of Israel can hope to establish the Kingdom of Heaven on earth….

Doing what Christ has commanded, Christians hope to be preserved in this world, and not only in the world which is to come. The jailer understood Paul’s words in practical terms, and not within the artificial paradigm which has been constructed by the denominational churches. Once again we can cite Paul’s words in Philippians chapter 2 where he said “14 Do all things apart from murmuring and disputing, 15 that you would be perfect and with unmixed blood, blameless children of Yahweh in the midst of a race crooked and perverted - among whom you appear as luminaries in the Society, 16 upholding the Word of Life for a boast with me in the day of Christ...”

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 15: Sons or Bastards

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 15: Sons or Bastards

As we have proceeded through Hebrews chapter 11, we have sought to understand Paul’s reasoning in his descriptions of the faith of the patriarchs from a historical perspective: that the Old Testament accounts describing the lives of the patriarchs and saints exhibit that their faith was a Christian faith long before the advent of Christ Himself. In that respect, the Old Testament saints were Christians before the time of Christ, and they were never Jews. Paul spoke in this same regard in 2 Corinthians chapter 3, where he was describing how it was that the ritual elements and ceremonies of the law were being left unemployed, and speaking of those who were disobedient in the past he said that “14 Yet their minds were hardened; even to this day today the same veil remains upon the reading of the old covenant, which not being uncovered is left unemployed in Christ. 15 Then until this day, whenever Moses is read a veil lies upon their hearts. 16 But when perhaps you should turn to the Prince, the veil is taken away.” So according to Paul of Tarsus, the Old Testament scriptures are only for Christians, their significance is only revealed to those who accept Christ, and therefore nobody else has any authority to even comment upon them.

We have also sought to clarify some obscure details of Scripture, while elucidating the historicity of the accounts themselves. Here, as we approach the close of Paul’s famous discourse on the faith, we shall continue in that same endeavor. The historicity of the Old Testament is constantly being attacked by critics of modern denominational Christianity, and especially by critics of the Jews as well as by Jews themselves. What those critics do not realize is that the denominational churches have never actually taught Christianity, the Jews can never possibly understand it, and the Jews are neither the subjects nor the true heirs of the Old Testament Scriptures. First century Christians themselves insisted that the so-called “Gentiles”, the people of the nations of the Greco-Roman οἰκουμένη, were indeed the true subjects and heirs of the Scriptures, who had been alienated from Yahweh God many centuries before Christ. They also attested that the Jews are Edomites, not Israelites, and the historians Josephus and Strabo fully support that attestation. The Scriptures themselves, in both Old Testament and New, also support all of these assertions.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 14: The Faith of History

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 14: The Faith of History

Throughout Hebrews chapter 11 Paul of Tarsus discusses the faith of some of the ancient patriarchs of the Adamic race, down through Abraham, and then continues in that manner with Jacob and some of the later experiences of the children of Israel. It is this second portion which we shall commence with here this evening.

Presenting the first part of the chapter, we hope to have better explained Paul’s definition of faith from our own translation and commentary, and also to have better elucidated what Paul had intended where he described the substance of that faith. The King James Version has Hebrews 11:1 to read that “… faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”, and we believe that this rather poor translation leaves a lot of room for error where people imagine that anything which they hope for may be labelled as “faith” in a Christian context. While Yahweh God indeed provides for His people, the faith of which Paul speaks in this chapter is a specific faith, and not what anyone imagines for themselves.

Rather, Paul says in Hebrews 11:1 that “faith is expecting an assurance, evidence of the facts not being seen.” So while other references to faith may have other implications in other contexts, here in this context Paul explains that faith is the expectation that the assurances, which are the promises which were made by Yahweh to the patriarchs, would indeed be kept. That is the faith which Paul describes here, and subsequently he writes about the deeds of the patriarchs which were predicated upon that faith. As the apostle James said in his single epistle, “faith without works is dead”, so claiming to have faith is useless unless one acts in accordance with one’s profession of faith. There may be fulfillments of faith in other aspects, such as Yahweh’s fulfillment of the wants and needs of His people, but that is a separate issue.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 13: The Substance of the Faith

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 13: The Substance of the Faith

Throughout the first 209 verses of this epistle to the Hebrews, Paul has argued that Yahshua Christ is the Son who was promised in the Psalms of David, and He is the Lord which David had anticipated, to whom also the Melchizedek priesthood was appointed forever. Paul also explained that His coming had marked the initiation of the new covenant for the children of Israel promised in Jeremiah chapter 31, which Paul had also cited. Because these things in the prophets had now come to pass, Paul had argued that the Levitical priesthood and the works of the law which it dispensed – which are the rituals, sacrifices and ceremonies – were eclipsed by this new practice of the faith in Christ, something which was actually the expectation of the prophets from the beginning. Doing this Paul also discussed some of the other implications of the coming of the new covenant in Christ, especially making point of the fact that apart from Christ, there is no other propitiation for sin, and for that reason, with Christ alone man has access to God.

