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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.
During the Reformation, Martin Luther was called to the Diet of Worms, where he was to be put on trial because his theological teachings were contrary to the decisions of the Roman Catholic Church. During his journey from Wittenberg to Worms, he had stopped to preach in several churches which were friendly to his cause. So we read the following from The History of the German People at the Close of the Middle Ages by Johannes Janssen, from Volume 3, Book 6, from pages 189-190, in a chapter subtitled The Diet of Worms and the Sentence on the New Gospel, which is describing Luther’s journey:
On the following day Luther preached in the Augustinian church to a great crowd of people. ‘The Athenians were not filled with such astonishment,’ exclaimed Eobanus, ‘at the speech of Demosthenes, nor Rome when she sat at the feet of her great orator, nor did Paul stir the hearts of his listeners as Luther’s sermon moved the populace on the banks of the Gera.’ ‘One man builds churches [referring to physical buildings],’ said Luther in his sermon, ‘another makes pilgrimages to the shrine of St. James or St. Peter, a third fasts and prays, wears the monk’s cowl, goes barefoot… all such works are nothing and must be done away with. Note well these words: “All our works have no power. I am your righteousness, says the Lord Christ; I have destroyed the sins with which you are loaded; believe, therefore, that it is I who have done this, and you will be justified.”
What does this mean? That if we commit a fresh sin we need not at once despair, but say: “O God, thou livest still; Christ, my Lord, is the destroyer of sin:” and the sin is at once taken away. Thus we care nothing for the laws of men, not even if the Pope should come down upon us with his ban, for we are reconciled to God, so that calamities, bans, laws are as nothing to us.’ Luther fired invectives against the intolerable yoke of papacy and against the ecclesiastics who ‘tended their sheep much as butchers do on Easter eve.’ ‘There are at least three thousand pastors,’ he said, ‘amongst whom not four good ones are to be found.’
We first discussed this account in Part 13 of our series Luther in Life and Death, presented here in January of 2016. In most respects Luther was right. It is Christ who has taken away the sins of the people, not any ritual or payment to a priest or to a pope. Therefore their salvation was already attained, and it need not be obtained by any of the works of man. Of course, Luther was also right that Christians should have no use for the laws of man. However he went too far and he failed to teach that Christians should indeed aspire to keep the laws of God. Contrary to Paul, he wrongly taught that we should sin more so that grace may abound. So for that reason, the Sadducees of his own time, which were the secular humanists, had also thrown their support behind him.
In our first presentation of 2 Timothy chapter 1 we concluded with verse 11, and discussed at length two statements which were made by Paul, first that the salvation and calling of Yahweh our God are not according to the works of man, and secondly that through Yahshua Christ, Yahweh has already nullified death. Christians may still continue to die in the body, but their spirits are already saved, and when they die they have an assurance to be with Christ, as Paul also explained in 2 Corinthians chapter 5.
Here we shall repeat these statements from Paul and offer a brief summation: “8 Therefore you should not be ashamed of the testimony of our Prince nor of me, His prisoner. Rather take a share in hardship in the good message in accordance with the power of Yahweh, 9 who preserves and calls us to a holy calling not according to our works, but according to a distinct purpose and favor, given to us among the number of Christ Yahshua, before the times of the ages, 10 and made known now through the appearance of our Savior Christ Yahshua, while having nullified death then illuminating life and incorruption through the good message, 11 for which I have been appointed a herald and an ambassador and a teacher.”
One aspect of this passage which we neglected to mention in our earlier presentation, is that the first clause of verse 9 may alternatively, and even more literally, be translated “Who is preserving us and calling to a holy calling not according to our works...” Furthermore, the King James Version has the verbs in the Past Tense here, which is also a legitimate translation. That is because the Greek Aorist Tense does not have an exact counterpart in English, and it is often not necessarily reflective of a time either past or present. Furthermore, grammarians differ on how to interpret the Aorist Tense, and New Testament translators often interpret it as a verb tense without specific reference to the time of action. Translating the Christogenea New Testament, we imagined the Aorist Tense somewhat similarly, much the same as William MacDonald explained it in his Greek Enchiridion, that it often described an action which was initiated in the past but still ongoing. The action of salvation was completed in the past, but at the same time, as a process, it is still ongoing. Sometimes the time element of an Aorist verb is governed by other verbs, so here we look to the verbs which appear later in the sentence, however they are also in the Aorist tense. Even where it says “while having nullified death then illuminating life,” those verbs are in the Aorist, and therefore they may also be seen as describing a process which is ongoing.
