Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, Part 5: Censure and Exhortation

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Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, Part 5: Censure and Exhortation

This will be the 121st presentation in our commentaries on the Epistles of Paul of Tarsus, and, at least for now, it shall be the final segment of the series. Here we conclude an endeavor which we began on March 28th, 2014, with our first presentation on the epistle to the Romans. We praise Christ for having had the opportunity to do this, and we pray that all of those unrighteous skeptics of Paul’s epistles take the time to read or listen to this work. As we have said many times in the past, Paul’s epistles were the glue by which the message of reconciliation in the Gospel of Christ was adhered to the lost sheep of the Houses of Judah and Israel – the anciently scattered tribes who are those for whom Christ had come. The importance of this within the greater history of our Adamic race cannot be overlooked. In the history of Israel, Paul was every bit as important as any of the ancient prophets – for it is he who truly understood and taught the relevance of the prophecies and histories of the children of Israel in the light of the Gospel of Christ, even if the world has been blind to the truth of this message for at least the last 1800 years. In the formative years of the Roman Church, imperialism prevailed over identity.

But as we have explained elsewhere, and in diverse ways, while this is the last epistle in our presentation, it is not the last of Paul’s surviving epistles in the order of their writing. We have not presented these epistles in the order in which they were written. Rather, we adhered to the order found in the King James Version of the Bible, with a couple of exceptions. We moved Hebrews to precede the pastoral epistles, as we believe that it belongs with the nine epistles which Paul had written to other Christian assemblies. We also moved Philemon and presented it along with Colossians, since Philemon was a Colossian and Paul wrote to him individually concerning his slave Epaphras at the same time that he wrote his letter to the Colossians.

If we had presented these epistles in chronological order, we would have started with those written to the Thessalonians, and then presented Galatians, 1 Corinthians, Titus, 1 Timothy, 2 Corinthians and Romans, in that order. These are all of Paul’s surviving epistles which were written while he was free, and we also saw evidence that a now-missing letter to the Corinthians was also written, which preceded the two which we have, and that there must have been an earlier letter to the Galatians than the one which we now have, and which is also missing. Next, the epistle to the Hebrews was written after Paul was arrested and before he was sent to Rome. Then from Rome he wrote Ephesians, and then this epistle, 2 Timothy, where he asked Timothy to join him. After Timothy obeyed and came to Paul, the epistles to the Philippians, Colossians and Philemon were written. We have also seen that when Colossians was written, there was a now-missing epistle to the nearby Laodiceans which was sent along with it, but Philemon was probably the last of Paul’s surviving epistles.

So while this second epistle to Timothy was not actually the last of Paul’s epistles, it is nevertheless fitting to be presented as the last, as Paul uses it as a sort of testament to Timothy and briefly describes the standing or character of many of the men with whom he had been associated, ostensibly so that his younger fellow-worker would be able to act accordingly if perhaps he encountered any of them in the future. With this, and with Paul’s consistent association of Timothy with his ministry whenever he writes letters while the two are together, we can confidently ascertain that Timothy was the designated heir to Paul’s ministry. Paul writes this letter as he has already defended the Christian faith before the emperor, and as he awaits his own possible condemnation in Rome, so Paul certainly imagined that this epistle may indeed be his last. Now, after a brief discussion of what we had seen in chapter 3 of the epistle, we shall present its final chapter.

In our last presentation of this second epistle to Timothy, we saw the apostle issue a general warning, that in future days “… men will be narcissistic, covetous, arrogant blasphemous braggarts, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unhallowed, unaffectionate, implacable, slanderous, intemperate, untamed, without love of goodness, reckless demented traitors, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of Yahweh.” After this warning, Paul began to commend and encourage Timothy. He continues that commendation here, and summarily repeats this warning from a different perspective.

But before proceeding, we must say that stating this warning, Paul was not describing different sorts of sinners, as he had in times past warned against fornicators or idolaters or adulterers, etc., in 1 Corinthians chapter 6, or against “fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry”, as he did in Colossians chapter 3. This warning is different. Here Paul describes men who start off being narcissistic and covetous, and those sins lead them into all of these other sins, where those same men become arrogant blasphemous braggarts, ungrateful, unaffectionate, implacable, slanderous, and among other things, ultimately they become reckless demented traitors and lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

All of this is the fruit of narcissism, or love of oneself. When a man loves himself, he turns his attention to himself so that he may add things to himself. He becomes a lover of flesh, engaging in vanities such as body-building, or if he does not to do that, by adorning himself with expensive clothing and jewels and accessories. Even when one cannot afford gold, covering oneself with tattoos can be an expression of narcissism, longing to draw attention to one’s own person rather than spending one’s time and money edifying the community of the people of Christ. Not all narcissists can afford gold, and not all have tattoos, and we cannot say that anyone who has either of these things, or anyone who has nice clothing or exercises lifting weights is a narcissist. But men who are consumed with themselves indulge in one or more of these things, and the next step is to slide down the slippery path into covetousness, which is the undue desire of material things for oneself.

So as Paul also attests here, narcissistic men become braggarts, always attracting attention to themselves. They also exhibit ingratitude and become traitors, even biting the hands that feed them because they seek to vaunt themselves over their own brethren. But we don’t always recognize a narcissist when we first encounter one. And when someone who possesses narcissistic habits or tendencies professes the Gospel of Christ, we must tolerate them to a degree, where it may take months or years for their true intentions to become manifest. So when we are betrayed by such a man, the warnings of the apostle are all the more pronounced, that perhaps we should have given them more careful consideration in the first place.

Of course, I say these things because I myself have recently been betrayed by such a man, and there is another such betrayal now transpiring, because another good friend has been taken away by him into covetousness. So it just so happens that at this same time, that we are also here presenting this portion of Paul’s epistles where he happened to warn of these things, and we have an occasion to discuss them at length. When a man succumbs to self-indulgence and narcissism, he is ultimately going to betray his own community, becoming one of those “reckless demented traitors” of which Paul speaks. The Christian walk should be one of self-denial and not of self-indulgence. We deny ourselves for the benefit of our people, and seek to serve them rather than to serve ourselves. This is what Christ had told us in the Gospel when He said “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.” Those who seek to build themselves up, who covet wealth or riches or attention for themselves, they want to be their own gods, their own saviors, and in essence they deny Yahshua Christ, who is our only God and Savior.

