Are We In The Last Days? - By Grant Phillips www.raptureready.com
2 Timothy 3
1This know also (Realize), that in the last days perilous (difficult, dangerous) times shall come.
2For men shall be lovers of their own selves (self-centered), covetous (lovers of money), boasters (windbags), proud (arrogant), blasphemers (scoffing at God), disobedient to parents, unthankful (ungrateful), unholy (nothing sacred),
3Without natural affection (unloving), truce breakers (irreconcilable), false accusers (malicious gossips), incontinent (no self-control), fierce (cruel), despisers (haters) of those that are good,
4Traitors (treacherous), heady (reckless), high minded (conceited), lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
5Having a form of godliness (acting religious), but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (avoid).
13But evil men and seducers (imposter's) shall wax (become) worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.
14But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;
15And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
17That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.
Are we in the last days? Some think the Apostle Paul thought he was in the last days. Notice what he said in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17, But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. It does appear at first glance that he may have thought so, but I think he was leaving it open. I feel that he knew Jesus could return while he was alive, if He chose to, but I believe He knew that Jesus could also return much later.
Over 2,000 years have passed, so obviously he was not in the last days. Or was he? Where does that leave us? In my opinion, Paul was in the last days, and so are we. The Church has always been in the last days of the Church age, because the removal, or Rapture, has always been imminent. It could happen at any time. So why is God waiting so long, at least in our view? Peter says it well, The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:9) Jesus Himself also provides this information, And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. (Luke 21:24) Until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled fits perfectly with Peters statement in the previous verse (2 Peter 3:9). I say that because in my opinion, the Ark is almost full, except this time it won't be a flood, but a Tribulation unlike anything this world has ever witnessed.
The Church Age could be compared to a yardstick. The Apostles were at the one inch mark. I think, from what I am witnessing, we are well toward the other end of the yardstick. Could we be at the 33rd mark, 34th mark, 35th mark, or even very close to the 36th mark? I'll leave that answer up to our Lord, but surely we are somewhere very close to the end. We are not to predict, but He has told us to watch for the signs He provides and be ready.
I strongly feel that we are now in the last days of the Church age, not the last days of the Tribulation of course. Think about this, if Jesus came today for His Church, there would still be at least seven more years to fulfill the Tribulation. Seven years is nothing, even ten years. Think back seven or ten years in your life. I don't know about you, but to me, it seems like yesterday. So either way, when we mention last days, it can easily include the Tribulation and a short time prior to this horrible event. So this is where I am coming from in this article.
Some prophecies of the last days to consider in answering our question are weather patterns, the economy, society, placement of countries who will come against Israel, modern day technology that provides the means for fulfillment of end-time prophecies, but especially those concerning the State of Israel. In addition to all this though, the beginning Scripture passage of this article should answer this prevailing and burning question. Are we in the last days? If we are now seeing signs that are preparation indicators for the Tribulation, can the Tribulation be that far off? Since the Rapture precedes the Tribulation, then obviously it would be even closer.
Those of us who study prophecy, and I do not consider myself as well-versed as many of the writers, usually indicate that there are no signs for the Rapture. I believe there is one very clear sign; not of the Rapture itself, but the possible closeness of it. The sign is the context of Revelation chapters two and three. Seven literal churches are mentioned, and one of the things indicated is that each church represents a time in history. Each church progressively describes a period in our church history. The last period for the Church to exist is the Laodicean age. I feel, without a doubt, that we are in this Laodicean age. Now I grant you, we dont know the length of this age, but we do know it is the last one. The Rapture will end this age as Revelation 3:22 moves over to Revelation 4:1 where we see a door standing open in Heaven, and the Church is not mentioned again until it is seen in Heaven, while the Tribulation is unfolding on earth. Clearly to me at least, the Church Age has traversed the entire length of the yardstick, and the end is nigh.