But in any case, Paul is not asking Timothy to take a share in the hardship of spreading the Gospel so that he may somehow earn or acquire his salvation. Rather, his statement concerning the preservation and calling of God is a subordinate clause which explains that Timothy should continue in the endeavor to spread the Gospel because the promise of salvation was fulfilled. So Paul uses the Aorist Tense rather than a Future Tense where he says that Yahweh “is preserving us and calling to a holy calling”. Christians should not embrace their calling in order to earn their salvation, but rather they should embrace their calling because they are already promised and assured of their salvation – the concept of Christian being limited to one who is under the Old Testament promise. As Paul wrote of Yahshua Christ in Hebrews chapter 9: “15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” Likewise he wrote in Galatians chapter 4 that it was the purpose of Christ “5 To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
The arguments in the denominational churches over the so-called “once saved always saved” doctrines are wrong. Christ did the saving, Christ made the decision of who to save, and man cannot do a thing to save or to unsave himself. Man cannot do anything to change a decision already made by God, as Paul puts it here, “before the times of the ages”. Man requires salvation because of his sin, and he is saved in spite of his sin. This becomes evident where Paul says that salvation, or preservation, and that holy calling are “not according to our works”. When we look back into the prophets to see where this calling and salvation are promised, we find passages such as Isaiah 43:1 where we read “But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine”, and in Isaiah chapter 45 where we read “17 But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end” and “25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” Here and in other similar prophecies, it is evident that the calling of God and the promises of redemption and salvation are national promises, made to the entire body of the people, to “all the seed of Israel” without exception.
When we first presented these passages, we went back into the prophecies of Isaiah and Hosea, where Yahweh had first promised to abolish death. There we saw that the children of Israel were promised redemption from death in spite of their sins, and not because of anything which they may have done for themselves. Identity Christians acknowledge the national scope, which is the tribal or racial scope of these promises. But at the same time many of them often cling to the old Roman Catholic ideas of sin and death and punishment in Hades. While we may achieve temporal salvation in faith to Christ by a keeping of His law, our eternal salvation is promised as Paul tells us here: “not according to our works, but according to a distinct purpose and favor, given to us among the number of Christ Yahshua, before the times of the ages.”
Punishment in Hades ended with Christ, where the children of Israel now have reconciliation to God – as Paul of Tarsus often explained, and especially in Colossians chapter 2. There he said that: “13… you, being dead in transgressions and in the foreskin of your flesh, you He made alive together with Him, forgiving us all those transgressions. 14 Having wiped out the handwriting against us in the ordinances which were opposed to us, even this He has taken out of the way, nailing it to the cross.” Now Christians keep the commandments of Christ because they love both Him and their brethren, but not because they fear death or punishments in Hades, or perhaps those of our race who do not know these things often keep His commandments anyway, doing so instinctually because they have His law written in their hearts – unless they have already been corrupted by the world.
We are also often told that if one does not believe in Jesus he will not be saved, and will end up in hell. But that is not true. If one does not believe Jesus he may neglect God’s law, and he may neglect love for his brethren. So if perhaps one chooses to live a profligate lifestyle, one may have no reward in the life to come, and one will certainly be punished in this life – in the fires of Gehenna – as the reward for one’s sin. But as a matter of the promises and purposes of God, as a matter of His Creation, one will nevertheless have that eternal life to come, even if – as Daniel warns – he arises to everlasting contempt.
Paul had explained that a lack of belief in Jesus did not negate the promises of Yahweh God in Romans chapter 12, where he was speaking of the disobedient Israelites in Judaea – not of the Edomite Jews that he had already described as “vessels of destruction”, but of those who actually were Israelites, as he explained in chapter 9 of that epistle. Then, in Romans chapter 12, he said of those same Israelites “25 For I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, of this mystery, lest you be wise on account of yourselves, that hardness in part has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Nations arrives. 26 And in that manner all of Israel shall be delivered; just as it is written, ‘From out of Zion shall come the Deliverer, and He shall turn away impiety from Jakob.’ 27 ‘And this to them is the covenant from Me, when I should remove their guilt.’ 28 Certainly concerning the gospel, they are on your account enemies; but concerning the chosen [meaning the true Israelites, as the Edomites were never chosen], beloved on account of the fathers. 29 Indeed the favor and the calling of Yahweh are not to be repented of. [The promises cannot be changed.] 30 Even as you were at one time disobedient to Yahweh [the Romans were some of the scattered Israelites], but now are shown mercy due to their disobedience; 31 in that manner these also are now in opposition to your mercy, so that they may have mercy shown to them [see Acts 26:6-7]. 32 Therefore Yahweh has enclosed all in disobedience, that He may show mercy to all.” The disbelieving Israelites among the Judaeans may have suffered for their disbelief, especially since Jerusalem was totally destroyed only 13 years after Paul had written those words. But they would nevertheless be granted mercy in spite of their disbelief, just as the ancient Israelites are saved in spite of their own disbelief. However the Edomites would never be granted mercy in spite of whatever they believed.
