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Paul's Second Epistle to Timothy, Part 3: Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth
In the first two presentations of this epistle, we discussed at length the nullification of death which is promised in Christ, and the need to reject the religion of fear which was first taught by the Pharisees, then capitalized upon by the Roman Catholic Church, and which is now being used for advantage throughout all of the denominational churches, to keep the people in bondage to sin and death. But each and every member of our White Adamic race has a promise of eternal life, because it was for that reason that we were created, and Yahweh our God cannot fail. For that same reason, however, we must cease from sin, lest our eternal life be an existence spent in a state of everlasting contempt – as it is described in Daniel chapter 12.
However if we love our God, we shall love one another, and then even if we do sin, we have a propitiation in Christ, as the apostle John also explained where he wrote in chapter 2 of his first epistle: “1 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.” Of course, the sins of the world can only be the sins of the children of Israel, as only the children of Israel possessed both the law and these promises of forgiveness, mercy and grace. But John’s world, the world that mattered to him, was the society of the children of Israel. So he distinguished between those who loved God, and those who could not love God, and he said “4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 5 But whoso keepeth his word, in him verily is the love of God perfected: hereby know we that we are in him. 6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.” As Christ had said in the Gospel to certain of His adversaries, in John chapter 8, “ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.” Those men were completely disassociated from Him, simply because their origin was not His origin, and because their father was not His Father, as He had explained to them.
In contrast, addressing the Roman Christians, who were indeed a portion of the ancient dispersions of the children of Israel, in chapter 4 of his epistle Paul had asked them: “1 Now what may we say that our forefather Abraham has found concerning the flesh? 2 For if Abraham from the rituals has been deemed worthy, he has reason to boast, but not towards Yahweh. 3 Indeed, what do the writings say? ‘That Abraham trusted Yahweh, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.’” So here in 2 Timothy chapter 1, Paul professed that Yahweh “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,” referring to those same children of Israel, to those who were given these promises and this calling throughout the Word of Yahweh in the prophets. The calling is not according to rituals, rather it is according to the calling and favor of God. Furthermore, the seed is after the flesh, referring to Abraham’s physical offspring. Paul described that later in the chapter where he wrote that “… he would become a father of many nations according to the declaration, “Thus your offspring will be’”.
The world with which John was concerned was the wider society of the dispersed children of Israel, just as Paul had also told the Romans in that same place that “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed…” The calling has not changed, and it was not through rituals or a keeping of the law, as Paul had also said in that chapter: “13, Indeed, not through the law is the promise to Abraham or to his offspring, that he is to be the heir of the Society [or World], but through righteousness of faith.” So we see that either way, the promise is to the offspring of Abraham, and to none others, and the promise was not according to works, but according to faith. Neither is it according to what we believe, but rather, it is according to what Abraham had believed, as Paul was speaking of the faith which Abraham had, that Yahweh God could do as He had promised: “As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,” and that those nations would inherit the world. The promises were made nearly twenty centuries before the time of Christ, and from the time of the Exodus, over the fifteen centuries leading up to the time of Christ, the children of Israel had done just that. The ancient empires of Sumer, Hatti, the Mitanni, Assyria, Egypt, Babylon, and Persia, to name a few, were all consigned to the dust bin of history, and newly emerged peoples, the Greeks, Romans, Parthians, Scythians, Kelts, Galatae, had emerged to take their place. These newly emerged peoples were nearly all descended from the scattered tribes of Israel. That was the world created by the Word of God, and that was the world of which John spoke.
Then, as Paul had explained in Romans that the promise was not through rituals, in chapter 2 of this epistle, he professed that “10… I endure all things for sake of the elect [those very same children of Israel], that they then would obtain preservation of that in Christ Yahshua with eternal honor. 11 Trustworthy is this saying. For if we die together, we also will live together. 12 If we endure, we also will rule together. If we deny, then He will deny us. 13 If we are mistrusting, He remains trustworthy: for He is not able to deny Himself.”
