But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. 2 Timothy 3:1-8
Do the characteristics of OUR SOCIETY match those stated by the Bible as being present “in the last days”?
Let’s examine what Paul says people will be like in the last days, the time leading up to the end of the age:
- In the last days there will come times of difficulty: hardships
- For people will be lovers of self (the generations are getting more narcissistic)
- lovers of money (“Our mad materialism is partly a reaction to inner discontent.“)
- proud, arrogant: having the attitude of people who think that they are better or more important than other people
- abusive (abuse of all types is statistically on the rise)
- disobedient to their parents (did you know that swearing “really takes off” between the ages of 3&4 now?)
- ungrateful: not feeling or showing thanks for favors, gifts, etc.
- unholy: not showing respect for a god or a religion
- heartless, unappeasable: cruel, not to be appeased
- slanderous: to make false spoken statement that causes people to have a bad opinion of someone (hmmm, gossip?)
- without self-control: lacking control over your feelings or actions
- brutal: extremely cruel or harsh
- not loving good (Good: of high quality; correct or proper)
- treacherous: not able to be trusted
- reckless: not showing proper concern about the possible bad results of your actions
- swollen with conceit: too much pride in your own worth or goodness
- lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God (Pleasure: a feeling of happiness, enjoyment, or satisfaction)
- having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power (choosing “religion” and some kind of profession of following God through outward appearances, but lacking true faith and true relationship with God in the heart)
- burdened with sins and led astray by various passions (following lusts of the flesh)
- always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth (chasing after knowledge apart from God; the wisdom of man is foolishness – true wisdom comes only from God)
- oppose the truth (instead, believing lies)
- Corrupted in Mind: Corrupt – to cause someone or something to become dishonest, immoral, etc
- Disqualified Regarding the Faith: They are no longer considered to be a part of the Faith. (which means they once WERE part of the faith)
I am not even sure what to say about these, they pretty much speak for themselves. Think of how society has changed in the last two generations. It is clear that God has lifted His hand and given North America, at least, over to its lusts and passions. The list above doesn’t even include our worst atrocities – abortion, homosexuality (legalized now in marriage), recreational drug use, and euthanasia (legal in Canada).
Societies who abandon God – who blatantly boot Him out – inevitably downward spiral into the abyss of moral relativism. On their own, just like all other systems, societies regress from order to chaos. Perhaps this is part of the “mystery of lawlessness” that is already at work (2 Thessalonians 2)? It’s bad enough that secular society exhibits these characteristics, but Paul indicates that the community that calls itself by the name of God will exhibit these as well. Douglas Berner puts it this way in his book “God’s Challenge”, “When the professing spiritual community has been so contaminated by the lack of morals of the overall society that it looks and acts identical to that society, the prophetic implications of Paul’s last days are being manifested.”
Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,
who put darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who put bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter!
Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
and shrewd in their own sight!
In North America, we are definitely an individualistic society. And that has created numerous problems. Being self-focused, we have alienated ourselves from each other – from support and community. Our mobility, hallmark of these last days, has further removed us from each other. No longer in community, we have lost individual accountability. If I do this, who would know? Or, if people did know, WHO WOULD CARE? Unless it affects them personally, people truly care about very few things. We’re all too wrapped up in shuffling through our own busy lives. Do we notice what is really going on with the people around us? Even those we love?
It is easy to just read through the list and say, huh, yeah, I can see that. And move on. (Like I said, we just don’t care unless it affects us personally!) We so quickly forget that society hasn’t always been this way. I have had a few grandparents live into their 90’s, and they all tell me that society certainly wasn’t like this when they were in their younger days. If this list describes ours, perhaps it’s because we are nearing the end…
A Disclaimer: The Bible is infallible. I am not. Be a Berean – examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!