So we need a new Reformation. When I say “we”, I am of course speaking of White Christian Europeans, the descendants of those same Israelites and the descendants of those who endured the first Reformation. We need to acknowledge that we are all saved from death and that we are all granted eternal life according to the promises and prophecy of God, and we need to act accordingly. There should be no fear of our sins. The fear instilled upon us by the world, that we may be damned if we commit the least transgression, even if we so much as say a naughty word, according to the arbitrary rules of man, that fear is contrary to Christ. In chapter 2 of his first epistle, John wrote: “My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: 2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
So men should not be concerned with their sin. Rather, they should put their sin behind them, knowing that it is forgiven, cease from their sin, and work for the betterment of their brethren and their community. Without any worries of condemnation, we may serve our brethren without fear. But if we are obsessed with our sin, and live only to cleanse our sin, we become selfishly concerned with ourselves, and we forsake our God who has already cleansed our sin.
Rather, we should be concerned for our brethren and work to edify them, and by that we truly honor our God. Once we come to terms with the fact that all of the sheep are saved, and all of the goats go into the Lake of Fire, then we can put away the Roman Catholic religion of fear once and for all, and embrace our obligation to build the Kingdom of Heaven. The Roman Catholic religion based on fear is a religion that stands in defiance to the love of God for His people Israel. As we have also already cited, the apostle John discusses this in chapter 4 of his first epistle where he wrote: “16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. 19 We love him, because he first loved us.”
When we love God, and we love our brethren, we should have no fear at all, and no obligation to pay money or to do anything to dispel our fear. John continued further and said: “20 If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? 21 And this commandment have we from him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.” This was required by Christ, and clinging to this we have no other need for the justification of men. Clinging to this, we would naturally keep the commandments because we would not purposely transgress against our brethren whom we love.
Where we will now continue with 2 Timothy chapter 1, the cause which Paul mentions is the cause which we have just described: the good news of the Kingdom of Heaven is that Christ has nullified death not according to the works of man, since man is doomed to fail, but according to the distinct purpose and favor of God, and Yahweh our God cannot fail. So he writes:
12 For which cause also I suffer these things, but I am not ashamed, for I know whom I believe, and I am persuaded that He is able to keep my deposit for that day.
The King James Version has “he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” The phrase, τὴν παραθήκην μου, is the Accusative form of the Greek word παραθήκη with the definite article, and the first person singular possessive pronoun my. So it is my παραθήκη, and not properly “that which I have committed unto him”, although the resulting thought is acceptable. Liddell & Scott define παραθήκη to mean “anything entrusted to one, [a] deposit…”
It is unlikely that Paul is referring to the deposit of the Holy Spirit received by men, which in other epistles he calls the ἀρραβών, a word that the King James Version translates as earnest. In verse 14, the same word παραθήκη appears where Paul informs Timothy to hold onto it for himself. Perhaps that is a play on words, which is possible, and here Paul refers to his own efforts on behalf of the Gospel, that by his work he has stored treasure in heaven for which he will one day be rewarded at the Judgement. Elsewhere, Paul referred to that reward as a prize, as the King James Version has it, in 1 Corinthians 9:24 and Philippians 3:14 where he said that “I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.” By saying “for that day” here, he seems to be referring to the time of salvation to eternal life which he had described in verse 10. Now, in turn, he admonishes Timothy:
13 Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me in faith and love in which is in Christ Yahshua. 14 Keep that good deposit through the Holy Spirit which is dwelling within us.
We erred in the original Christogenea New Testament, somehow having dwelling within you here instead of dwelling within us.
Where Paul admonishes Timothy to “hold fast the pattern of sound words” we can know what he is talking about where he also tells him to “keep that good deposit”, referring to the Truth of the Gospel and the promises and purpose of God which he asks Timothy not to forsake as he implores him to “take a share in hardship in the good message”. So we would interpret the deposit of verse 12 to be the reward which Paul expects for his work in spreading the Gospel, while in verse 14 this deposit which Timothy has is that understanding which Paul had transmitted to him. Paul is making a play on words, referring at first to the reward for what he did with the truth of the Gospel, and then to that truth itself as he had left it with Timothy.