Yahweh will not deny Himself, and therefore He cannot renege on any of the promises which He had made to the children of Israel, including the promises to redeem them from the power of the grave, and to put an end to Hell and Death. The elect of Paul’s words in 2 Timothy are those same elect which Yahweh had made those promises to in the prophets, as He said in Isaiah chapter 45: “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.” The children of of Israel forgot Yahweh their God and went off into paganism, but He would not forget them. In that same chapter of Isaiah, the children of Israel are promised a complete and eternal salvation. And Paul endured not for their preservation, but “for the preservation of that in Christ Yahshua”. Christ already saved the people, but Paul endured to perpetuate the message of their salvation.
So he proceeded to tell Timothy that “14 You should make mention of these things, affirming before Yahweh, not to argue about semantics - useful for nothing besides the subversion of those listening. 15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to Yahweh: a workman having no shame, correctly dissecting the word of truth.” Or, as the King James Version has it, “rightly dividing the word of truth”, and in doing so we cannot separate the explicit message of the promises of salvation and reconciliation in the Old Testament from the explicit message of the fulfillment of those same promises and reconciliation in the Gospel of Christ. The fulfillment must be interpreted within the language of the promises. Yahweh God is not a hypocrite. So Paul had said in Romans chapter 15 that “8 Therefore I say, Yahshua Christ came to be a minister of circumcision in behalf of the truth of Yahweh; for the confirmation of the promises of the fathers; 9 and the Nations [those same nations which came into existence as a result of the fulfillment of those promises] for the sake of mercy honor Yahweh; just as it is written, ‘For this reason I will profess you among the Nations, and I will sing of Your name.’” Those nations are the same nations which had sprung from the loins of Abraham, as Paul explained in Romans chapter 4. Those nations are the nations which the children of Israel were prophesied to become, from as early as Genesis chapters 17, 35, 48 and 49.
So we read in Acts chapter 13: “32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” Likewise, near the end of his ministry, Paul declared in Acts chapter 26: “6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come.” They may not have served Yahweh consciously, but they serve Him by fulfilling His purpose. In Acts chapter 9 Christ had informed Hananias of the scope of Paul’s ministry, where He said: “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. 16, For I shall indicate to him how much it is necessary for him to suffer on behalf of My Name.” Paul’s message is consistent from Acts chapter 9 through Acts chapter 28, from Romans chapter 1 through Hebrews chapter 13, and from 33 AD through 62 AD.
Rightly dividing the Word of Truth, with the true knowledge of the Scriptures White Christians should be free of the religion of fear in death. Freedom from the religion of fear in death means freedom to devote oneself to, and even to die, in service to ones race and community, serving ones brethren without any fear of death, and without any concern for oneself. This is why the apostle James said that “faith without works is dead”. Paul talked about the doing away of the rituals, but in those same places he spoke of the need to do good works, as he shall do again further on in this second chapter of 2 Timothy. Freedom from the religion of fear frees us from the bondage of decay so that we are encouraged to do good works for others of our people, rather than be selfishly centered on our own fate, or on our own well-being. Good works are those things which we do for one another. As Paul said in 1 Timothy chapter 6: “17 To those who are wealthy in this present age, you exhort neither to be high-minded nor to have hope in uncertain riches, but in Yahweh who provides for us richly all things for enjoyment: 18 to do good work, to be rich in good deeds, to be generous, sharing, 19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the future, in order that they would obtain the true life.” To selflessly give ourselves to our people is to store up treasure in heaven, putting our faith in that God who has promised to reward us with eternal rewards, rather than with the transient rewards of this world.
