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Wednesday, September 12 2012
The Epistles: Second Timothy
Timothy was a close disciple (a word that simply means student), and then fellow "man of God," to the apostle Paul (see The Epistles: First Timothy for Timothy's background). Paul's second epistle to Timothy was written about a year after the first.
"1:1 Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus,
Paul had come to realize that he had been zealous for a religion that had, while based upon what the LORD gave to Israel, become a religion of, as the Messiah Himself said, the "traditions of men" (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Judaism). Paul did not break away, or create a new religion; he returned to the Truth that Israel was originally given, so that "I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience." The greatest irony is that the religious authorities of that time regarded the "Christians" as "liberals," when in fact the Christians were the conservatives in doctrine, as it was given, by Jesus Christ (see Who Is The LORD?) to Abraham (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Roots and Branches).
"1:3 I thank God, whom I serve from my forefathers with pure conscience [see A Biography Of Abraham: The Genealogy Of Abram, A Biography Of Abraham: Isaac, Israel In History and Prophecy: Jacob's Family], that without ceasing I have remembrance of thee in my prayers night and day; 1:4 Greatly desiring to see thee, being mindful of thy tears, that I may be filled with joy; 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also. 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
Paul's persecutions were made more painful by those who had forsaken him. Timothy was one of only a very few who did not abandon Paul.
"1:15 This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
"Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ"
Paul endured imprisonments, beatings and hatred - for no other reason than the Truth that he preached. Rather than weaken him however, Paul grew stronger, "strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus."
"2:1 Thou therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. 2:2 And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also. 2:3 Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. 2:4 No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier. 2:5 And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully. 2:6 The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits [see also The Harvest Prophecies]. 2:7 Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things." (2 Timothy 2:1-7 KJV)
The Romans held Paul in chains, within a prison cell - and yet, as his epistles (that have since been read by millions of people) have proven, "I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound." Much of Paul's ability to communicate with the world during that time was made possible by Timothy.
"2:8 Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David [see The Seed Of David] was raised from the dead according to my gospel: 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound [see What Does Word of God Mean To You?].
Paul constantly faced many who rejected the Gospel, but from what he wrote, it seems that he was much more grieved by those that he taught, and who then went off and perverted it, "and overthrow the faith of some." The LORD is in control however; "Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his."
"2:14 Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers. 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth [see The Messiah's Warning About Christian Charlatans]. 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 2:17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity." (2 Timothy 2:14-19 KJV)
"In the last days perilous times shall come"
Paul was filled with Christian love and peace, but he was nevertheless not an easy man to be around; he had an intense personality, before his conversion, and after it. Perhaps that's the reason that most departed from him. Timothy did not leave him, which indicates that Timothy was not only as strong as Paul, but as strong-willed (another reason, perhaps, why Paul referred to Timothy as "Timothy, my own son in the faith" 1 Timothy 1:2 KJV).
"2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart. 2:23 But foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes. 2:24 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; 2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil [see Satan's Fall: From Conservative To Liberal], who are taken captive by him at his will." (2 Timothy 2:22-26 KJV)
Paul's prophecy about "in the last days perilous times shall come" is one of the most-quoted of the Bible. Look around the world as it is today, and see how accurate Paul described it.
"3:1 This know also, that in the last days [see The Church In The End Time] perilous times shall come. 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, 3:4 Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Paul's "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works" is also one of the most-familiar of the Bible. Notice the contrasting context, that at the same time "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived."
"3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 3:13 But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived. 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 3:17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works [see Works Means Obedience]." (2 Timothy 3:10-16 KJV)
"I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom"
Paul also very accurately described the false "Christianity" of today: "For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."
"4:1 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom [see Could Christ Return Tonight?]; 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. 4:5 But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.
Only one other remained loyal to Paul during that time - Luke remained with Paul while Timothy was away doing what Paul had sent him to do. During that time, Luke was preparing his own epistles (see The Epistles: Luke and The Epistles: Acts).
"4:9 Do thy diligence to come shortly unto me: 4:10 For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world, and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia. 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry. 4:12 And Tychicus have I sent to Ephesus [see The Epistles: Ephesians; also Where Are The Seven Churches Of Revelation Today?]. 4:13 The cloak that I left at Troas with Carpus, when thou comest, bring with thee, and the books, but especially the parchments.
Fact Finder: Why does the Messiah permit the persecution of His people? Why did He permit the same persecution of Himself?
This Day In History, September 12
490 BC: The Battle of Marathon. Athenians defeated the second Persian invasion of Greece at Marathon (see Israel In History and Prophecy: Babylon and Persia and A History Of Jerusalem: Greeks, Ptolemies, Seleucids).
1609: English explorer Henry Hudson, while employed by the Netherlands, discovered a river in eastern North America that would later be named after him - the Hudson River. New York City was originally named New Amsterdam by its Dutch founders.
1683: Austrian and Polish forces took Vienna, Austria, back from the Ottomans after the Battle of Kahlenberg (listen to our Sermon The Ottoman Empire).
1683: Vienna was retaken from the Ottomans.
1722: The Treaty of St. Petersburg ended the Russo-Persian War.
1758: French astronomer Charles Messier began his Messier Catalog of deep-sky objects with the Crab Nebula - the remnants of a supernova explosion that was first observed by Chinese astronomers in 1054.
1848: Switzerland adopted a new constitution under which it became a federal republic.
1878: The obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle, originally cut from the quarries of Aswan in about 1475 B.C., was erected in London (see also The Cleopatra Connection).
1914: During the First World War (1914-1918), the First Battle of the Aisne in France began. It lasted 17 days. British and French forces battled the Germans to a stalemate; static trench warfare set in on the Aisne and lasted for the next 18 months (listen to our Sermon The European World Wars).
1934: The Baltic Entente, a mutual defense pact by Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, was signed. Intended primarily against Nazi Germany which had replaced the Soviet Union as the greatest (perceived) threat against them.
1938: Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany annexed Czech Sudetenland.
1962: In a lead-up to the political face-saving "Cuban Missile Crisis," U.S. President Kennedy held a news conference and announced that the U.S. would not tolerate any Soviet base in the western hemisphere (while at the same time the U.S. itself had dozens of offensive bases in the eastern hemisphere, some right on the Russian border). Militarily, Russian missiles in Cuba actually would have been no greater threat to the U.S. than long-range ballistic missiles launched from Russia (which to this day cannot be stopped - no effective defense has yet been developed that is capable of stopping ballistic missiles) or from missiles and cruise missiles launched by Russian submarines positioned near the U.S. east and west coasts, much closer than Cuba.
1972: Idi Amin, dictator of Uganda, sent a cable to the United Nations Secretary General to announce that since no statue of Hitler had been erected in Germany, he proposed to set one up in Uganda.
1974: Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was deposed by a military coup, ending a reign of 58 years.
1990: Agreements were signed by Britain, the U.S., France, Russia, and East and West Germany that permitted the re-unification of Germany - a key event in European history, and Bible prophecy (see Ein Volk! Ein Reich! Ein Euro!).