Today we begin chapter four of 1 Timothy, but first, we need to understand what makes chapter four work.
(Warning: If you were to print this out, it is eight pages long.)
Chapter three ends by talking about a great mystery, and although you may not understand, there is no mystery to those of us who call themselves the body of Christ because we have received Jesus and follow His Word.
The most impressive part of this mystery is that He came to live in us because we confessed our faith in Jesus Christ. The world doesn’t have that, nor do they understand this concept. But that is not all there is, and the next few verses play a tremendous role in our beliefs, our faith, and our confidence that He is coming back to gather us to Himself. In the world of Apologetics, these are the concepts that we rely on to establish and refresh our faith. In other words, why are we following this man, Jesus?
Paul, in his last sentence of 1 Timothy chapter three (consider that this was a letter with NO chapters and typical punctuation,) gave us some of the most foundational points on which we live.
1 Timothy 3:15-16 NASB but in case I am delayed, I write so that you will know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. (16) By common confession, great is the mystery of godliness: He who was revealed in the flesh, Was vindicated in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Proclaimed among the nations, Believed on in the world, Taken up in glory.
We will look at verse 16, one bite at a time.
- “Jesus was revealed in the flesh.”
That statement may not make sense to some, as they will say, “of course He did.” We, should we choose to read, can see that Jesus was a man. But holding to a simple understanding aren’t you setting aside the fact that God (Jesus, is God) came to earth as a human and subjected Himself to the birthing process and then the learning process. Mary and Joseph taught God how to walk and talk. They were responsible for His education. How do I know that? Because Jesus, especially by those in Bethlehem, was still considered a mumzer – an illegitimate child, and therefore NOT allowed in the synagogue. The synagogue was where the Rabbi’s held their classes, classes that Jesus would not have been permitted to attend.
Yes, I am aware of the fact that many of the disciples promptly called Him rabbi. Rabbi is a respectful term for teacher, and those that called Jesus a teacher also witnessed the event where the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Jesus; and, immediately God spoke, saying, this is my beloved Son; this leaves us to speculate as to who understood these words and conveyed them to us, as most only heard what they thought was thunder on a clear day. (Mark 1:10-11; Matthew 3:16,17.)
(For your information, the scripture tells us that Joseph was a righteous man. If you skim over those three words, you will miss the fact that Joseph was an educated and respected man within the synagogue. Probably much older than Mary, these two factors gave Mary a place of security when Joseph went on to marry her. This fact also explains why Jesus was so knowledgeable and able to stand His ground in the synagogue with the elders as a young boy. Pastor John MacArthur says this of Joseph, “The phrase “a just man” is a Hebraism suggesting that he was a true believer in God who had thereby been declared righteous and who carefully obeyed the law.”)
I have already touched on this, but He walked around with the disciples, doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil. You might think that this would be enough to convince many, and yet the numbers were few. A proof of this disbelief can be seen in the chief priests and elders’ repetitious challenges, saying, show us a sign. Come on; He showed them many signs.
But then, there was one other sign that spoke to Jesus being revealed in the flesh. Jesus, having been hung on that cross then buried in the tomb, there was no doubt that He was gone in the disciples’ minds.
End page one.
To the Jewish mind, the soul leaves the body after three days, and so Jesus did not emerge from the tomb one moment before that time-frame because He wanted them to know, without a doubt, that He was – at least for the time being, back in the flesh. Over 400 witnessed Him around Jerusalem. And then He returned to the Father, where He now makes intercession for us.
- Jesus, “Was vindicated in the Spirit.”
Have you ever given this any thought? You should, as it carries tremendous meaning and depth.
To be vindicated means to be absolved of guilt, cleared, found guiltless, declared innocent, among other things.
Remember that we recently talked about how this message of Christ is a great mystery. Well, this, in a sense, is one of those mysteries, as you ask, how could God, the creator, become invalidated to the point that He would have to be vindicated? The answer is seen rather clearly in the NIV, as it says,
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, .” 2 Corinthians 5:21a.