To this end Paul had said in Romans chapter 8 that “20 To transientness the creation was subjected not willingly, but on account of He who subjected it in expectation 21 that also the creation itself shall be liberated from the bondage of decay into the freedom of the honor of the children of Yahweh. 22 For we know that the whole creation laments together and travails together until then.” Saying creation in those passages, Paul refers to the Adamic creation alone, which is made fully evident where he compares it to other creations later in that same chapter. The word creation may be used to describe the entire creation of God in general, or any particular and specific kind created by God. As it says in the Wisdom of Solomon, and as it is implied in the opening chapters of Genesis, “God created man to be immortal, and made him to be an image of his own eternity.” But within the provenance of Yahweh, while the race was subjected to transientness for His Own purpose, yet its end is to be liberated from transientness into eternal life. Each individual man being only a member of the creation made for that purpose, each individual has no choice, voluntarily or otherwise, in the final outcome of his fate. By your own actions, you cannot save yourself, and you cannot unsave yourself. So here in verse 11 of this chapter, Paul said of the members of that same race, “For if we die together, we also will live together.” Likewise, in Romans chapter 6 he said “5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection…” We are only planted together if indeed we are all wheat, and not tares. The tares were planted by the devil, and every plant which Yahweh did not plant shall be rooted up, and cast into the fire.
Now there must have been men whom, in Paul’s own time, were not rightly dividing the Word of Truth, but who were instead confounding the Gospel of Christ with the humanistic ideas found in the pagan philosophies. So now Paul warns his younger companion Timothy, and writes:
16 But profane babblers you must avoid, for they further advance impiety.
Profane babblers, in this case, are not people who use what we may call ‘cuss’ words, or curse words, or tell dirty jokes. Neither are they people who merely speak unintelligibly. Rather, Paul is saying this in relation to his admonition to “study to show thyself approved… rightly dividing the word of truth”. The word rendered as profane is βέβηλος (Strong’s # 952), which describes something that is “allowable to be trodden, permitted to human use,” or “of persons, unhallowed, impure,” according to Liddell & Scott. Joining ourselves to aliens, we allow ourselves to be trodden. Esau was βέβηλος , or profane, because of his fornication. So by “profane babblers” Paul must be speaking in reference to any of those who would interpret the Scriptures contrary to the Scripture, incorrectly dividing the Word of Truth and teaching things which emanate from the reasoning of men and which lead men into sin.
Writing his first epistle to Timothy several years before this, in 1 Timothy chapter 4 Paul wrote concerning “the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou hast attained” and warned him to “refuse profane and old wives' fables”, using this same term, βέβηλος, in seemingly a wider sense. Then again in chapter 6 of that epistle, using the same term again he exhorted him likewise and wrote: “20 O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: 21 Which some professing have erred concerning the faith….” The term rendered as science there is the Greek word γνῶσις (Strong’s # 1108), which in this context is literally “a knowing, [or] knowledge,” according to Liddell & Scott. So Paul considered the γνῶσις of his time to be little more than “profane and vain babblings”. In his first epistle to the Corinthians he called it the “wisdom of this world”, and wrote in chapter 3: “19 For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.”
That same word γνῶσις was used to describe the teachings of one of the earliest Christian heresies, which we know as Gnosticism. In Colossians chapter 2 Paul warned his readers to “8 Watch that there be no one captivating you through philosophy and vain deceit, in accordance with the tradition of men, in accordance with the elements of the society, and not in accordance with Christ.” Commenting on that passage one example which we discussed was Philo Judaeaus, who was a contemporary of Christ and the apostles, was one of the vain philosophers who sought to reconcile pagan Greek religion and philosophy with the Old Testament. We said that Philo was either an early Gnostic, or that the Gnostics to a great degree had followed the philosophy of Philo. Then we said that “In any event, philosophically speaking, to Philo and the Gnostics the logos was the thought or reason of God, aside from the plain Word of God spelled out in the Old Testament. Philo’s view of God and Creation seem[s] to have been a mixture of Plato and Aristotle with Moses and Solomon and the prophets.” Philo and the Gnostics who followed him certainly seem to have relied on profane, or worldly and therefore false knowledge, and with their supposed knowledge they set the Word of God at naught, while pretending for themselves to be pious men. The same method is now common in all of the so-called “churches”.
We had explained in relation to earlier statements in 2 Timothy that throughout this epistle Paul informed Timothy of the status his relationships with many of his fellow-workers, or former fellow-workers, so that after his departure Timothy would be aware of them. So now Paul makes an example of two of his former companions who went astray, whom he then considered to be profane babblers:
17 And their speech is as a spreading cancer, of whom are Humenaios and Philatos, 18 who have failed concerning the truth, saying that the restoration has already happened, and they upset the faith of some.