With this we shall commence with 2 Timothy chapter 4, where Paul is continuing an exhortation for Timothy that he had he begun in chapter 3. In the last verses of that chapter, Paul wrote that “16 All writing inspired of God is also beneficial for teaching, for evidence, for correction, for education which is in righteousness, 17 that the man of Yahweh would be perfect, having prepared himself for all good works.” So now he continues and says:

1 I affirm before Yahweh, even Christ Yahshua who is going to judge living and dead, and His manifestation, and His kingdom:

Now before we continue with Paul’s affirmation, we will pause to assert that the Christian should prepare himself for all good works through the study of the Scriptures. However knowing the Scriptures alone is not a good work in and of itself, but the knowledge only prepares one to do good works. So if one believes the Scriptures, he will indeed apply their teachings in his daily life, he will act on the basis of those teachings, and therefore throughout the course of his daily life he will choose activities in which to engage that are oriented towards seeking the Kingdom of God. Doing that, he will be eager to perform good works for his kindred, in preparation for that Kingdom.

But here we shall pause to address yet another heresy which the followers of Neville Goddard, Napoleon Hill and the Kabbalah are trying to inject into Christian Identity. This idea that the Kingdom of Heaven is within us, or as they explain that concept, that God is a mere vibrational energy that exists in everything, and that we can somehow harness that energy for our own use, to fulfill our own desires, because that vibrational energy is the “god within us”, or even as some heretical fools even venture to call it, the “Christ within us”.

If any of this were true, why is Paul of Tarsus telling his readers to turn outwardly, to do good works and to await the manifestation of Christ and His Kingdom in our physical world? Christ did not tell His adversaries that the Kingdom of Heaven is within them. Rather, Christ told them that the Kingdom of Heaven is among them, because the people of God here on earth at any given time do represent the Kingdom of God. When they all do good works for one another, and cleave to one another, the Kingdom of God becomes manifest, but even that does not mean that Israel is restored. In that regard the apostles asked, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 1, “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” So we must wonder, is this a question that they would ask if Christ ever taught them to feel the kingdom within themselves as some sort of happy-feeling vibrational energy? He may as well have told them to drop some acid or smoke some mushrooms. But Jesus was not a counter-culture hippie or a New-Ager, or even an Kabbalistic alchemist.

Did Christ ever attempt to explain to His disciples any sort of so-called “string theory” or some obscure concept from metaphysics or theoretical physics? No, but rather He told them “It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.” So instead, He only told them that their mission was to spread His gospel, and after He departed from them the angels of Yahweh told them that “This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.” There is no Kabbalistic numbers-crunching that will ever change that.

This Christ of Acts chapter 1 is the same Yahshua Christ whom Paul instructed his Christian readers to await: a real and physical entity who is coming to judge the quick and the dead, to execute vengeance upon His enemies and to establish His Kingdom here on earth in the final restoration of the children of Israel. This is the Christ of the Revelation of John. But it is not the Christ of the New Age Kabbalah babblers. If Christ is in us, if God is in us, it is only because we are His children and we have sought to conform ourselves to Him through the keeping of His Law, as He told us in John chapter 14: “If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”

But even that internal dwelling of Christ in us is only in preparation for the coming of His Kingdom, and it is not the Kingdom itself. The truth of that is evident in the Book of Acts from chapter 2, as the apostles had received the Holy Spirit, which is precisely why we have such a witness. The apostles certainly did have the indwelling of Christ in the Holy Spirit, but they were nevertheless fallible men who were persecuted on His behalf, and they never considered for themselves to be gods, that they may create their own reality. The Kabbalah must be uprooted from Christian Identity, as our Identity message is indeed the Elijah ministry, and in that there is no room for Neville Goddard, Napoleon Hill, Gnosticism, Theosophy, Neo-Platonism or Kabbalah.

I have not said it earlier, but they refuse to repent, so I will say it now. Our former friend, Brother Ryan, or “Radical Ryan” on YouTube, has attempted to introduce teachings from the Kabbalah into our Christian Identity gospel, and we rebuke him for it. Sadly, another former friend, whom we shall not yet name, is following him but we still pray that will he repent. He is confusing the Gospel of Goddard for “faith” and awaiting his own life-changing miracle, based on a sanitized version of Ryan’s recently-adopted teachings, which is fully evident in the content of his most recent two sermons.

Now we shall proceed with Paul’s affirmation:

2 You must proclaim the word, you must stand ready opportunely and inopportunely, you must bring convincing proof, you must censure, you must exhort with all forbearance and instruction.

Censuring those narcissistic and covetous men of whom Paul speaks is an important part of our Christian obligation. When we fail to censure them, we give them license to carry on their deception. This also reveals an important aspect by which to measure our acceptance of the Gospel of Christ. When men accept the Gospel, they must accept the teachings of Christ which insist that if we are to follow Him, we must deny ourselves and dedicate our lives to our people. If we do not do so, then we are not really following Him. If we refuse to dedicate ourselves to our people, it can only be that we are lovers of ourselves, and not of the Body of Christ. We cannot have it both ways. Evidently Paul foresaw a time of great need for such censuring, where he next says:

3 For there will be a time when they will not maintain sound doctrine, but in accordance with their own lusts will they amass teachers for themselves, tickling the ear.

While individual teachers may amass many students, just as he had warned in the previous chapter, here Paul is also speaking of the entire future body of Christians, and the teachers which they would amass for themselves who would teach them lies according to their own desires. Narcissists wrapped up in themselves teach people that they can also be gods and that their imaginations can create their own realities, so that they can be absorbed with enriching their own lives. But they have departed from that self-denial which is necessary to master in order to serve the Gospel and Body of Christ. Covetous people seek out teachers who give approbation to and legitimize their covetousness, and covetous so-called pastors teach people how to fulfill their own covetousness. So today we have the so-called “name it and claim it” prosperity gospel, or the more sublime deception that teaches men that they can use their imaginations to create the objects of their own desires, because they are gods and all they have to do is to learn to exploit the vibrations.

Narcissistic men deceive themselves in the belief that they are gods, when Yahshua Christ our God challenges us, where He inquires “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?” (Matthew 6:27). We are not gods of creation, who are mere men formed by our maker. We must flee our youthful lusts, since it is clearly apparent that not all vibrations are actually good vibrations.