Now here in Hebrews chapter 11 Paul discusses the faith of the ancients, and how they did the things which they were credited with because of this faith which had now come in the person of Christ. Paul, speaking to so-called “lost” Israelites of the Assyrian captivity, wrote in Galatians chapter 3 that “22 ... the writing has enclosed all under fault, in order that the promise, from the faith of Yahshua Christ, would be given to those who are believing. 23 But before the faith was to come we had been guarded under law, being enclosed to the faith destined to be revealed. 24 So the law has been our tutor for Christ, in order that from faith we would be deemed righteous. 25 But the faith having come, no longer are we under a tutor; 26 for you are all sons of Yahweh through the faith in Christ Yahshua.”

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 12: The Transcendent Christ

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 12: The Transcendent Christ

“On many occasions and in many ways in past times Yahweh had spoken to the fathers by the prophets. At the end of these days He speaks to us by a Son...” Writing this, Paul had opened this epistle to the Hebrews in a very poetic fashion, and we are not sure that our translation has given the overall poetic quality of the entire epistle sufficient merit. Then with this statement, throughout his epistle Paul had focused on the prophecies concerning that Son in the just-as-poetic Psalms, employing the words of David which concerned both a priesthood and a relationship between God and man that were not a part of the active religious paradigm at the time of David himself.

Doing this, Paul had demonstrated the fact that as he wrote these words, the time for the Levitical priesthood had come to pass, as the children of God have a new priesthood in Yahshua Christ, and that these things were indeed prophesied of by David. And as we had also seen in Paul’s explanation of the prophets, this new priesthood is actually an old priesthood, and therefore it transcends the Levitical priesthood which was destined to be both temporal and temporary from its very foundation. David prophesied of a coming Son who would rule forever under the auspices of an ancient priesthood that was superior even to Abraham, and connected that priesthood to the promise of a new covenant which is therefore superior to the Old Covenant maintained by the Levitical priesthood. Here Paul has finished his exposition of these things in the Psalms, employing also the prophecy of a new covenant found in the writings of Jeremiah, and now he is about to offer his final conclusion.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 11: Perpetual Propitiation in Christ

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The opening remarks to this program are found in the Christogenea forum under the topic Answering Anti-Christ Memes 

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 11: Perpetual Propitiation in Christ

In the earlier chapters of this epistle to the Hebrews Paul sought to persuade his readers of the temporary nature of the Levitical priesthood as opposed to the eternal priesthood of Melchizedek which is inherited by Yahshua Christ, as David had announced in the Psalms. Then with Hebrews chapter 8 Paul began comparing the temporary expiations for sin which were under the law to the eternal propitiation for sin which is in Christ. In Hebrews chapter 9 Paul connected the propitiation for sin in Christ directly to the promise of a new covenant which is found in the prophet Jeremiah, and we have seen that the children of Israel have an eternal inheritance which is not dependent upon any works or sacrifices made by men, but which is solely dependent upon the promises which Yahweh had made to Abraham. The keeping of the promises to Abraham being the ultimate reason for the making of a new covenant, we also see that only the children of Israel, those who were under the old covenant, could possibly have any part with Christ under the new covenant. Doing all of this, Paul has cited a fair portion of the Old Testament scriptures in order to confirm his assertions, and we hope to have elucidated many of the scriptures which he had not cited but which further support those assertions.

Here in Hebrews chapter 11, Paul continues to contrast the propitiation for sin which was under the law to that which is in Christ, but we must be careful to distinguish the fact that Paul never sought to set aside the commandments of the law. Rather, in Hebrews chapter 9 Paul made a reference to “dead works”, which is a reference to the rituals, sacrifices and ceremonies of the law and not to the commandments themselves. In fact, since Paul of Tarsus had written in Romans 4:15 that “where no law is, there is no transgression”, and in Romans 5:13 that “sin is not imputed when there is no law”, if the commandments of the law are done away with then Paul would never have had any further need to discuss or to describe either sin or forgiveness. Yet where Paul said in his first epistle to Timothy that “Some men's sins are open beforehand, going before to judgment; and some men they follow after”, we see that Paul believed that men can still sin, so the commandments of the law must still be in effect, and Paul never attempted to set them aside.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 10: The Eternal Inheritance