The Greek phrase ὡς γάγγραινα νομὴν ἕξει is literally “as a pasture will have gangrene”, where the King James Version has “will eat as doth a canker”, and we have “as a spreading cancer”.
This Hymenaeus mentioned here is very likely the same man we see Paul make a reference to in the opening chapter of his first epistle to Timothy. There, after encouraging Timothy to maintain himself in faith with a good conscience, he said “which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.” But Philetus is unknown from the other writings, so wherever Paul had encountered him we cannot tell. Evidently both of these men were students of Paul’s at one time or another, and both had gone astray in the gnostic philosophies which Paul certainly seems to be condemning here.
As we have also explained, it is most likely that Paul wrote this epistle to Timothy some time in 61 AD. Denominational commentators and the typically superficial university scholars frequently think that it was written much later than that, and even by another hand. For example, we can read in the article for 2 Timothy which is found at the Early Christian Writings website that “Paul's situation as envisaged in the Pastorals can in no way be fitted into any reconstruction of Paul's life and work as we know it from the other letters or can deduce it from the Acts of the Apostles.” Yet such statements we have already proven to be ridiculously false, and we have perfectly fit the epistles to both Titus and Timothy into our reconstruction of Paul’s ministry, having done so without any undocumented suppositions concerning where or when they may have been written. So these so-called scholars are also profane babblers, but that is in another context, and this is a digression.
More importantly in relation to Paul’s remarks here, there is another vain philosophy which is found to this day, even among some Identity Christians, which is generally called Preterism. Within this school – if I should call it a school – there are several labels, such as Full Preterist or Partial Preterist. To us the term “Partial Preterist” is absurd, since the proper historical view of the fulfillment of the prophecies of Yahweh God necessitates the understanding that many prophecies have indeed already been fulfilled, and continue to be fulfilled or advance towards fulfillment as time progresses. But the Full Preterist generally believes that all prophecy has already been fulfilled, and most of them believe that it was all fulfilled by 70 AD. Even though the Revelation which was given to John was evidently not recorded until the reign of Domitian in the early 90’s AD, according to all of the historical accounts given by the earliest Christian writers, the Full Preterists nevertheless insist that it was actually written much earlier, and that all of the prophecies which it contains as well as all of the prophecies of the Old Testament prophets were all fulfilled by the time of the fall of Jerusalem, which was in 70 AD.
In our presentation of Methods of Interpreting Prophecy, Part 2, given here nearly two years ago, we said concerning this verse that:
Paul of Tarsus himself had scoffed at those who believed that the resurrection had already happened, when he wrote his second epistle to Timothy. Paul wrote that epistle while he was under arrest in Rome, ostensibly in 61 AD. We have established that this epistle was written shortly after Paul had written the epistle to the Ephesians, and also shortly after his first defense of Christianity before the emperor Nero in Rome. In chapter 2 of that epistle Paul had told Timothy: “16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. 17 And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” If the resurrection had not already happened by 61 AD, how can we imagine that it happened by 70 AD? In his epistle to the Philippians, written after 2 Timothy, Paul expressed his own hope, in chapter 3 where he said “11 If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.”
When we made that presentation, where we claim to have established dates, we were most likely referring to the explanations of the writing of Paul’s epistles we had presented throughout our commentary on the Book of Acts.
So to the end of his ministry, Paul looked forward to the resurrection of the dead. He had envisioned the resurrection of the dead and described it in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, where he wrote: “51 Behold I tell you a mystery, we shall not all fall asleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In an instant, in a dart of an eye, with the last trumpet; for it shall sound and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 This decay wants to be clothed in incorruptibility, and this mortal to be clothed in immortality. 54 And when this decay shall have put on incorruptibility, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then the word that has been written shall come to pass: ‘Death has been swallowed in victory.’ 55 ‘Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?’”