Think back a few paragraphs to when I talked about God and how He became a human. Had God chosen a newborn baby, you might think it would be an excellent candidate to represent God, as it has not, as yet, had the influences that motivate us to sin. You merely teach the baby correctly, and in a short time, it could become an adequate substitute for Jesus. This is an absurd thought, and the thing that makes it ridiculous goes back to the garden of Eden. Thanks to Adam and Eve, we were all born with an inclination to sin.
If you can think about sin as a genetic problem, you can understand that all humans carry a damaged genetic marker since the garden. Science looks at the genetic chain and says, you see right here, we all have this chromosome, with that mark, and therefore this is the basis for normal. (In case you have been living under a rock. The two major companies that were initially making a “vaccine” for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the World Economic Forum, under the guise of an upcoming global pandemic, were Inovio and Moderna. Both were working with genetic manipulation and behavior modifications through vaccinations.
So don’t think for a second that what transpired in the garden was not a genetic modification that would affect all of humanity. If you want to look at this as a mystery, you have the opening rounds fired, and the weapon was a piece of fruit that could modify your genetic code. Can you imagine that at that moment Satan thought he had won. Little did he know, God had a plan.
Jesus voluntarily puts himself on that cross, knowing full well what would transpire over the next few days. No wonder He cried out, my God, why have you forsaken me, as He certainly felt things He had never felt before in His short life here on earth.
When the Apostle John looked into heaven, he saw Jesus, and Jesus said to him
“I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.” (Revelation 1:18 NIV)
During those three days, Jesus went to hell and preached to the captives there. He stripped Satan of his keys and power, and then He rose from the dead triumphantly.
Years ago, I drove quite a bit, and I would listen to the “Christian” radio stations. When it was time for Hank Hannegraf – the Bible Answer Man, to come on, I would give him the courtesy of listening for a few minutes because a few minutes was about all I could stand of his angry manner. That man condemned everybody. On more than one occasion, in his hostile tone, he would say it is blasphemous even to think that Jesus/God would have been subject to hell, almost as if it was filled with COVID 19 and He would get some on Him. (Disclaimer, although the world was profuse with diseases, and we all got a few, NONE of us, at the time, were aware of the COVID, nor did we care. We went on with our lives. Just as we should have now.)
End of page two.
I could not understand how or why Hank Hannegraf could ignore some of the statements that King David made. Let me show you what I mean.
“When you ascended to the heights, you led a crowd of captives. You received gifts from the people, even from those who rebelled against you. Now the LORD God will live among us there.” (Psalms 68:18 NLT)
Perhaps Hank was projecting this verse to a time when Jesus will catch the church away; that might work, but a crowd is typically seen as a countable number though being an indeterminate size. I do not perceive the church as a countable number. But pay attention to this part of the verse; I never paid much attention to before. He received gifts from the people.
So, if what King David said is not speaking of the church, then what’s left, and the only reasonable thing that is left is that Jesus ascended from hell to the heights of heaven. Having been freed from Satan’s grip, the church would not be the captives, but it would certainly be talking about those in Sheol. There is one other aspect of this, and I will go ahead and say it, Judas, may have been one of those who rebelled. Surely, Adam, with his treasonous act, was there; but what does this verse above say? He led a crowd of captives in His ascent.
One more point about this verse before I move on.
If he led a crowd of captives, can I say that Jesus led them all out of Sheol?
I don’t think so. Find the right person and say something positive about our American president and you will often get a cascade of hatred in response. Should you listen with an open mind, you will most likely not hear one logical complaint, but a mountain of gossip and rumors. Is the man perfect? Hardly, and all I had to do was watch the first, and hopefully the last debate between the two candidates. I say this because what I saw was two playground bullies trying to outshout the other. I could not tell you what they said because I did not care after a couple of minutes. The point here is that some people will NOT move off their hatred and foul language even if common sense were to hit them upside the head.
