Epistles of Paul

Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, Part 2: Rejecting the Religion of Fear

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Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, Part 2: Rejecting the Religion of Fear

Contrasting the religion of the Sadducees with that of the Pharisees in his Wars of the Judaeans, Book 2, the Judaean historian Flavius Josephus had said “164 But the Sadducees are those who compose the second order, and take away fate entirely, and suppose that God is not concerned in our doing or not doing what is evil; and they say, that to act what is good, or what is evil, 165 is at men's own choice, and that the one or the other belongs so to everyone, that they may act as they please. They also take away the belief of the immortal duration of the soul, and the punishments and rewards in Hades.” Of course, the Pharisees which Josephus wrote about were the successors of those who rejected Christ, and while Christ despised the Sadducees completely, and while for many reasons He had also criticized the doctrines of the Pharisees, the Pharisees nevertheless believed in the eternal spirit of man which the Sadducees had rejected, and the judgement of good and evil.

A few centuries later, following after the model of the Pharisees, the Roman Catholic Church continued the doctrine concerning punishments and rewards in Hades. Then they used that doctrine not only to put fear in the hearts of the people, but to reap profits from them. However speaking of His ἐκκλησία, Christ had said in Matthew chapter 16 that “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Christ was not speaking of an institution when He said that. Rather, the word ἐκκλησία describes those whom He had called, which are the body of the people of Israel, as it was also used throughout the Greek Scriptures. So in Brenton’s Septuagint we read from Psalm 21, which speaks prophetically of Christ Himself: “20 Deliver my soul from the sword; my only-begotten one from the power of the dog. 21 Save me from the lion's mouth; and regard my lowliness from the horns of the unicorns. 22 I will declare thy name to my brethren: in the midst of the church will I sing praise to thee. 23 Ye that fear the Lord, praise him; all ye seed of Jacob, glorify him: let all the seed of Israel fear him.” In that passage the word church is from the plural form of ἐκκλησία, and it refers to the collective masses of the children of Israel. In the King James Version of the Psalms, the corresponding Hebrew word is translated as congregations.

Throughout the Middle Ages, the Roman Catholic Church thrived on a religion of fear, even going so far as to sell indulgences to the people in order to alleviate their fear. The Church had taught people that their departed loved ones were suffering in Hades or in Purgatory – a concept which is missing from Scripture entirely – but that if they paid a certain sum to the Church, their loved ones could be forgiven for their sins, relieved of their sufferings, and pass on to heaven. So the Church was basically bilking the people out of their money by manipulating their consciences with feelings of guilt for reason of their own profit. At the height of an internal debate over the justification of such indulgences, and when the Church practice was ultimately justified by the councils, that is when the Reformation was sparked.

Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, Part 1: The Nullification of Death

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Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, Part 1: The Nullification of Death

Here we begin our presentation of Paul’s second epistle to Timothy. This is the last in our series of commentaries on the epistles of Paul of Tarsus which we had begun with the epistle to the Romans in the Spring of 2014, and it is now the 117th presentation in this series. Undertaking this endeavor, we did not present Paul’s epistles in chronological order, but rather we found it appropriate, with a couple of exceptions, to present the pastoral epistles to Timothy and Titus last in order of Paul’s epistles, and also present the other epistles as they are ordered in most Bibles. One exception was the epistle to Philemon, which is not truly a pastoral epistle and which in its historical context is connected to the epistle to the Colossians, so we presented it along with that epistle. Another is the epistle to the Hebrews, which was certainly written by Paul although most Bibles order it to follow Paul’s pastoral epistles, preferring to separate it because they are not certain of the authorship. So we moved it to precede Paul’s pastoral epistles, because we are confident that Paul was its author.

If we had presented the epistles of Paul in chronological order, we would have had to begin with the epistles to the Thessalonians which were both written during Paul’s sojourn in Corinth, around 50 or 51 AD as it is recorded in Acts chapter 18. Then the epistle to the Galatians was written during Paul's stay in Antioch which is described in Acts 18:22-23. The first epistle to the Corinthians was written as Paul was planning to end his three-year sojourn in Ephesus in 56 AD, described in Acts chapter 19. As we know from 1 Corinthians, there was another epistle written to the Corinthians which preceded it, but which is now lost, and that was probably also written from Ephesus.

As Paul was journeying through the Troad and Makedonia after leaving Ephesus, he wrote both the epistle to Titus and the first epistle to Timothy, and prepared to spend the winter of 56-57 AD in Nicopolis. During that winter, the second epistle to the Corinthians was written, while both Titus and Timothy had joined him. These events in Paul’s life are briefly recorded at the beginning of Acts chapter 20.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 8: The Path of our Plight

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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 8: The Path of our Plight

In our last presentation of Paul’s first epistle to Timothy, which discussed 1 Timothy chapter 5, we saw the apostle address the issue of “younger widows” who were apparently not “really widows”, referring to unmarried women who must have been married at one time, but who no longer had husbands. Paul advised such women to find husbands, and to have children and raise families, explaining that doing so, they would not be a burden on the assembly while being tempted into acting wantonly towards married men. Here it is evident that Christian mercy invites even those who may have had a sinful past to return to a natural role within the Christian community.