Writing that some time in early 56 AD, Paul was citing the prophecies concerning the nullification of death, and specifically that which is found in Isaiah chapter 25 where the Word of Yahweh says: “5 Thou shalt bring down the noise of strangers, as the heat in a dry place; even the heat with the shadow of a cloud: the branch of the terrible ones shall be brought low. 6 And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined. 7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations. 8 He will swallow up death in victory; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from off all faces; and the rebuke of his people shall he take away from off all the earth: for the LORD hath spoken it. 9 And it shall be said in that day, Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”
Writing that portion of 1 Corinthians 15, Paul was also citing Hosea chapter 13 where the Word of Yahweh says that “12 The iniquity of Ephraim is bound up; his sin is hid. 13 The sorrows of a travailing woman shall come upon him: he is an unwise son; for he should not stay long in the place of the breaking forth of children. 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.”
So we see that to Paul of Tarsus, the restoration, or resurrection as it is in the King James Version, is the perceived return to the physical realm of the entirety of our anointed Adamic race. The early Greek poets believed that this was possible, at least in certain circumstances, and we see it fancifully expressed in their literature. Eurpides’ Alcestis is one example, but the possibility is also evident in the Homeric literature. Later, some of the philosophers systematized differing pagan theories concerning resurrection, trying to make it mean something different than how the Scripture describes it, and others rejected the possibility of it completely. This we may see concerning Paul’s preaching in Athens, recorded in Acts chapter 17, “32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.”
The resurrection had not happened by the time Paul preached at Athens around 49 AD, nor by the time he wrote his first epistle to the Corinthians in 56 AD, nor by the time that he wrote this epistle to Timothy circa 61 AD. But there are Identity Christians today who would reduce the expectation of the resurrection from a physical reality to a metaphysical conjecture, and claim that it must have happened some time before 70 AD. However the resurrection has not taken place, and if we are indeed Christians, we shall await it as Paul had awaited it, and expect it as he also expected it, in accordance with the promises which are expressed in the prophets. To do otherwise is to follow after falsely so-called ‘science”, to engage in profane babbling, and to undermine the profession – and therefore the practice – of the Faith.
But Paul in turn offers this encouragement:
19 Of course the solid foundation of Yahweh stands, having this assurance: “Yahweh knows those who are His” and “All who are calling by name the name of Yahweh must withdraw from unrighteousness.”
The word σφραγίς (Strong’s # 4973) is literally a seal, but here it is an assurance. Paul used the word in that same manner in 1 Corinthians chapter 9, referring to the assurance of his apostleship. Yahweh knows those who are his, and the deceit of the profane babblers who would explain away the promised resurrection of the people of God is not going to change that assurance.
Where Paul wrote “Yahweh knows those who are His”, we see similar language in Numbers 16:5 and Nahum 1:7. The Codex Sinaiticus (א) has “Yahweh knows all of those who are His”.
In Numbers chapter 16, the context is the gainsaying of Korah, as the apostle Jude had called it, and it refers to those who would truly follow Yahweh among the children of Israel. But there is no reason to suspect that Korah was not an Israelite. Rather, he is an example of what should happen to those who want to establish their own priesthood contrary to the Word of God.
But since Paul is talking about the resurrection, and the passage of Isaiah chapter 25 which he had cited when he described the resurrection in 1 Corinthians infers that death would be overcome when all of the enemies of Yahweh are destroyed, we would rather think that here where he says that “Yahweh knows those who are His”, he is referring to the passage in Nahum chapter 1. There we read: “6 Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him. 7 The LORD is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble; and he knoweth them that trust in him. 8 But with an overrunning flood he will make an utter end of the place thereof, and darkness shall pursue his enemies.”
Likewise, in John chapter 10 we have the words of Christ Himself, who said “14, I am the Good Shepherd and I know Mine and Mine know Me,” and “27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them and they follow Me, 28 and I give to them eternal life and they are not lost forever and one shall not snatch them from My hand. 29 My Father who gave them to Me is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them from the hand of the Father! 30 I and the Father are One!”
