But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come…(2 Tim. 3a).
No kidding. Of course, ever since Adam and Eve stumbled out of the Garden times have been perilous; slimy people have always squirmed around the edges of human society. So, what’s so important, so different about these “last days” Paul speaks of? Like small children on long drives we repeatedly ask, “Are we there yet?” Is our country “there yet?” Let’s look at the bill of indictment and see…
Paul gives us quite a list of particulars* -- you be the judge:
---He says that people will be money-grubbing narcissists, arrogant braggarts, traitors, headstrong and haughty. No, no, you say – most people are pretty nice. Which is true, but it is also true that we elected Barrack Hussein Obama – he represents us; he is our face to the world; he is the man we put forward (no leftist, motto-ish pun intended) to be our leader. A nation gets the leadership it deserves which must be doubly true for a society that openly chooses its CEO. We’ve chosen a man who uses the pronouns I and me more than anyone I’ve ever heard speak; even when the issue at hand has nothing to do with him, he makes himself the central theme. In one speech in 2012 he used “I” or “me” 117 times. Hello? We’re out here too – do we matter at all? Doesn’t seem like it, and if BHO is a narcissist then we might be, too.
When Seal Team 6 slipped into Pakistan and killed a man said to be Osama bin Laden, Obama took all the credit – and then 17 members of Seal Team 6 died in a suspicious helicopter crash. Just recently he told a staff member that he “was good at killing people.” Not a quality a free nation should look for in a president, but we’ve elected him twice. Benghazi, Fast and Furious, IRS, NSA, Obamacare – all examples of both arrogance and treason.
Repeatedly in the past 41/2 years our president has, when faced with heavy criticism and failure of his pet projects, merely intensified his efforts, showing pathological stubbornness. He has lifted his pointed chin high in the air, looked down his nose at us all and carried on. Over and over again he has committed treason, spiking our government with our enemies and sending them arms. And yet, almost half of us still approve of the job he’s doing; what does that say about those people? They are either terminally ignorant or they just see him doing what they would do; his behavior looks familiar and is therefore acceptable. Yikes.
-- Paul also says that in the last days (The last days before what is another article I’ll have to write someday soon.) people will be ungrateful, unforgiving, and disobedient to parents. Are we? Ungrateful – well, one of the hallmarks of gratitude is contentment, and contentment doesn’t demand that government pay for your contraceptives, your abortions, your food, clothing and shelter, your health care. Contentment and gratitude doesn’t demand anything. Nor was gratitude on display during the Obama-sanctioned Occupy Wall Street demonstrations; he who is grateful doesn’t squat on the property of others, defecate on police cars, or rape fellow protestors.
Are we unforgiving? Millions of people still hate George Bush for – for what I’m not sure. Millions of blacks, our president amongst them, have failed to forgive white people for slavery, for success, for being white. There you go.
Are we spawning children who are disobedient to parents? I’ve worked with students whose parents were afraid of them, and for good reason, though I still think that most young people are more scared and despondent than they are disobedient, and let’s face it, many don’t have parents who could be respected. But those who disobey their parents, or who effectively don’t have parents, are those who treat their teachers with disdain, who stage flash mob attacks on businesses, and who gather together in motorcycle gangs and run people down. These are the young people who vandalize property, squander their futures for drugs and sex, and demand that we all pay for their folly. We have stopped raising children; we only feed them. The results are horrifying. And these young people grow up and vote, by the millions.
-- Paul says people in the last days will lack self-control -- will be lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. Bingo. Recent polls show that over 50% of Americans approve of same sex marriage. The American Psychiatric Association is considering the reclassification of various sexual deviations, such as pedophilia, as legitimate sexual orientations – a proposal that is being advocated by NAMBLA and an Internet forum called Boychat. Some of our population is giving Sodom and Gomorrah a run for their money. Does it matter at all to these people that God does not approve of such behavior? Apparently not; love God? At the 2012 Democratic convention God was booed 3 times by the majority of the attendees. No, not so much.
-- Paul also predicts that people in those “last days” would be brutal, slanderous, blaspheming, haters of good. Well, let’s look at our criminal justice system as an indicator. Beastly crimes turn up over and over again – like the middle-aged man who raped a 14-year-old girl, providing the catalyst for her suicide, and was sentenced to only 30 days in jail. And it has become de rigueur in politics to slander your opponent until his or her reputation has been soiled beyond redemption. Look at what happened to Tom Delay – finally acquitted after ten years of fighting false money-laundering charges. Ten years of his life and career down the drain, his political clout gone. But truth is no longer important – winning is, even if what you want to win is evil.
But do we hate good? I’m sure that most of the media does since they spend more energy hiding truth than telling it. They didn’t even report on the Kermit Gosnell trial, not wanting to expose their pet project – the killing of babies. Yes, motherhood has become anathema, fatherhood non-existent, and childhood is now an over-programmed, over-protected and yet over-sexualized parody of what growing up should be. Our society promotes evil daily, then sneers derisively at what good remains.
And do we blaspheme? Every time we claim this is not a Christian country, every time we deny God’s existence or Christ’s sacrifice, every time we put words in His mouth and try to make the gospel into a branch of Marxism. Our college classes are full of this kind of talk; our public schools are being saturated with it. As Paul predicted, we are “always learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” Even our entertainment industry spews out blasphemy frame after frame after frame – I think of George Clooney’s mocking derision when his two traveling companions (Oh Brother, Where art Thou?) get saved at a river baptism. Isn’t it blasphemy when a crucifix submerged in urine is classified as art? Blasphemy isn’t occasional; it’s constant.
True, many still claim to be Christians, jumping through whatever hoops Churchianty requires. But the church today is full of false teachers (see 2 Peter 2). If people veer off track and only go where they will hear what they want to hear, then priests and pastors, who are also members of this sinking society, in order to build congregations, will fill that demand. Then the church never learns to be fully Christian. So many churches lurch around in this tangle, just as Paul predicted, having a form of godliness but denying its power that from the outside looking in Christianity has to appear pretty rickety indeed. We obviously lack integrity, holiness, and the world can see it.
And, of course, so can God. Are we in the last days? Theologically speaking – I don’t know. I suspect, but I don’t know. Are we in the last days of America? Quite likely. Is there no hope? It doesn’t seem like it, but in 2nd Chronicles God told the Israelites, If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. Now My eyes will be open and My ears attentive to prayer made in this place. (2 Chron. 7:14-15) Perhaps we will again seek His face. Perhaps He will grant us the same deal. Perhaps.
*2nd Timothy 3: 1-7
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.