Paul's instructions to Timothy, a young co-laborer with the Apostle, were based upon the understanding that the Lord is coming soon even though history tells us that was not the case. Paul lived his life and ministry as if the Rapture could happen at any moment and especially in his lifetime.
This is evident in his statement, "we shall be caught up", in I Thessalonians 4:17. Therefore, his instructions to young Timothy were given with that urgency. In fact, Paul believes the "Rapture" is very close in his time as indicated in verse 1.
There were those who at Paul's time in history were departing from the faith. They were not only departing from the faith but were "giving heed", accepting, "seducing spirits", evil spirits and "doctrines of demons." Paul was sending Timothy to the churches the Apostle had started to warn them that the "Last Days" were upon them.
Timothy was to put the churches in remembrance of these things and then make sure they were being nourished in the Word and "good doctrine." Timothy was to help the churches exercise themselves in godliness. That was even better than physical exercise.
It is interesting to note the instructions to Timothy from Paul about his own personal study and application of true biblical doctrine, verse 6, 13 and 16. Timothy was to watch against the "doctrine of demons," verse 1.
Many people are afraid of "doctrine." They say "doctrine" divides and causes division in the "Body of Christ". This is not correct. The Word of God which was "breathed" into the authors of the Bible, II Timothy 3:16, is "profitable for doctrine." The truth be known, the true doctrines from the Lord unites, it does not divide. Doctrine is the principles that the Lord gives to us to know His plan and direction in all matters.
Paul tells Timothy that he should be reading, meditating and continuing that which he had learned from Paul and then pass it along to others for their benefit. Remember, these instructions were given in light of the times in which they were living, "the latter times."
We are living in the "Last Days" and it would do us good to heed Paul's instructions to Timothy and appropriate them for ourselves.
PRAYER THOT: Dear Lord, help me to discern true doctrine from Your Word, make it applicable to my life and share it with others on a daily basis.
Was the biblical God harsh and brutal in the Old Testament?
A Harsh and Brutal God?
How would you answer questions like "How could God kill all the innocent people, even children, in the Flood?" or Why would God send the Israelites into Canaan to exterminate the innocent Canaanites living there?" or even "Would a loving God send people to an eternal hell?"
Claiming that God is evil or harsh is an attack on God's character, and every Christian should be prepared to have an answer for such attacks.
Now what about the Bible? Every word of it proceedeth from the mouth of God. Not in English. We have a good English translation, but that is a matter of scholarship. The manuscripts have been very carefully preserved. But the original monographs, the very words, were given by the mouth of God. So said Jesus Christ,. Not only are the words inspired, but not a jot or tittle shall pass away until all be fulfilled, as Jesus said in Matthew 5:18. Every little breath mark; the tiniest bit of spelling and punctuation were given in the original manuscripts by the Spirit of God. I am trying to show you the sacredness, the living miracle of the Word of God, so you can depend on it and follow it. - John R. Rice
The Bible! In some sense when I breathe in the Bible I breathe in God's thoughts and God's power and God's will, and the Saviour. Plant the Word of God and it sprouts, and one is born again, and behold it is Christ in you, the living Word. Then live by the Word of God like breathing. - John R. Rice
Divorced people who have married again should not break the second marriage. The second marriage has broken the first marriage. God Himself holds the second marriage binding. To break it would do no good but would do great harm. Many people, even Christians, have the tragedy of divorce in their past. Many people, like a Christian woman who wrote to me recently, either married a divorced person, or were themselves divorced and married again, before their conversion. Should the second home be broken? Is it a sin for a wife or husband to be true to a second marriage? Can God be pleased as long as the second marriage is maintained? These are serious questions. The answer, according to God's Word is this: DO NOT BREAK THE SECOND MARRIAGE! Two wrongs never made a right. It would usually be impossible to restore the first marriage, and the Bible does not command it, even if it were possible. Confess the sins of the past, but do not sin again by another divorce or separation! - John R. Rice
Scriptural divorce gives a right to remarry; one who has a right to divorce has a right to remarry. The modern idea of some Christians that one has a right to divorce but should remain single thereafter and never remarry, has no warrant in the Scriptures. In the Bible it is everywhere taken for granted that a right to divorce means a right to remarry. A divorce, on Bible grounds, means that the former marriage is no longer binding. The former husband is no longer a husband. The former wife is no longer a wife. Those who are divorced on Bible grounds are really divorced, are single, unmarried, unbound. - John R. Rice
