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Monday, February 10, 2014

Hymenaeus




1 Timothy 1 (KJV)
19 Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck (a cast away):
20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme (speak irreverently about God or sacred things.) .

Denial of the resurrection

Hymenaeus and Philetus are included among persons whose profane (foul) and vain (arrogant) babblings (gossip) will increase towards more ungodliness, and whose teaching "will spread as a cancer" (2 Tim 2:17, And their word will eat as doth a canker ( an erosive or spreading sore) : of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;).

The apostle declares that Hymenaeus and Philetus are examples of those just described, and he adds that those two persons "concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already, and overthrow the faith of some." Then, for the guidance of Timothy, he goes on to say the seal upon the foundation of God is, "The LORD knows those who are his,” and “All who belong to the LORD must turn away from evil" (2 Tim 2:19, Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity [wickedness].)

The inference intended is, that though Hymenaeus and Philetus had professed their faith in Christ, they did not turn away from evil. There is no doubt in regard to the identity of this Hymenaeus with the person of the same name in 1 Tim. Accordingly, the facts mentioned in the two epistles must be placed in the following order: That though Hymenaeus had, made a public and Christian profession of faith in Christ, yet he had,
not turned away from evil, but by his profane teaching, went towards more ungodliness. This led to, his abandoning his faith and a good conscience, thus he brought about, the end result of his faith being shipwrecked.

The error, therefore, of Hymenaeus and his two companions would amount to this: They taught that "the resurrection is past already," circa 50AD–65AD, and that there would be no future resurrection, but that all that resurrection means is that the soul awakes from sin. This teaching of Hymenaeus had been so far successful: it had "overthrown the faith of some" (2 Tim 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.)


Incipient Gnosticism

It Is impossible to define exactly the full nature of this heresy, but from what Paul says regarding it, Hymenaeus and Philetus may have believed in an early form of the Christian disbelief of Gnosticism. This awakening from sin had taken place with themselves, so the Gnostics held, and therefore there could be no day in the future when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God and shall come forth from the grave (John 5:28 Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice,).

This spiritualizing of the resurrection sprang from the idea of the necessarily evil nature of all material substance. This idea immediately led to the conclusion of the essentially evil nature of the human body, and that if man is to rise to his true nature, he must rid himself of the bondage, not of sin, but of the body. This contempt for the body led to the denial of the resurrection in its literal sense; and all that Christ had taught on the subject was explained only, in an allegorical sense, of the resurrection of the soul from sin.

Delivered unto Satan

The way in which the apostle dealt with these teachers, Hymenaeus and his companions, was not merely in the renewed assertion of the truth which they denied, but also by passing sentence upon these teachers—"whom I delivered unto Satan, that they might be taught not to blaspheme." In regard to the meaning of this sentence much difficulty of interpretation exists. Some understand it to mean simple excommunication from the church. Others take it to signify the infliction of some bodily suffering or disease. It seems that a person who was delivered unto Satan was cut off from all Christian privileges, he was "put away" from the body of Christian believers, and handed over to "the Satan," the Evil One in his most distinct personality
1 Corinthians 5 (KJV),  the cases of Ananias and Sapphira Acts 5 (KJV), and of Elymas (Acts 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.).

The intention of the punishment was distinctly remedial. Both in the case of Hymenaeus and Alexander, and in that of the person dealt with in 1 Corinthians 5 (KJV), the intention was the attaining of an ultimate good. It is "for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Similarly, Hymenaeus and Alexander are delivered unto Satan, not for their final perdition (loss of the soul), but that they may be taught, through this terrible discipline, not to blaspheme.

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