Now as the epistle proceeds, Paul goes on to describe to Timothy the fruits of the relationships he has had with many of those who followed him in the Gospel, whether they be good or bad. Ostensibly he does this because, as he writes in chapter 4 of this epistle, “the time of my departure is at hand”, so he expects Timothy to carry on his mission as his successor, and for that Timothy is being informed so that he may know just how to treat these other men if he encounters them in the future. So Paul says:
15 Know this, that all those in Asia have turned away from me, of which are Phugelos and Hermogenes.
By Asia here Paul refers to the Roman province in southwest Anatolia, which we now call Asia Minor, and in the time of Augustus the ancient city of Ephesus was made the capital of Roman, or proconsular, Asia. Neither of these men are mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, but we must suspect that these men had worked with Paul in the past, perhaps when Paul was in Ephesus, that Timothy had known or that he was at least familiar with them, and that Paul has learned through other messengers that these men have turned away from him and away from the truth of the Gospel of Christ.
This also provides further evidence that Timothy himself is not in Ephesus, as we discussed while presenting the opening verses of this epistle, or he may have been aware of this situation, which Paul does not indicate here. As we shall see, however, Paul does mention a few situations in this epistle that Timothy must have already known about, so perhaps the purpose of this epistle was to serve as a sort of official notice as well as an instrument of instruction to his younger companion and successor.
16 The Prince should give mercy to the house of Onesiphoros, because often he refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains, 17 but being in Rome eagerly [A and the MT have “more eagerly”; the text follows א, C, and D] sought and found me.
In the salutation of chapter 4 of this epistle, Paul tells Timothy to “Salute Prisca and Aquila and the household of Onesiphorus”. But that does not necessarily indicate that they are in Ephesus. While Priscilla and Aquila were with Paul in Ephesus before he departed from there in 56 AD, as we can tell from 1 Corinthians chapter 16, a short time later they were in Rome, when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans in the Spring of 57 AD, which we can tell from Romans chapter 16.
But it is not likely that Timothy is in Rome. It is clear that Paul is now a prisoner in Rome, and that he had already been there for at least a few months and probably longer. He had already written the epistle to the Ephesians and he had already defended the Faith before Caesar Nero (2 Timothy 4:16). But he had not yet seen Timothy, as he indicates here in verse 4 of this chapter, and therefore Timothy must be elsewhere and Priscilla and Aquila are no longer in Rome. As we have discussed, from this epistle we cannot really tell where Timothy is, however Paul expects Priscilla and Aquila to be near Timothy wherever he is, so that he can greet them on his behalf.
Here we see that Onesimus had visited Paul in Rome, as Paul explains here, and Paul also expects for him to be wherever Timothy is – although that is not necessarily in Ephesus. Rather, from the verse which follows it seems that Onesiphorus may have went to Ephesus for Paul and then went on to be with Timothy, wherever his house was, where Paul wrote:
18 The Prince should give to him to find appropriate mercy in that day. And how much he has served in Ephesos, you would know better.
There is a phrase here, παρὰ κυρίου, which the King James Version translates as of the Lord, having “mercy of the Lord” where we have appropriate, having “appropriate mercy”. The word κύριος is merely a simple adjective in Greek, and it is only a title when it is used as a Substantive. Liddell & Scott have defined κύριος: “I. of persons, having power or authority over, lord, or master of… having authority… not of persons, authoritative, decisive, dominant… authorised, ratified, valid… of times, etc., fixed, ordained, appointed… legitimate, regular, proper… of words, authorised, vernacular…” Then in its secondary use where it may be a title, “B. as Substantive… a lord, master…”. Paul used κύριος in several places in its primary sense as an adjective, where it is not a Substantive, and where it is, or at least where it should be, with authority or by authority where it appears with the preposition κατά. He also used it without any preposition, in the Genitive Case, where is of authority. Here and in one other place he used it with the preposition παρά where it is as appropriate.
So it seems plausible that Onesiphorus was with Paul in Rome, and although the letter to the Ephesians was delivered separately by Tychicus, at some different time Onesiphorus performed some favor in Ephesus for Paul, and went on to where Timothy would be expected to be able to communicate with him on Paul’s behalf. But whatever favor Onesiphorus performed for Paul, he nevertheless made it clear that “all those in Asia have turned away from me”.
Ostensibly, Paul had been the first to preach Christianity to the Ephesians, which we see in Acts chapter 18, where after Paul departed from Corinth we read: “19 And they arrived in Ephesos, and he left them, then he himself entering into the assembly hall conversed with the Judaeans. 20 And upon their asking him to remain for a longer time, he did not assent, 21 rather making arrangements and saying ‘Again I shall return to you, Yahweh willing,’ he set sail from Ephesos.” When Paul returned, he spent three years there, some of which we have records in Acts chapters 19 and 20 where during his final visit to Asia Paul had told the elders of the Ephesians “29 For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. 30 Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. 31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
So here Paul’s words in Acts have indeed been fulfilled, and perhaps thirty years after Paul wrote this epistle, we see that the Ephesians were reprimanded by Yahshua Christ in chapter 2 of the Revelation, where He said: “4 Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5 Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” The Christianity which Paul had introduced to the Ephesians must have been the “first love” from which they departed, and Paul is explaining the beginning of that departure here in 2 Timothy where he professed that “all those in Asia have turned away from me”.