In his epistle to the Philippians, which was written only a short time after this epistle, Paul, along with Timothy, wrote: “17 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. 18 (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.) 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” We do not find our Savior in Heaven, and we do not find our salvation from within ourselves. But rather, we look for Yahshua Christ our Savior to come from Heaven. We do not look to exploit some happy-feeling vibrations in our own vile, mortal bodies, but rather, we anticipate the day when this mortality can put on immortality, in the manner in which Paul describes in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, at that time when this vile body is changed. We don’t look to be gods, but rather, we look to conform ourselves to God, and to make ourselves subject to Him. But Paul warns that people shall instead love the lies:

4 And indeed they will turn the ear away from the truth and they will be turned to myths.

These Kabbalistic teachings can be traced back at least as far as Neo-Platonism and Jewish Gnosticism, which also sought to reconcile the elements of pagan Greek philosophy with Scripture, and which are among the Jewish fables of which Paul had warned Titus, where he said “12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. 13 This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; 14 Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth.Today’s Kabbalists, posing as Christian pastors and teachers, accepting Jewish fables have done that same thing once again.

Now Paul offers another exhortation:

5 But you be sober in all. You must suffer evil. You must do the work of a preacher of the good message. You must fully accomplish your ministry.

The Codex Sinaiticus (א) wants the phrase “You must suffer evil”, but following the phrase, the Codex Alexandrinus (A) interpolates the words “as a good soldier of Christ Yahshua”, for which we may compare the text of 2 Timothy 2:3.

The man true to the Gospel of Christ must stand for the truth of the Gospel as far as the moment of his death. Paul is about to explain that he accomplished that same thing, as he thought that he was also about to die. So here he is encouraging Timothy to that same undertaking. Nothing should stand between a Christian and the truths of Scripture. When we win friends with censure and exhoration, we win friends who love Christ even as we do. The friends that we think we have, who are gained by compromise, or the friends who turn from the Gospel, in the end they will turn on us as traitors just as they did to Paul.

The Christian Identity Kabbalists and their followers now profess a so-called “law of attraction”, which is not really a law at all, whereby they profess that those who have negative thoughts will attract negative circumstances, and those who only think positively will attract positive circumstances. This so-called law is entirely detached from reality, and especially from Christian reality. As we stated in different words in our last segment of this presentation, positive Christianity is hostile to the world. So positive thoughts to a Christian are, relatively speaking, negative thoughts to those who are worldly, and we see that what qualifies as positive or negative thinking is relative to whomever is hearing the particular idea or concept which a thought expresses. The words “thou shalt not commit adultery” are pleasing to a man who loves his wife, but they are odious to a fornicator who chases after the wives of other men.

Paul certainly seemed to have been thinking positively as he spread the Gospel of Christ, since it certainly is the message of redemption and salvation for the children of Israel. But he was nevertheless stoned and left for dead in Lycaonia, and elsewhere he asserted that he “fought with beasts at Ephesus”. Likewise he confronted many other dangers, things which are not even recorded in the Book of Acts, as he attested in 2 Corinthians chapter 11: “24 Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. 25 Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; 26 In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; 27 In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness.”

But according to the teachers of Kabbalah Identity, Paul only had to imagine material wealth, and he would have had it. Paul only could have imagined a mansion on Crete or in Macedonia or the Peloponnese and it would have been miraculously granted him. If he only thought positive thoughts he would never have been persecuted, because their so-called “Law of Attraction” would have precluded it. That is ludicrous. In truth, someone is lying, and it is not the apostles. As Paul said to Timothy here, You must suffer evil, because all of those who endeavor by the Word of Yahweh to do good in the world will certainly be confronted with evil. As Christ Himself said in Matthew chapter 5, or in Luke chapter 6, which we shall quote here: “22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.” Then He said, in Matthew chapter 10: “22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” Then again, Christ said, in John chapter 15: “20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.” We may be gods, but we are not God, and we shall die like men. If we seek to do the will of our Master, then we can expect to be persecuted in the world. Thinking that we can imagine ourselves into worldly blessings, we are only deceiving ourselves into thinking that we can be as God, and even better than our Master.

Now Paul continues on a solemn note, where he accepts his present circumstances and he says:

6 For I am already offered and the time of my departure approaches. 7 Having struggled the good struggle, I finished the race. I kept the faith.

We learn later in this chapter, in verse 16, that Paul had already defended his Christian profession before Nero Caesar. Now here it is evident that Paul expected to be executed in a short time, so he even speaks of his ministry as if it has been completed. But if we examine his epistles in the order in which they were written, we shall realize that when Timothy comes to Paul in Rome, that evidently his spirits are uplifted, and once again he begins to imagine that he may be released.

These same fools who are introducing the Kabbalah into Christian Identity also claim that Paul wanted to be a martyr, and by that they attempt to justify teaching their so-called “Law of Attraction”. They claim that Paul “attracted” persecution because he wanted to be a martyr. So they might believe that Paul wanted to die in Laodiceia, as it is described in Acts chapter 14 that he was stoned there and left for dead. But that event occurred long before there was ever any fulfillment to Paul’s ordained mission. The truth is that Paul did not even think on the same terms as the modern-day narcissists who would rather teach the perversions of Neville Goddard than teach the Gospel of Christ. In truth, as soon as Paul was arrested, as he wrote his epistle to the Hebrews, he anticipated being set free. So he wrote to them, in chapter 13, “23 Know ye that our brother Timothy is set at liberty; with whom, if he come shortly, I will see you.” But Paul never was released, and he was ultimately sent to Rome instead.

In our rather concise article on the Ordering and chronology of the Epistles of Paul, which was written shortly after our commentary on the Book of Acts, we said the following, in part:

There were two letters written from Rome before Timothy was with Paul: Ephesians was written from Rome, which is evident in 2 Timothy 4:12 where Paul explained that he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus, and we see that Paul is a prisoner when he wrote Ephesians (i.e. Ephesians 3:1), and [that] Tychicus had brought that letter to Ephesus (Ephesians 6:21) before Paul wrote 2 Timothy (2 Timothy 4:12). Perhaps the “full armor of Yahweh” prayer at the end of the epistle reveals that Paul had not yet defended himself before Caesar, something there was no mention of in the epistle, but that he was about to do [so], which he mentions later in 2 Timothy [4:16].

