A New Persecution
In Antioch, in Iconium, in Lystra the persecution was instigated by Judeans who did not believe the preaching of Paul and Barnabas. They did not believe because of their envy. In Lystra the result of this persecution was Paul being stoned!
But his Lord was there to deliver him!
The goal of persecution, in every generation, is always the same, suppress the preaching and teaching of God’s magnificent Word of deliverance and salvation. The goal remains the same in every generation because it is the Adversary that directs the persecution in every generation.
In Philippi we have a new type of persecution, unbelieving Judeans are not the motivators, it is the business leaders, in junction with the civil government. It is bad when you cannot tell the one from the other. Consider the British East India Company where the company policy and the British government policy were indistinguishable. When both sides move to curry favor and advantage, the population at large pays the price.
There is an old saying and it comes from the words of God.
1 Timothy 6:10
For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.
Those masters of Acts 16 had no concern nor thankfulness for the damsel that was healed. The damsel was set free from her spiritual bondage! Yet these businessmen saw their profits going down without this girl being in spiritual bondage. They wanted spiritual bondage, for her! Never realizing they too were in spiritual bondage to the same devil spirit.
The phrase “love of money” in the Greek is philargyria, a compound word consisting of philos, which means love of a dear friend, someone, or something to which you are devoted. The other Greek word is argyros, which means silver, which by the figure Metonymy is put for money or power.
This love of wealth or power is the root of all evil. The root is the unseen part. The outside can be covered or masked hiding the rottenness on the inside.
And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers,
The Greek word translated “saw” is horao and means to see with the eyes. The masters could literally see their profits slipping away.
And brought them to the magistrates, saying, these men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city, and teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive, neither to observe, being Romans.
They brought them before the magistrates and said, “These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar, by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice.
New International Version
Consider the “facts” they presented to the rulers.
1.They are Judeans. 2.They have thrown our city into an uproar. 3.Customs not lawful to receive (paradechomai). 4.Customs not lawful to observe (poieo).
Now, let’s go a little deeper into each of these accusations, and consider also what “facts” they failed to give the magistrates.
1.They are Judeans therefore, they practice Judaism. This is true. But why lead with this point? Because the religion of Judaism was disliked throughout the empire. It is a hot point that is sure to evoke an emotional response.
This is planting ideas through innuendo and contoured facts.
2.They “exceedingly trouble our city” or “throwing our city in an uproar.”
This is a lie with a complete omission of the real “facts.”
Who put the city in an uproar? The masters of the damsel!
How did the masters of the damsel put the city in an uproar?
They came upon, they “caught” Paul and Silas.
The Greek word translated “caught” is epilambanomai. A compound word consisting of epi which means upon and lambano which means “to receive, to lay hold of, to take possession of.” Lambano is to take something and to use it as it is intended. They took Paul and Silas to the city officials, the magistrates. They pulled them along publicly.
The word “drew” in verse 19, helko, means to drag. When you have enough manpower to drag two grown men through the streets of the city, you are causing the uproar. A mental picture of guilt is planted by how you are handling these men, more innuendo.
They must be criminals!
What were Paul and Silas doing when these hostile men came upon them?
Why did I add the word hostile? Because when you drag someone away you exert whatever force is necessary to accomplish the goal.
They were peacefully praying by the river, Acts 16:16.
Why did I add the word peaceful? Because when you pray how God defines prayer in His Word, you are peaceful.
The masters of the damsel omitted this point about openly and peacefully praying because it did not fit their proclaimed scenario of causing an uproar. Why did I add the word openly? Because they prayed out in the open, all could see them by the river, and it was illegal for groups of people to meet privately. The Caesars were always afraid that private meetings were used to plan conspiracies against them.
This is a lie of omission and speaks clearly to their ethics.
3.They teach customs, which are not lawful for us to receive (paradechomai).
Again, para means along side of. Dechomai means to receive to oneself, to receive internally but not to act upon. This is what we would call, “the thought police.” They are declaring that it is illegal to have certain thoughts in the Empire. However, Rome did not seek to control what a person thinks. The “thought police” did not really become popular in Rome until Nero was cornered. We know it under the term of Marxism. It is any style or principles of leadership that only allows for one thought. The thought of the government.
Christianity’s first brush with this type of issue, with the Empire, came after fire destroyed much of Rome in 64 A.D. and Nero required a scapegoat. Nero blamed the Christians, considered a sect of Judaism (the emotional hot point of the first century). If the government even thought you were a Christian, meaning you did not think like Nero, you paid with a horrendous death.
When Felix was the governor of Judea, and later Festus, and finally, King Agrippa all heard the witness of Paul, they found no crime in his thoughts or actions. Although, Festus thought Paul to be mad from too much learning.