Let husband and wife both determine that the home shall be kept inviolate; that they will maintain love and keep their marriage vows and ties at any cost in the world. Love has much to do with maintaining a happy home, but a Christian's love for God ought to be greater than his love for wife or husband. Love for God involves another word that, for the happiness of the home, is greater. Love for God means duty, and duty in the home is a greater safeguard of happiness than are sex attraction and the fluctuating selfish love of a husband and wife for the other. Does some young couple think that they love each other so much that they will always be happy? Do they think their love is so great that there will never be a cross word, never a bitter difference of opinion, never wounded pride nor flaming anger? If so, they are mistaken. The people who get divorces were once just as earnest in their love as other people. Love by itself is not a sufficient basis for marriage. Real character has more to do with the happiness of marriage than love. Blessed is the woman who has a husband who owns that he has a duty to God and who steadfastly and unflinchingly determines that he will do right, whether he is happy or not; that he will do right whether he feels like doing right or not. When a husband and wife decide that this marriage has to last, that they are bound by solemn vows in the sight of God and men, and that character and reputation and their welfare through life and the welfare of their children are involved, then the happiness and success of married life can be maintained. - John R. Rice
Both husband and wife should get right with God, trusting Christ as Saviour and Lord. Regeneration, a new heart given from God to a penitent sinner who trusts Christ for salvation, will do more than everything else in the world can do to make a happy home. All over America I have found cases, literally thousands of them, where the home was unhappy and miserable until husband and wife accepted Christ as Saviour and set out to live for Him. Then character was made stable and strong. Then moral standards were such as would please any wife in her husband and please any husband in his wife. When Christ comes in, happiness comes in. - John R. Rice
Where the will goes, the heart will follow. - John R. Rice
Our key verse for this devotional, verse 3, has become somewhat controversial. There are those that believe that the Antichrist will come when the "falling away" of the church, apostasy in the Church, has happened. This then seems to be saying that the church will be here when the Antichrist appears.
This belief comes from a wrong understanding of the Greek word used in the passage and translated, "a falling away". The Greek word is "apostasia", which is used one other time in Scripture in the New Testament book of Acts. Acts 21:21 translates apostasia as "forsake". The context is talking about Jews forsaking Moses, or departing from him.
A close and careful word study of the Greek word apostasia will conclude that the true meaning of the word is found in the phrase, "departing from one place and going to another", not a falling away from the doctrines of the church.
If the word "apostasia" was communicating that "apostasy" was what it was talking about then the Rapture and the coming of the Antichrist would have happened during the writing of II Thessalonians. Apostasy had infiltrated the early church by the time Paul wrote this passage.
What Paul is saying here is that the Antichrist, the "Son of Perdition", would not come until the Church departs from one place and goes to another. That is what happens at the Rapture. The scenario for the future according to all prophetic passages is that the Rapture takes all Christians into Heaven and then the Antichrist appears on earth.
This "false messiah" will, at the mid-way point of the seven year Tribulation Period, the coming time of judgment, he will enter Jerusalem. This satanically controlled world leader will enter the Temple in Jerusalem showing himself that he is "God", verse 4.
Our reading today sets the stage for how events of the Last Days come together. I will deal with the rest of this passage in another future devotional. The Rapture, the Antichrist, and a Temple in Jerusalem are the items that we have discussed today.
Let me remind you that all preparations have been made for the temple to be built in Jerusalem. False teachers and deception presently are a part of our society today, which indicates that Antichrist is nearing his appearance on earth.
Remember, before the appearance of Antichrist and the temple is built, the Rapture happens. Actually the Rapture could happen at any moment. Be ready!
PRAYER THOT: Help me to live today as if this will be the day of the Rapture.
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?