by Oscar M. Baker
II Tim. 2:17-18. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already. By the time Paul writes his last epistle, II Timothy, things were not getting better. Those in Asia who had listened to his gospel of the grace of God during Acts, have not accepted the gospel of the dispensation of the mystery. So he says all Asia has departed from him (1:15), and names particularly Phygellus and Hermogenes. Demas, once a good companion, has now deserted Paul. In Paul’s first appearance in court, no man stood by him (4:16). But then a number of them are mentioned as having stood firm in the faith.
In this context, we find some have told the resurrection was past already. We speak of this because there are some who have not fully understood the mystery and so have neglected II Timothy to a period before Acts 28:28, probably in the bonds at Caesarea.
If one thinks twice, it can be seen that this is impossible. For if this letter were written before the dispensational frontier, then the resurrection they expected at that time was that described in Matt. 24. And that resurrection was in a time of turbulance and noise such that no one would be ignorant of it. Should anyone say the resurrection of Matt. 24 were past, would be foolishness.
Now the resurrection of the church which is the body of Christ is not described, nor is the time set. Since the members are to be manifested in glory with Christ, then the world would know nothing about it. So these men were telling that the resurrection of the body was past, and of course that proves II Timothy is one of the 7 epistles Paul wrote after Acts 28:28. It could not be before.
Hymenaeus and Philetus should be able to tell at what appearance Paul had no one to appear with him. Their ilk should be able to do the same thing. But they do not.
Paul also a two years imprisonment at Caesarea. We expect no ministry or writings from that place for he was to go far hence (from Jerusalem) to the Gentiles. This was consequent to his trying to preach in Jerusalem. His ministry was not in the land; that belonged to the twelve.
Paul also spent two years in his own hired house in Rome; under house arrest we would say. There is no record of him appearing before Caesar or of his acquittal. But he was certain of his release, for there was really no charge against him. Festus did want king Agrippa to help him formulate some kind of charge, but we don’t know how far they got.
Paul wasn’t in prison when writing I Tim and Titus. It may be that he got to visit Spain as he had wished. II Tim., the final word, the finish of the scriptures.