SEED & BREAD
CHARACTER OF THE LAST DAYS
In Issue No. 14 I set forth my conviction that the "last days" set forth
in 2 Timothy 3:1 are the concluding days of God's present dispensation
of grace. It was further stated that this segment of time is
characterised by twenty-one specific manifestations of unusual
wickedness and that the appearance of these evils in concert and
intensity will demonstrate to the believer in God's Word that we are
living in the last days of the present evil eon. In this study we will
together examine these twenty-one social conditions that make up the
syndrome of the last days. The reader should have his Bible open to the
third chapter of 2 Timothy.
1. PERILOUS TIMES. The word
translated "perilous" here is chalepos. It is found in the New Testament
only here and in Matt. 8:28 where it is translated "fierce". It could be
literally translated "dangerously violent". If one is discerning and
sensitive all he needs to do is to read a summary of the news for any
week and he will say, "These are dangerously violent times".
2. LOVERS OF THEIR OWN SELVES. These
five words are but one in the Greek, philautos, which means self-lovers,
and it describes those who care unduly or supremely for themselves and
who feel that any desire within themselves justifies any moral action.
3. COVETOUS. The Greek word here is
philarguros. It means lovers of money, but more specifically means a
lover of silver. The love of money and especially the love of silver is
a prominent characteristic of men throughout the world today. Its
manifestation is especially seen in the great rash of gambling that is
4. BOASTERS. The Greek word used
here (alazones) has to do with those who speak and think more of
themselves than the reality justifies. It speaks of the ostentatious,
the empty pretenders, those given to pretentious parades. This
characteristic is seen in most religions today. A whole book has been
written on this characteristic by Vance Packard under title of The
5. PROUD. The word here is
huperphanoi. It means haughty, arrogant, a disposition to take to
oneself more honour than is warranted or justly due. This type of person
abounds in society today. Many world leaders are afflicted with this
6. BLASPHEMERS. The Greek word
blasphemoi means a calumniator, one who accuses falsely and maliciously,
one who seeks by aspersion and vilification to destroy the name or
reputation of another. This is now normal practice in political warfare.
It is the chief tool of fanatical extremists.
7. DISOBEDIENT TO PARENTS. The Greek word translated
"disobedient" here is apeithes. It means to be stubborn or unpersuadable,
or, to be more specific, to be in obstinate opposition. There is no
social condition that is quite as prominent and conspicuous in the world
today as is the obstinate opposition of children toward parents. Books
and articles by the thousands have been written on this phenomenon. Even
the titles of these are quite revealing. The Revolt of Youth, The
Teen-Age Tyranny, The Rebellious Young, The Overthrow of Parental
Authority, and Parents on the Run are a sample. The stubborn rebellion
of children is one of the frightful characteristics of our times.
8. UNTHANKFUL. The word here is
acharistoi, which is the word for grace with the negating prefix "a"
(alpha) before it. It means ungrateful, and it speaks of those who have
no proper sense of feeling for favours received and no willingness to
acknowledge or repay a benefit. However, this word may also mean without
grace, and can be used to describe anything that lacks attractiveness or
charm, so much of which is seen in the unkempt looks and crude manners
9. UNHOLY. This is a very poor
translation of the Greek word anosios, which means unbenign or
malignant. Anyone is malignant who is actuated or characterised by
virulent ill will or extreme malevolence. This word describes those who
are disposed to do harm, to inflict suffering, or to cause distress.
There are so many of this kind today that it is a cause of anxiety to
legislators, educators, peace officers, and parents. The cry of "Hate,
Hate", is rampant in many lands.
10. WITHOUT NATURAL AFFECTION. These
three words are one (astrogos) in the Greek. It means calloused,
hardened in sensibility and feeling. Every case of child abuse and every
abortion gives testimony to the prevalence of this condition.
11. TRUCEBREAKERS. This is a very
poor translation of aspondos, which means implacable, and is so
translated in its only other occurrence in Rom. 1:31. It has reference
to those who are not satisfied until they have done their worst. Such
people are devoid of any pity or feeling that would cause them to relent
and restrain through compassion the fury or violence of their rage,
hatred, or hostility. In the commission of crimes, more people are being
beaten, stomped, or kicked to death than has ever been known in the
recorded history of mankind.
