By Merrill Olson
The Bible says that “in the last days perilous times will come” (2 Tim. 3:1). It is also translated “difficult.” The Greek word Clelepos carries the idea of perilous, grievous, or dangerous. In Matthew 8:28, it speaks of “two demon-possessed men, coming out of the tombs.” It says that they were “exceedingly-fierce.” The NASB translates it “violent.” The word is used by the Greek writer Plutarch in describing an infected, ugly, and dangerous wound. This gives a clear understanding of the meaning of “perilous times.”
The “last days” began with the earthly ministry of Jesus Christ. Therefore, it includes the entire period from the first century until He returns. In other words, we have been living “in the last days” for many centuries. As the Lord nears His coming, the “perilous times” will obviously get exceedingly worse. This will lead into the Tribulation period, after the Rapture (1 Thess. 4:16-17), when people will feel that they are truly living in a time that can be described as “an infected, ugly, and dangerous wound.”
There are many who know Christ and follow His Word will agree that our present age is rapidly moving toward this period of “perilous times.” When people sixty years and older look back at their growing up years, they will admit that they experienced a totally different society. For instance, all people knew what is right and wrong. This was taught in the homes and the churches. Television programs were family orientated. Even the educational systems believed in it and followed it. Politicians on either side were in agreement regarding an accepted morality when passing laws and making legislation.
On the other hand, our present time bears little resemblance to it. With the gradual rejection of biblical morals that built this country, there is no longer any real standard for determining what is right and wrong. Many people, who do not know Christ, have their own personal morals. Someone may consider something to be right while another person may regard it completely opposite. Therefore, it is really a corrupt society that determines what is good and what is evil and many follow it. However, the Bible focuses on this when it speaks of “of those who call evil good, and good evil” (Isaiah 5:20). That is a vivid description, practice, and belief of many in our society! Agree?
When we look at the characteristics of “perilous times” in 2 Timothy 3:1-5, it is easy to recognize many of them not only in present day America but in the world as a whole.
For instance, God’s Word says that “men [meaning both sexes] will be lovers of themselves” (v. 2). The sin and pride of self-love is a deadly evil that grips the human soul. Out of it many ugly sins are discharged. Another is “unholy” (v. 2). This person is driven by a self-love to gratify passions and lusts with no sense of decency. A third is “unloving” (v. 3). The news is filled with vicious actions of people toward others. One more example is “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God” (v. 4). Self-explanatory!
These are only a few examples. However, as we near the Tribulation period, times are going to get worse. Nevertheless, for those who know Christ, our focus must be on Him! He will eventually bring all people and events to finality (Phil. 2:9-11).
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