Speaking of appropriate mercy, the parables of Christ make it quite clear to us that we shall be judged according to how we judge and how we serve our brethren, and that is how Paul prays here of Onesiphorus, that since he has served Paul well, he prays that he in turn would be judged well by Christ. Christ warns in Matthew chapter 7 that “2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.” So we should not judge our brethren hypocritically, condemning them if we ourselves have sinned in like manner. But when our brethren do us well, we also pray that they receive likewise from our God.
We learn further from the parable of the wicked servant that we must treat our brethren as we expect to be treated, where the Word of God says of a servant who was forgiven a great debt after pleading with his master: “27 Then the lord of that servant was moved with compassion, and loosed him, and forgave him the debt. 28 But the same servant went out, and found one of his fellowservants, which owed him an hundred pence: and he laid hands on him, and took him by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest. 29 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. 30 And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt. 31 So when his fellowservants saw what was done, they were very sorry, and came and told unto their lord all that was done. 32 Then his lord, after that he had called him, said unto him, O thou wicked servant, I forgave thee all that debt, because thou desiredst me: 33 Shouldest not thou also have had compassion on thy fellowservant, even as I had pity on thee? 34 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. 35 So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.” So we should judge our brethren by the good they do for us, and be careful not to condemn them when they are indebted to us. Once we realize that we all have eternal life in spite of our sins, if indeed we are born of the children of the promise, then the importance of having mercy and forgiveness for our brethren should become all the more apparent to us.
This is the Reformation that our race truly needs: to cast aside the religion of fear and to cleave to the true message of Christ, which is brotherly love and service to our community, the end of which is eternal life for our entire race. As Christ had spoken, in Luke chapter 15: “4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?” Who wants to be the servant, who would condemn his fellow, and then his own master requires of him everything that he is indebted? Christ had quoted the Word of Yahweh in Hosea which demanded that “For I desired mercy, and not sacrifice; and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” (Hosea 6:6.)
So making an example of the result of that service grounded in love, Paul prays well for Onesiphorus, and uses that as an occasion to further encourage Timothy, in the opening verses of chapter 2:
1 Therefore you, my child, be empowered in that favor which is in Christ Yahshua, 2 and the things you have heard from me through many witnesses, these things you must commit to trustworthy men, who are competent also to teach others.
This favor which Paul admonishes Timothy to be empowered in is that same favor he mentioned earlier while speaking of Yahweh “preserves and calls us to a holy calling not according to our works, but according to a distinct purpose and favor”. We should be empowered by the promise of eternal life which we have as a favor, as a gift from God, and we should act accordingly.
Where Paul says “through many witnesses” he may simply be alluding to the amount of time over the years that he himself had spent instructing Timothy, on the occasions when they were together. This is evident from 2 Corinthians chapter 13, where he says to the people of Corinth “This is the third time I am coming to you”, and then “In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”
Also notice that while Yahshua Christ had disciples, Paul of Tarsus never sought disciples. Instead he had sought only fellow-workers, companions who were colleagues but never subordinates. This is in the spirit of what Christ Himself had said in Matthew chapter 23: “8 But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren.” While Paul called himself a teacher, and of course he was, his objective was not to be a teacher of disciples, but a teacher of teachers. A teacher of disciples elevates himself to a position which belongs only to Christ. But a teacher of teachers seeks to find men that can join in the cause as partners, and not as subordinates. Paul sought partners, and now he encourages Timothy to do the same. So he further encourages him:
3 You must share in hardships as a good soldier of Christ Yahshua. 4 No one being a soldier, entangled in the matters of this life, in that way would please he who enrolled him as a soldier.
Perhaps Christ Himself depicted the image of the Christian soldier where He told his disciples, as it is recorded in Luke chapter 22: “36… But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” There it was made evident, in the context of His wider statements, that after His departure, His disciples would have to take up arms to defend themselves. Of course, that situation prevails to this day.
However Paul drew a fuller picture of the Christian soldier in Ephesians chapter 6, an epistle which was written very shortly before this one and just before he was to put up a defense of the Faith before Caesar. There he wrote: “11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; 15 And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God...”