Why did they find no fault in Paul? Because Christianity did not teach anything that was illegal according to the Empire. Remember, Paul also stood before Nero around 63 A.D. and no fault or crime was found in him. Life in the Empire, for a Christian, did not become deadly until the fire the following year.
4.Customs not lawful to observe (poieo).
Poieo means to make, to do. This would take paradechomai to its intended goal of acting on the thought. Here Rome could agree with the “thought police” if the subject were assassination of Caesar or the overthrow of Caesar.
The latter, overthrow of Caesar, is exactly what Nero saw when Romans began to blame him for the fire. Then through an emotional trigger point Nero blamed the Christians, as a sect of Judaism. Nero had to tie the Christians in with Judaism for the emotional response he desired.
Nero needed more than this to achieve his desire, which was to remain in power. He manufactured some evidence, a few “unsolicited” confessions (today a whistle blower) from some of the Christians. Of course, it was after horrible, and unseen torture, or they were simply false witnesses.
Again, this charge does not match the practices of those who believed in the Administration of Grace. Go back and read the opinions of Felix, Festus, Agrippa, and Nero. We could add in the Chief Captain Claudius Lysias, but honestly, I figure the opinion of Nero is the opinion of the Roman Empire.
So, this is another lie, hidden behind false accusations. Designed to demonstrate their own, the master’s, righteousness regarding Roman law.
Now, what about the magistrates?
1.Why did the magistrates not ask what they were teaching? a.Ask what are these customs? b.Ask what were they doing when apprehended? c.Ask what laws have they broken? d.Mention what laws the master’s of the damsel were breaking. 2.Instead, the magistrates went as they were led by the masters of the damsel, they re-acted. Without thinking, the magistrates responded with the emotion they were provided.
The evil businessmen would not have been able to answer any of these questions because they did not know what Paul and Silas taught. They would not have been aware of any customs Paul and Silas followed or preached. The only thing they knew was that their spiritual ATM was drying up.
Does all of this seem familiar to you?
Evil men today use the same tactics to move crowds of people and endeavor to control situations.
They speak an infinitesimal amount of truth, mixed in, and covered with a mountain of lies, innuendo, and emotional trigger points to achieve their greedy ends. And make no mistake, it is really all about their greed, for money or power. The people have changed, but men that are evil use the same tactics because their Lord, the Adversary, has not changed.
2 Corinthians 11:13-15
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore, it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.
The times have changed, obviously the people are different, but they still work for the same Lord. They want to appear as ministers of righteousness, when in truth it is only self-righteousness.
The only response that will stop these evil people is to stand upon God’s Word, as did Paul and Silas. The only way to stand upon God’s Word is to have God’s Word in the heart of your mind. Those who believe today, with the nature of God created within them, have the same power available that Paul demonstrated throughout the Book of Acts, with one exception.
And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.
Special miracles were something between God and Paul. God will have unique works for you according to Ephesians 2:10. How do I know they are unique works? Because Ephesians 2:10 is addressed to believers in the Administration of Grace and each of us is unique. Further, 1 Corinthians 12:27, also addressed to believers in the Administration of Grace, declares you are a particular member in the Body of Christ, which means you have your portion or aspect to carry out within that Body of Christ.
And the multitude rose up together against them: and the magistrates rent off their clothes, and commanded to beat them.
“The multitude rose up together…” who put the city in an uproar? The masters of the damsel and the magistrates that allowed themselves to become caught up in that emotion. How should the magistrates have acted? Read Acts 19:34-41.
Then the magistrates commanded Paul and Silas to be beaten with rods.
“The rods were usually made of birch wood, and the Roman soldiers would beat their victims mercilessly all over their entire body.”1 The Romans were not limited to the number of times they could strike a prisoner, unlike the Laws in Judaism which limited a scourging to 40 lashes. Each of these stripes, with the flexible birch switch, would leave welts or rip open the skin.
2 Corinthians 11:23-25
Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more, in labours more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night, and a day I have been in the deep.
In the Book of Acts God only shares with us one time where Paul was beaten with rods. There are no scourging’s by the Judeans in the Book of Acts. Acts 14 has the one stoning, and we see Paul in a shipwreck one time. Paul paid a heavy price to begin the Administration of Grace.
For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
The Administration of Grace did not open with, “Once upon a time…” It opened with violence and persecution and deliverance from the Lord. The Adversary used his normal tactics of bribes and pressure (Matthew 13, the sower and the seed). Remember the bribe Paul received, “…The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.” The transition into the Administration of Grace was hard.
For I shall show him how much he is going to suffer for my name.