In our lead passage above (2 Timothy 3), Paul is explaining to Timothy how people will behave in the last days. Some feel that Paul is referring to the last days of the Tribulation, but I feel that he is including the time just before the Rapture and on into the Tribulation. When the Church is removed, the sinful acts of mankind will increase exponentially. So is there anything in Paul's message to Timothy, in all these verses, that could describe us today, not just faintly but strongly?
Paul told Timothy to be on guard because the last days would be perilous, (difficult or dangerous). We live in a day, right now, when it is not wise to no longer lock our doors and windows as in the past. Even in the daytime, danger lurks. It is unsafe to walk alone in many areas. Even in some parts of some cities, police agencies would rather not enter, especially at night. The criminal element today has no qualms about attacking or even murdering a police officer, let alone a civilian. If you have ever watched any of the real-life crime shows on television, you will be sickened at the lack of respect one person has for another.
We have known almost zero persecution for being a Christian in this country, up until the last few years. Christians today, in this country, are being persecuted for standing up against the elements of Satan. If you are a fundamentalist Christian, you are equated with terrorists. If you speak out in favor of child discipline (not abuse), or capital punishment, but against fornication, adultery, homosexuality and abortion you are classified as a hate monger. If you speak up for Christian values you will be called a do-good er (or worse). If you say that the Bible, God's Word, is the only source of Truth and the only yardstick for living, you are called a bigot. If you speak up for Jesus as the only way to the one and only true God, you will be called narrow-minded. If you speak out against the decadence of Hollywood and Washington, you are laughed at and called an old fogey. If you speak out against false doctrine, cults and liberalism you are called un-loving. If you speak up for the message of Christ's Rapture of His Church, you are called an idiot and a simpleton. We are beginning to experience a push against true Christianity that we have never seen, but have only read about in other areas of the world. It is here folks, and it is going to get much worse. As we speak, Christians in this country are losing their freedoms, some literally.
In these verses, Paul lists 19 traits of mankind that will be very prevalent in the last days. If these are true of our day and time, then these behaviors should be easy to see. So let us briefly take one at a time.
1. Lovers of themselves: People who are lovers of themselves are self-centered or selfish. The psychologists would call them narcissists. Look at the trash people throw out on others properties for example. Notice the lack of concern many have for the plight of others. Observe the interest in self-gratification from young to old. Do you remember the line, Just do your own thing. It is an example of total self-centeredness, with no regard for others.
By the way, every one of these 19 attributes all point to a self-centered, greedy attitude. I challenge you to think of anything in our culture today, contrary to God, that does not involve self-centeredness or greed.
Most politicians are not interested in doing what is right for the citizens of this country. They are only interested in being re-elected. I wonder why?
Divorce is usually about the self-centeredness of one or both partners over the innocent sacrifice of the children involved.
These are just a hand-full of examples from multiplied thousands that you will recognize also.
2. Covetous: Those who are covetous are greedy for money. Now almost everyone I have heard partially quote 1 Timothy 6:10, has said that money is the root of all evil. That is not what this verse says. It is the love of money that is the root of all evil. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. (1 Timothy 6:10)
Many large corporation executives live like kings and queens, while sacrificing the jobs of the worker bees for more money. Scams are abundant from those who try to bilk money from the innocent for the love of money. Thieves steal what is not theirs to convert to money. Murderers often kill for love of money. Children murder their parents for an inheritance love of money. Spouses murder spouses for insurance pay-offs love of money. Millions are spent on lottery tickets in the hope of being rich love of money. There is nothing wrong with money, per se. It is needed to live. But went it controls us, we are a slave to covetousness.
3. Boasters: There is no shortage of people who will sing their own tune and blow their own whistle. Listen to all the braggadocio that comes from the mouths of self-made gods. There is certainly no shortage of windbags in our society. If you don't believe me, just wait until election time. You'll need to get your boots out of the closet though.