5 And if also a man contends for anything, he is not awarded if he does not compete lawfully. 6 The toiling farmer must be first to partake of the fruits.
The Greek word στεφανόω (Strong’s # 4737), is awarded here. Literally it is crowned or honored with a crown. The noun στέφανος (Strong’s # 4735), from which we also have the name Stephen, is a crown. Paul used it similarly in 1 Corinthians chapter 9 where he wrote of the function of his ministry and said: “23 And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you. 24 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. 25 And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. 26 I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: 27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”
Therefore Paul also said here, that a man contending for such a prize “is not awarded if he does not compete lawfully”, ostensibly meaning that he should act within the laws of God. But Paul is also telling Timothy to forsake his interest in the “matters of this life”, and that “the toiling farmer must be first to partake of the fruits.” Paul is alluding to the challenge which all those who labor on behalf of the Gospel of Christ must face: a relegation to poverty unless in turn Yahweh provides for such a man through the congregation which he is able to raise.
So Paul also told the Corinthians, in that same chapter of his epistle: “11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”
But it is not always fitting to do so. Paul sought not to be indebted to the Corinthians as he preached to them. He even worked at his trade as a tent-maker, and he further said: “15 But I have used none of these things: neither have I written these things, that it should be so done unto me: for it were better for me to die, than that any man should make my glorying void. 16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!” And this too is the challenge that every true servant of the gospel must face: that he preaches the Gospel because he must, and not merely because he desires, or so that he could profit. So Paul would rather preach without reward than not to preach at all, because he saw that he had a higher obligation.
7 Consider that which I say. The Prince will give to you comprehension in everything.
And here we can venture to clarify the apostle John’s intent where he wrote in chapter 2 of his first epistle: “27 But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
If this meant that Christians never needed a worldly teacher, why would Paul say that “… the servant of the Lord must… be gentle unto all men, apt to teach…”? Why would he say here that Timothy should commit the things he has learned from Paul “to trustworthy men, who are competent also to teach others”? Why would he commend Timothy in chapter 3 of this epistle, telling him “you have followed me closely in the doctrine”? In Galatians chapter 6, Paul said “6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.” So as he wrote in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, the teacher of the Gospel is supported by the congregation which he instructs, and it is apparent that men do indeed require earthly teachers.
Christ Himself indicated that from among men there would be teachers both good and bad, in the Sermon on the Mount as it is recorded in Matthew chapter 5 where He said “19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.” So of course, we must be wary of anyone who teaches that men may transgress the law or the prophets, which were the subject of His words.
But John explains himself in his subsequent statements, where he says: “28 And now, little children, abide in him; that, when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming. 29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” The Scripture is replete with examples of men who are teachers, even under the Old Covenant where the glory of Yahweh dwelt in his temple. But here John says “29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him.” So Christians are to listen and discern through the Holy Spirit what is right and what is wrong, however first they must listen. Even Christ told His disciples, in the closing verses of the Gospel of Matthew, “Therefore going you instruct all of the Nations… teaching them to keep all things whatever I have commanded to you.”
If we have no need of men as teachers, why did we ever have such a need? Why did Yahshua send forth his disciples as teachers, who in turn instructed other men to be teachers? Rather, we have need to hear the Gospel from men, and especially from they that are “taught in the Word”, as Paul told the Galatians. But it is the Spirit and the Word of God which helps us to discern what is good and what should be rejected, and no man is of greater authority than that. The Spirit of Christ guides us in truth, so Paul told Timothy for that reason to “13 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” But we still need to hear the word from men who are teachers.
Paul now reminds Timothy of what should be the foremost element of his ministry:
8 Remember Yahshua Christ, having risen from the dead, sprung from the offspring of David, in accordance with my good message 9 in which I suffer hardship even of imprisonment as a criminal, but the word of Yahweh is not bound.
Paul is in prison, but the Truth of God cannot be imprisoned. But perhaps Paul is not merely telling Timothy to remember Yahshua Christ, but instead he is telling him to “remember Yahshua Christ… in accordance with my good message”, which seems to refer to the way in which Paul had interpreted the Gospel. And here once again we see the need for both earthly teachers and the Spirit as well as the Word of Yahweh found in the Scriptures. John was not telling his readers to forsake any of these things, but rather he was warning them to judge men according to that same Spirit. That is also why he warned his readers in chapter 4 of his epistle to “1… believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world.”
It is evident that there were different interpretations of the Gospel of Christ as early as Acts chapter 15, where the apostles called a council of Christians in Jerusalem to settle the dispute between Barnabas and Paul, on the one side, and certain of the Judaizing Pharisees on the other. A further rift along those same lines was explained by Paul in Galatians chapter 2, and that epistle was written several years after the events of Acts 15. So Paul is admonishing Timothy to remember Christ as Paul himself had learned and interpreted the Gospel of Christ.