What people is David talking about?
Perhaps this will help.
For You will not abandon me to Sheol (the place of the dead), neither will You suffer Your holy one [Holy One] to see corruption. (Psalms 16:10 AMP)
King David was alive, and he is not speaking about his future; he is talking about Jesus. Although, I could see a few moments where he probably thought his circumstances could be deemed a living hell. An example might be when David had a good man killed in battle so that David could cover up the fact that he got the man’s wife pregnant. Bathsheba did have David’s baby, and that baby died as a judgment from God.
So, how could Jesus think or say such a thing, unless it happened, or at least have the potential?
So what then would create the potential for Jesus to go to hell?
And that takes us back to this verse.
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, .” 2 Corinthians 5:21a.
[At this point, you are at the end of page three, in case you want to hit the pause button.]
If I understood the things that made Jesus so victorious and capable of being our mediator, you would think I would be well equipped and established in an unshakable knowledge that could convince others.
And yet there is Paul’s admonition to Timothy, that we find in chapter four.
“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” 1 Timothy 4:1 (NLT)
End of page three.
Alternate translations will say, “the Spirit;” expressly and distinctly; in the last days or latter times.
Some points to consider: Paul is talking about the last days or times; this is what eschatology is all about.
- How do we know that we are in the last days?
The disciples, having asked Him when the temple would be destroyed and what would be the sign of His return, things that were to them specifically about the last days and Jesus return, got this response to their questions, and you can find it in Mark 13:5-13.
- Many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He!’ and will mislead many.
This borders on the ridiculous, for it doesn’t take a whole lot of brainpower to escort some quack out the door if he says he is Jesus. I say that, and yet here in the Los Angeles area, we had a Sunday Morning radio program called the Jesus show. The host would say when I walked the earth. I listened on a couple of occasions, and strangely, I had a Christian brother – in the Lord, think this guy was okay. The host’s words coincided with scripture, but then there was the whole idea of pushing yourself off as Jesus.
This next piece of information makes sense. In the study of eschatology, we have a false prophet coming. Islam calls him the Dajal or Jesus, the son of Mary (not God.) According to Islam, he will be a high priest in the new temple, and they have his lineage traced back to Aaron, making him appropriate and eligible. Scripture tells us that he will perform signs, just like the two witnesses that God sends, and the things this man will do will convince the Jewish elite to follow him as the Messiah. This false prophet is the person who sets up an image of the beast in the temple and makes it talk. All will have to bow to this image and make allegiance to it. Sound familiar?
- You will hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be frightened; those things must take place. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.
- There will be earthquakes and famines.
- They will deliver you to the courts.
Since the COVID lock-down, one example stands out in my mind, as we have effectively been forced out of our churches. Here in California, some pastors have fought back because the Bill of Rights- an aspect of our constitution, effectively says, NO Governmental body has the right to interfere with our ability to meet in church.
- The NASB says you will be flogged in the synagogues.
Flogging was an important statement to the Jewish converts to which Paul was writing. Still, since so many of us have no understanding or association with a synagogue, it becomes irrelevant. Let’s try to make it relevant. I can do that by pointing out that if you speak out boldly about certain things, such as abortion; or how the pandemic is man-made; and, that the mask you are wearing is meant to create an atmosphere of compliance. I could tell you that this compliance is a tool meant to get people willing to give up their rights in exchange for the freedom that a mark or allegiance brings; and how that those people you deemed brothers and sisters in the Lord will vehemently fight with you.
2. The gospel must first be preached to all the nations.
Having stated to an acquaintance that Jesus could come back at any minute, he angrily retorted, No, He can’t because not everyone has received a bible and been preached to them. The Word of God informs us that NO Human will have an excuse because the ability to understand that there is a God and that He should be worshiped is written upon all creation.