2 Timothy was written from Rome, after Paul had already offered his first defense of Christianity. This agrees with his statement that he sent Tychicus to Ephesus, ostensibly with the epistle to the Ephesians in hand. Now this certainly seems to be the case, however it cannot be explained why Aristarchus was not mentioned where Paul said “only Luke is with me”, and it must also be supposed that Demas had returned to Rome after Paul told Timothy that Demas had forsaken him, since Demas is again with Paul when Colossians was written later on. In 2 Timothy (4:9, 11, 13), Paul asks Timothy to come to Rome, and to bring Mark with him. In the other surviving epistles which Paul later wrote from Rome, it is evident that Timothy indeed complied.

There were three letters written from Rome while Timothy was with Paul:

Philippians was written from Rome while Paul was with Timothy (Philippians 1:1, 7). As he had mentioned his first defense of Christianity in 2 Timothy, he did likewise in Philippians chapter 1, after Timothy had come to Rome to be with him.

Colossians was written while Timothy was with Paul (Colossians 1:1), and it was written from Rome while Paul was a prisoner and Aristarchus was still a prisoner along with him (Colossians 4:10). Tychicus had gone to Ephesus, delivering that epistle. Then Paul told Timothy in 2 Timothy that he had sent Tychicus to Ephesus. However in Colossians 4:7, we can see that Tychicus also delivered this epistle to Colossae, which Paul wrote when he was with Timothy! So Tychicus must have returned to Rome after he delivered the epistle to the Ephesians, and was there with Paul again while Timothy was there, so that he could also deliver the later epistles to the Colossians and Philemon (and the now-missing epistle to the Laodiceans).

As we have demonstrated, the final three of his surviving epistles which Paul wrote were all written after Timothy had joined him in Rome, which he requested of him in this epistle. One thing we neglected to mention explicitly in that article, is that where Mark is mentioned in Colossians and Philemon as being with Paul and Timothy, this is a proof that Mark came to Rome with Timothy as Paul requested in this epistle, and that also helps to establish that our ordering of these epistles is correct.

But more importantly to our immediate context here in verses 6 and 7 of this chapter, there are two places in the later epistles where Paul had expressed the hope that he may be released, rather than being executed. So we had to explain the ordering of the epistles here once again in order to elucidate this fact. Those places are in Philemon and Philippians, and we have just shown that both of those epistles were written after this epistle was written. In what we believe was the very last of his surviving epistles, Paul wrote in his salutation to Philemon, in verse 22: “Now at once also prepare for me a lodging. For I hope that through your prayers I am released as a favor to you.”

Just a little earlier, in Philippians chapter 1 Paul had written: “21 For me to live anointed and to die is gain. 22 But if to live in flesh, this for me a fruit of labor, then I know not which I prefer. 23 I am afflicted by the two, having the desire for which to depart, and to be with Christ, very much the better; 24 but to continue in the flesh is of more necessity for your sake. 25 And persuaded of this, I know that I shall abide and remain with you all for your advancement and joy of the faith 26 that your boast may be abundant in Christ Yahshua in respect of me, because of my presence again with you.”

So in spite of Paul’s dismal statement here in 2 Timothy, that the time of his departure is approaching, where he clearly refers to his imminent execution, in the epistle to the Philippians written at a later time and after Timothy joins him, he expresses doubt as to whether he would be executed, or be released so that he may join the Philippians. Expressing that doubt, he then expresses the preference that he would rather be released so that he could be with them, for their sakes. This is also an expression of self-denial for the benefit of the community, since he also stated that his personal preference was to be with Christ. Then in the epistle to Philemon written at an even later time, he is somehow confident that he would be released, even asking Philemon to prepare a place for him to stay. However that never happened, and that is the last which we ever heard from Paul of Tarsus.

Paul became a martyr, but he did not really want to be a martyr. His last expressions in this regard showed that he had the desire to continue on, so that he may continue serving the Body of Christ. Now, continuing with his solemn remarks in 2 Timothy chapter 4:

8 Hereafter the crown of righteousness is reserved for me, which the Prince will render to me in that day, the Righteous Judge. And not only to me but also to all [D wants “all”] those loving His manifestation.

Paul sincerely believed that all of those who accepted the Gospel of Christ and strove to apply it in their lives would indeed be rewarded at the manifestation of Christ and His Kingdom, as he said in 1 Corinthians chapter 9: “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.” So may we obtain the incorruptible crown by keeping the commandments of Christ, by subjecting our bodies to the laws of our God.

Similarly the apostle James had said “12 Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” Peter spoke likewise to the elders of the Christian assemblies, and exhorted them to “2 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; 3 Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. 4 And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away.”

In the message to the assembly at Smyrna, the angel of the Revelation was instructed to inform them on behalf of Christ to: “10 Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil shall cast some of you into prison, that ye may be tried; and ye shall have tribulation ten days: be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.” As we had said in our recent discussion of 2 Timothy chapter 3, for Christians this is the real “law of attraction”, that when they do good in the eyes of God, the world will consider them evil, and persecute them.

The truly spiritual man seeks to walk in the laws of Yahweh his God, because as Paul had said in Romans chapter 7, the Law is Spiritual. Walking by the Word of God, that man seeks to do good works which result not in earthly riches, but in treasure stored up in heaven. A truly spiritual man does not operate by his own feelings. Good vibrations can come even as a result of lust or some other sensual euphoria, which is not good but which is actually sinful instead. As it is written in Jeremiah, “The prophets prophesy lies in my name: I sent them not, neither have I commanded them, neither spake unto them: they prophesy unto you a false vision and divination, and a thing of nought, and the deceit of their heart.”

The man who seeks true wisdom won’t seek it from the Kabbalah, or from the esoteric writings of Pagans and Jews. Rather, he will seek it from the Law of God, as we read in Proverbs chapter 4: “1 Hear, ye children, the instruction of a father, and attend to know understanding. 2 For I give you good doctrine, forsake ye not my law. 3 For I was my father's son, tender and only beloved in the sight of my mother. 4 He taught me also, and said unto me, Let thine heart retain my words: keep my commandments, and live. 5 Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not; neither decline from the words of my mouth. 6 Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee: love her, and she shall keep thee. 7 Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding. 8 Exalt her, and she shall promote thee: she shall bring thee to honour, when thou dost embrace her. 9 She shall give to thine head an ornament of grace: a crown of glory shall she deliver to thee.” True wisdom, true knowledge, true spirituality, they are found in the facts of Scripture, and not in your own feelings.