One other thing that Paul did say, which is absolutely contrary to the fear-based religion of the Roman Catholic Church, is that “… you have not taken on a spirit of bondage anew to fear, but you have taken on a spirit of the position of sons, in which we cry: Father, Father.” Of course, a chastised son cries for help from his father, and does not expect torment or destruction. The hope of Christianity is not based on fear, but on the promise of mercy and of eternal life through Christ, but not from the works of men. So Paul continues in relation to that Gospel and that Spirit and says:
10 On which account I endure all things for sake of the elect, that they then would obtain preservation of that in Christ Yahshua with eternal honor.
We must be careful not to take anything here out of context. Many of Paul’s critics claim that Paul purported to be as Christ Himself, and that is not true. The “all things” which Paul alludes to are not all things generally, but merely all of the things which he has suffered, which he had just referred to in the verse previous where he said “in which I suffer hardship even of imprisonment as a criminal”.
Furthermore, Paul suffered these things “for the sake of the elect” because he was commissioned to be a teacher of the elect, as Christ Himself professed in Acts chapter 9, “For he is a vessel chosen by Me who is to bear My Name before both the Nations and kings of the sons of Israel.” Corroboration proving that this was the scope of his commission is found again in his own words in Acts chapter 26 where he told Herod Agrippa II that “6… now for the hope of the promise having been made by Yahweh to our fathers I stand being judged, 7 for which our twelve tribes serving in earnest night and day hope to attain...”
And here where it mentions the “preservation of that in Christ Yahshua with eternal honor”, that they would obtain preservation, the purpose of the Gospel, the purpose of the Creation of God, is for the man to be eternal here on earth, for the Kingdom of Heaven to be here on earth, and that cannot happen until all of the people of God accept the Gospel of Christ and begin to act upon it – something which has never yet happened. The Roman Church diverted Christendom into a religion of fear.
But as we read the Greek here, and the definite article, Paul labors so that the elect would obtain “preservation of that in Christ Yahshua”, and not preservation itself. In other words, it is the Gospel message which Paul strove to preserve, so that all of the children of Israel would have the opportunity to hear and to know it.
So the elect of Paul were certainly the same elect described by the prophet Isaiah, where in chapter 45 the Word of Yahweh speaks concerning the tribes of Israel taken into Assyrian captivity and says “4 For Jacob my servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have even called thee by thy name: I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me. 5 I am the LORD, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the LORD, and there is none else… 17… Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” Paul now offers Timothy further encouragement:
11 Trustworthy is this saying. For if we die together, we also will live together.
The formula “trustworthy is this saying” appears elsewhere in Paul’s epistles once in Titus, and three times in 1 Timothy. As we have remarked in various places, it is sometimes difficult to perceive whether Paul meant for it to refer to what precedes, or to what follows. Here it certainly seems to refer to what follows.
In Romans chapter 6, Paul wrote “1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? 2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” And this stands in refutation of Martin Luther, who rightly rejected the religion of fear, but wrongly taught that men should sin more so that grace would abound. Then Paul said: “3 Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. 5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection: 6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. 7 For he that is dead is freed from sin. 8 Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: 9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” So Christ, rising from the dead, nullified death for all of His elect, for those who were dead but had the promise of being redeemed from death.
In Hosea chapter 13 we read “1 When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died.” This means that when the people of the northern kingdom of Israel, which Ephraim was used to represent in the words of the prophet, were humble and submitted themselves to obedience, they were exalted. But when they offended to the point that they were alienated from Yahweh, they were technically as good as dead in His eyes, since in the law the punishment for such idolatry is death. So Yahweh proceeds to exclaim in that chapter of Hosea “9 O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself; but in me is thine help…” and “14 I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death: O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.”
Paul speaks of the fulfillment in Romans of what Hosea had prophesied in that chapter. Paul explains how this was accomplished in Romans chapter 7, where he says “2, For a woman married to a living husband is bound by law; but if the husband should die, she is discharged from the law of the husband…” and there it is apparent, that Yahshua Christ, Yahweh incarnate, died as a man so that the children of Israel would not be condemned under the law. Therefore being dead with Him, if one is indeed an Israelite, one will have life through His reconciliation, and there are no exceptions among His people.
Now Paul continues his encouragement:
12 If we endure, we also will rule together. If we deny, then He will deny us.
Christ Himself had warned, that “32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. 33 But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven.”
