Equipping Word in the Alarming Last Days
Human beings are inquisitive by nature. They would like to probe and ponder over things that are hidden. Future is a mystery for all of us, however, the Scripture gives us generic information that would help us to identify the Last days before the Second Coming of Lord Jesus Christ. Paul gives an exhaustive list of things that would happen. It would be easy to hold a daily newspaper and categorize easily each sin Paul lists.
“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 Jambresopposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all,as was that of those two men.” (II Timothy 3:1-9)
- Lovers of self
‘Selfie’ culture is a good example of this. A couple fell to death attempting to take a selfie in a cliff in Poland. In US, a woman posted her selfie in Facebook and died in a fatal accident in next few seconds. This is a new generation that worships its own body. Their own body becomes their idols. Cosmetic products for men and women, cosmetic surgery, cosmetic dentistry, tatoo parlour, beauty parlours…etc shows the obsession of this generation.
This generation is also called as the ‘Me’ only generation. A majority today are born in nuclear families with one or two children. The parents shower all their love and gifts on them. They are obsessed with themselves and possessive of all things. They cannot share anything with others.
- Lovers of money
Money is the priority, purpose and the end product. All values are subservient to money. Satan is so clever that he positioned Money as alternative or he personified himself in money. So, people worship Satan in the form of money. God is personified by love. People prefer money, love money and see life purpose in money. Biblical principle of loving God and people and using money and things are reversed. Money and gadgets are more important than people. In road rage, obsessive owners of SUVs kill people who scratch their vehicles in the midst of heavy traffic.
Pride of possessions, pride of positions, pride of prestige, pride of power, pride based on parochialism, pride of caste, clan and class. Humility is a bad word today. Humble people are teased, tormented and harassed. Pride begets hatred, and violence. Pride upsets all relationships including family relationships. Pride also seeks to control others and dominate others. This leads to strife and struggles.
Self importance in public has become an issue. All love to have red beacons in their cars, commandos to accompany them, servants to serve them and demand exclusive privileges. People do not command respect by their life but demand respect from all. Easily, a community is hurt by a novel or film, and that sentiment leads to violence.
Children are abused verbally, physically and sexually even in their homes. Schools and public places like parks or playgrounds are no more safe. Travel by train, bus and even planes have become nightmare for women. Domestic abuse and violence is a story of almost every home in India. Managers abuse their staff. Even students abuse their teachers and professors. The social media posts are so abusive. Any dissent is countered by brazen abuse.
Obedience is considered as a sign of weakness. Rebellion against all authority is evident today. Parents are not respected or taken care of. Government has to enact laws to make children take care of their parents. Teachers are ridiculed, humiliated and attacked. Police are looked upon like pawns in the chessboard. Politicians and law makers are called clowns and even monkeys.
Gratefulness is a missing virtue. Saying ‘thank you’ is considered shameful. This is entitlement, mentality that has roots in caste system. The lower castes are obliged to do certain duty like washing clothes or hair cutting. For that service, the higher castes are not even obliged to say ‘thank you’. Recently, one friend said thank you to a Railway booking clerk for issuing the tickets. The person who was waiting chided my friend for expressing gratitude as the Railway clerk gets pay from the Government does not deserve a thanks.
Unnatural, unworthy, illegitimate things are considered modern and alternative lifestyle. In one movie a woman who lost her husband believes that her husband has reincarnated as a boy in the neighbourhood and has sex with the minor boy. Unholy thinking like this is enjoyed by people and created by artists including writers, song composers, film makers..etc. Sex is sacred and holy within the context of marriage between a man and woman. However, sex has become a commodity, mere enjoyment in ‘hook-up’ culture. Friends With Benefits is unholy adventure that is made respectable by media.
People have become heartless. How can a mother forget her child? Abortion has become a common thing. Shedding of innocent blood of unborn child is not considered crime. Parents abandon children. Their hatred for the spouse that ends in divorce is more than the love for their children. Beggar mafia could maim children. For the sake of treasure, child sacrifice is performed. Children are kidnapped and killed for some monetary gain.
People are not satisfied. It is impossible to appease Dowry demons. Every day there are news from around the country how husband ‘gods’ could not be appeased or in-laws could not be appeased and death is the only way. How many women die for bringing insufficient dowry? Workers are not satisfied with wages. They are quick to switch jobs for the sake of Rs. 50 a month. Business people are not satisfied with their profits, they look for means – fair or foul; legal or illegal to gain wealth.
