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[Sin & Forgiveness]:
Loving the Present Age
Written on December 13th, 2006 - 6:12PM
Last Updated: January 25th, 2007 - 8:35PM

At the end of Paul's second letter to Timothy, he laments the various believers in name who forsook him when he was jailed and in need of help and comfort (2 Timothy 4:16). Concerning one of them, he gives the reason:

for Demas left me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. (2 Timothy 4:10)

Throughout the holy writings of God's people there are both truths evident on the surface and others hidden, waiting to be drawn out with the Holy Spirit's help. Yahweh has used names to evidence the purpose and inevitable actions of places and people.

The name "Demas" has two likely meanings: the first is that it is another form of "Demetrius" which means "belonging to Demeter." Demeter was the Greek goddess of the earth, especially agriculture and the seasons. The other possible meaning for "Demas," according to Thayer's Greek Lexicon, is "governor of the people."

Whichever meaning is true, or perhaps both, they both give insight into the nature of the man. He symbolized someone given to the earth, to the fleshly pursuits and occupations (tending to farming the land, waiting for the seasons, etc.). He also symbolizes the leader of people, their protector, as governor. In that role, his importance is seen, as his mindset and priorities will affect the people under his rule.

Demas forsook (εγκαταλειπω) Paul. The word is made up of Greek words meaning "in/with/by" (εν), and "according to" (κατα) and "leave/lack" (λειπω). It has a similar meaning to our idea of leaving someone behind, when we are called away. Paul gives the reason for this forsaking of himself by Demas: he loved the present world. More accurately, the Greek literally has, "having loved the age [that is] now." The word translated "world" is not the common word for world or universe, but rather the word for age, the same Greek word from which we get our English word "eon/aeon." It is a time span more than a physical area or space.

Demas left Paul behind because he loved the age that was now, the present one; not the age to come. For if he had loved the coming age, that of Christ's rule which He promised to His disciples, he would have concerned himself with things of the Spirit, such as Paul's dilemma of not having help as he was trying to minister amidst persecution and even jailing.

Coupled with his name's meaning, here is scripture's warning: those given rule or protection over the people should not forsake their duty. As well, he lived out the other meaning, that he was one given to the ruler of the earth or present age (Demeter, or Satan).

The Present Age

Many times God has compelled His people not to look to the present age as their fulfillment or purpose for living. As believers in Him, not in the prince of the power of the air (Satan), they should not be concerned with the way of life that unbelievers have created at the leading of Satan (Ephesians 2:1-3).

The present age is concerned with fleshly things alone, to the exclusion of worship and honor of Yahweh as God; it is obsessed with self-love rather than love of God (2 Timothy 3:1-5), and with the using of the things of this world to advance themselves in it. Thus, rightly, those who know and love God should not get caught up in the present age but rather glory in their deliverance from it by the Lord Jesus Christ.

3Grace to you and peace from God the Father, and our Lord Jesus Christ, 4who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of this present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father— 5to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (Galatians 1:3-5)

Even beyond such obvious evil fleshly pursuits, the present age at the time of the disciples also contained the waning Old Covenant (Hebrews 8:13), with its sacrifices and offerings according to the Law of Moses. Because the priesthood had changed, Christ Jesus being ordained high priest for all ages after the order of Melchizedek, the Law was also to change. Therefore that present age which still had the existing Temple and its services was to be forsaken as well, not having the power to save or preserve.

8The Holy Spirit is indicating this, that the way into the Holy Place wasn't yet revealed while the first tabernacle was still standing; 9which is a symbol of the present age, where gifts and sacrifices are offered that are incapable, concerning the conscience, of making the worshipper perfect; 10being only (with meats and drinks and various washings) fleshly ordinances, imposed until a time of reformation. 11But Christ having come as a high priest of the coming good things, through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation, 12nor yet through the blood of goats and calves, but through his own blood, entered in once for all into the Holy Place, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:8-12)

Jesus warns His followers to be wary of such cares choking out the Word He was speaking to their hearts. Even though His Word had the power to change their entire person, and deliver them out of their darkness, it was possible for other things to choke out its fruit-bearing power.

