It’s Always Been Like This

Norbert Lieth

The Apostle Paul explains that the “last days” will be characterized by “perilous times.” What does that mean when we consider the state of affairs in society today?

The “last days” doesn’t mean the end of the world, but the time before Jesus’ second coming. It pertains to the entire Church Age (1 Cor 10:11; 1 Pet 1:20; 4:7; Heb 1:1-2; 10:25). It goes without saying that the apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit, but the early church probably didn’t expect this time period to last for so long. However, Peter already pointed this out when he wrote, “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation” (2 Pet 3:3-4; cf. Jude 17-18).

That’s why there have repeatedly been time periods like this over the course of two millennia. This seems to be referring to the time Timothy was living in, since he is being called to separate himself from such people. The zenith and end of the Roman Empire were characterized similarly. Or consider the two World Wars, the anti-war movement, etc. But also note that the Bible speaks of times (phases) and deadlines. This indicates that from the Apostolic Age until shortly before the return of Jesus, there will always be phases as described here. These trends will repeat and intensify until Jesus’ return; the only difference being that these bad phases (“perilous times”) will have reached Christianity by then and transformed it into something anti-Christian. It will have a form of godliness, but deny its power. It will be Christian in name only.

According to Warren W. Wiersbe, “perilous” is “the same Greek word used to describe the demon possession in Matthew 8:28 and translated ‘exceedingly fierce.’” The demonic influence on the world increases the closer it is to Jesus’ coming. The incident of the demons in the Gadarenes could well be a metaphor for the end times: Jesus came to Gadara to free the possessed individual(s) and to cast out the demons. Shortly before Jesus arrived, the Sea of Galilee was turbulent, certainly with the aim of preventing Jesus from landing at Gadara. The Lord rebuked the small faith of his disciples. When He finally arrived, the demons screamed and begged Him not to torment them “before the time.”

If we applied this story prophetically, we’d get the following: Jesus will come again to deliver the world from Satan (Rev 20). In the last days, Satan will disturb the sea of nations of this world (Luke 21:25). During this time, the faith of God’s children will be particularly challenged and tested (1 Cor 16:13, 22). Finally, He will arrive to free the world from diabolical influence by binding Satan and his demons in the abyss (Rom 16:20).

Are we on the cusp of these dramatic events? Isn’t our world increasingly under the influence of God’s adversary? What about our faith? Are we just ruled by fear, like the disciples back then on the churning sea, or do we look with faith at Him who does not stumble?

Today, evil is generally accepted by society; people have strayed more than ever before from biblical norms in nearly every sphere. The protest against these developments is growing weaker. You could say that the whole world is in upheaval and revolt against God, especially in the “Christian West.” Paul warns in 2 Timothy 3:13 that wicked people and deceivers will become worse in their deception, because they themselves are deceived. Paul had already prophesied in 1 Timothy that in the last days, apostasy would increase due to deceitful spirits and the teaching of demons (1 Tim 4:1). Is it any wonder that all morals and ethics are turned upside down today? That theories are being presented as absolute truths, in opposition to what the Bible proclaims? That good is becoming evil, and evil good?

Our society is also sick in other areas: we read and hear about attacks on first responders. Local residents get upset about ambulances passing through or blocking areas to save lives. Emergency vehicles are being damaged, and fire hydrants are being turned off while they’re in use. Aggression on roadways and even bike paths is increasing. It seems like evil is noticeably spreading. The Apostle’s statements hit the nail on the head.

Jesus said to the church in Pergamos, “I know thy works, and where thou dwellest, even where Satan’s seat is…” (Rev 2:13). The world is the place where Satan extends his rule; it is the realm in which he rules. In the last days, Satan (also called the dragon) will give his throne (that is, his power) to the beast that rises from the sea of nations: “…and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority” (Rev 13:2).

Satan is doing everything he can to achieve this goal as quickly as possible. Therefore, it’s unsurprising to us that chaos on our earth is increasing so much. These are all clear indications of the truth of biblical prophecy…And that’s why we look through the mist of time to the sun of eternity. Jesus will come again, and all things will be made new.

It seems high time for the Lord to enter “the country of the Gergesenes”—that is, to return to earth and intervene in the destiny of humanity, thus putting an end to evil. Paul writes about this after warning Timothy about the perilous times of the last days: “I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom” (2 Tim 4:1).

The Apostle’s reminder about this solemn time applies to us Christians now more than ever: “But thou hast fully known my doctrine…” (2 Tim 3:10). Yes, that’s what we want: to hold on, keep praying, keep loving, keep bearing witness, believe, and watch. Jesus will enter the world again (Heb 1:6; 2:5). He will put an end to injustice and bring the justice we’re longing for. Therefore, let’s pray daily: “Maranatha; come, Lord Jesus!”

Midnight Call - 09/2021

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