The inspired scriptures in perilous times – Part 1
Paul the Apostle wrote this pastoral epistle to Timothy, his son in the faith, with the authority of an apostle. It reveals his affection, appreciation, affirmation and support for the young minister in order to motivate him for further ministry.
Timothy needed to understand the peculiarity of the time in which he lived and fulfil his ministry. Thus, he was admonished to keep the word of life and truth, which he had known from infancy. Besides, he was shown the instrument or tool he needed to bring people into God’s Kingdom. In addition to the deposit of knowledge in him, he was to “know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
The expressions “the last days”, “the latter times” or the “latter days” have varied meanings in the Scripture. Daniel used the words to mean from the time of Nebuchadnezzar to the time “the God of heaven (will) set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed.” Other kingdoms that would emerge after that of Nebuchadnezzar’s were the Medo-Persian, the Grecian and the Roman governments. These four empires span the last days or the latter times.
While the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews included the period in which he lived, John the beloved included the time he lived and the entire period of the Church age as the last days. Also, Peter included the time his audience lived as the last days. The time in which we live is the last period before the setting up of the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, we should hold firm to the Word of God and make It a priority in our lives and ministries, in spite of the prevalence of evil in the world.
The greatest contributory factor to the peril of the last days in the church is self-centredness. Lack of love for God and His Word or lack of appreciation for His plan of redemption will result in a sinful life. The love of self brings covetousness. Covetous people exalt money above Christ and His service, and think that, “gain is godliness”.
Those who often think of how to get rich at all cost should know that “they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.” We cannot keep the faith and the love of money together. True, dynamic and saving faith drives away the love of money from our hearts. Boasters claim the greatness they do not possess. They brag about and exaggerate their ability, talent, reputation, accomplishment and value to the church and society. In spite of their quiet and inoffensive appearance, there is contempt for everyone else in their heart.
While blasphemers slander the Lord and His Word, and disrespect sacred things, others are disobedient to parents. Also, because the world is averse to constituted authorities, rebellion becomes the order of the day in schools and workplaces, and indeed the society at large. They are unthankful and never appreciate any good thing done for them. Since they are unholy, they practise and perpetrate all kinds of evil.
Those without natural affection, abandon their children in pursuit of selfish, personal, worldly pleasure. Truce breakers find it difficult to keep to their promise. Even when they vow to serve the Lord till the end during special programmes, they are quick to break such pledges. False accusers share the nature and title of Satan. Being blindfolded, they do the works of the devil. The incontinent are those who lack self-control. Thus, the Spirit of God cannot check them.
A lover of self will eventually become a slave to his passion and ambition. “Lovers of pleasures” cherish worldly entertainments more than God. Unfortunately, these marks of self-centredness have infiltrated the church. But the Lord commands us to turn away from such people who have “a form of godliness, but [deny] the power thereof.” Also, we must avoid liberal, modern day preachers who modify God’s Word. If we remain faithful to the Word and seek to please the Lord at all times, truth will conquer error and sound doctrine will conquer false doctrine.
Further Reading (King James Version): 2 Timothy 3:15, 16; 3:1; 1 Timothy 4:1; Daniel 2:28,44; Hebrews 1:1,2; 1 John 2:18; 1 Peter 1:20; Numbers 24:14,23; Jude 18; 2 Timothy 3:1-9; 1 Timothy 6:5,9,10; 2 Timothy 3:10-14; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 1:5; 1 Timothy 5:18; Deuteronomy 25:4; Luke 10:7; Hebrews 1:1,2; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Peter 3:16.