Believing that at any time he is about to meet his end, Paul now exhorts Timothy to more immediate matters:

9 You must be eager to come to me quickly. 10 For Demas has left me behind, loving this present age he has gone to Thessalonika, Kreskes to Galatia [א and C have “Gaul”, or “Gallia”], Titos to Dalmatia. 11 Loukas alone is with me. Taking Markos, bring him with yourself, for he is useful to me for the ministry.

We will never tell how quickly Timothy was able to come to Paul in Rome, or exactly when during Paul’s two years in Rome (as we know from Acts 28:31) that each of his last epistles were written. Neither can we tell how long it was after his first trial until he was finally executed. But as we have demonstrated, we can tell the general order of the writing of the epistles that Paul wrote while he was in Rome, and we can also know when they were written in relation to his trial before Caesar. So from this point, there is still space in Paul’s life for Timothy’s coming to him in Rome, for the returns of Tychicus and Demas to Rome, and for the writing of the epistles to the Philippians, Laodiceans, Colossians and Philemon. But whether this was several weeks or even many months, we will never know.

This Markos mentioned here must be the same Mark over whom Paul and Barnabas had split many years before. Reading the epistles to the Colossians (4:10) and to Philemon (1:24), which were the last of Paul’s epistles and which were written after Timothy obeyed this request and joined Paul in Rome, we see that Timothy did bring Mark with him, as Mark is mentioned in the salutations of each of those epistles. The connection to the Mark of Paul’s earlier dispute with Barnabas is fully evident in Colossians, where Paul called this same Mark the “sister's son to Barnabas”. So we see that Paul and Mark had indeed been reconciled at some point during Paul’s ministry, because he now considers to be useful a man whom he had had little faith in several years earlier. Then later, after Paul seems to have passed from this life, Mark is found with Peter in Babylon as that apostle writes his epistles to the assemblies of Paul’s ministry throughout Anatolia. For that he is mentioned in 1 Peter chapter 5. Some time ago, when we presented a commentary on the Gospel of Mark, we explained the belief among early Christian writers that he had actually recorded the Gospel as it was told him by Peter, since he himself was not one of the original twelve. Mark first appeared by name in Scripture in the Book of Acts, in chapter 12. There Peter went to his home in Jerusalem after he was miraculously freed from prison by an angel of Yahweh.

The Demas mentioned here seems to have repented and to have been reconciled to Paul, as he is also mentioned later, in the epistles to both the Colossians (4:14) and to Philemon (1:24). Kreskes, or Crescens here in the King James English, is otherwise unknown but seems to have been sent by Paul on a mission to Galatia. That Titus was sent to Dalmatia would help to establish that he was not stationed by Paul permanently in Crete, as the later Roman Catholics had wrongly supposed. We established that in other ways in our commentary on the epistle to Titus given here last year. Dalmatia was a province which was made when Illyricum was split into two separate provinces, some time around 9 AD. It was the larger coastal portion, as opposed to Pannonia which was the portion that ran along the Danube River. In his epistle to the Romans, Paul attested that he had preached the Gospel in Illyricum, something which was not recorded in the Book of Acts. We may speculate that these men were sent to these places with now-lost epistles, as Paul probably wrote many more epistles during his 30-year ministry than what we now have. As we have also elucidated, Luke apparently remained with Paul from the time that he came from Philippi and joined Paul in the Troad, described in Acts chapter 20, all the way through to the end of his life, which is suggested in the closing verses of Acts chapter 28.

But we cannot understand why Paul had said that “only Luke is with me”, disregarding the presence of Aristarchus. For Aristarchus had been with Paul since the apostles convened in the Troad in Acts chapter 20, was ostensibly arrested with him, and was sent to Rome with him, as Luke mentioned in Acts chapter 27. Later, when Paul wrote the epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, Aristarchus is mentioned as being in his company once again and is still described as his “fellow-prisoner”. So we can only guess why he may not have been with Paul here as he wrote 2 Timothy, or why if he was with Paul, that Paul did not take him into account here. We will venture to say that Aristarchus was on trial with Paul, and here where he omitted him, Paul was only meaning to describe the deeds of his voluntary companions.

So Paul continues to inform Timothy of the state of his companions:

12 Now I have sent Tuchikos to Ephesos.

As we have said, Tychicus delivered the epistle the the Ephesians. Later, when Paul writes the epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, Tuchikos also delivered them (Colossians 4:7), so he must have returned from Ephesus to Paul in Rome by the time those epistles were written. Now Paul gives Timothy an instruction:

13 Coming, bring the cloak which I left behind in the Troad with Karpos, and the books - especially the parchments.

In my opinion, this passage reveals the fact that Timothy could not have been in Ephesus when Paul wrote this epistle. And if he were, Paul may have written “I have sent Tuchikos to you in Ephesus”, or something similar. But wherever Timothy may have been, Paul expected him to be able to pass through the Troad en route to Rome. Ephesus was a major port city of its own, far south of the Troad, and if Timothy was in Ephesus, a journey to the Troad in a direction away from Rome would have inconvenienced him. So where Paul said here “you must be eager to come to me quickly”, he would have spoken contrary to his own desires by sending Timothy out of his way from Ephesus to the Troad. Rather, Timothy must have been somewhere else, and wherever he may have been, the Troad was probably a convenient stop for him on his way to Rome.

Here we also see that books are an important component in Paul’s ministry, even though they are little mentioned throughout his epistles and the accounts in the Book of Acts. But reading Paul’s many epistles, we must imagine that he must have had copies of all of the Scriptures, meaning the writings of the Old Testament, and that he studied and consulted them often, just as he admonished earlier here that “16 All writing inspired of God is also beneficial for teaching, for evidence, for correction, for education which is in righteousness, 17 that the man of Yahweh would be perfect, having prepared himself for all good works.” Evidently, men are not perfected by feelings, by vibrations, or by their own imaginations. Rather, men are perfected by mastering and putting into practice the facts of God set forth in Scripture. A man of faith is useless without the guidance of the Word of God, since faith then becomes relative and may describe any belief at all.

Now Paul warns against another man from his past:

14 Alexandros the coppersmith exhibited much evil to me; the Prince shall render to him according to his works. 15 Him you must also watch, for very much does he stand against our words.