So if a woman who had been previously married, but who was not really a widow, has found herself alone then it is not necessarily a sin for her to remarry. Rather, it is a greater sin, as Paul explained in that same chapter, for her to turn to a lewd lifestyle because of her natural urges and her unmarried condition. Even the Law supports this to some degree, in spite of the fact that Yahweh our God despises divorce, and Yahshua Christ had indeed professed that those remarrying after divorce are committing adultery.

This is evident because in Leviticus while it is explicitly commanded that a priest may only marry a virgin, there is no such requirement for the balance of men in the community. Then in passages such as Deuteronomy chapter 24 where we see the law of divorce it is evident that men have the option of marrying a woman who was formerly married. Moreover, in the laws of marriage in Deuteronomy chapter 22 it is implicit that a man may take a woman who is not a virgin to wife, and if that is agreeable to him he simply need not protest, thereby choosing to keep her. Customarily, men had an expectation to marry a virgin, but they did not have to keep themselves bound to such an expectation.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 7: Women Noble and Naughty

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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 7: Women Noble and Naughty

There is a part of the story of Genesis chapter 3 that is missing, so perhaps we may fill in a few of the blanks for ourselves. The reason why Eve was so easily seduced can only be that Adam had left her alone, where she was unguarded and vulnerable. Adam was the first feminist, leaving Eve to make it on her own. Now, I can imagine that the Devil set up a football game between two teams of negros, and Adam was fascinated with how well they can run with a pigskin. So he was off watching it all while Eve was left at home. One fallen angel opened a beer concession, and another ran a gambling counter. With Eve left at home and planning her first Tupperware party, along comes the Serpent a-knocking at the door, and the rest is history…. Later, Adam came home half inebriated from a mixture of musk, testosterone and Bud Lite, and the woman “gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.” The next morning, the man refused to accept any of the consequences for his actions, and when he was called into account, he tried to blame his wife for all of their sin. So he was punished “because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife,” which was yet another feminist act on his part. Then as they and their descendants toiled in their punishment, within just a few generations the bastards were everywhere and began race-mixing with their great-great grandchildren. Soon the only men left who did not have season tickets was Noah and his sons, and all of them were outcasts at the lunch rooms and office parties because they didn’t know the scores. Thus it is once again today, just it is as it was in the days of Noah.

Of course, all of this may be dismissed as a conjectural fantasy. But the core ideas expressed here are certainly true, and they are evident from Scripture. Adam did leave Eve alone, and when Adam returned to her and found her in a state of sin, he let her lead him into that sin and willfully joined her. Then Adam blamed her once he was called to account for it by Yahweh his God, rather than taking responsibility for his actions. Adam had also neglected his God, as he even attempted to elude him before being questioned for his crime. As a result, by the time of Noah the entire culture was corrupted, and even with Noah’s obedience the entire race was soon once again taken off into paganism, out of which Abraham alone was called.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 6: Exercise for Piety

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The opening remarks for this program are posted under the topic Summer Travels in the Christogenea Forum.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 6: Exercise for Piety

We have already discussed the first five verses of 1 Timothy chapter 4 at length in the last segment of our presentation of this epistle, in Part 5 of this series, which was subtitled Rome Pagan and Catholic. Because much time has elapsed since we made that presentation, and because as we proceed here in verse 6 we see that Paul refers back to what he had said in those first five verses, we will read those verses once again and summarize a few of the statements we had made concerning them.

In the opening verses of 1 Timothy chapter 4 Paul wrote: “1 Now the Spirit specifically states that in the latter times some will withdraw from the faith, cleaving to wandering spirits and teachings of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, their own consciences having been branded with iron, 3 forbidding to marry, to abstain from foods, things which Yahweh has established for participation with gratitude for those with faith and knowledge of the truth.”

Discussing these statements in Rome Pagan and Catholic, we cited many of the earliest surviving Christian writers to establish the fact that these heresies began to manifest themselves amongst the Christian assemblies as early as the second century of the Christian era. We also hope to have established that these heresies were brought into Christianity to one degree or another from the ancient pagan sects, and that the Roman Catholic Church had adopted these various pagan practices as the institution itself was developing. It continues to cleave to them unto this very day. So the Roman Church forbid its priests to marry, and for many generations it has attracted the basest sort of men into its numbers, and, in turn, it is these base men who have guided Church policy for many centuries.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 5: Rome Pagan and Catholic

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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 5: Rome Pagan and Catholic

Discussing 1 Timothy chapter 3 we took a lengthy digression to explain that in the many places where Paul of Tarsus referred to the various mysteries of the Christian faith, none of these things should any longer be mysteries to Christians, because Paul himself had explained them wherever he had mentioned them. Once Paul explained them, it is only common sense that they should be mysteries no longer. But in its doctrines, the Roman Catholic Church still considers them to be mysteries, in spite of the fact that Paul explained them as he mentioned them in his epistles. But the very essence of Christianity informs us that certain tenets of the faith should remain mysteries to outsiders, for which reason Christ had spoken in parables. However they should not be mysteries to Christians.

