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Paul, Timothy and the End Times
BibleProphecyBlog.com ^ | March 27, 2011 | Jack Kelley

Posted on 03/28/2011 3:36:19 PM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta

Paul’s letters to Timothy are the instructions from a mentor to a young pastor, one of the first ever, and contain advice on what to do and how to do it, as well as what not to do. It’s the kind of thing you’d expect given the relationship.

But for no apparent reason Paul tucked several warnings about the end times into various places in his instructions. These are things Paul knew Timothy wouldn’t have to deal with because he clearly described them as characteristics of the Latter Days. We’ll take them each in turn.

1 Timothy 4:1-2

The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

When I read this one I always think of certain televangelists who espouse a perversion of the prosperity gospel. They know what they’re teaching is a compilation of half truths and outright lies, so in effect they’re twisting God’s word to steal from their followers. And without the least bit of shame they enjoy the lifestyles of the rich and famous at the expense of their contributors who, according to some reports, come primarily from the bottom 25% of the economic scale.

Taking advantage of their followers’ lack of Bible knowledge and misguided desire for a more abundant life , these predators foist one get rich quick scheme after another on their desperate flocks, bilking them out of the few discretionary dollars they have and leaving them worse off in the bargain. And they do it in the name of God. It makes you wonder what He’ll say to them come judgment time.

But the prosperity teachers aren’t the only ones in this category. There are others who teach things they know are contrary to what the Bible says. Some of these things come under the heading of conditional salvation, grace plus works, partial rapture, and other false teaching that can steal the joy of your salvation and rob you of your certainty. Their objective is to imprison you within boundaries of rules they themselves can’t follow. Read Colossians 2:8-23 for Paul’s opinion on these modern day legalists.

Then there are those who either treat the prophecies of our time as if they were already accomplished in history, or as if they’re never going to be accomplished because they’re all allegorical. These teachers also know what they’re saying can’t be reconciled with Scripture, but they ask you to believe it anyway, trusting in their superior intellect or advanced education instead of your own common sense. They take passages that can be clearly understood just as they’re written by anyone with an average intellect and make them hopelessly confusing by violating the rules of context, re-defining terms, and making that which is real into something symbolic.

2 Timothy 3:1-5

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

Just as you become convinced that Paul is describing the unbelieving world in our time and are vigorously nodding your head in agreement, he says that these people have a form of godliness but deny its power. Then you realize he was writing about those believers in name only, who spend 6½ days each week living lives indistinguishable from unbelievers, grabbing all they can get from our material world by any means necessary while contributing little or nothing to the work of the Kingdom. These people lead two lives, the one they’re serious about, and the one that’s just for show. Guess which is which.

Paul was not blind to the behavior of these people, nor was this the only time he warned us to stay away from them. Listen to what he told the Corinthians.

I have written you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people – not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing you that you must not associate with anyone who calls himself a brother but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or a slanderer, a drunkard or a swindler. With such a man do not even eat. (1 Cor. 5:9-11).

Notice he said “anyone who calls himself a brother” instead of “anyone who is a brother.” I think he was doubting that someone who behaves in this manner could have been saved in the first place.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

Here the focus is on the emerging church movement in all its various forms. In business schools, students learn to develop strategies based on a driving force. One such driving force is the market. A market driven strategy requires the business enterprise to focus on what they perceive to be the wants and needs of their target customers and adapt themselves to meet these needs in a more effective way.

Correctly predicting the growing demand for a religious organization that could meet the needs of a self centered, self sufficient generation, the leaders of the emerging church movement developed such a strategy. They took the focus off God and put it on the congregation. Entertainment replaced worship, philosophy replaced theology, and good works replaced victorious living.

Borrowing a phrase from Dominion Theology they began calling it “bringing Heaven to Earth” to make it sound more appealing to their idealistic target market. Little do their followers realize that for believers, these good works will be burned up in the fire (1 Cor. 3:14-15), and for unbelievers they’ll be woefully insufficient for entry into the kingdom (John 3:3). God has His own strategy for bringing Heaven to Earth and it doesn’t include the emerging church. Commenting on their works in his letter to Laodicea, Jesus said,

“I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm — neither hot nor cold — I am about to spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:15-16)

They’re excited about the great entertainment, the stimulating talk, and the good works, but not about the Lord.

