In our last study, we considered seven principles on how to approach end-time biblical prophecies. Today we will be delving deep to look at a test case in the scriptures on what the Apostle Paul called “perilous times”
It is instructive to note that approximately half of the portion of the bible speaks about the last days. In 2 Tim 3:1-9, 13 the Apostle describes “the perilous times”. The word perilous is a Greek word “chalepos” translated in Strong’s concordance as “hard to do or bear”, and it only appears two times in the whole of the new testament (2 Tim 3:1; Matt 8:28).
In Matthew 8:28 it was used to describe two demoniacs Jesus encountered during His earthly ministry in Gergesenes which were described as “exceeding fierce” which is the same term used in 2 Tim 3:1. So the Apostle Paul was giving a prophecy that at the end times “exceeding fierce times” shall come. It is noteworthy that we can’t wish or pray away these times and things are going to get fiercer and fiercer.
Note: There is no other solution to these perilous and exceeding fierce times except the coming of the Lord Jesus and the establishment of God’s kingdom.
In Daniel’s prophecy about the end times, he predicted that at the time of the end, human wickedness will come to its fullness and reach its full expression (Dan 8:23). Human governments, scientific as well as technological advancements, and knowledge explosion have not been able to solve the problems of human wickedness and man’s inhumanity to man.
One of the foremost Greek philosophers, Plato tried to proffer a solution to the problems of man by suggesting various forms of government, ranking them from the best to the worst:
1. The rule of one good man he called; Monarchy.
2. The rule of few good men he called; Aristocracy.
3. The rule of the people by themselves he called; Democracy.
4. The rule of a few bad men he called; Oligarchy.
5. The rule of one evil man he called; Tyranny.
As good and intellectually sound as Plato’s suggested ideas of government are, history has proven that these forms of government have not been able to deal with the challenges of moral corruption, poverty, murders, insurgency, famines, pestilences etc. And as Abraham Lincoln postulated that democracy, which is “government of the people, by the people and for the people”, is the best form of government that will last forever, history has also shown that democracy is not the solution to the exceeding fierce times.
I will personally prefer to live in a democracy than a tyranny but democracy is not God’s pattern for the government. Plato was right in a sense when he said that “Monarchy” was the best form of government because the scriptures describe Jesus as a king that rules in righteousness and justice (Rev 19:11-16). God’s pattern of government is a “theocracy” the rule of a supreme Monarch (Jesus) alongside men who are like in Him in nature and character.
The problem of man cannot be solved by any form of human government as they are moral and spiritual and they are summarized in one word ‘SIN’.
Having established that the challenges of mankind are moral and spiritual, we are now going to look at the metaphor of corruption or two incontrovertible natural principles.
Metaphor of corruption
1. All corruption is progressive, it doesn’t get better it only gets worse – Rom 1:24-30, 2 Tim 3:13.
2. All corruption is irreversible– Rom 5:14, Isa 1:4-6.
Note: The apostle in 2 Tim 3:8-9,13, warns that evil men and seducers (wailers or enchanters) will increase at the end times like Jannes and Jambres. The battle at the end times will not be a battle of theology but of spiritual power.
Paul in 2 Tim 3:1-4 listed ‘18 moral and ethical blemishes’ that will be prevalent in the end times. And he predicted that they will become progressive and irreversible particularly in the perilous times. The problems of mankind are summarized in three moral blemishes:
1. Love of self- 2 Tim 3:2
2. Love of money (covetous)- 2 Tim 3:2
3. Love of pleasure
Note: What you love will determine who you will be.
The rate of divorce and dysfunctional homes is on the increase in the days which we live because people get into marriage relationships with the idea of ‘what can I get?’ And not ‘what can I give?’ – Self-interest and love of pleasure, not the interest of the other person.
We see one of Satan’s subtle tricks play out in our days as he tries to put new labels on old things. He does this by given new meanings to what the scriptures call SIN. For instance, fornication is now referred to as “having fun” or “premarital sex”, adultery is now referred to as “married people having affairs”, and killing of an unborn child is now “aborting a foetus”. We hear of terms like “experimental relationships” except that marriage is not an experiment but a commitment and a covenant and there can be no experimental commitment or experimental covenant, being gay instead of being a homosexual or sodomite.
So, if corruption is progressive and irreversible, what is God’s solution? God has put in place two solutions:
1. God’s solution to the moral and spiritual corruption that began with Adam is not an upgrade or an improvement on the old corrupt nature but a NEW CREATION (2 Cor 5:17). The old nature that’s responsible for the moral and spiritual corruption of man was given a sentence of “DEATH BY EXECUTION” when Jesus was crucified at the cross (Rom 6:1–7, Gal 2:20, Gal 6:14, Col 3:3, 2 Cor 4:10-12).
We see the Apostle in 2 Tim 3:5 referring to a certain group of people as “having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof”. What power was he referring to? The power to transform their lives. In the days in which we live the word ” born again” is a glib (fluent but insincere and shallow) and a misused word as everyone is born again but there’s no visible transformation. He pointed out in his epistles (1 Cor 6:9-11, Gal 5:19-21, Eph 5:3-5) that people who practice such sins will not inherit the kingdom of God, and goes further to say that certain people in the churches in Corinth, Ephesus and Galatia once practised those sins but were now washed, sanctified and justified. New creation through the finished work of Christ on the cross is God’s first solution to the moral and spiritual corruption of man.
Are you born again? Are you washed? Are you sanctified? Are you justified?
2. Out of the NEW CREATION, God will produce NEW PEOPLE that are zealous for good works- Titus 2:11-14, 2 Tim 2:10-13.
He intends to produce an ELECT group of people; His chosen ones from every tribe, nation, and tongue and we should not rest until they are all reached (Matt 24:14, Rev 7:9-10, 2 Tim 2:10-13).
Note: God will put His elect through any situation necessary (trouble, suffering, persecutions and pressures) in this life to fit them into the mould He wants so as to reign with Him.
We would continue next time by considering Jesus’ Oliveth prophecies.