Make every effort to come before winter
In 2 Timothy 4:21, Apostle Paul says to Timothy, “Make every effort to come before winter.” This “winter” is referring to a season like spring, summer, fall and winter. Paul was in prison for a second time in Rome in a bone chilling dungeon and he was asking Timothy to make every effort to come to him before winter. Apostle Paul knew that the “winter” of his life has come and before his death he wanted to see Timothy. Based upon Apostle’s Paul’s message today, let us examine the things we must prepare before winter comes.
We must prepare the cloak
In 2 Timothy 4:13, the Apostle Paul says, “When you come, bring the cloak.” This cloak is a very thick cloth like a blanket with a hole in the middle for the head to go through. It is wrapped around the body with a cord at the waist and covers a person like a warm cloak. Then what is this cloak that we must prepare? First, it is the cloak of repentance (Matt 11:21; Luke 10:13). Jesus is rebuking the sins of Bethsaida and Chorazin and says to them, “repent in sackcloth and ashes.” We must let go of the things of lust and the flesh, and put on the Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:12, 14). Today, as we are facing the winter of our life time, let us not tremble in fear because of sin but rather put on the cloak of repentance.
Secondly, we must prepare the cloak from the blood of the cross. Only those who have washed their robes white in the blood of the lamb can come out of the great tribulation (Rev 7:13-14). The blood on the cross will take away all of our sins and make us white. Jesus is our Passover lamb and was sacrificed as our Passover lamb (1 Cor 5:7; John 1:29). The garment with the blood of the cross is the cloak that will free us from our sins and it is a cloak that will embrace us warmly in the last days (Rev 19:11-13). The Army of heaven will also be clothed in fine linen, white and clean, which means they are washed with the blood of the lamb (Rev 19:14). Therefore, the Apostle Paul is telling Timothy to bring the cloak before the winter in life comes. Let us prepare the cloak of repentance and the cloak of the blood of Jesus Christ to prepare for the winter of our lives.
We must prepare the books of the Word
2 Timothy 4:13 says, "Bring the cloak and the books, especially the parchments.” These books are written in parchments or in the skin of an animal that is very valuable and expensive. In today’s passage, the Apostle Paul orders Timothy to bring this parchment which is referring to the Bible where the Word of God is written. Apostle Paul was in prison, and before his death he wanted to read the Word as he neared the conclusion of his life. Our food for the winter time is the Word. Therefore, we must eat the “little book” (Rev 10:2). This little book which was open is pointing to the end times in which God will reveal the mysteries of redemptive administration that was hidden in the Bible. God commands to Apostle John to take the little book and eat it (Rev 10:9-10). John also is commanded to prophesy again concerning many peoples and nations and tongues and kings. Likewise, God is commanding us to take and eat the Word of redemptive administration and prophesy to all people.
Secondly, we must eat the everlasting gospel (Rev 14:6). The eternal gospel is the Word in the little book. Therefore, the eternal God will guide us to the eternal world through His Word. Thus, through the resurrection and transfiguration, God will lead us to an everlasting world where we will never die (Jer 15:16).
Thirdly, we must eat the hidden manna (Rev 2:17). Through the 40 years of the wilderness journey, God rained down manna for the Israelites to show them that man does not live by bread alone but by the Word of the Lord (Deut 8:3). Jesus is the spiritual manna (John 6:48-50). Today, this bread is the Word of God and we must take this hidden manna. God says this hidden manna will be given to those who overcome. So may we all prepare the hidden manna, the eternal gospel, the little book which is open and the mysterious Word of Redemptive History so that we can all enter into the kingdom of God.
Conclusion: When Apostle Paul was in prison and going through a trial, all those who had followed Apostle Paul deserted him and no one defended him. However, Paul did not count their sins against them but forgave everything (2 Tim 4:16). Therefore, let us forgive everything with a completely emptied heart before our God. This is what the Apostle Paul is proclaiming (Matt 6:14-15; Eph 4:32). As the Apostle Paul faced the winter, or death, he was filled with the conviction of entering the kingdom of heaven and that the Lord would truly bring him safely to God’s kingdom (2 Tim 4:18). The Apostle Paul confessed that the Lord would rescue him from every evil deed and bring him safely to His heavenly kingdom.