Irrespective of that, both the seats and the coffers soon filled, signs that their market driven strategy was working, and for many the emerging church was soon the place to be. This was especially true for those who had become bored with traditional Church and wanted a place where they could feel good and do good with no messages about sin and salvation to convict them. The gospel was not missed in its absence.

Besides, “All of our attempts to define the right form of the Gospel are just human interpretations,” the movement’s leaders claim. “We must avoid a naive or excessive confidence in any telling of the Gospel story, since no articulation of the gospel today can presume to be exactly identical to the original meaning Christ and the apostles proclaimed.” In a sense, they’re saying since its impossible to know what the Gospel story really is we shouldn’t put too much faith in it.

Learning about the rapidly approaching End Times and the need to be ready for it has also been skipped. Instead, the “excessive” study of prophecy is called a distraction from the real work of the Church. These things were done by design, since the goal is to have non-believers make up at least half of the congregation. The market is much bigger that way and the non-believers help move the believers away from theological absolutes, like the need to be born again and the importance of prophecy.

In the next verse of His letter Jesus offered additional criticism.

"You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.” (Rev. 3:17)

His letter to the Church in Laodicea contains no commendation for their works and offers no escape from the end times judgments, just a plea to be allowed back into their midst (Rev. 3:20).

But Wait There’s More

Over fourteen years earlier in his second letter to the Thessalonians Paul had first warned us about the apostasy of the latter days, calling it one of the signs that would mark the end of the age. In 2 Thes. 2:1 Paul began to address their questions about two events, the (2nd) coming of our Lord, and our being gathered to Him (the rapture). He was responding to information they had received saying the day of the Lord had already come. He told them not to worry because several things had to happen first.

Paul didn’t go into things like the regathering of Israel, the beginning of Daniel’s 70th Week, or the building of a Temple. Israel had not been dispersed yet, and the Second Temple was still standing. He focused on events that are more gentile in nature.

A careful reading of 2 Thes. 2:3-8 shows the order in which he said these things would take place. He said the apostasy would happen first (verse 3), then the rapture of the Church when the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way (verse 7), and finally the revealing of the anti-Christ followed by the 2nd Coming (verse 8). (If you don’t read this passage carefully, you could become confused by Paul’s mention of the anti-Christ in verses 3-4. But verse 8 clearly places the official unveiling of the anti-Christ after the removal of the Holy Spirit.) Even a casual observation shows that we’re well into the time of the first sign.

What should be our reaction to this? First is to remember that God’s Word said this would happen so there’s no point in bemoaning the fact that it’s happening. Instead we should be encouraged to know the end of the Age is getting closer. Jesus said the true Church would become weaker and less influential as the end approaches (Rev. 3:8). As the world moves further and further from God, those of us who follow Him will naturally feel less comfortable and be less welcome here.

If you live in the United States, stop confusing your country with your church. No believer outside the US makes this mistake, and the fact is the Church has neither a home nor a land on Earth. Our citizenship is in Heaven (Phil. 3:20) and we look for a city whose architect and builder is God (Hebr. 11:10).

No matter where we live in the world we have to remember that we’re aliens here and our visit is about over. Soon we’ll be going home where we belong.

In the mean time we have to stop depending on organized religion to meet our needs. In some places the Church is being forced underground. In others we’re going willingly. But either way the gulf between religion and the Church is growing wider by the day.

If you can’t find a God worshiping, Bible teaching church where you live, don’t settle for what you can get. Gather a small group of like minded believers and worship at home. Paul and Timothy didn’t have a huge bureaucracy behind them. They didn’t have million dollar buildings or professionally designed programs. They didn’t even have the New Testament. Yet they found a way to worship God, and to help others do the same.

Stop supporting groups who are trying to bring Heaven to Earth and start sending your treasure to Heaven. I could tell you stories all day long about what God can do with a hand full of people He can trust. Ask the Lord to identify a need for you to meet in His name and then work in His strength to meet it. Apart from Him nothing you do has any value to the Kingdom (John 15:5).

Dig into prophecy. It’s the single biggest topic in the Bible and more is written about our life and times than any other period in history. Know what you believe and why you believe it.