Then where Paul says “All who are calling by name the name of Yahweh must withdraw from unrighteousness”, he seems to be making a summary statement deduced from various prophecies. In Job chapter 36 we read, in part: “5 Behold, God is mighty, and despiseth not any: he is mighty in strength and wisdom. 6 He preserveth not the life of the wicked: but giveth right to the poor. 7 He withdraweth not his eyes from the righteous: but with kings are they on the throne; yea, he doth establish them for ever, and they are exalted. 8 And if they be bound in fetters, and be holden in cords of affliction; 9 Then he sheweth them their work, and their transgressions that they have exceeded. 10 He openeth also their ear to discipline, and commandeth that they return from iniquity.” So we see that there is a class of presumed ‘people’ called “the wicked” which cannot be preserved, but when the righteous sin they are chastised and given opportunity to repent. Therefore the labels wicked and righteous sometimes mean more than merely sinners and do-gooders, especially since “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God”, as Paul had told the Romans (Romans 3:23). So we read in the Wisdom of Sirach, in chapter 35: “3 To depart from wickedness is a thing pleasing to the Lord; and to forsake unrighteousness is a propitiation.”
The last clause of verse 19 here may have been literally rendered: “All who are naming the Name of Yahweh must depart from unrighteousness.” In the active voice the formula appears only a few times in Scripture, including Leviticus 24:16, Isaiah 26:13, Jeremiah 20:9, and Amos 6:10 (or Amos 6:11 in Brenton’s English version). But even this invitation cannot apply universally, and if anyone but the children of Israel could possibly pretend to depart from unrighteousness, it is of no profit to them. As Yahshua Christ is recorded as having said in Matthew chapter 7 “21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
Even if other races pretend to godliness, they are committing iniquity. They are committing iniquity for the simple reason that they imagine themselves to be among the people of God. This is understood in the 147th Psalm where it says “19 He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. 20 He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD.” It is further understood in Isaiah chapter 63, where in a dialogue the Israelites of the captivity are represented to say “16 Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting. 17 O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance. 18 The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary. 19 We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.”
The promises in Christ were made exclusively to the children of Israel, and the calling to Christ was a calling for those same children of Israel to repent and return to Yahweh their God. In Zechariah chapter 13, from a Messianic prophecy, we read: “ 7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones. 8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.” The very next verse, which opens chapter 14, states: “1 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, and thy spoil shall be divided in the midst of thee….”
Similarly, in Isaiah chapter 26 we read a song, which is actually a prayer, and it begins: “1 In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah; We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks. 2 Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in. 3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee. 4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH [or Yah Yahweh] is everlasting strength…” Then a little further on it compares the growth of the nation of the children of Israel, and describes how they were scattered abroad, but first compares them to the wicked, who cannot be made right, where it says: “10 Let favour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD. [Here are the Jews referred to in Isaiah.] 11 LORD, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: but they shall see, and be ashamed for their envy at the people; yea, the fire of thine enemies shall devour them. 12 LORD, thou wilt ordain peace for us: for thou also hast wrought all our works in us. 13 O LORD our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us: but by thee only will we make mention of thy name. 14 They are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise: therefore hast thou visited and destroyed them, and made all their memory to perish. 15 Thou hast increased the nation, O LORD, thou hast increased the nation: thou art glorified: thou hadst removed it far unto all the ends of the earth.”
Only the children of Israel were ever called to trust in Yahweh forever. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines trust as an “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”, or “dependence on something future or contingent: hope.” So the very definition of trust is found in Isaiah 26:4, where Yahweh described Himself. The dependence on something future is a trust that the promises of Yahweh will be fulfilled as they were spoken, and in this true Israel may indeed trust.
