2 Timothy 3:1-5
As the Jewish polity was crumbling under the relentless pounding of Roman legions Paul wrote his friend timothy the above. By using the words “last days” Paul was referencing Jesus’ predictions recorded in the 24th chapter of Matt. and elsewhere, thus pointing to a future fulfillment of part of his great prophecy of the end. While we believe the biblical evidence points towards us living in that very time, let’s look at this remarkable passage and what it outlines to see whether we might well be in the time mentioned.
The first thing of note is the total selfishness Paul portrays for us which is characteristic of that time. Selfishness is found throughout history, but in this time it would be on a scale seldom seem after those words were written. Isn’t it true that people are more self-involved than on a scale never seen before? Daily we read reports of children turning on their parents and even killing them over seemingly little things.
More and more we meet proud and boastful people, neighbors, family, politicians, media personalities and on and on. Humble people are getting harder to find as pride and arrogance seem the order of the day. It is an every man for himself world we live in. And when was the last time you got a sincere “thank you” for doing something for someone? People are very ungrateful these days.
Lack of love for others is fast disappearing (vs. 3). We really see this manifested in politics where people, not just politicians, let all the stops out and don’t hesitate to maliciously malign those who disagree with them. They often spread gossip to neutralize such ones in brutal campaigns to impose their wills on everybody. Nightly we see pundits and presenters acting without restraint to the point that good people hardly ever watch it anymore. We also see an open hatred of good which is breathtaking. Those who love God’s word and the commands within are called the most hateful words imaginable and portrayed as mentally lacking and out of step with an increasingly “enlightened” society which doesn’t see the inherent hypocrisy between what they say and what they do.
We also see such attitudes at all levels of society where those who love good are attacked verbally, emotionally, legally and even physically at times. Children are suspended from school for expressing opinions contrary to the prevailing acceptance of deviate behavior. Businesses and their owners are often sued for their refusal to accommodate deviant behavior as human right violators and put out of business in some cases. Church services are broken up and churches desecrated. And those who stand up for biblical morality personally attacked. And things are getting worse.
Our time is one characterized by love of pleasure on an unimaginable scale (vs. 4). There’ve been times in the past when societies embraced the pursuit of pleasure. But this is practically world-wide. “Do your own thing” is the motto of the age. Starting with the sexual revolution in the 1960s things rapidly went downhill where doing whatever “thrills” one is the chief pursuit of life. Schools teach children that there is no god and this life is all there is. So they grow up with the aim of packing as much enjoyment into life as possible before they die. No pleasure is too deviant to be avoided. But even the plainer ones are to be pursued vigorously. There is no place for God in our day. Atheism is on the rise in the headlong rush for pleasure, power or whatever “turns you on.” There seems to be this thought that denial of God is a salve to the conscience. Yet there is worse.
Many have a form of piety which really has no power of restraint on them from sin (vs. 5). We all know about the child molestation among the Catholics by supposedly godly men. But the dirty secret is that the Catholics are by no means alone. Many other religions and sects, really all of those which assert a high degree of control over their members, have the same problem as the proliferation of lawsuits bear ample testimony to. And that’s only one way in which such people show their faith has no really power in their lives for good. Many people doing the above things profess faith. However, their behavior in business, politics and their personal lives bear them witness to the lack of power their faith has in their lives given what I’ve described is happening in supposedly “Christian” nations as much if not more so than the rest of this world.
This passage, in combination with others, is why I’ve believed for forty years that we are in the last days. Over than time things simply got worse and there seems to be no end. However, the thing to keep in mind is that all of this is leading to something better however much time it takes to play out or how much worse it gets. We are promised a kingdom where sin will no longer dominate and eternal life will be possible under the reign of Jesus Christ and the resurrected Church (Rev. 20). So if we are in the last days, then it is a time to let go of fear for the future and rejoice in the midst of this world’s suffering. Soon I will give another key to the puzzle of whether we are in the last days or not.