False allegations, gossips and slanders have become more sophisticate. Indeed it has become digitalized by social media. Character assassination is a daily routine for many. Facebook posts with morphed pictures of their own spouse or acquaintances explains the corrupt nature of humans. Gossip columns about celebrities are regular in many newspapers and magazines. People enjoy reading it.
- Without self-control
There is no restraint or self control. People have become so aggressive. Molestation is a daily hazard for women. Men lack self control. Assaulting others for parking spaces for vehicles have become daily news. Shooting with gun for demanding someone to follow queue; or for not serving drink; asking for toll and students not to copy or use unfair means.
People inflict immense pain on others. Brutality in domestic violence, hitting at servants, attacking public servants are daily news. Hospitals are ransacked, doctors are beaten up and nurses are molested, if a patient dies. Even cricket matches could bring out brutality in fan audience. Riots and terrorism bring out the worst kind of brutality inherent in humans.
- Not loving good
Evil people approve evil. Hatred is interpreted as patriotism. Nepotism is celebrated as family oriented person. Corruption is considered as a privilege. Exaggeration, false propaganda are approved as normal. Even evil things are branded as good. Crimes, sins, evil deeds are justified if done by their own but condemned if others do. By approving certain evils, people do not love good.
There is no trust in the society. Contracts are violated. Guaranteed items are just for name sake. Advertisements are traps. Adulteration of edible oil, food for profit is common. Anti-biotic are fed in poultry farms to make quick profit. Treachery within marriage, between siblings, relatives and in public service is day-to-day affair.
People are careless. Young people may know the price, but not the worth or cost. Wastage of things including food is very common. Emotional response without understanding the consequences is evident in the society. Reckless young people have become drug addicts.
- Swollen with conceit
This is similar to being arrogant. People presume that they deserve and are entitled for certain things. A SUV owner shoots a toll booth personnel for demanding toll. A husband kills wife for not putting enough salt in food. Here are examples of people swollen with conceit.
- Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
Entertainment and enjoyment are priorities. IPL, reality shows, big boss and other triva are priorities for many. They are obsessed with these and do not even think about God. In their reckoning, for practical purposes God does not exist. Information era has been converted to Entertainment era. All gadgets comes with entertainment.
- Having the appearance of godliness, butdenying its power.
Fake spirituality is dominating the world today. External practices of religion is appreciated without inner conviction. A pure vegetarian husband is a murderer of his wife. Evading taxes, hoarding black money and then donating anonymously huge amounts in religious places is a fact.
- Capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,
Cultist tendency is seen in several movement. These religious movements do not empower but enslave women. They are misled. These so-called religious leaders, brain wash the gullible women, make them captive and compel them to do whatever they want.
- Always learning and never able toarrive at a knowledge of the truth.
People are not interested in knowing the truth to obey. They like to know out of curiosity and not for conviction. They accept only what is convenient for their sinful lifestyle. They will be opposing truth as it hurts. Just as Jannes and Jambres, the Egyptian magicians opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth.
- Corrupt mind:
The mind of these people is not pure or good or holy. It is corrupted, so their choices, decisions and actions are also corrupted. Mind is crooked and warped. Their thoughts, reasons and arguments are corrupt. Their memory is filled with negative thoughts and experiences but conveniently forget the good ones.
- Disqualified regarding the faith
The people do not have faith that God exists and rewards those who come to him. (Hebrews 11:6) So, they are disqualified to come to God, or receive his mercy. They are disqualified, because they do not consider all these as sins. Their corrupt mind has solaced their guilt conscience. Hence, they need no forgiveness and thus reject the Saviour.
Paul providing a glimpse of the corrupt world in the last days, exhorts Timothy providing two survival kits. First, Paul was Timothy’s example, model and coach. Timothy has a wonderful model. The teaching, lifestyle, purpose, endurance, patience are worthy of imitation. Paul reminds Timothy that in the world, persecution is part and parcel of Christian life. “Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” (II Timothy 3: 12) As Paul endured sufferings, agony and pain, Timothy should endure like a good soldier would.
Second, The Holy Scripture. “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.” (II Timothy 3:16,17) The Bible provides teaching, correction and training to make a person complete and equipped for good works. Christians are not intimidated or overwhelmed by Last Days. Instead, in the Last Days, Christians can live a Complete life, do good works, provided they are trained in the Scripture.