There are several men named Alexander who were associated at one time or another with Paul, and it cannot be certain that this particular Alexander can be identified with any of them. At Ephesus, the leader of the pagan opposition to Paul was apparently Demetrius the silversmith, and a Christian Judaean named Alexander was among the number of the persecuted, as we see in Acts chapter 19.

Then, not long after departing from Ephesus, Paul wrote his first epistle to Timothy and spoke of how certain men had gone astray and “concerning [the] faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” So it may be imagined that this is that same Alexander of Acts chapter 19, seeing that he was at one time among the faithful and then turned away from it. But whether or not this is the same Alexander, he is evidently in active opposition to Paul. Sometimes a man’s friends, taken off into narcissism, become his worst enemies. If Paul could not avoid those situations, we should not imagine that we can avoid them.

Now Paul reveals that he had already stood before Nero:

16 At my first defense no one stood by me, rather all forsook me. You should not account it to them.

Now Paul had already said that “only Luke is with me”, and we cannot tell whether Luke was included where Paul said “all forsook me.” Tychicus was clearly sent to Ephesus by Paul. But perhaps Kreskes and Titus were not sent on missions, as Paul is not explicit where he informs Timothy here that they went to Galatia and Dalmatia. Perhaps they were faint of heart and left for those places in order to avoid standing by Paul. These things we may never know, and we can only draw possibilities from our own assumptions. But perhaps Paul is referring to others of his companions excluding these men whom he explicitly mentions, and that we would rather believe. As he had said earlier in this epistle, “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me….”

Now Paul offers edification:

17 But the Prince stood by me and strengthened me in order that through me the proclamation would be fully assured and all the Nations should hear. I have even been delivered from the mouth of a lion.

As Paul attests, the Prince, or Christ Himself, never forsakes those who love Him and keep His Word. Throughout his ministry, Paul of Tarsus was clearly aware of his original commission, as Yahshua Christ had stated it to Hananias, which is recorded in Acts chapter 9: “Go! 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. For I shall indicate to him how much it is necessary for him to suffer on behalf of My Name.” Again, Paul shows cognizance of this in Acts chapter 22, where at the time of his arrest he addresses the Judaeans and attests that Christ had said to him to “Go, because I shall send you off to distant nations.” Then he shows such cognizance again where he said to Herod Agrippa II, as it is recorded in Acts chapter 27, “And now for the hope of the promise having been made by Yahweh to our fathers I stand being judged, for which our twelve tribes serving in earnest night and day hope to attain….” Those twelve tribes were scattered in the distant nations to which Paul was sent.

So Paul knew well the scope of his commission, and evidently he knew it could not be completed until he had made his testimony before Caesar. He knew this with greater certainty as soon as he was arrested, where we read in Acts chapter 23 “11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” He just didn’t yet realize how he would bear witness at Rome, anticipating that he would be released and go to Rome on his own as he had promised when he wrote the epistle to the Romans shortly before his arrest. Making his defense before Caesar, here Paul may have realized that his commission was completed, however when he had written his epistle to the Romans perhaps three years before this, he also expressed a hope that he would go to Spain, a hope which was never fulfilled.

Where Paul said here that he had been “delivered from the mouth of a lion”, we cannot be certain if he meant to refer to an actual lion, or to an allegorical lion, such as the type to which the apostle Peter referred where he warned that “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.” Of course, Peter was talking about Jews. Paul’s allegorical lion could describe any of his Jewish or even Pagan adversaries who would speak against him at any of his trials, such as the trials before the Roman governors of Judaea, Felix and Festus, or the earlier trial before Gallio in Corinth, or in reference to what transpired in Ephesus that made Paul say in his epistles to the Corinthians that “I have fought with beasts at Ephesus”.

But on the other hand, Paul may be making a reference to an actual lion, and to the Roman punishment of Christians whereby they were thrown to beasts in the circuses. While we cannot rule this out entirely, however, the histories do not seem to support this view. First, in the early Christian writers the trial of Daniel in the lion’s den is mentioned in many of the same places where Paul is mentioned, but I have found no description of Paul undergoing a similar trial, in spite of his words here in 2 Timothy. So there is no early Christian tradition that Paul was actually thrown to the lions, so far as I can find.

Furthermore, it is doubtful that by this time the Romans had even begun using lions in their punishment of Christians. The following account is from the nearly contemporary Roman historian Tacitus, from his Annals of Rome, 15.44, which was published in Volume V of the Loeb Classical Library edition of Tacitus in 1937. It speaks of the blame for the burning of Rome which Nero had unjustly placed on Christians, in 64 AD, which we believe is a couple of years after Paul’s death. It is readily apparent that Tacitus had also accepted all of the Jewish slanders against Christians:

Therefore, to scotch the rumour [that it was Nero himself who started the fire that burned Rome], Nero substituted as culprits, and punished with the utmost refinements of cruelty, a class of men, loathed for their vices, whom the crowd styled Christians. Christus, the founder of the name, had undergone the death penalty in the reign of Tiberius, by sentence of the procurator Pontius Pilatus, and the pernicious superstition was checked for a moment, only to break out once more, not merely in Judaea, the home of the disease, but in the capital itself, where all things horrible or shameful in the world collect and find a vogue. First, then, the confessed members of the sect were arrested; next, on their disclosures, vast numbers were convicted, not so much on the count of arson as for hatred of the human race. And derision accompanied their end: they were covered with wild beasts' skins and torn to death by dogs; or they were fastened on crosses, and, when daylight failed were burned to serve as lamps by night. Nero had offered his Gardens for the spectacle, and gave an exhibition in his Circus, mixing with the crowd in the habit of a charioteer, or mounted on his car. Hence, in spite of a guilt which had earned the most exemplary punishment, there arose a sentiment of pity, due to the impression that they were being sacrificed not for the welfare of the state but to the ferocity of a single man.

It is apparent that from the time that the Coliseum, which was officially called the Flavian Amphitheatre, was opened in 80 AD, that lions and other beasts were used in place of dogs in such punishments, and that Christians were periodically punished in this manner. However it is unlikely that Paul suffered such a fate. There is no record that the Romans were using lions for this purpose at this early time, and no record of Paul’s having been thrown to the lions in any of the writings of the early Christians.