Aramaic Bible in Plain English
The Adversary knew each administration has had one steward, and Paul was the steward of the Administration of Grace. Break Paul, and you break the back of the Gospel of Grace.
The mystery of lawlessness is already at work. That is why, even with the doctrine of the Grace Administration, persecution still thrives and is still effective. But our administration’s ending will also be hard.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
Perilous times! Does not sound too scary. It sounds okay because the word peril is used so infrequently in our day and time, that we have not built a proper or accurate contextual definition. Today we use words like genocide and annihilate. Peril, in the 17th century, when the King James Version was translated, meant danger or savage, it was not to be taken lightly.
This is what the Concordance Help Word-studies has to say about chalepos: xalepós (an adjective, derived from xaleptō, "to oppress, annoy," J. Thayer) – properly, irksomely hard to bear (LS); fiercely difficult to cope with because so harsh (even injurious).
These perilous times refer to the end of the Administration of Grace. There is a long list of characteristics pertaining to the people that will make those times perilous for believers in the Administration of Grace. Someday when you have time, just go through this list using a concordance or a Lexicon, it will prove very educational. To sum up this list, these people hate God, and they reject everything to do with God.
They will wear a mask, as did the master’s of the damsel, but make no mistake, the root within them is all evil. Follow the context of these opening verses of 2 Timothy chapter 3 and you will find the purpose of God’s Word: doctrine, reproof, correction, and instruction in righteousness. So that we are equipped (3:17), fully equipped unto good works, the same phrase and the same Greek words used in Ephesians 2:10.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
(6) And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
(7) For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
(8) And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
These verses deal with our administration and the end of our administration.
V.6 “…now you know the withholding…” Smith’s Literal Translation Could be translated…you know the detaining or, you know the restraining.
Contextually, the withholding is that we, the Body of Christ, are still here.
While we, the Body of Christ, are still here the antichrist will not be revealed, he cannot come, for it is not his time.
Why the Body of Christ? It is stated in verses 1 through 3, it is in the context.
V.7“…the mystery of iniquity doth already work…”
The mystery of lawlessness is already working. For God to have His secret Administration of Grace, the Revealing Administration was held in abeyance. The fullness of the Adversary’s time, the fulness of the Adversary’s power comes when the Revealing Administration resumes with the coming of the antichrist, who will have the full ability, dunamis, of the Adversary.
“…only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”
Neither of the words “he” is in the text.
“Will let” is not in the text.
The word “taken” is in the subjunctive mood and the aorist tense and is better understood as “the time is unknown,” subjunctive mood…but will “absolutely happen,” aorist tense. In using the aorist tense God is saying He sees the event as already having occurred.
Which you can do if you are a Being not bound by the confines of time.
The word “way” is the Greek word mesos and is better translated midst.
So, the sense of verse 7 reads as,
“The mystery of lawlessness is already working, the restraining (of the coming of the antichrist) at present is until (the Body of Christ) [at an unknown time but it is an absolute] is out of the midst.
The statements in (brackets) are supplied by the figure Ellipsis.
The statement in [brackets] is a grammatical insertion that is necessary in understanding the verse, but my grammar skills did not know how to incorporate it.
If you have the question, out of the midst of what?
The answer is, out of the midst of the Revealing Administration.
The Administration of Grace sits in the middle of the Revealing Administration.
V.8Then…Then, a time word. After the Body of Christ has been absolutely “taken” out of the midst, will the antichrist be revealed. Whom our Lord will destroy with the brightness of his coming.
Century after century has rolled by and governments throughout the world have continued the persecution of Christians and have suppressed the words of God.
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.
The Greek word katecho is translated “hold” in this verse. Contextually it is better translated suppress. The word suppress is defined by Merriam-Webster2 as, “to put down by authority or force, to keep from public knowledge, to keep secret, to stop or prohibit the publication of…” Romans 1:18 through Romans 3:20 is a section of God’s Word explaining why there is a wrath of God. Then Romans 3:21 through Romans 5:21 explains the justification and righteousness from God, to all who believe in the Administration of Grace.
If you allow God to show you, He will explain to you in this section, Romans 3:21 through Romans 5:21, why and how believers in the Administration of Grace are exempt from the wrath of God.
Yes, century after century evil men have infiltrated governments to persecute Christians and suppress the Truth of God’s Word. Over time they were joined by evil men in other groups like scientists, and businessmen, and even religious Christian groups were infiltrated by these men.
Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
These evil men have suppressed God’s Truth by calling that which is evil in the eyes of God to be a good thing. While calling good things in the eyes of God evil. But whether it is the master’s of a damsel, or the head of a country, or the leader of a religious group, God is not fooled nor deceived.
1. Beaten With Rods (dynamicsofgrowth.com)
2. Suppress Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster
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