Harold S. Paisley
Question: When writing to the Corinthian believers, Paul stated that he was the last of the apostles to see the Lord, as of one born before the due time. What is implied? (1 Cor. 15:8)
Answer: There can be no doubt that he was referring to the Damascus road experience. His was an unexpected and unusual spiritual birth. He regarded it as premature. The word "ektromati ("before the due time"), is interesting. We believe that it refers to a child born from a dead mother, by a caesarean operation. The figure is that of a chosen vessel. Paul was given birth by the dead Jewish nation. He became what Israel should have been and what they will yet be when this age is finished (Rom. 11:23-27). Hence Pauls conversion which took place before the due time is a wonderful prophetic picture of the time of the future national conversion of Israel (Ezekiel 20:35-38; Zech. 12:10-13:6).
Later, Paul states clearly that he is a pattern to them (Israel) which should hereafter believe on the Lord Jesus Christ unto life everlasting (1 Tim. 11:16).
Question: Could an explanation be given in Words in Season of the expression used by Paul in 2 Thessalonians 1:7, "ye who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels?" (2 Thess. 1:7).
Answer: The reading of the complete section (vv. 6-10) of this chapter is important to understanding the expression "rest with us." The apostle is not speaking of the saints rest, but his purpose is to reveal the retribution of their persecutors when the Lord Jesus shall appear in glory with all His saints to execute judgment. The words "to you who are troubled rest with us" should be read parenthetically thus allowing the words of the close of verse 6 to be linked with the end of verse 7. It would thus read "tribulation to them that trouble you (and to you who are afflicted rest with us) at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
The time indicated is not the time of deliverance of the Lords people from their troubles here, but rather the time of Gods righteous recompense upon their enemies.
The blessed Lord will first receive His people to their rest as indicated in 1 Thess. 4:13-17, and then later He will come with His saints to execute vengeance upon them that know not God and those that obey not the gospel. For all these, their doom is sealed. They shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power. These solemn words place beyond doubt the doctrine of eternal punishment for all who are found wanting of faith in the Saviour in that day in contrast to the joyful rest of the saved who shall be ever with the Lord. This, we are sure, is the proper setting of the important section.
Question: Could an explanation be given in Words in Season concerning the words of the Lord Jesus in His prayer concerning Judas, "those that thou gayest me I have kept and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition that the Scripture might be fulfilled?" (John 17:12).
Answer: At first reading there appears to be a difficulty but a careful consideration of the Lords words removes the seeming discrepancy. Judas was not one of them who had been given by the Father to the Son for not one of them is lost. That was impossible. Judas was of a different company.
The comparing of a similar sentence in Luke 4:26-27 is enlightening. "There were many lepers in Israel in the days of Elisha, but none of them was cleansed saving Naaman the Syrian." As Naaman was not one of them (Israel), as a Gentile, he received what the other lepers, being Israelites, never received. So Judas was not one of them (true disciples) and received what no believer will ever suffer.