Rather, our preferred interpretation of this statement is that Paul was vehemently attacked at his first trial, but withstood the attack in a defense which gained him some sort of deferment, so that he was not punished immediately. Whether that deferment was the promise of a second hearing, as Paul refers here to his “first defense” implying that there may be a second, or whether only a decision in regard to his guilt or innocence was deferred, is a matter which we cannot fully determine. It is evident, however, that in 61 or 62 AD, Christians in Rome were not being persecuted with the same zeal by which Nero persecuted them after the fire in 64 AD. So we believe that Paul’s lion was an allegorical lion – perhaps some Italian Jewish prosecutor. Paul continues with his encouragement:

18 The Prince will deliver me from all wicked deeds and save me for His Kingdom in the heavens, to whom is honor for the eternal ages, truly.

Paul was absolutely confident in the promises of eternal life in Scripture, as we have already seen that he had also expressed later on in the first chapter of his epistle to the Philippians that “21 For me to live anointed [meaning, to be of the anointed people] and to die is gain. 22 But if to live in flesh, this for me a fruit of labor, then I know not which I prefer. 23 I am afflicted by the two, having the desire for which to depart, and to be with Christ, very much the better; 24 but to continue in the flesh is of more necessity for your sake.” Other men, not so confident in the facts of Scripture, resort to their own imaginations and esteem for themselves to be gods.

Paul’s epistle is complete, and now he offers salutations:

19 Greet Priska and Akulas and the household of Onesiphoros. 20 Erastos has stayed in Korinthos, and Trophimos I left behind in Miletos, being sick.

Priska is a familiar form of the longer name Priscilla. Priscilla and Aquila had been in Rome when Christians were first persecuted there, and were expelled in the days of Claudius Caesar, some time around 49 or 50 AD, which we see mentioned in Acts chapter 18 where they are in Corinth when Paul arrives there. They were with Paul in Ephesus when he wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 16:19), and a year or so later they were back in Rome when Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:3). Now it is obvious that they are not in Rome as Paul writes Timothy, but they are somewhere that Timothy may greet them, wherever that is.

Earlier, in chapter 1 of this epistle, Paul had said that Onesiphorus had done him some service in Ephesus, but that does not mean that he was an Ephesian, or that his house was in Ephesus. But evidently, his house may also have been wherever Timothy was, as Timothy was also expected to bring Paul’s greetings there. We have already given our reasons why we believe that Timothy is somewhere other than Ephesus, and here we also see that it is unlikely he is in either Miletus or Corinth.

Trophimus was mentioned in a historical sense in Acts chapter 21, and he was among Paul’s companions who had convened in the Troad to travel to Jerusalem with him, as it is recorded in the early verses of Acts chapter 20. Paul and his group stopped at Miletus as they departed from the Troad and travelled to Jerusalem, where Paul and evidently several others of the group were arrested. So this must be when Paul had left Trophimus behind in Miletus, and Timothy was with Paul on that journey. In the Book of Acts there is a parenthetical remark where it is said that Paul was seen in times past (“before”, Acts 21:29) with Trophimus in Jerusalem, but not necessarily on this occasion. It is evident that during his three years in Ephesus, Paul had visited Jerusalem for feasts on other occasions which are not recorded in the book of Acts.

While Paul was in Ephesus, he had sent Erastus with Timothy to Macedonia, just before the trouble with the silversmiths broke out (Acts 19). Then later, after Timothy came to Paul in Nicopolis and accompanied him to the Troad (Acts 20), we see Erastus is also in their company, since that is where the epistle to the Romans is written and Erastus is mentioned in the salutation of that epistle (Romans 16:23). In our commentary on Romans chapter 16 we speculated that Erastos may have been one of the Asiarchs in Ephesus who were favorable to Paul, and therefore he may have had problems of his own at Ephesus from that time. But we do not know when Erastos went to Corinth, as he was in the Troad with Paul when he is last mentioned.

Timothy must have known that Trophimus was left in Miletus, but not necessarily about the fate of Erastus. However perhaps Paul mentions both of these men in this fashion not merely to inform Timothy, but also to leave a general record, that he had not seen these men since his last departure from them, whether Timothy was aware of that or not.

Now Paul exhorts Timothy to come to him once more, and adds a greater sense of urgency:

21 You must hurry to come before winter.

Before winter: it is evident from secular Roman writings that the months of January and February are referred to, and during these months travel was difficult, especially travel by sea. In Acts chapter 27 we see that the ship upon which Paul was to be brought to Rome had sought a port in which its passengers and crew could spend the winter before completing its journey.

Now Paul mentions some of those who are with him in Rome, whom he was evidently also not considering where he had earlier written that “only Luke is with me” and “at my first defense no one stood by me, rather all forsook me.” So by those earlier statements it seems that he must have been referring to a particular class of companions, and not to all of his companions in general. So he continues his salutation:

Euboulos and Poudas and Linos and Klaudia and all [א wants “all”] the brethren greet you.

Eubulus is only mentioned here in Scripture, so we cannot determine anything more about him than what we see here, that he is with Paul in his last days.

In Romans chapter 16, we see in part of Paul’s salutation there a request to “13 Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine.” Now here we see a reference to “Pudens, and Linus, and Claudia”, who are with him in Rome as he writes this epistle to Timothy. Pudens was the name of a Roman political family, and Rufus (which means red or red-haired) was a given name found among members of that family. Therefore this Pudens has been connected with the Rufus mentioned in the epistle to the Romans, and the connection is certainly appropriate.

On September 12th, 2014, when we had made our presentation of Romans chapter 16, we expressed the hope that we could address these individuals even further than we had there, but that will have to wait for another occasion. So the following is abridged from our commentary on Romans 16:13:

There have been a lot of studied commentaries, and also lot of hyperbole, associating Rufus with the Pudens family and also associating Linus and Claudia with the family of a British king. There has also been a lot of criticism, some of it good and most of it bad, in reference to those commentaries. The hyperbole does not help the cause of manifesting the truth, but the dishonesty of some of the critics is far worse.

We are not gong to give a full commentary on this topic here, but only a summary of what we believe can be established. However let us state that the identification of Claudia and Linus with Britons, and Rufus with Pudens and therefore a noted Roman political family, first appears in known modern literature in the 16th century in Britain.

