Saturday, October 3, 2009

What’s up with Hymenaeus and Philetus

From the beginning of Jesus’ ministry the unbelieving Jews sought to destroy the reality of Christ as Messiah. Despite the overwhelming evidence of His deity and fulfillment of Old Testament prophecy and even in light of the indisputable evidence of the resurrection, the Jewish leaders created an illusionary explanation as noted in Matthew 28:11-15. Over and over again the Ruling Jews try to get the believes in Christ to return under the old covenant of the law. Paul asked the Galatians who bewitched them. No one is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. (Galatians 3:11)

Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have swerved from the truth trying to destroy the work of Christ. But avoid worldly and empty chatter, for it will lead to further ungodliness, and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, men who have gone astray from the truth saying that the resurrection has already taken place, and they upset the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:16-18 NASB) A similar passage is to be found in (2 Thessalonians 2:1-2)

What is it about these verses that is so challenging. Please ask yourself the following question. If the resurrection is as you and I have always been taught, a literal resurrection were physical grave are opened, with Jesus bodily, visibly descend on a cloud with the audible sound of a trumpet.

How could the saints be convinced as they obviously were that resurrection had already happened? Paul said Hymenaeus and Philetus upset the faith of some. All the saints had to do was go down to the grave yard and see that the graves were not opened.

There is NO indication that Hymenaeus and Philetus were mistaken as to the NATURE of the resurrection. Their error was saying that the "DAY" had already come!

Why did the lie of these two Hymenaeus and Philetus overthrew the faith of some? The reason was their premature announcement that the resurrection already happened. Paul tell us that Jesus becamea servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, (Rome 15:8) What was one hope of Israel?

We need not guess about this for Paul tells us plainly what the true hope of Israel is. Paul plainly identified the hope of Israel: "And now I stand here on trial for hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by the Jews, O king! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?" (Acts 26:6f). Resurrection was promised to Israel (Isaiah 25:8; 26:19; Ezekiel 37:1-14; Hosea 13:14; Daniel 12), and it constituted "the hope of Israel" (Acts 26:6-9). This hope resided at the heart of the gospel preached to Israel (Acts 2:22-39; 4:1-2; 13:32-39; 23:6; 24:14-15).

Hymenaeus and Philetus were telling the Jewish brethren that the resurrection of the dead already happened under the Old Covenant of the law, thus trying to lead them from Christ back under Judaism.

Hymenaeus and Philetus were saying that God had consummated all his promise to Israel under the old covenant of the law system thus "tramping the blood of Christ and calling it a unholy thing."

What Hymenaeus and Philetus were doing was nullifying all the important prophecies about Christ by saying the resurrection already happen with out Christ. They were saying that God had fulfilled the hope of the Israel’s resurrection without Christ under the old covenant system. This lie overthrew the faith of some.

Therefore, Paul had to write to correct the problem. That he does in 2 Thessalonians 2:4-12 by telling of events which had to transpire before Jesus come. The brethren were concerned that their loved ones who died prior to Jesus’ return would miss out on the accompanying blessing. Paul reassures them no such thing would happen

The same can be said about the saints in 2 Timothy 2:16-18 who believed the Parousia of Christ already occurred. How could the saints be convinced as they obviously were by a letter as if it was written by Paul that the Parousia of Christ had already come? All they had to do when any suggested such an idea was to “Look around!

Lest say the saints did not believe the letter that the Parousia of Christ happen but were in danger of being thus deceived. The point is, Paul did not challenge the teaching concerning the nature of the Parousia.. He only challenged the chronology.) It would have been a sin if the resurrection or Parousia were literal, physical, events and Paul did not correct them as to the nature. Could it be we have misunderstood the time and nature of the Parousia? (Matthew 26:62-64)

There is not one single word about any mistaken views as to the nature of the Parousia of the Lord. The only way these saints could be convinced the Parousia had already occurred was to hold the Old Covenant concept of the Parousia which denies any time-ending, cosmos- shattering coming of Christ.
If their concept of the nature of the and Parousia was not correct, Paul would have corrected it. Since he dealt only with (the time issue,) 2 Timothy 3:1-7 their concept of the nature of it from the Old Testament must have been right. Speaking to the disciples Jesus said, “A little while longer and (the world will see Me no more) but you will see Me because I live, you will live also (John 14:19). It is not surprising that the world would see Christ literally no more.

The following is a comparison of how various translations render 2 Thessalonians 2:2.

1. KJV- is at hand
2. ASV - is just at hand
3. New KJV - had come
4. RSV - has come
5. NASB - had come
6. New English Bible - is already here
7. NIV - has already come
8. Amplified - has (already arrived and it here
9. Living New Testament - has already begun
10. McCord’s New Testament translation - has come
11. Williams - is already come
12. Beck -has already come
13. Today’s English Version - has come
14. Lamsa - at hand
15. Jerusalem - has already arrived
16. Berkeley - had arrived
17. Twentieth Century NT - is cone
18. Emphasized NT, Rotherham -hath set in

It is obvious that most translations say the Parousia had already come. You will note the KJV, the ASV. and the Lamsa are the only ones that differ. The Lamsa version is taken from the Aramaic and not the Greek. Thus, the KJV and the ASV are the only Greek translations to prefer an ‘imminent sense for the verse. The Lexical evidence for the definition of (enistemi) is almost as overwhelming as the Translations. For time I will just give two. Kittel’s Theololgical Dictionary. Vol 2, pg 543 - “In the perfect it means “to have entered” and there fore “to be present.”

Vine’s Dictionary of New Testament Words, Vol. 2 pg. 191 - “in 2 Thess. 2.2 the verb (enisteni, to be wrongly translated “is at hand”; the RV correctly renders it, “is (now) present.... 2 Thess