We live at a unique point in history. The world around us is changing at an unbelievable pace. To think that for many thousands of years, up to merely a century ago, man’s most advanced form of transportation was animal-based is truly remarkable compared to what we have now. Technological progress, connectivity and comfort have increased in an unimaginable fashion. The Bible makes it clear that our world has an expiry date. How close are we to that date? Clues abound in the word of God. Paul writes about some of the characteristics of the end times in 2 Timothy 3,
1 But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.
- Conceited– The last days are characterized by a pathologic self-love. Narcissus was a man in Greek mythology, who fell in love with his own image and could not tear himself away from looking at it, finally paying for it with his life. In psychiatric terms, the narcissistic personality disorder, which goes by his name, is characterized by various traits including a grandiose sense of self-importance and a belief that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people. For such a person, life revolves completely around oneself, and there is a distinct lack of empathy. Sounds very much like Hollywood! But look around and you will not fail to see an abundance of these traits in today’s society. Hollywood has indeed become mainstream in today’s world.
- Rebellious- A rejection of the authority of God from the moral fabric of society becomes the basis for rejection of all other reasonable authority. Chaos ensues. A number of characteristics mentioned by Paul are mere symptoms of this underlying reality. A systematic ejection of God and Christian values from families, schools, media, politics and even from churches has been the sociological headline of the last few decades.
- Hedonistic- Loving pleasure at the expense of loving God is a characteristic of the end times. The rapid increase in technology and the associated permissiveness brought on by an ejection of God has made every conceivable pleasure available at the touch of a button. When quality of life is determined by the things you possess rather than your relationship with God and when pleasure seeking becomes the defining mantra of society, it betrays a total disconnect from God’s purpose for man.
- Lukewarmness- Having a form of godliness but denying its power is an apt description of most churches today. Religion thrives but devoid of true spirituality. People cling on to tradition and to a form of godliness but want nothing to do with hard decisions and self-denial that characterizes discipleship. Consequently there is neither power nor life among those who profess to know God. Being lukewarm is more dangerous than being hot or cold, because people tend to think they are fine when they are not.
So are we close to the end times? Feel free to leave a comment. When we see the rapid changes around us, it does make us wonder if the world is indeed making a sprint to the finish.
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