To Christians there is no “mystery of the church”, since Paul taught that the church was to consist of the people of the nations of those Israelites who were scattered in antiquity, and he brought the Gospel to those same people as he was commanded to do. Furthermore, to Christians there is no mystery to the “mystery of God”, because Paul had taught that Yahshua (Jesus) Christ is Yahweh God manifest in the flesh, and there should be nothing too difficult to understand about that. Paul was not alone, as these same things are also taught in the writings of the prophets and in the Gospel itself. In the Revelation of Yahshua Christ, we learn that by our own time the mystery of God was to be finished, and it is, because as Identity Christians we announce it’s fulfillment in spite of the denials of the Roman Catholics and the other denominational churches.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 4: The Mysteries of the Faith

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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 4: The Mysteries of the Faith

Throughout the first part of 1 Timothy chapter 3, Paul discussed guidelines for the selection of qualified supervisors and servants in a Christian assembly – which are in most translations referred to as bishops and ministers – and we made some summary statements concerning Paul’s mention of the “mystery of the faith” in verse 9, where he had instructed that reverent servants of the assembly should “not be double-tongued, not addicted to much wine, not shamefully desirous of gain, holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.” Ostensibly, a sinful man should not be able to hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience, where we see Paul infer that a clear conscience is the product of a moderate lifestyle and keeping of the law. Now in the closing verses of the chapter Paul will mention the “mystery of piety”, or as the King James Version has it, the “mystery of godliness”, and so that we may understand what it is that Paul means by referring to these mysteries, we shall discuss them as he has referred to them throughout his epistles, because they should really not be mysteries any longer.

But before we undertake that endeavor, here we see that Paul addresses Timothy on a personal note. We left off just short of the closing verses of 1 Timothy chapter 3, where Paul had concluded his summary of the credentials which he thought necessary for a man to have before being selected for the leadership of a Christian assembly, that, as Paul had explained, he should have conducted his life in an exemplary manner and Paul gave examples of such conduct. Now we shall continue our discussion where Paul tells his younger companion:

14 These things I write to you hoping to come to you shortly [א and the MT have “come to you more quickly”; the text follows A, C, and D], 15 and if I delay, that you would know how it is necessary to conduct yourself among the household of Yahweh, which is the assembly of Yahweh who lives, a pillar and foundation of the truth.

Here we see that as he was writing this epistle, Paul had expected to come to Timothy shortly. A little later on, in verse 13 of chapter 4 of this epistle, he expresses this intent once again where he says “Until I come, you attend to the reading, the exhortation, the teaching…” As we saw when we presented the opening chapter of this epistle, Paul had left Timothy in Ephesus, ostensibly after the trouble with the silversmiths described in Acts chapter 19, which was most likely the Spring of 56 AD. In 1 Timothy chapter 1 Paul wrote “I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia”, and in the opening verse of Acts chapter 20 we read “And after the uproar was ceased [which was the uproar with the silversmiths that is recorded in Acts chapter 19], Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.” So this passage also infers that Timothy was left behind in Ephesus.

Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 3: Leadership Credentials

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Paul's First Epistle to Timothy, Part 3: Leadership Credentials

As we have already explained, Paul of Tarsus was writing Timothy while en route from the Troad through Macedonia, as he traveled to Nicopolis in Epirus where he had planned on spending the winter before a visit to Corinth in the Spring of 57 AD. Timothy is still in Ephesus, from where Paul had recently departed, and Paul is exhorting him in areas which he must of felt needed special attention, hoping that Timothy would pass these things on in the course of his teachings to the Ephesians. Paul’s comments supporting our interpretation are found in chapter 4 of this letter.

In the last presentation of our commentary on this first epistle to Timothy, in chapter 2, we saw that the apostle passed on to his younger companion a brief sketch depicting the demeanor which he hoped would be born by all Christian men, that they should endeavor to lead quiet and peaceful lives and be found in supplications, prayers, intercessions and thanksgiving on behalf of their fellows. Here it should be noted, that this does not mean that Paul expects Christian men to be merely passive keepers of the Faith, sitting around all day and passing the time in prayer. Rather, Paul has described the attitude of Christian men and not their activity. He has explained how they should be found carrying themselves as they toil and struggle in their Christian walk, for the objective of accomplishing good deeds, works resulting in the accumulation of treasure in heaven – things which he mentions here in chapters 4 through 6 of the epistle. The true Christian activity is proactive, and neither sedentary nor pacifist.

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.

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.”

Paul's Epistle to Titus, Part 3: The Cleanliness of God

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Paul's Epistle to 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.

Paul's Epistle to 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.

Paul's Epistle to 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.

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