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 10: The Eternal Inheritance

Presenting the first part of Hebrews chapter 9 we felt that we should elaborate on the common nature of sphinxes and cherubs, the importance of which should not be understated. While the first sphinx-like creatures appeared in Egyptian monuments as early as the 4th dynasty, which is perceived to have begun around 2600 BC, by 1450 BC the sphinx was employed as the symbol by which the Israelites had signified the presence of Yahweh their God, in the inner chamber of the temple and on the ark of the covenant itself. Then after the Israelite settlement of Canaan, variations of the Hebrew cherub, or sphinx, began to appear throughout the lands surrounding the Mediterranean, as well as in the architecture of the Mesopotamian nation-states. So the spread of these cherubs, or sphinxes, seems to coincide with the spread of the early Israelites and their influence throughout the ancient world. The sphinx, or cherub, seems to be one of the oldest Aryan religious symbols, and it is no mistake or coincidence that it was used to represent the presence of the God of Israel. To us, the use and spread of the sphinx, or cherub, in this manner also seems to represent the promise that Yahweh would call His son out of Egypt, the primary reference being to the children of Israel, which is found in Hosea 11:1.

Where Paul mentions the ark of the covenant, we also made it a point to demonstrate that the ark was never present during the period of the second temple, and down to the time of Christ, or even to this very day. We did that to make another point. When presenting Hebrews chapter 8 we illustrated the fact that the kingdom of Judah, as well as Israel, was divorced from Yahweh God. So just because the few from Judah who returned to Jerusalem had built a new temple and continued in their traditions does not mean that the divorce from the kingdom itself did not occur. The people of second-temple Jerusalem had never properly constituted a kingdom, since they were ruled by Levites rather than the rightful kings of Judah, and for most of their history they were under the yoke of three of the different beast empires (Persian, Greek and Roman) of the prophecy of Daniel. Furthermore, since there was no ark of the covenant in the temple, then there was no mercy seat, and there were no tablets of testimony which represented the nuptial agreement between Yahweh and Israel recorded in the book of Exodus. So during the second temple period, the sacrifices could not have been effectual, according to the law which required those things for propitiation from sin. Therefore the people of Judaea, those of the circumcision, were actually existing under the same conditions that the Israelites of the dispersions were living under, which is alienation from God with no propitiation for sin. As we have said earlier in this series of presentations, the entire purpose of the 70-weeks Kingdom, as it is described in Daniel chapter 9, was to bring forth the Messiah, and in that same manner Paul explains here that the entire purpose of the Old Covenant itself was in preparation for the Messiah, Yahshua Christ, who would exhibit the true way to life.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 9: Departure from Earthly Trappings

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The comments in the beginning of the program are found in a post at the Christogenea Forum titled Geography Trannies.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 9: Departure from Earthly Trappings (and: Greek Cherubs, Hebrew Sphinxes)

In the earlier chapters of this epistle to the Hebrews, Paul of Tarsus had spent considerable time proving to his readers from Scripture that there is an eternal priesthood which both precedes and transcends the Levitical priesthood, and that the beloved king David in the Psalms had prophesied of such a coming priest, which is after the “order of Melchizedek”, and that this prophecy was fulfilled in the person of Yahshua Christ. Then in Hebrews chapter 8 Paul connected this prophesied priest to the promise of a new covenant which is found in Jeremiah chapter 31, which Paul had cited at length.

Presenting that last chapter of Hebrews, among the subjects which we had discussed we hope to have substantiated three things, and, in a digression, a fourth. Firstly, that the writings of the Old Testament announce a new covenant in prophecies other than the one in Jeremiah chapter 31 which Paul had quoted. So in that regard we cited Hosea and Ezekiel as second and third witnesses to Jeremiah’s prophecy. Secondly, that the old covenant was broken, first by the people and then by Yahweh God Himself, and therefore nobody can claim to still be under that covenant. In that regard we cited Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel and Zechariah. There is another witnesses in Scripture to the breaking of the old covenant, and the promise of a new, and that is Isaiah, whom we did not cite last week.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 8: The Distinction of Old and New Covenants

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 8: The Distinction of Old and New Covenants

Presenting the most recent chapters of Paul’s epistle to the Hebrews, which are chapters 6 and 7, through the Scriptures we hope to have established as fact that the Adamic patriarchs of the line of the first-born sons were charged with the responsibility of being preachers of righteousness, as the first-born sons are the natural priests of the Adamic family. In turn, we also hope to have elucidated how this helps to reveal for us the nature of the Melchizedek priesthood, and that the story of Melchizedek in the Genesis account was written in the manner that it was so that Melchizedek would serve as a prophetic type for the true and coming Melchizedek priest, which is Yahshua Christ. He is the heir of the Melchizedek priesthood because, being God incarnate, He is the ultimate first-born Son and He is the legitimate patriarch of the entire Adamic family.