4. Proud: Very, very few give God the credit for the success in their life, but they're sure quick to blame Him for the failures. We would do well to heed the words of Paul, For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. (Romans 12:3) Pride was Lucifer's downfall, and could be ours too. Many strut around like peacocks, but one day soon God is going to pluck out those proud feathers.
5. Blasphemers: Irreverence toward God flies in His face from Hollywood to the pulpit. There is no where you can go and not hear God's name blasphemed. We also blaspheme Him by our sinful actions that we throw in His face and laugh off. He is blasphemed when His Church, which he died for, is ridiculed and persecuted. Our society has blasphemed His Law and even His Son. Some ministers of the church flaunt their sins in the face of God, while they preach to the flock from the Good Book. Some are even so brazen as to declare equality with God.
6. Disobedient to parents: The Dr. Spock method of raising children has resulted in a generation of hoodlums who have no respect for their parents or anyone else. If children will not respect their parents, tell me, who will they respect? The answer is no one. We are born into this world with sin in our heart. A child must be taught respect. It is not inherent.
7. Unthankful: We live in a society where most people think everyone else owes them a living. Why should they work, when someone else can work and keep them up? Others are blessed in so many ways, and have never thanked the source of their blessings. Children display an unthankful character when they are given whatever they want, without having to work to earn it. This attitude is often on display in your retail stores, a child crying and screaming because they want something, but what they really need is usually not what they get. So they continue to throw tantrums. These same children grow up, and become spoiled adults, totally unthankful, thinking they are entitled to anything they want.
8. Unholy: This word means wicked or profane. Walk on the beaches, take a stroll through Tinsel town, sit in a theater, watch the idiot box, travel to the legislative chambers, listen to the teachings of Satan's little puppets, and the depravity of mankind will have you wanting to scrub yourself clean from the world's sewage. Also, there is no shortage of those who claim Jesus as their Savior, but profane His Holy name every time they open their mouths. They call themselves preachers, teachers, evangelists, but they are Satan's puppets. They're on the airwaves with false heeling's, even claiming to be like God, while they wiggle their greedy, sweaty palms in your back pocket, searching for your wallet. These are unholy, and many there are.
9. Without natural affection: The tide rises in those who number in the group who have no feelings for others, who will take a life without a blink. Even within families, no regard is shown for human life. One would probably get more prison time if they killed an animal, than a person.
The family structure has been ripped to shreds by un-natural affection toward ones own loved ones via, abortion, divorce, adultery, and even coming out of the closet.
10. Truce breakers: Those who will not keep their word are liars. They have made a promise, and failed to keep that promise. They have lied about their intent to be honest with another. I have seen many sign a contract, and while the ink is drying, they are thinking of ways to break it. If you haven't run across many truce breakers, your name must be Rip Van Winkle.
11. False accusers: Most will take no responsibility for their own actions. It's always someone else's fault. So they have no qualms in destroying another person's life by destroying their name and/or character. These people are called slanderers, more commonly, gossips. Notice the politicians, especially when on the campaign trail, you will hear many false accusers. Anyone guilty of being a slanderer is a puppet of Satan, for he was called a devil (slanderer) in the beginning.
12. Incontinent: Since the Spock kids were not taught self-control when they were young, society now suffers from their antics. They have no self-control over their actions, because they were not taught self-control when they were young. Again, we should heed the words of Paul, All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. (1 Corinthians 6:12) Our society commonly asserts if it feels good, do it, with no thought about the consequences. Incontinency, or self-control, must be taught from an early age. Otherwise, we just do whatever we want when the mood hits us.
13. Fierce: Movies and games have developed a desensitized society that does not flinch at the fierceness of its actions. Our consciences have grown cold, and iced over. Our society frowns on the influence of the Ten Commandments, because people just might be influenced to obey them. However, the cruelest inflictions that could be placed on another human being are freely displayed upon our children. Could this be why the atrocity of murder has become so common and gruesome? Mankind is losing its sensitivity toward the death and gruesome dismemberment of another fellow human being. Human life is no longer a valued gift from God.