What was sown among the thorns, this is he who hears the word, but the cares of this age and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. (Matthew 13:22)

Those hearing the Word do not really understand it, because when the cares of "this age" confront the person (along with the deceitfullness of riches, which is closely related), the seed of the Word is choked and the person becomes unfruitful. They have the ability to do what God has revealed, but instead pursue fleshly things and thus do not produce any lasting fruit. It is the Enemy who controls this age who is responsible for deceiving people and causing them to put this age over the coming age.

3Even if our Good Message is veiled, it is veiled in those who perish; 4in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving, that the light of the Good Message of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should not dawn on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

False Victory

The last part of this study's verse, of Demas forsaking Paul, having loved the present age, concludes with where Demas ended up. Remember, the word "forsake" in Greek has the idea of leaving someone behind when called away by another.

for Demas left me, having loved this present world, and went to Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, and Titus to Dalmatia. (2 Timothy 4:10)

Unfortunately, some of the details of the Greek are lost in most translations. The word "departed/went" in Greek (πορευομαι) is in the passive deponent, aorist tense (επορευθη). This means that it was an action at a definite point, but more importantly, one that was done to Demas. He didn't depart or go by himself, but rather was lead. The word for "depart/go" more accurately means to lead or carry over. Thus, being in passive form, "Demas was carried over to Thessaloniki."

At first reading, this doesn't seem to change much; but when studying the name of the city, Thessaloniki, one sees the deeper meaning put into this scripture by the Holy Spirit.

The city's name, θεσσαλονικην, means "false victory" or "victory of falsity." The last part of the name, which means "victory," is used in other forms in scripture to describe a cult at this period, the Nicolaitans, or "Overcomers" (Revelation 2:6)(Revelation 2:15). They were into unbridled displays of fleshly passion, such as orgies, as evidence they were in control of their own lives.

Paul says that Demas left him behind as though called by another, having loved the present age, and was then carried over into Thessaloniki: cause and effect. Called away by "false victory," leaving behind what he should have been doing (caring for Paul), rather than tending to the things of the earth.

The "Overcomers" and Satanism

Such a belief as the Nicolaitans is basically identical to modern day Satanism, which espouses personal indulgence as the ultimate truth. They claim that Satan is the one to be trusted, not God, and that he is offering enlightenment and happiness to those who do as he did; namely, reject God and live for oneself as though he is his own creator. Thus they encourage people to give into their passions, such as lust, envy, jealousy, hatred, and so on, as the ultimate goal of living independently, and ridicule Christians and others who try to control their behavior.

17These are wells without water, clouds driven by a storm; for whom the blackness of darkness has been reserved forever. 18For, uttering great swelling words of emptiness, they entice in the lusts of the flesh, by licentiousness, those who are indeed escaping from those who live in error; (2 Peter 2:17-18)

Those who are enticed and deceived by these wicked people don't realize that in their supposed victory, they have been overcome by the one promising them freedom (Satan and his workers), taken to be his and their slave.

promising them liberty, while they themselves are bondservants of corruption; for a man is brought into bondage by whoever overcomes him. (2 Peter 2:19)

They also identify Satan with the one in Isaiah who rose against Yahweh (the one often translated as "Day Star," "Lucifer," or "Light bearer"), and appeal to his name as proof that he is trying to free people from the lies of Yahweh (much as the Serpent claimed in the Garden); not recognizing he was cast down from heaven, because the power of Yahweh is greater than his.

12How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low! 13You said in your heart, "I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will sit on the mountain of assembly, in the far north! 14I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will make myself like the Most High!" 15Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit. 16Those who see you will stare at you. They will ponder you, saying, "Is this the man who made the earth to tremble, who shook kingdoms; (Isaiah 14:12-16)

But as Isaiah continues, this wicked one did not release his prisoners—he promised them freedom if they would follow his lead, in rebelling against God and loving this evil word, but instead they were kept in slavery unto him.

who made the world like a wilderness, and overthrew its cities; who didn't release his prisoners to their home?" (Isaiah 14:17)

What then is the end of such a belief system and subsequent works? As revealed by Yahweh, loving this present age and its evil practices causes one to be carried over to a victory of falsity. The person believes they have found the way, not realizing its vanity and its ultimate end: death.

There is a way which seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. (Proverbs 14:12)

Because all things are under the control of Yahweh Elohim, they ultimately will be humbled before Him; He has chosen a Day in which to do this, and has appointed Christ Jesus as the One to preside over it as Judge (John 5:22-23)(Acts 17:30-31).