End of page four.
Add to that the fact that we are told that an angel will proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ as it flies worldwide. Consider that in Iran, where missionaries are not allowed, these dear people are coming to the Lord faster than anywhere else in the world, as Jesus himself is showing up in their dreams and sharing the gospel with them.
- Are we seeing these things that Jesus spoke of, happening?
We are! But there is one more thing that you need to understand. A part of Jesus’ answer speaks of the fig tree. Israel is that fig tree, and it became a nation in 1948. Jesus said, this generation (the one that experiences the fig tree blossom will be the last generation before the time of wrath – the seven-years of God’s judgment upon the earth, and His return at the end of that period as the warring Messiah. The condensed version of this oration is that we are living on borrowed time.
Scripturally, we have this.
“When you see these things happening, recognize that He is near, right at the door. ” Mark 13:29b. NASB.
Another indicator comes from the prophet Joel who said,
“It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind, And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions. (Joel 2:28 NASB)
Many people are making posts on YouTube about their dreams and visions of the end times, and their closeness. Jesus is at the door.
- “some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.”
In the Greek, the idea of turning away from the true faith is to remove yourself or instigate revolt.
Are you kidding me? This instigation of a revolt sounds like a mutiny, and one would think that an uprising on this level would be associated with violence. Oh, that’s right, it already is.
The reality is that the changes have been slow, almost methodical. We have been watching this revolt building for years, as churches have installed, in opposition to biblical direction, female pastors and homosexual pastors; declaring an obvious acceptance of abortion; and in just the last few months, we have churches literally bowing to BLM inc., and the Antifa movement.
(Just to set the record straight. You may have had any number of active sins in your life, but when you came to Christ you did a 180 degree turn FROM those sins, to live a life in Christ. Having done that, you might think that you are free to be a pastor; perhaps, the problem, and it is one that legitimately excludes many of us, is that Paul, earlier in this letter to Timothy, laid out the guidelines for those that think they want to be a/the pastor. Look at how Eugene Peterson’s Message, puts it. (1 Timothy 3:2-7 MSG).
“But there are preconditions: A leader must be…”
Think of this as though you are applying for a job with the police. They are going to do a background check on you, which includes asking your neighbors about you.
- committed to his wife,
I suppose this means if you have a wife.
End of page five.
Considering the horrendous temptations that come from standing in front of a mixed crowd, you might think that being married, that means committed to your wife, would keep your eyes from wandering; that may help, but if you are already prone to the wandering eye, marriage is not going to help, because you will do it right in front her.
- cool and collected,
- accessible, and hospitable.
- He must know what he’s talking about,
Obviously, the allusion is to men only behind the pulpit. Why would Paul do that?
What motivated Paul to take that position is not clear in my mind. Many of the commentaries I looked at were written in the 1700s. One is very modern; this pastor also holds to Paul’s assertion and recently disparaged a dear lady that was speaking at a conference. In Jewish culture, many women are held to a subservient role. We understand that the Bible was written by inspiration of the Holy Spirit of God. The implications of that statement are that Paul’s words would be deemed God’s heart on the matter; but, it does not explain the roles of Deborah, the prophetess – who ruled Israel as a judge for several years, nor does it explain, Ruth, Rahab, and Esther – who put her life on the line to save her people.
You can find the scriptural reference for this in Paul’s first letter to Timothy (1Timothy 1:11-12.) I have had women pastors, but I will tell that there are things I would not share with a woman pastor, although with this advent of mega-churches you will find it harder and harder to even get close to “your” pastor. The female pastor I was familiar with seemed a little power-driven, but then many people are. As to being a Teacher? Why not, and there are many women, such as Beth Moore, who is amazing.
- not be overfond of wine,
- not pushy but gentle,
- not thin-skinned,
- not money-hungry.
- He must handle his own affairs well,
- attentive to his own children, and having their respect.