14. Despise rs of those that are good: True Christians today are rapidly becoming the most hated group of people in our society. In my opinion, the reason is that Christians stand for Jesus Christ and all that is about Him, such as holiness, purity, justice, Godly love, and a voice against all that is evil. Those who follow Satan do not want to see themselves as God sees them. They want to wallow freely in the mud of their atrocities against God and feel no guilt. They don't want to be told that they are sinners, and they can only be saved by the precious blood of Jesus Christ. They don't want to be told that without Jesus they will spend an eternity in hell. In other words, they do not want to give up their sins. On top of that, their father, Satan, hates the very thought of Christianity and its God.
15. Traitors: Our governmental leaders, who are supposed to be protecting the citizenry of this great country, are now betraying them and the Constitution upon which we stand. When they took their oath of office, they held up their hand and made a solemn vow to the citizenry of the United States of America, and before their hands reached their side, they knew they would not honor their oath. Greed has ruled the day. They are traitors. As far as they are concerned, the citizenry can eat cake.
16. Heady: What better example of a reckless attitude than those who handle the money of its citizenry? It is confiscated by taxes, and thrown to the wind. We are 14.3 trillion dollars in debt, and our corrupt leaders want more money from the citizenry to throw to the wind! As David Farragut said (at least attributed to him) at the battle of Mobile Bay, damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead. There is no thought for the future, only for the present. These heady, bull-headed people could care less about the repercussions and the fate of our children, as long as they get their way.
17. High minded: This term refers to conceit, pride, and even stupidity (because of their pride). Our society is saturated with those who are choking on pride, and filled to the rim with conceit. We usually think of those who are wealthy when discussing conceited people, but I have found that is not always the case. It is more rare, but even the poor can have a serious problem with pride. Why is that? The sin of pride comes from the heart, not the pocketbook.
18. Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God: Our American society is just one big playground of pleasure. It has gotten so bad in this country, most think it is an entitlement to have pleasures in life. We just move from one to the other. Also, many who claim to be Christians have set their pleasure of this world above their need of God. This is readily seen in the churches, either empty pews or social hours. Let's just have a good time. God cramps my style. It's important that I have time for me. Just notice what we spend on movies, books, music, boats, activities, sports, dining, clothes, and other toys and for me activities. How much is left for God? Our pleasures have become our gods.
19. Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: I have spoken of this in other articles, but briefly, we are a lot of talk, but we don't walk the talk. Oh, we are blessed indeed with religion. It's everywhere you look, but religion and Christianity are not the same. Religion is mankind seeking his own godliness. Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, the Son of God. But We are sophisticated. We are so advanced in technology, science, our universe, well, just everything. Those people who lived before us just aren't cultured like we are. We're too smart for all that stuff about God. We are in control. I wonder what God would say about that. Let's see, You cannot separate fools from their foolishness, even though you grind them like grain with mortar and pestle. (Proverbs 27:22 NLT)
Out of the nineteen points that Paul tells Timothy to be aware of, do any of them sound like us today, even one? If we are on the same page, there is no doubt in my mind that every last one of them is clearly where we are today, not just in this country, but elsewhere also.
So, are we in the last days? I think we are most definitely in the last days of the Church age. When is Jesus coming back for His Church in the Rapture? As I have stated before, I haven't a clue, but I do feel that we need to take Paul's advice to Timothy in the latter part of our passage in 2 Timothy three. We need to continue in the Scriptures. If we haven't started, then get started now. Jesus rebutted Satan with Scriptures when He was tempted during the 40 days in the wilderness. If you don't know the Scripture, how on earth are you going to stand a chance against Satan's treachery? God expects us to know His Word. He didn't go through the long process of having His Word written down, so we can use it for a dust collector. Time is running out. We need to be ready. Jesus is coming. Are you ready?
Grant Phillips - firstname.lastname@example.org http://grant-phillips.blogspot.com