Our Decision

What then of this present age? It should be forsaken, rather than the coming age. We should wake up to the truth of God, realizing that He is saving us out of it. We should call others to follow us, becoming sojourners in this age which is passing away, looking for the City to come.

9By faith, he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a land not his own, dwelling in tents, with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise. 10For he looked for the city which has the foundations, whose builder and maker is God. (Hebrews 11:9-10)

13These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen{TR adds "and being convinced of"} them and embraced them from afar, and having confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. 14For those who say such things make it clear that they are seeking a country of their own. 15If indeed they had been thinking of that country from which they went out, they would have had enough time to return. 16But now they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed of them, to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

For we don't have here an enduring city, but we seek that which is to come. (Hebrews 13:14)

17But you, beloved, remember the words which have been spoken before by the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18They said to you that "In the last time there will be mockers, walking after their own ungodly lusts." 19These are they who cause divisions, and are sensual, not having the Spirit. 20But you, beloved, keep building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit. 21Keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. 22On some have compassion, making a distinction, 23and some save, snatching them out of the fire with fear, hating even the clothing stained by the flesh. (Jude 1:17-23)

Like Paul, we can not only not be the one forsaking others in need, but when we are the ones forsaken, we can say with him:

17But the Lord stood by me, and strengthened me, that through me the message might be fully proclaimed, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me for his heavenly Kingdom; to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:17-18)


Discerning Yahweh

Yahweh doesn't want us to be held captive by the Enemy. He wants us freed from his grip. God knows the end of the pursuit of this age that fallen man has corrupted, over which Satan rules for now: death. Therefore, the fact that He is calling us out of it evidences His nature—He is love. He cares for you and has revealed the truth to those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. Do not be deceived by the Serpent who lied to Eve; do not listen to the vanities of Satan who promises freedom but gives servitude unto death.

God is true and is waiting for us to forsake the present age for Him and His people, rather than forsake Him and His people for the present age. Discern His goodness in this call to life and truth and follow Him.


Last Accessed: April 10th, 2021 - 2:36PM
Times Read: 2664
 
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The Good Message

As you read this site, you will hopefully come to know Yahweh more fully.

But all of this continuing knowledge is useless unless and until you come into union with Him. I use the word union because it is truly a marriage. It is that deep connection we all seek, for which we most often look in other people. However, the truth is that our hearts will only be fulfilled when we enter that union in fullness with the One Who made us.

This is the grace of God, that He has not stayed distant for us only to worship as Creator. But He has come unto us, even become one of us—in His Son, Christ Jesus—in order to share an intimate union with us. He desires such closeness that it truly will envelope our entire life, transforming us into something new and wonderful.

You may have already entered this union with Him and only seek to know Him better through reading here. But if you have not, as you do read, let this Gospel sink into your heart as you read it now.

God loves you, and has cast your sins into the sea. He has sent His only Son as the Savior of the world—that includes you.

That Son, Jesus Christ, was born as a man through a virgin who had given her life to Yahweh; He lived without sin, reflected the glory of His Father, God, in all His words and deeds, and was persecuted even unto death because of it.

His death upon a cross was the powerful explosion that separated you from your life of death. It remains for you, now, to enter into that death with Him. As you die to the one you are now, a person separated from God from your many sins, you will be born anew, with a nature predisposed to live rightly. This gift is free to you, with nothing you can do to earn it. It is the mercy of God to offer it to you, as He loves you so much! All you must do is receive it by trusting Him to have delivered you. Simply place your life in His hands and embrace the freedom that came through that death on the cross.

The Gospel is that Jesus did not remain dead, but rose again on the third day after His crucifixion! Death could not hold Him, as He was without sin. And so death will not be able to hold you, as you identify with Him fully through your trust in Him. Let go of yourself and confess Him as Lord of your life. The power of His death and resurrection will work in you all that your Creator has destined for you. You will truly enter a new life and experience that intimate union you have been seeking all of your life.

So ponder these words as you read here of this great God—Yahweh—and all that He has revealed to His creation. Let His Spirit testify to your heart that these words are true, that God is Love, and that He sent His Son so that you might receive the life that is unbound by time and space. As you feel that witness in your heart, simply believe and receive what He is offering to you, even now, and begin your new life as a child of God.

Please write to me and let me know when you take this step, as I will be your brother in Christ—we will be one in Him!

 
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