Rufus is indeed a reference to one Rufus Pudens. [In Romans chapter 16] Paul also connects himself to Rufus Pudens… by greeting “his mother and mine”. Was Paul a relation through his own mother by marriage, or even by blood, to Rufus Pudens? There is a possibility, but any extrapolation on what is seen here is only conjecture, and more information is needed to reach any conclusion. Paul of Tarsus was of a notable family of Pharisees who were also Roman citizens, being in Cilicia. There is evidence in Acts chapter 13, which is somewhat circumstantial but which cannot be ignored, that he may have been related to Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul of Cyprus. They certainly had the same surname and [they] were [already] acquainted. If this is a possibility, then there is a possibility that Paul's family had connections with the Roman political class. That would also help to explain his advancement in Judaea at such a young age, prior to his conversion to Christ.

The possibility exists to connect one Rufus Pudens to Aulus Pudens, a Roman centurion who served in Britain [not to the Roman general Aulus Plautius, another confused misconception], and is known to have served in the armies which defeated the famed British general and king known to Romans as Caractacus. But his legion also had another British king as an ally, the British turncoat of Chichester known to Romans as Tiberius Claudius Cogidubnus, since he took the name of the emperor as his benefactor. Pudens is connected to Cogidubnus in a Roman inscription which was found in Chichester. If Rufus is not Aulus, the two may have been closely related.

This leads us to Claudia. This woman was with all certainty a Briton, and the woman who later married Rufus Pudens. We must say later, because if they were married when Paul wrote 2 Timothy, he could not have inserted the name of Linus between the names of Claudia and Pudens. It is often asserted that Claudia was the daughter of Caractacus, and while the evidence is circumstantial this cannot be ruled out entirely. However there is even better circumstantial evidence which suggests that Claudia may have been the daughter of Cogidubnus. Without doubt, Claudia was a woman of note who was also a Briton, but the daughter of which British king cannot be said with absolute certainty. Other British kings, hostages and captives had moved to Rome as well, and Claudia may have her roots elsewhere. However for some reason her name was changed to the family name of Claudius Caesar, and in Rome that could not be done casually. So for that reason the identification of Claudia with Cogidubnus is not a mere fantasy. [We have seen that Cogidubnus had done that same thing, he had taken the name of the emperor.]

[Here we shall omit our refutation of the claim that this Claudia was originally Pomponia Graecina, an assertion which is indeed an error.]

What is certain, is that there was an esteemed British woman named Claudia who married an esteemed Roman named Rufus Pudens, and this is known from the epigrams of Martial, the Roman poet. Martial came to Rome from Iberia about 64 AD and had many notable Romans as friends and patrons. Evidently Rufus Pudens was one of his friends. Martial, most famous for his hundreds of epigrams, wrote two which mention Claudia, and calls her in one a foreigner and in another a Briton.

While these books of Martial's Epigrams were not published until about 88 AD, that does not mean that so many hundreds of epigrams were not written until 88 AD, and that is a mistake that many critics like to make when disputing the possible connection of the characters in Martial's epigrams in Books 4 and 11 to the Rufus, Pudens and Claudia of Paul's epistles…. We would assert that Paul mentions Claudia and Pudens in [this] epistle to Timothy written about 61 AD, and the pair are not yet married.

[Here again we shall shorten our citations from Martial.]

[In] Martial's Epigrams, 4:13, from the Loeb Classical Library translation by Walter C. A. Ker, M.A., we read: “Claudia Peregrina weds, Rufus, with my own Pudens; a blessing, O Hymenaeus, be upon thy torches!…”

Martial, being a pagan, fills his poetry with many pagan references. But for my own part, I would have translated the first line quite differently, recognizing a play on words, as: “Claudia, O Rufus? A Foreigner weds my own Pudens?” This rendering observes that the name Rufus appears in the masculine of the Vocative case and is therefore an address to Pudens himself, and also that the word Peregrina has a double meaning as a name for Claudia, since she was a Briton, and also employed in a literal sense here the line embodies surprise that Pudens would marry a foreigner.

From Martial's Epigrams, 11:53, from the same edition: “Though Claudia Rufina has sprung from the woad-stained Britons, how she possesses the feelings of the Latin race!…”

In spite of the criticism, it is very plausible that these epigrams were written as early as the mid-to-late 60's AD, and published later. It is common for a poet who has collected and published volumes to publish poems written over a long period of time in any particular volume. Martial had over 1,500 epigrams and had very likely written and collected some of them for years before their publication.

We may, therefore, identify Claudia with the British, and Rufus with Pudens and the future husband of Claudia….

Now the British-Israel commentators who wrote on these connections at length, and who made many unnecessary and sometimes even ludicrous elaborations, also often insist that Paul had actually stayed at the British Palace in Rome during his arrest. There was a British Palace in Rome, which was used for diplomatic purposes. Britain was made a Roman province in the days of Claudius, perhaps as many as twenty years before Paul’s time in Rome. However Luke clearly states that while he was under arrest in Rome, Paul had “abode for two whole years in his own hired house”, so we see that the British-Israel writers were also inaccurate in that aspect of their claims.

Finally, the last line of the epistle:

22 The Prince is with your Spirit. Favor be with you.

Rather than “Favor be with you”, that Codex Claromontanus (D) has “Go in peace”, however as the Novum Testamentum Graece (NA27) attests in it notes, the text appears to be corrupted. At the end of the verse, the same codex along with the Majority Text have the word ἀμήν, “Amen” or “Truly”, at the end of this verse. Our text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A) and Ephraemi Syri (C).

So Paul encourages the younger apostle, that as Christ was with him in his defense of the Gospel, Christ is also with Timothy, that he may be strengthened to fulfill his own mission.

Here in these last two chapters of Timothy Paul warned against narcissistic, covetous men who would become traitors against the Body of Christ, and exhorts him that against such men “you must bring convincing proof, you must censure, you must exhort with all forbearance and instruction.” This we believe we have also done here, as our presentation of these two chapters has come at a time when we ourselves must censure narcissistic and covetous men among our own friends, or former friends. If they turn away from us now, it is only because they themselves are not true lovers of Christ. So they too must be turned over to Satan, so that they learn not to blaspheme.

This concludes our effort to present a comprehensive Christian Identity commentary on the epistles of Paul, an endeavor which has taken nearly four years. We pray that it is found to be true and accurate, and even worth preserving. We also pray that over time we can improve on it, and hope to offer it in book form over the coming months.

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