In the Wisdom of Sirach, which was written perhaps about 300 years before the birth of Christ, in chapter 17 we read: “17 For in the division of the nations of the whole earth he set a ruler over every people; but Israel is the Lord's portion: 18 Whom, being his firstborn, he nourisheth with discipline, and giving him the light of his love doth not forsake him. 19 Therefore all their works are as the sun before him, and his eyes are continually upon their ways. 20 None of their unrighteous deeds are hid from him, but all their sins are before the Lord. 21 But the Lord being gracious and knowing his workmanship, neither left nor forsook them, but spared them. 22 The alms of a man is as a signet with him, and he will keep the good deeds of man as the apple of the eye, and give repentance to his sons and daughters. 23 Afterwards he will rise up and reward them, and render their recompence upon their heads. 24 But unto them that repent, he granted them return, and comforted those that failed in patience. 25 Return unto the Lord, and forsake thy sins, make thy prayer before his face, and offend less. 26 Turn again to the most High, and turn away from iniquity: for he will lead thee out of darkness into the light of health, and hate thou abomination vehemently. 27 Who shall praise the most High in the grave, instead of [or besides] them which live and give thanks?”
No other people have this calling. No other race is involved in these promises. This is rightly dividing the Word of Truth: to understand that the promises of Yahweh have been fulfilled in Christ, and the entire purpose of Christ was to fulfill the promises of Yahweh. But in the meantime, until the resurrection really does happen, we must tolerate all of those who have no part in these promises, so Paul encourages Timothy again and says:
20 In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, and some things for honor, yet others for dishonor.
Now this does not mean that we must get rid of our clay jars and wooden washtubs, as Paul is only making an analogy of such things, and comparing the common vessels to those more precious vessels which are reserved for more noble employment. So he continues:
21 Therefore if a man would purge himself of the latter, he would be a vessel for honor, having sanctified himself, serviceable to the master, having prepared himself for all good works.
Paul does not advise preaching the Gospel to wood and clay vessels, to somehow make them better vessels. But rather, he advises that Christians purge themselves of such vessels. As he wrote in his second epistle to the Corinthians, where in turn he was citing Isaiah chapter 52: “‘Come out from the midst of them and be separated’ …and ‘do not be joined to the impure, and I [meaning Yahweh] will admit you’”. It is not our duty to reform clay and wooden vessels, these other races of so-called ‘people’ which cannot fulfill the purpose of the higher calling in God because He did not create them for that purpose. Paul did not expect us to even attempt to encourage such vessels. Rather, as Yahweh did in the Old Testament, Paul also demanded that Christians separate themselves from them. By separating ourselves from the unclean races, from those which have not been and cannot be cleansed in Christ, only then do we prepare ourselves for all good works. A Christian cannot be adequately prepared to do good works without such separation.
Now, on a more immediate note, Paul turns to address the need for self-control:
22 Now flee those youthful desires, and pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those calling upon the Prince from a clean heart.
The Codices Ephraemi Syri (C), Freerianus (I) and Vaticanus Graece 2061 (048) have “with all of those calling upon the Prince”; the Codex Alexandrinus has “with all of those loving the Prince”; the text here follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Claromontanus (D) and the Majority Text.
As it is explained in the appendices of the Christogenea New Testament, wherever we encountered the word κύριος in reference to God and in an Old Testament context, we translated it as Yahweh, since the Septuagint translators had actually read Yahweh in Hebrew and wrote κύριος in Greek in their own translation. But there were also some Greek Old Testament manuscripts among the Dead Sea Scrolls which actually contain the Tetragrammaton in ancient Hebrew characters, in the palaeo-Hebrew version of יהוה or YHVH, where we would expect to find κύριος.
So where we translate Paul as having written in verse 19 “All who are calling by name the name of Yahweh”, here he encourages Timothy to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those calling upon the Prince”, and interpreting him to be referring to Christ, here we translated κύριος as Prince. But there should never be any confusion to Christians, because whether He is referred to in the context of Old Testament or New, there is one God, and one κύριος, or Lord, and that is Yahshua Christ, as Paul explains in 1 Corinthians 8:6, and as Christ professed, “I and My Father are One.” Being one and the same, they can indeed be referred to interchangeably.
Paul now offers an admonishment:
23 And you must decline foolish and ignorant inquiries, knowing that they produce fights.
While we have rendered it as inquiries, it is possible that the Greek word ζήτησις may have been rendered as debates, being used in the plural. While Liddell & Scott define it as a “searching, examining… [or] inquiry, investigation”, they also inform us, from sources from the 2nd century AD, that it was used to describe a “judicial inquiry... etc.:” and therefore in the plural, “suits, [and] controversies”.