But in the end we do not know that any Israelite shall deny Christ, except that it is evident that some will be resurrected to everlasting contempt, as Daniel the prophet had warned. However there is another promise of Yahweh that cannot fail, which is found in Isaiah, and which Paul repeats in his epistles to the Romans and to the Philippians. In Romans chapter 14 he wrote: “9 For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living. 10 But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. 11 For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God. 12 So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.” In the end, it certainly does seem that every knee of the children of Israel shall bow to Christ, otherwise the words of Isaiah cannot be true where it is written that “In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.” (Isaiah 45:25.)
So Paul then offers further assurance:
13 If we are mistrusting, He remains trustworthy: for He is not able to deny Himself.
Even when men fail, when men sin, or when men do not “believe in Jesus”, Yahweh will not fail and He will keep His promises. Perhaps men cannot “believe in Jesus” because they have never really even heard Jesus, His Word being so corrupted in the pulpits of most so-called Christian churches over the past several centuries or longer. Likewise, Paul had said in chapter 6 of his epistle to the Hebrews that “it is impossible for Yahweh to lie,” thereby explaining that the promises to the fathers would indeed be fulfilled in Christ.
So if all of Israel is not saved, Yahweh denies Himself. If Abraham’s seed is reduced with death, then it is not multiplied according to the promises. If any of the children of Israel die, then Yahweh cannot “redeem them from death” and He cannot destroy the grave or hell, as He had promised. Christ came to forgive our sins, and when we begin to imagine which of the sinners of Israel He shall not save, then we begin to second-guess and to deny His promises. All of Israel shall be saved, because the purpose of life is greater than this world.
So in reference to the failure of man and the trustworthiness of God, Paul says:
14 You should make mention of these things, affirming before Yahweh [A, D, 048, and the MT have “before the Lord”; the text follows א, C, and I], not to argue about semantics - useful for nothing besides the subversion of those listening.
Here the Greek word λογομαχέω (Strong’s # 3054) is to argue about semantics. Where the corresponding noun appeared in 1 Timothy chapter 6, we said that:
The Greek word λογομαχία (Strong’s # 3055) appears only here in the New Testament, and, according to Joseph Thayer’s Greek English Lexicon, it is a “dispute about words, [a] war of words, or about trivial and empty things”, and it is “not found in professional authorities”, which to him are apparently the profane, or secular, authors. Neither is the corresponding verb, λογομαχέω (Strong’s # 3054), which is found in Paul’s writing in 2 Timothy 2:14 where Thayer defines it as a “dispute about words…” and Liddell & Scott define λογομαχέω more literally as “to war about words.” So… where λογομαχία appears in the plural [in 1 Timothy], it is rendered “arguments over semantics”, where the term is interpreted as it refers not to the words themselves, but to the meanings of words, which we are surely convinced was Paul’s original intention.
In our experience, at the core of many disputes over Scripture there are contentions over the meanings of words, and especially in modern times where men frequently insist on interpreting English words with their modern meanings, rather than going back to the original Hebrew or Greek words of Scripture and understanding them as the ancients had actually used them. So by mingling evil intentions with poor or dishonest methods of interpretation, common people are easily led astray by wicked churchmen.
Next Paul admonishes Timothy to:
15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to Yahweh: a workman having no shame, correctly dissecting the word of truth.
Now I understand that the King James translation of this passage, where it says “study to show thyself approved”, is quite popular. And it is not wrong, however we opted for a purely literal meaning of the Greek words. Where Paul said “be diligent”, the notion of study is implied in the statement which follows, where it says “correctly dissecting the word of truth”.
Here is the biggest challenge we face, either as students or even as casual readers of Scripture. So many of our people judge the world by their own opinions, and then they cherry-pick the Scriptures looking for passages which support those opinions. Then when they are faced with Scriptures which conflict with their opinions, they vainly imagine God to be in contradiction to Himself, or that one verse in Scripture somehow nullifies another verse in Scripture. For this Paul had said “Let God be true, and every man a liar”, because Yahweh is not the hypocrite which man so often proves to be.
If Yahweh promised that “all Israel shall be saved”, as we see Paul cite from Isaiah in his epistle to the Romans, then we cannot imagine that any of Israel shall not be saved. If Yahweh promised that He would abolish death, and redeem His people from the grave, then we cannot imagine that for any of His people, death will somehow not be abolished. Rather, we must go back through the Scriptures, and especially in its original languages and in the context of each and every passage, and think through just how those statements must be true in the context of every statement that we feel may conflict. That is indeed an arduous task, but that is what is necessary in order to correctly dissect the word of truth.
In contrast, the religion of fear, which is the prevailing religion of most so-called Christians, is based on lies.