“Hymenaeus and Alexander…I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (I Timothy 1:20).
Who were these guys, how were they blaspheming, and what does it mean when it says Paul delivered them to Satan? What’s Satan’s address anyway? Well, there seems to be more than one Alexander in the Bible, but there is only one other mention of a Hymenaeus:
“…Hymenaeus and Philetus…concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (II Tim. 2:18).
If our text is speaking of the same man teaching the same error, it would appear that by the time Paul wrote these words in his second epistle to Timothy that Alexander had learned not to blaspheme. But Hymenaeus had evidently gone on to find a new partner in a man named Philetus. These new “partners in crime” then proceeded to “overthrow the faith of some” by continuing to teach Hymenaeus’ error, “that the resurrection is past already.”
Since the “overthrow” of Sodom involved its complete destruction (Gen. 19:24,25), the overthrow of a believer’s faith must involve the same. I know it would destroy my faith in God if I thought that the resurrection of the Rapture had taken place and I’d been left behind, instead of being caught up to meet the Lord in the air with those who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord as God promised (I Thes. 4:15-17).
Rather than allow the faith of God’s people to be overthrown like that, Paul went on in the very next verse to argue that the resurrection could not be past:
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are His…” (II Timothy 2:19).
Paul responded to Hymeneus’ error by declaring that the Lord knows them that are His, so there is no way He would have left any believer behind at the Rapture!
When Hymeneus and Alexander first began to teach otherwise, Paul delivered them to Satan in the same way he told the Corinthians to deliver a man to Satan (I Cor. 5:5), by putting him out of the assembly (v.2,13). That may sound harsh, but Paul knew it was the only way Hymeneus and Alexander would “learn not to blaspheme.”
When we think of blasphemy, we think of cursing the name of God (Lev. 24:15,16), but there are other ways to blaspheme. When the king of Assyria suggested that God couldn’t deliver His people the way He promised He would (II Kings 18:33—19:2), Hezekiah pronounced it “blasphemy” (19:3). And this is the kind of blasphemy of which Hymeneus and his cohorts were guilty as well. When they suggested that God couldn’t deliver every member of the Body of Christ at the Rapture, as He promised He would in the epistles of Paul, they too blasphemed!
If you are thankful that the Lord Jesus Christ plans to employ a “no man left behind” policy at the Rapture, don’t forget that after assuring us that “the Lord knoweth them that are His,” Paul went on to tell us how we can express our gratitude for that assurance: “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (II Tim. 2:20).
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.