So in Hebrews chapter 7 Paul of Tarsus had explained that the Levitical priesthood had passed, and that Christ was the high priest of an older order which was therefore of greater authority, which is the order of Melchizedek. To prove that this older priesthood was of greater authority, Paul illustrated the fact that Abraham, the ancestor of Levi, had made tithes to this Melchizedek, who was therefore greater than Abraham and who in turn had blessed Abraham. Doing this, Paul hoped to impress upon the Hebrews that their Levitical priesthood was never meant to perpetuate, as that was the original plan of God for the Melchizedek priesthood. The Melchizedek priesthood is eternal and transcends the Levitical priesthood which was only implemented for a more particular purpose: for the maintenance of the Old Testament kingdom which had also come to pass. So Paul had also explained that the Levitical priesthood and its continuous sacrifices were peculiar to the Old Covenant, and now they were eclipsed in Christ, who made one sacrifice which has an indefinite efficacy to absolve the sins of the people. Furthermore, Paul had also explained that while the Levitical high priests were temporal and they died, Christ is eternal and He lives, so there is absolutely no need for the people to have any other priest.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 7: The Order of Melchizedek

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 7: The Order of Melchizedek

On several occasions in this epistle to the Hebrews, Paul of Tarsus has mentioned a priesthood of the “Order of Melchizedek” in reference to both Yahshua Christ and quoting the 110th Psalm, where David had written in reference to his Lord, or Messiah, and said “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” So we began to speculate as to what this Melchizedek priesthood may have been, and therefore we may understand why Christ is entitled to it for Himself.

Of course, all things do belong to God, but we have to consider this: the other things which Yahshua Christ had inherited, He inherited according to the law as it may be perceived by men, and this is one of the marvels of prophecy and Scripture. With His being the “lamb of God”, the ceremonial Levitical laws were fulfilled according to tradition, which made Him eligible to be so. This can be demonstrated from the laws concerning the passover lamb, the prophecy of Malachi, and the accounts of the Gospels. With His being the King of Kings, the laws were fulfilled in the circumstances of His birth which made Him eligible to be so, being the heir to the throne and promises of David, which is evident in the genealogies provided by the Gospels. With His having died for the sins of Israel, Paul explained in Romans chapter 7 just how that happened and how those sins were thereby forgiven, in accordance with the same Old Testament laws. So why should it be different with this Melchizedek priesthood?

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 6: Confirmation of the Promises to the Fathers

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 6: Confirmation of the Promises to the Fathers

In the early chapters of this epistle, Paul had made several references to Yahshua Christ as a High Priest, asserting that He is the High Priest of the Christian profession in Hebrews chapter 3 (3:1), and more generally, that He is a high priest over the children of Israel, His brethren, in Hebrews chapter 2 (2:17). In that passage Paul had said that Yahshua Christ was a “faithful high priest of the things pertaining to Yahweh to make a propitiation for the failures [or sins] of the people.” Saying that, we know that Paul intended to describe the children of Israel because only they ever had the law, and therefore only they ever bore the stigmata of sin, or failure, in the eyes of God, because as Paul himself had explained in his epistle to the Romans 5:13 that where there is no law, sin is not imputed.

Then in Hebrews chapter 5 Paul informed his readers how Yahshua Christ, who was not of the priestly tribe, was nevertheless considered a priest, as he cited the 110th Psalm where it says “4 The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” It is inevitable that those words apply not to David himself, but to an expected Messiah, as David began that same Psalm with the statement that “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” So David’s lord, and not David himself, is the subject of the subsequent statements.

