Those of us who hold to a fulfilled view of the scriptures know this verse all too well.
This passage is very often used against us when those who disagree want to hit us with the so called "Knock Out Punch". However, they fail to realize that not only are they completely wrong about it being a crucial blow to our view but they also fail to realize that it actually PROVES our view completely. How so?
Well, the passage comes from Paul's 2nd letter to Timothy. At this portion of the letter Paul is instructing Timothy to tell the believers whom he (Timothy) was leading, to ignore useless babblings and false teachings. He tells them to be good dividers of the word. He also mentions two men who have been hurting the faith of some of the believers. These two men are going around telling people that the resurrection that was hoped for since the days of their fathers, had already happened. Let's read his words to Timothy....
"Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and idle babblings, for they will increase to more ungodliness. And their message will spread like cancer. Hymenaeus and Philetus are of this sort, who have strayed concerning the truth, saying that the resurrection is already past; and they overthrow the faith of some." 2 Timothy 2:15-18
Now there are a couple major points to consider and recognize here.
1) The first is the dating. This letter was written sometime around AD65-67 shortly before the Apostle Paul's death. He says his time of departure had come just a couple chapters later in this same letter. History says his death occurred in AD68. Now, it has been my belief all along that the resurrection and judgement were to occur at the Coming of the Lord, at the end of the Old Covenant Age when the Temple was thrown down and the power of the Jews was completely shattered. This fulfills TONS of prophecy including but not limited to Daniel chapter 12 when he speaks of "the end". We know this happened in AD70. So what is the point here?...
The point is that AT THIS POINT WHEN PAUL WROTE, THE RESURRECTION HAD NOT YET HAPPENED. It was close but not yet. Therefore, these two men Hymenaeus and Philetus were indeed wrong about telling people that it had already happened.
2) Here is where we have to stop and really think. Many futurists believe that the resurrection is still in our future. More importantly for this point, they believe that bodies will LITERALLY be brought up and out of graves. Can you imagine what that would look like to those who are alive at that time? Yikes! It would be like a Walking Dead Episode. But consider something...
How could Hymenaeus and Philetus convince ANYONE that the resurrection had already taken place IF IN FACT IT WAS TO BE IN THE MANNER THAT MOST FUTURISTS BELIEVE? In other words...
Clearly these 2 men had fooled and convinced some of those believers back then that the resurrection had already occurred. Paul said this was the case.
If I told you that all the bodies in the graves had already been resurrected LITERALLY, what would you do? You would go to the nearest cemetery to see if this was true. You would walk outside to see if there were people who were literally raised up. You would do some PHYSICAL investigation to see if my claims could be substantiated.
Clearly these first century believers DID NOT have the same concept of the resurrection that many futurists have today. Otherwise, they would have denied the claims of Hymenaeus and Philetus right off the bat. They would have known instantly that what they were saying was false because there were no PHYSICAL BODIES POPPING UP AND OUT OF GRAVES TO PROVE THEIR CLAIMS.
But instead, these 2 men were able to actually convince some believers that the resurrection had already occurred.
How could that have been so?
Well because the resurrection was always the hope of the dead being brought up and out of Hades, SPIRITUALLY.
It wasn't an observable event.
The King of the Kingdom said that the Kingdom wasn't coming in ways observable. (Luke 17:20) We need to let this fact help mold the rest of our "Kingdom related" beliefs.
The dead would be raised spiritually and those who were living would be changed internally and spiritually, to immortal. This would occur at the end of the old age and the start of the new.
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