Paul goes to say,
- He must not be a new believer, lest the position go to his head and the Devil trip him up.
- Outsiders must think well of him, or else the Devil will figure out a way to lure him into his trap.”
End of page six.
3. Still under the heading of “some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.”
Did you know that the BLM inc., movement acknowledges calling on the spirits of dead people to guide them? It is not dead people responding to their pleas; these are demons.
Even though the situation already seems horrific, the fact that many of us are praying against these terrorist acts is the very thing that is restraining these groups from acting out in their full fury.
Are you beginning to understand what is going to happen when the church is gone?
And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 NASB)
Aside from the things I pointed to, these churches are throwing sound doctrine to the side of the road by saying that there are many ways to get to heaven.
Before you get ultra-critical, I want you to think about something. What did the thief on the cross do to gain salvation? He did nothing that aligns with religious practices, and yet Jesus accepted him. If you were paying attention, you would have noticed that the “thief” on the cross went through Jesus. So, here we are back to the idea of only one way, but how do you define the word way?
You will notice that I highlighted the phrase “for the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” No matter how this lawlessness disguises itself, it is a doctrine of demons.
4. So what can we know for sure?
I know that the Holy Spirit has spoken, either to Paul or to someone else, telling them that grievous changes are coming.
Like the Jewish community, I happen to think that God establishes His prophetic words through repetition; so where else is God speaking of such an event?
“I know that as soon as I’m gone, vicious wolves are going to show up and rip into this flock, men from your very own ranks twisting words so as to seduce disciples into following them instead of Jesus.” Acts 20:29-30.(MSG)
Another evidence of atrocious changes.
“For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth.” (Philippians 3:18-19 NLT)
I wanted to know what McGee had to say about 1 Timothy 4:1, so here it is.
“Some shall depart from the faith. Paul is warning that there will be heretical teachers who will mislead a great company of people. There will be a departure from the faith. Paul also wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2 of the apostasy to come. Actually, this matter of apostasy has been in the church for a long time, and it will not be new at the end of the age by any means. It has grown and will continue to grow, however. When the church of Christ is raptured, there will be left behind a totally apostate organized church.”
But pay attention to the above paragraph, as McGee uses the term apostasy to help define this grievous time frame. By now, we should all know that the word apostasy refers to a falling away of the church, and it has certainly done that. McGee, however, takes his direction from 2 Thessalonians 2:3 where it says unless the apostasy comes first.
End of page seven.
Many of us have changed our thinking on this passage (2 Thessalonians 2:3,) as we have learned, thanks to Dr. David Wood, that the term apostasia, which is translated here as apostasy – means the gathering and not a falling away of the church. This error was introduced intentionally by the Catholic church in the late 1500s, to impose guilt upon those leaving the state-approved church for Protestantism.
So, when I read 2 Thessalonians 2:2,3, I read it like this, the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come unless the gathering comes first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.
Because I lived under this intentional deception all my life, I could not understand what 2 Thessalonians 2:2,3 was trying to say, and would always look toward 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, which is unmistakably clear.
“And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed. (7) For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. (8) Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming;” NASB
We have covered this portion but it bears repeating, “And you know what restrains him now so that in his time he will be revealed.” That restraint is the church, but obviously not all of us.
“only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.” A day is coming when Jesus will come back for His bride, the church. At that point in time, we will be taken out of the way. What a sad thought, as the world cheers that idea.
“ Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming.” This final sentence brings the Antichrist onto the stage and covers the entirety of the seven-years, a time filled with horror.
The world says you Christians are just looking for an escape. You want to know something, we are because many of us have read the Revelation and we know what is coming. Many of you are already getting a taste of what is coming almost daily, especially if you live anywhere near Seattle or Portland. But it is not just an escape, it is a promise from Jesus himself, the one who said He would rise from the dead, and He did.
You too can have this promise if you will turn your life over to Jesus.
The end of page eight.