For this same thing we read in chapter 20 of the Gospel of Luke where Yahshua Christ had addressed certain of the Pharisees as it is recorded: “41 And he said unto them, How say they that Christ is David's son? 42 And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, 43 Till I make thine enemies thy footstool. 44 David therefore calleth him Lord, how is he then his son?” Therefore the lord which David refers to as his lord in Psalm 110:1 was indeed interpreted by all, and especially by Christ Himself, to be a reference to the expected Messiah.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 5: The High Priest of God

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 5: The High Priest of God

Thus far in his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul of Tarsus has cited many of the Messianic Psalms, attesting that they are prophecies of Yahshua Christ as the promised Son of Scripture, the Messiah or Anointed Son through whom Israel would ultimately attain salvation. Doing this he had also explained that the world was made through that same Son, which must indicate that the Son is one and the same with the Creator Himself, and that Son has also come to rule over His Own household, which are the children of Israel. In other words, the plan of God from the beginning was to become man. For that reason Paul also insists in this epistle that the Son is the first born, which is truly a status that He could only have if He is God. In Hebrews chapter 12 Paul refers to the Christian assembly as the “church of the firstborn”, as the King James Version has it, which is in reference to the assembly of Christ.

It must also be noted that where Paul had explained some of these things, the household of Christ and the household of Moses are still the same household under the New Covenant as they were under the Old Covenant. Furthermore, Paul had also cited the books of Numbers and Deuteronomy, and held up Moses, Joshua, David and Solomon all as types for Christ. Then, making an allegory from the history of the Israelites under Joshua, Paul explained that they had failed to enter into the period of rest promised to them by the Word of God due to their own disobedience, but that such a promise of rest still remained for the children of Israel if they would finally turn to obedience in Christ. And while we saw that this period of rest has a spiritual dimension, it was primarily a promise of national rest: deliverance from the ancient enemies of their God to enjoy the works of their own hands in relative peace. That deliverance is also a promise in Christ, as it is professed in the Gospel in the opening chapter of Luke. [Therefore Christians will only throw off the shackles of the Jew through Christ.]

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 4: The Day of Rest

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 4: The Day of Rest

Many Christian students of Scripture have long realized that the accounts in the Bible contain types and allegories throughout both the historical and the prophetic writings, if we may break all Scripture down into those two categories. However in the Bible the lines between history and prophecy are not always clear because sometimes prophecy presents things which had occurred in the past rather than things which shall occur in the future. Moses was one such prophet, who presented prophecies describing events from both the past and the future, while also recording historical events from his own time. When Moses wrote of the past, his inspiration was not from any recorded histories, but from Yahweh his God. In that same manner, through the prophet Isaiah, Yahweh had challenged the idolaters as it is written in Isaiah chapter 41, where the Word of God says “22 Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things for to come.”

So here in his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul draws on facets of the accounts of the lives of David, Solomon and Joshua and applies them in a prophetic manner to Yahshua Christ. The writers of the Gospels did that very same thing, so the types and allegories in the historical events and in the lives of the figures of the Old Testament must have been understood by them as well. Along with them, Paul believed that things which happened to these historical individuals were described as they were in Scripture for the very reason that these men, who were all chosen by Yahweh to be leaders of the children of Israel, were living examples of the Messiah which was to come. These examples are commonly called types, and many Christian students have long understood that at least some of the events in the lives of these men were indeed prophecies of Christ. But there are other such types in Scripture which are not related to specific events or the lives of specific individuals.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 3: Christ is Head of His Own Household

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 3: Christ is Head of His Own Household

At the opening of this epistle we saw Paul of Tarsus proclaim the coming of a Son appointed “heir of all”, through whom God has chosen to communicate His will to man. So Paul inferred that God no longer conveys His will to men through prophets, as He had done in antiquity. Inevitably, Yahshua Christ is the last of such prophets. But Paul then spoke of this Son as being the image of the substance of God Himself, and many people who are too attached to their own perception of reality in this physical world do not fully understand the implications of such a statement. However some people are so attached to the physical world because it is the only world that they shall ever see, and therefore it is the only world that they can truly understand. This is the nature of true Christianity – that those who are from above hear and sincerely believe the things from above, while those who are not shall forever dispute such things. (And when we engage with them in their endless disputes, we allow ourselves to be captivated by them.)