Do these things and you can make the time we have left the most rewarding and enjoyable time you’ve ever known. You can almost hear the Footsteps Of The Messiah.


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To: Cronos
All three are getting very chummy with Islam is what I dispute

Dispute this all you want Cronos...but they are and will continue to bridge the gaps between then in order to become untied within a One World Religion.

61 posted on 03/31/2011 8:41:59 AM PDT by caww
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To: Cronos
All three are getting very chummy with Islam is what I dispute

Dispute this all you want Cronos...but they are and will continue to bridge the gaps between then in order to become united within a One World Religion.

62 posted on 03/31/2011 8:42:44 AM PDT by caww
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To: Cronos

Cronos, you wrongly assume I am not aware of the differences among these religions and their practices....but I digress as we are going round and round as is the custom here.

I will maintain that the merging of the mainline religions will indeed occur in time... and that this push to do so is present and happening at this time. It makes no difference if one thinks it possible or not. Some things are simply marked to happen and this is one of them.


63 posted on 03/31/2011 8:47:25 AM PDT by caww
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To: Kenny Bunk

Well of course it can be used as an example...our world is fast becoming more and more secular...with a religious front to appeal to the masses. Communism has done this all along...Hitler comes to mind when he claimed to be Catholic...one can indeed claim what they will as we see even in this day, and still not be a true believer in what they profess.

When a one world religious entity does finally represent the religious world, as a whole,...it will not truly be religious...but the picture presented to the world will be just that. .... the world is ripe to be deceived.


64 posted on 03/31/2011 8:53:12 AM PDT by caww
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To: GiovannaNicoletta

” careful reading of 2 Thes. 2:3-8 shows the order in which he said these things would take place. He said the apostasy would happen first (verse 3), then the rapture of the Church when the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way (verse 7), and finally the revealing of the anti-Christ followed by the 2nd Coming (verse 8). (If you don’t read this passage carefully, you could become confused by Paul’s mention of the anti-Christ in verses 3-4. But verse 8 clearly places the official unveiling of the anti-Christ after the removal of the Holy Spirit.)”

The taking of the “Restrainer” out of the way is not necessairly the rapture of the Church or else I think Paul would have used plainer language(ie “when the present saints, not having given way to the great apostacy are caught up, then the son of perdition arises”). Another words there is a specific force or entity that keeps the AC system in check and it has been in place for awhile. Revelation speaks of the multitudes of Saints killed because of the machinations of the Antichrist sytem(Beast, false prophet false image). My reading of this same passage suggests to me that things start really popping after the AC arises, then at some point a rapture occurs in the midst of everything(Gods great harvest of souls followed by God’s great harvest of wrath as juxtaposed in Revelation).

Still, the “Restrainer” may yet be the “church” and its spirit filled members as you describe who act as this restraining force. I read the Thessalonian passages plainly but I’m still struck with several possible explanations based on other passages I have read in the Bible. The Bible in other places mentions a ‘catching up”, at some point of buried resurrected believers first then those believers who are living “and remain”. We will “not all sleep but we will all be changed, in a moment in a twinking of an eye...at the last trumpet”. Could the “last trumpet” refer to the “last trumpet” sounding in Revelation? I don’t know. Some have suggested the church leaves when the “two witnesses” who had been dead for 3 days suddenly are resurrected and we all go to heaven together.

Still, the Bible does admonish us to study prophecy, specifically the “words in this book(Revelation) and do them”. We don’t know the hour of HIS coming but we certainly can know the “season” or times of HIS coming.


65 posted on 03/31/2011 9:22:37 AM PDT by mdmathis6 (Applied Christianity;a study in spiritual fiber optics connecting God's love to man!)
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To: caww; swarthyguy; Cronos; Shermy
May the inexorable flow of faultless cosmic logic lead you on your hegira 'round Robin Hood's Barn.
In the name of Unity.
Amen and Inshallah.
66 posted on 03/31/2011 9:25:43 AM PDT by Kenny Bunk (You can't have a Boehner with no balls. Sack the sac-less SOB now!)
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To: Kenny Bunk; Shermy; Cronos; caww

So, these three hijras decide to go on the hegira.......


67 posted on 03/31/2011 12:03:42 PM PDT by swarthyguy (KIDS! Deficit, Debt,Taxes! Pfft Lookit the bright side of our legacy -America is almost SmokFrei!)
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To: Cronos

Hinduism - Yes to cleavage.