12. FALSE ACCUSERS. The word here is
diabolos, which is probably familiar even to those who know no Greek. It
is translated "devil" in thirty-five out of thirty-eight occurrences in
the New Testament. It means a slanderer, one who speaks evil for the
purpose of injuring and without regard for the truth. However the word
"devil" seems to properly characterise many men today when their acts
13. INCONTINENT. A continent person
is one who exercises restraint in the indulgences of desires. The
incontinent are those who constrain no desire, particularly the sexual
desire. The Greek word akrates means without self control or
uncontrollable. This is seen everywhere today in alcoholism, compulsive
gambling, impulsive killings, and especially in the great wave of
unrestrained sexual indulgence that is now sweeping the world.
14. FIERCE. The word anemeros means
brutal, inhuman, cruel. Civilisation boasts of its long and gradual rise
from a savage state, but at present it is faced with a truly savage
spirit among men. The violence that is reported daily in the news is
proof of this.
15. DESPISERS OF THOSE THAT ARE GOOD.
These six words are only one in the Greek, aphilagathos. It means
averse to the good or despisers of goodness. This describes perfectly
all who would destroy every moral landmark and principle simply because
they have no relish for that which is good. They "call evil good, and
good evil; they put darkness for light, and light for darkness; they put
bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter", as the prophet Isaiah (5:20) so
graphically declares it. On every hand today we find those who heartily
approve wicked practices. Those who despise good are never neutral. They
16. TRAITORS. The Greek word
prodotes used here can best be understood when we consider that it is
used to describe Judas Iscariot in Luke 6:16. It has reference to all
who today betray the Lord, His word, and His work.
17. HEADY. Rash or headstrong is the
meaning of the word propetes which is used here. It means imprudent
hastiness in word or action. It describes those who rush imprudently in
pursuit of their own will. It is seen in the rush of the young to get
married, and the rush of the married for divorce; in the sudden changes
of belief, and precipitate disavowals of God and Christ. We see it in
mobs, in riots, and in revolts. We see it in nations that are seized
with a sudden passion for war that none can explain.
18. HIGHMINDED. The Greek word here
is tuphoomai. It means conceited, but it has also the meaning of
beclouded or besotted, as when something has made one blindly or
stupidly foolish. This may have reference to those whose minds are
deranged by the use of drugs. But it may have to do with the multitudes
whose minds have become so beclouded and besotted by sin that they
cannot think clearly in regard to any matter.
19. LOVERS OF PLEASURE. The Greek
word for this characteristic is philedonos, and the full description is
that they are "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God". Who could be
so blind as to deny this manifest and extraordinary development seen
everywhere today, pleasure-loving more than God-loving? A more accurate
description of man's present attitude could hardly be given. The love of
pleasure is a social characteristic of the present time.
20. HAVING THE FORM OF GODLINESS, BUT DENYING THE POWER THEREOF.
The greatest religion on earth today is unbiblical and unspiritual
Christianity, in which the forms of godliness predominate while the
power of godliness is denied. Among professing Christians there is a
total ignorance of everything that is Biblical. The prevailing view
today is that it is important to have faith hut that it does not matter
much in what or in whom.
21. THE JANNES AND JAMBRES DECEPTION. These two appear in a
lengthy statement (2 Tim. 3:6-8) and they have reference to the two
magicians who stood before Pharaoh and reproduced the same miracles that
Moses produced in confirmation of his divine mission and credentials.
Everywhere today we find miracle workers who claim that they are acting
in behalf of God in the works they are doing. They loudly proclaim their
belief in miracles but will never be heard to proclaim their belief in
the divine statement that there is one mediator between God and men, the
man Christ Jesus.
The twenty-one characteristics that have been set forth are in no way
intended to be signs of the second coming of Jesus Christ. They are the
signs of the last days of God's long display of grace. They do not tell
us that Christ is coming soon, but they do tell us that we are in the
closing days of the present dispensation. The second coming of Christ is
not next. The next act of God is to intervene and inject Himself into
the affairs of men and of nations. In this passage this act of
intervention is set forth in the words, "But they shall proceed no
further". Evil men are going to be stopped. May God speed the day.
Issue no. 016