For this reason Christ said to His adversaries, as it is recorded in John chapter 8: “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins.” They will die in their errors, because they have no propitiation, nor any chance for communion with God. Quite ostensibly they are bastards, and therefore they must die in their errors, as there is no other choice for them. Their very existence is a sin against God. It is not as if the enemies of Christ had been given a choice to believe or not. In John chapter 10 Christ said “But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.” So those who are not of God are not expected to believe Him, and where Christ said “if ye believe not”, He was not giving them a choice. Rather, He was asserting a factual implication. And even in spite of the fact that they sometimes profess to believe, they are often found arguing with God.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 2: Angels, Spirits and Men

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 2: Angels, Spirits and Men

In the first six verses of his epistle to the Hebrews Paul of Tarsus extolled Yahshua Christ as the ultimate prophet and messenger of Yahweh God, and asserted that all of the messengers, or angels, of God must worship Him. But making this assertion, Paul quoted from Deuteronomy chapter 32, and doing so he also indirectly asserted that Yahshua Christ is God, because the statement which Paul cited from Deuteronomy 32 refers directly to God. We presented a brief examination of that chapter of Deuteronomy, which revealed that it contains an early outline of the plan which Yahweh had for the children of Israel: that they would be scattered on account of their sins, and then they would ultimately be offered salvation and reconciliation as their God takes vengeance on His enemies. So making this association here in Hebrews, Paul equates the Son, Yahshua Christ, as being one and the same with Yahweh, that God of war and vengeance described by Moses, as the Word of God also says in that same chapter of Deuteronomy, “See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me”. If there is no other God with Him, then Yahshua Christ must be Him.

There are frequently similar statements in Isaiah which are also related to the salvation of the children of Israel, such as in Isaiah chapter 45 where we read “21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” In relation to those same opening verses of Hebrews we had already pointed out another similar statement which is directly connected with the Gospel of Christ, from Isaiah chapter 52 where the Word of Yahweh says “6 Therefore my people shall know my name: therefore they shall know in that day that I am he that doth speak: behold, it is I.” Then we compared that passage to the words of Christ in the Gospel where the apostles asked to see God the Father, and Christ replied that “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”.

Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 1: The Last Prophet is Christ

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Paul’s Epistle to the Hebrews, Part 1: The Last Prophet is Christ

Several things about this epistle to the Hebrews have been a subject of debate throughout Christian history, including the identity of the author, where and when it was written, and to whom it was addressed. We will rather confidently answer all of those questions here, even if some of our proofs are only circumstantial. First, it is evident from the closing salutation in the final verses of Hebrews chapter 13 that Paul of Tarsus is the author. There he says “23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.” This promise is similar to others made by Paul elsewhere in his epistles, however that alone does not prove Paul’s authorship. Unlike all of his other epistles, this one has no opening salutation. But that too is for an important reason.

Now many of those who acknowledge that Paul is the author of this epistle claim that it was written while he was under arrest in Rome, however that is not true. They base that claim on the next verse of Hebrews chapter 13, where it says “Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints”, which is also a statement sounding very much like Paul although we would translate it differently, and then “They of Italy salute you.” Now, on the surface that last phrase seems to support the assertion that the epistle was written in Rome, however it actually does precisely the opposite. In the original Greek wording of that statement there is a preposition, ἀπό, which denotes separation and origin. If Paul were in Italy, he did not need that preposition, but only the Genitive Case noun to denote the origin of those whom he meant to describe. Using ἀπό, he is actually saying that these individuals were from Italy, and it becomes evident that he is describing people who had originated from Italy but were not necessarily in Italy as he was writing.

Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, Part 3: The Faith is not for All

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Paul’s Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, Part 3: The Faith is not for All (οὐ γὰρ πάντων ἡ πίστις)

In his first epistle to the Thessalonians Paul had discussed the persecution of Christians by those Jews who stood in opposition to the Gospel of Christ. In the last chapter of that epistle he mentioned the promise of the ultimate destruction of those enemies of Christ. Here in his second epistle Paul has elaborated on that very theme, and has more accurately identified the nature of those enemies whom he had mentioned in the first letter, “those who killed both Prince Yahshua and the prophets, and banished us, and are not pleasing to Yahweh, and contrary to all men”, as he had described them in 1 Thessalonians chapter 2.

Here in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, Paul has explicitly stated that, as he was writing this epistle, that apostasy had already come, that there was already a “man of lawlessness”, which he characterized as the “son of destruction”, operating “in accordance with the operation of the Adversary”, or Satan. We know that this was Paul’s intended meaning because, as we have explained at length, while he described these things he had used present tense verbs, verbs which describe presently occurring phenomena, as well as aorist tense verbs describing actions which were already initiated relative to that presently occurring phenomena.

The grammar of Paul’s statements do not permit one to imagine that the men and actions which he had described would materialize at some point far off in the future. Using present tense verbs, Paul was speaking of someone who already at his own time was “opposing and exalting himself above everything said to be a god or an object of worship, and so he is seated in the temple of Yahweh, representing himself that he is a god.”

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