Islam - Not even yer eyebrows, mama!


68 posted on 03/31/2011 12:05:44 PM PDT by swarthyguy (KIDS! Deficit, Debt,Taxes! Pfft Lookit the bright side of our legacy -America is almost SmokFrei!)
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To: Kenny Bunk

Certainly you are finding this thread as a playground for your amuzement. But just as your homepage depicts...

“I have joined that growing number who are simply no longer focused”......” my ever-diminishing wits aren’t much noticed here.”

So too it follows you here.


69 posted on 03/31/2011 12:18:07 PM PDT by caww
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To: swarthyguy

Please remove me from your ping list...not interested...thank you.


70 posted on 03/31/2011 12:30:04 PM PDT by caww
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To: caww

Fine, be that way, take your ball and go home.


71 posted on 03/31/2011 12:43:10 PM PDT by swarthyguy (KIDS! Deficit, Debt,Taxes! Pfft Lookit the bright side of our legacy -America is almost SmokFrei!)
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To: caww

Hey, no fair looking at my homepage! (Even if every word on it is as true as I can remember.)

But I forgive you and actually wish you well on your quest.


72 posted on 03/31/2011 12:44:55 PM PDT by Kenny Bunk (Boehner with no cojones? How's that gonna work?)
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To: mdmathis6
The "Restrainer", or Holy Spirit, must be removed before the Antichrist can make his appearance. And since every true believer in Christ in indwelt by the Holy Spirit, this is when the Church is removed as well. The Holy Spirit is not going to leave without those who "house" Him, so to speak.

From The Popular Encylopedia of Bible Prophecy:

CLUES FROM THE GREEK

A closer look at the 2 Thesasalonians 2 passage will help answer the question of the identity of the one who restrains. In 2:6 the Greek text is best translated, "and the thing now holding (him) down (or restraining him) you know, so that he (is) to be revealed in his own time". Verse 7 says, "For the mystery of this lawlessness is already working only until the one now holding (him) down (or restraining him) shall get out of the way". The Greek word katecho is a compound word formed from kata (down) and echo (to have, or to hold). From this comes the thought "to hold down or to restrain". Katchecho can have the meaning "to hold back from action, to keep under control, to deprive of physical liberty, as by shackling, or arresting a criminal". The restrainer then is preventing the Antichrist from breaking out until his appointed time, which would be during or just before the beginning of the Tribulation.

In verse 6, to katcheon is a neuter present participle, being translated "the thing now holding (him) down (or restraining him)", though in verse 7 the masculine present participle is used, ho katchoen, and should be translated "the one now holding (him) down (or restraining him). This grammatical difference would certainly exclude the church because church is a feminine word in Greek. Some think the neuter gender in verse 6 refers to the Roman Empire, and the masculine in verse 7 has to do with the Roman emperor. But this view is not plausible. The word "spirit" (pneuma) is in the neuter gender, but when referring to the Holy Spirit, the New Testament uses the masculine pronoun. John 14:26 calls the Spirit whom the Father will send in the name of Jesus the paraclete (the one called alongside, the counselor). Paraclete is a masculine noun, but Spirit is a neuter noun. "The purposeful change in grammar emphasizes the personality of the Holy Spirit. There would be no reason to change from the neuter to the masculine unless the Spirit was understood to be a person." (Enns, p. 149)

THE EVIDENCE OF THE SCRIPTURES

The point of the 2 Thessalonians 1 passage seems clear. The man of sin, the Antichrist, cannot come forth until this restraining power gets out of the way. By divine providence, and by all the evidence of the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit characteristically restrains and strives against sin (Genesis 6:3). The Spirit presently abides in the world in a special way in this age through the Church.

One objection to naming the Holy Spirit as the restrainer has to do with the phrase at the end of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 - "until he is taken out of the way". Many argue that taking away or removing the Spirit of God seems to be an awkward interpretation. But is this what the passage is saying? The Greek word translated "taken" is genetai and is an aorist middle subjunctive from ginomai , a deponent verb. Such verbs appear in the middle or passive form but are still translated as active, meaning the subject (which, in this case, is the restrainer) is doing the action. "The deponent verb does not denote removal by an outside force but rather a voluntary act on the part of the restrainer" (Hiebert, p. 207). "To be taken out of the way" should better read "to get out of the way" (Lenski, p. 421). The Holy Spirit is going to move out of the way. He is not going to be taken out of the way.