There should be little doubt that foolish disputes over the Scriptures, rather than an honest study and acceptance of the Scriptures, do indeed produce fights. As it says in Proverbs chapter 13, “16 Every prudent man dealeth with knowledge: but a fool layeth open his folly.” Of course, those same Proverbs insist that true knowledge comes from Yahweh God, as they attest in chapter 2: “6 For the Lord gives wisdom; and from his presence come knowledge and understanding...” But the Proverbs also inform us of the inevitable predicament with which the presence of a fool presents us, where it says in chapter 26: “4 Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. 5 Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own conceit.” So we must deal with fools, but we should not deal with them foolishly.
The same writer elaborated on the futility of attempting to correct a fool, in Proverbs chapter 17: “10 A reproof entereth more into a wise man than an hundred stripes into a fool. 11 An evil man seeketh only rebellion: therefore a cruel messenger shall be sent against him. 12 Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.” One may prefer to encounter an angry bear rather than run into a fool.
If Christians do not rightly divide the Word of Truth, and conceive of things from the vain philosophies of men, there are bound to be fights. Paul discouraged this, but he nevertheless understood that it was inevitable, as he had told the Corinthians in chapter 11 of his first epistle to them, “19 For there must also be sects among you, in order that those approved will become evident among you.” Yet even regardless of this, he warns that the actual fighting should be avoided:
24 Now a bondman of the Prince does not need to fight, but to be gentle towards all, inclined to teach, enduring evil,
The word for bondman here is δοῦλος, which is properly a slave. According to Liddell & Scott, a δοῦλος is one who was “born bondman or slave, opposed to one made a slave…” Paul had written in Galatians chapter 1 that “15… God… separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace…” so he considered himself a δοῦλος, a slave for Christ from his birth. Such men should be inclined to teach, which is the very reason for their selection.
The Codex Claromontanus (D) has “to be an infant towards all”; the text follows the Codices Sinaiticus (א), Alexandrinus (A), Ephraemi Syri (C), Vaticanus Graecus 2061 (048), and the Majority Text. Elsewhere, Paul had used the analogy of an infant to describe gentle behavior, as in 1 Thessalonians 2:7, where he wrote concerning his own behavior towards the Christian assembly there, and he said in part that “we were infants in your midst, as a nurse would cherish her own children.” He continues the admonition:
25 in meekness correcting those who are in opposition; perhaps Yahweh would give to them repentance for acknowledgment of the truth, 26 and they return to sobriety from the trap of the False Accuser, being captivated by him for that of his will.
In meekness correcting those who are in opposition, not those of the wicked, but of those of the children of Israel. The wicked have no avenue to repentance or redemption, as we have seen for example here in Isaiah chapter 26 and in Job chapter 36. Likewise Paul wrote in Galatians chapter 6: “Brethren, even if a man should already be caught up in some transgression, you, those of the Spirit, restore such a man in a spirit of meekness, watching yourself lest also you may be tested.” By meekness he means with humility, and true humility is subjection to the Word of Yahweh. In Proverbs chapter 15 we read: “ 33 The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility.” One must be first humble to be instructed.
The Greek verb ζωγρέω (Strong’s # 2221), which appears elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 5:10, is “to take alive, take captive...” according to Liddell & Scott. Here it is understood metaphorically as captivate. The context surely does not necessitate the literal rendering. In Luke it was also used allegorically of the apostles that Christ had enlisted, since they were fishermen by trade, and He said to Simon Peter “Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men.”
So Paul seems to be making another play on words. Using δοῦλος he describes one who was a slave from birth, but using ζωγρέω he describes one who is taken illicitly by the Devil, which is to say, the Jew, for a purpose other than for that which he was born. When men who should be Christians by reason of their birth are led astray into false doctrines, they are, allegorically speaking, taken captive by the Devil, those who are inherently the enemies of Yahshua Christ.
Rightly dividing the Word of Truth, real Christians should be able to easily tell the difference between fools and devils.