2 Timothy 2:18

Tuesday, 3 April 2018

…who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:18

“Who” is referring to Hymenaeus and Philetus of the previous verse. Paul said of them that their message would spread like a gangrene which quickly consumes and corrupts. Thus, the message they proclaim is a false one. He then says of them, “who have strayed concerning the truth.”

The words, “have strayed” are from a Greek word used only by Paul in 1 & 2 Timothy. This is its final use. It signifies “off target.” If proper doctrine were a straight line, these two have gone off that straight line. This does not mean that such people are necessarily heretics, but that their doctrine is askew. Heresy and bad doctrine are not always the same thing. In this case, what they are teaching is a type of heresy, and it is a source of causing others to wander and have their faith overthrown. As Paul notes, it is not correct “concerning the truth.” Thus, they are teaching that which is false.

And what is their false doctrine? They are “saying that the resurrection is already past.” The reason that what they are teaching can be considered heretical is because although they are teaching that the resurrection is true, they are saying that it had already occurred. The problem with this is that in taking the Lord’s Supper, as outlined in 1 Corinthians 11, we “proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.” If the resurrection is already past, then the Lord must have returned, and we are taking the Lord’s Supper for no reason at all. In their doctrine, they are teaching one of a few possible scenarios.

1) That Christ has returned and resurrected His believers at the rapture. If this is so, then everyone else, including these two numb skulls, have been left behind. The implication is that they must now enter the tribulation period. This means that those left behind were not true Christians. Talk about wrecking someone’s faith.

2) That the resurrection has occurred, and the tribulation period is now anticipated as outlined by Paul in 2 Thessalonians. This means that all living believers must then go through the tribulation period. Only the dead have been resurrected, but there is no pre-tribulation rapture for those who were left alive at the Lord’s coming. But Paul has already explained this is incorrect in 1 Thessalonians 4. This would ruin the faith of those who had been instructed concerning this event as it was outlined in Paul’s other letters. (Note: If you accept a mid- or post- tribulation, you will still be going pre-trib. However, you will just be more surprised than the rest of us).

3) That the resurrection has occurred, and those resurrected are living among the believers, awaiting the end times events together. This would mean that Paul was wrong about the conversion of our bodies to new bodies in 1 Corinthians 15. This would ruin the faith of the believers because Paul was wrong about this issue. Instead of new bodies, we are forever stuck in these fallen, corruptible, pain-filled bodies.

For one of these, and possibly other reasons, these people were wrecking the faith of others by claiming that the resurrection is past. Why is this important to have recorded in Paul’s letter? It is because the truth of the issue has not, and will not, change throughout the church age. Anyone who claims that the resurrection has occurred is causing the same confusion now as was caused at Paul’s time. In this, they are calling into question the truth of Paul’s words, and thus the truth of Scripture. In doing so, “they overthrow the faith of some.”

This is a constant state of some people. It has been the same since the beginning. They teach this nonsense, and it can be found on Christian blogs and discussion boards even today. People will claim that the tribulation period has already started. People will claim that the rapture has already occurred, people will claim that there is a resurrection but it is not tied to the rapture, and so on. Each time they make these inane claims, they imply that what Paul says is incorrect. Each of these views comes from someone with a perverse mind, who is filled with vain babbling, and who has no idea of what he is talking about.

There will be a resurrection, it will be at the time of the rapture, and it will be for all true believers in Christ – from the first to the last throughout the church age – and it will be pre-tribulation. The saints will not enter the tribulation period; something implied in Paul’s words here. Note: John’s “first resurrection” of Revelation 20:5 is not what is being referred to in these comments. The rapture is something different than the resurrection of those who die for Christ in the Tribulation period.

To understand the timing of these things, as outlined by Paul, this video can be watched. It clearly and concisely presents the timing of the events – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mQrh8mc8w-4

Life application: If you are a saved believer in Jesus Christ, and someone tells you that the resurrection is already past, tell them to take a hike. They have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. When the resurrection occurs, the believer in Christ will know it, personally. There is no secret knowledge that these folks possess in this matter. When the event occurs, all true believers will be affected at the same time.

Lord God, please keep us from people who teach false messages about things like the rapture, the resurrection, and the tribulation period. Your word shows that nobody is going to know in advance when the rapture will occur. It details the timeline of Your coming for Your people, and it tells about the tribulation period after that. Help us to not have our faith shaken by those who have not properly handled Scripture. May our doctrine be sound and in line with Your word! Amen.

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