While it is probably correct to say the restrainer moves aside at the time of the Rapture of the Church so that "in his time (the Antichrist) may be revealed" (2 Thessalonians 1:6), the Holy Spirit will still continue the work on earth of bringing people to salvation. While the Church is here, He is active as the power working within the lives of believers.

Revelation speaks of the multitudes of Saints killed because of the machinations of the Antichrist sytem(Beast, false prophet false image). My reading of this same passage suggests to me that things start really popping after the AC arises, then at some point a rapture occurs in the midst of everything(Gods great harvest of souls followed by God’s great harvest of wrath as juxtaposed in Revelation).

There will be people left on earth after the Rapture, because they were not saved, who are saved during the Tribulation. These are the "saints" who will be killed by the Antichrist because they refuse to take his mark. These are not Church-age Christians who are removed from the scene prior to the Tribulation.

The Scripture is clear that the Rapture takes place before the Tribulation, when Jesus removes His Bride (those people, both dead and alive, from the entirety of the Age of Grace, who have accepted Christ as Savior) from the scene before He sends judgment. But it also clear that multitudes will come to salvation in Christ during the Tribulation. and those are the people whom the Antichrist will kill.

And yes, we can certainly know the season of His coming. And that season has officially arrived.

73 posted on 03/31/2011 3:47:45 PM PDT by GiovannaNicoletta
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To: GiovannaNicoletta
I totally agree with your post. Although in one area, my understanding is that the 'he' spoken of 2 Thess. is the Church the Body of Christ, the ONE NEW MAN that Paul speaks of. Hence, the word "he" in the removing before the Antichrist is revealed. Paul did speak of the Body of Christ in the masculine. And the Body of Christ is indeed holding back the wrath of God, in that we are now ambassadors for Christ, calling all men to be reconciled to God through the finished work of Christ.

Either way, we will not be going through the tribulation. We are promised to be kept from God's wrath upon this world.

74 posted on 03/31/2011 4:00:18 PM PDT by smvoice (The Cross was NOT God's Plan B.)
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To: caww
I'm not disputing -- I'm giving you facts.

And the facts are that Islam and Hinduism are incompatible.

The facts are that they are also not getting together, no matter if you clip some random "let's all live together in peace" -- the number of communal riots in India show that peacenik or chummy attitude to be a lie

The facts are also that most Hindus have in fact hardened their attitude against Islam since 1993 (do you know the significance of that year or the significance of 6 Dec? If not, then you do not know anything about Hindu-Moslem relations in India now)

75 posted on 03/31/2011 10:59:10 PM PDT by Cronos (The OPC/PCA don’t worship the same God we Christians do:)
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To: Cronos

Cronos...just give it up...we are not communicating...and you missed my point along ways back...but if it makes you feel better posting the same things over again..by all means continue..but I will not be responding when we are simply not communicating.


76 posted on 03/31/2011 11:04:31 PM PDT by caww
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To: caww
no, we are not communicating because you have a false idea stuck in your head of a one-world religion being a syncretism of Christianity-Islam-Hinduism

This shows the lack of knowledge about any of these.

77 posted on 03/31/2011 11:08:33 PM PDT by Cronos (The OPC/PCA don’t worship the same God we Christians do:)
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To: Cronos

Cronos that is not something stuck in my head...and I did ‘not’ say ‘Christianity’ would be included...

....I said Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, and Mormonism. All of which are part of the push for a one world religious system, and each will be a part of that in due time.


78 posted on 03/31/2011 11:17:56 PM PDT by caww
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To: GiovannaNicoletta

The last few paragraphs contain some excellent advice. Christians would do well to heed these things.


79 posted on 03/31/2011 11:29:06 PM PDT by Rocky (REPEAL IT!)
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To: caww

Catholicism is, along with orthodoxy, lutheranism, anglicanism, baptists, oriental churchs etc. part of Christianity.


80 posted on 03/31/2011 11:59:33 PM PDT by Cronos (The OPC/PCA don’t worship the same God we Christians do:)
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