Contending for the faith | Making Disciples | Equipping the Saints for Ministry

   by Jeannette Haley

       If someone were to ask you who you think are the most dangerous people in the world, what would you say? Perhaps you might answer, “Atheists,” or maybe “Muslems.” Other options could most definitely be communists, Marxists, revolutionaries, Satanists, globalists, big government, and environmentalists, the Black Panthers, Satanists or even Obama. There is no doubt that all of these, and many other visible people and groups, are a very real threat to life, liberty, and the “pursuit of happiness” (or property). As the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy, “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come” 2 Timothy 3:1.      

       This is a very important warning for the times in which we live—a warning that should grab our attention. What makes the time in which we live any more perilous than the previous ages that have come and gone since Adam? After all, there have been grievous catastrophes, plagues, famine, conspiracies, inquisitions, and wars. Humanity’s cruelty to both man and beast is beyond comprehension, and is a subject that can drag any person who contemplates it for any length of time into a dark pit of depression and despair. The history of this world from antiquity to the present reeks with misery, destruction, suffering and death. So what makes the end days any more perilous than previous times?

       “Well,” you might be thinking, “Duh, Jeannette. Take a look at modern technology, nuclear devices, and weapons of mass destruction, germ warfare, electronic spy devices, satellite surveillance, and so forth….” While this is definitely a fact, there is yet another factor, and that is the culmination of evil in the heart of man. Couple that with a form of religion, and you have the most dangerous people on the planet. Before we go into detail on these people, let us consider God’s explanation for the warning concerning perilous times, beginning with verse 2 of 2 Timothy 3 through verse 5, which states as follows: “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

       A closer examination of these traits reveals some interesting facts to consider. For example, “For men shall be lovers of their own selves” does not appear on the surface to be extraordinary. After all, every person since Adam has had love for self. However, in this verse, the word “lovers” is derived from the Greek word philautos which means “fond of self, i.e. selfish:–lover of own self.” This fondness for self implies a deeply rooted priority. In such a person, it is the ruling factor in his or her disposition, where everything and everyone else is subjective to this ungodly self-love. In other words, there is no room in his or her heart or life for genuine, selfless, sacrificial love for anything or anyone else. In fact, such a consideration is never even remotely entertained because it is “beneath” them. This type of self-love is narcissist, and idolatrous because the person worships themselves. On occasion, they may give God lip service, but the fact is their heart remains cold and indifferent to the Lord of glory, and all that He has created. There is no room in such a person’s world for anyone who fails to unceasingly adore and worship him or her. I am sure we can all find at least one example of this type of individual in our world today, and may God help us if that one example is staring back at us from the mirror.

       Of course, people who love themselves in this manner need others to adore and worship them as well. As long as everyone around them agrees with everything they say and do, their “good guy” façade remains; however, should anyone dare to disagree with such a person, or fail to show them the proper “respect,” they become treacherous.

       It does not take a great deal of imagination to realize what treachery lies within the heart of such an individual. We read about them in magazines and newspapers, we see them on the television, and we know that such people are in the highest levels of government, as well as in powerful positions in our society. Worse yet, we can find such lovers of self in churches as well—even behind the pulpit. Such love of self scorns humility as weakness, and walks hand in hand with the pride of life. Of such the Lord says, “These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” Proverbs 6:16-19.

        Please bear in mind that the self-esteem teaching that has saturated our society for years is this type of self-love that God warned us of and which He repudiates. What we need instead is self-respect. The difference between the two is that self-esteem translates as a high estimation of oneself rooted in pride itself. It is unmerited favor bestowed upon oneself by one’s little god of self. Self esteem manifests as self-exaltation over others with no regard to reality, common courtesy and manners, let alone godly virtues. Self-respect, however, is an intelligent and realistic respect for one’s life based on the knowledge of God. True self-respect is rooted in knowing God, having a relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ, and understanding His design and plan for man. It is not self-love, but respect for self, or the essence of one’s life out of the fear of and love for God. Furthermore, however, if a person lacks self-respect of this nature, he or she cannot properly respect and love others, whereas true self-respect is humble, teachable, reasonable, and of good character.

       People steeped in self-esteem possess a puffed up, overrated view of self that assumes Jesus came because they are “worthy” or that there is something “good” within them that is redeemable. With such self-love, is it any wonder that so few people have come to true, saving repentance? Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish” Luke 13:3.

       This type of self-love is unreasonable, unbending, unyielding, and unbreakable. It is Satanic in nature, self-deceptive, and according to 2 Timothy 2:2, we find that covetousness is also a product of this extreme self love. While covetousness has been part of the fallen disposition of man since the Garden of Eden, why would the Lord specifically list it as a sign of the end times? In Strong’s Concordance, the usage of the word covetous is philarguros, which means “fond of silver (money) or avaricious. Avarice, according to my Webster’s 1965 edition dictionary, means “excessive or insatiable desire for wealth or gain: greediness, cupidity.” What is interesting is the meaning of “cupidity.” The root of this word, “Cupid” is the god of love in Roman mythology, and cupidity is strong desire, lust, inordinate desire for wealth, avarice, and greed. Thus, we can conclude that this type of covetousness, which comes out of self-love, is extreme rather than “normal.”

       It is obvious that avarice, greed and lust have cast a shadow over the entire world, but can we find it in the church system? Concerning this, the Apostle Peter wrote of our days, and I quote: “But there were false prophets also among the people, [before Christ] even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” 2 Peter 2:1-3. [Emphasis added.]

       Using feigned words, covetous false teachers, lovers of themselves, (but not lovers of God), teaching false doctrines, offering false hope in order to build monuments to their god of lust and avarice, fleece the sheep (make merchandise out of them), and heap to themselves damnation. If you cannot see this happening in these times, then you need to cry out to God to heal you of your blindness!

       Back to the third chapter of 2 Timothy, verse 3, we find the third manifestation of self-love, and that is “boasters.” In the Greek, this word is alazon, which means “vagrancy, braggart, boaster. While we all associate vagrancy or vagrant with a person who wanders about from place to place usually with no means of support, what is interesting is it also means, “Having a fleeting, wayward, or inconstant quality, having no fixed course.” How fitting a description of many of our youth today! We can drive down any street in the town in which we live and see youth, hands shoved deep inside the pockets of their baggy pants, heads down, with glowering countenances, and usually hooked up to some electronic device, while being totally detached from their environment.

       Concerning “braggarts,” we have encountered many such people in our years of ministry, especially in the street missions. Rayola’s sermons were routinely interrupted by rude braggarts who considered themselves to be the most brilliant men in the world. Of course, in reality, they knew nothing.

       The next descriptive word in verse 3 is “proud.” At first glance, one might wave this word off as being somewhat redundant; after all, the Bible clearly teaches about the pitfalls of pride, and conclusively teaches that it was the cause of Satan’s fall. However, a closer examination of this word as used in this particular passage of Scripture, pinpoints the distinct essence of pride in these perilous times. This form of pride comes from the Greek word, huperephanos which means, “appearing above others (conspicuous), haughty.” While some forms of pride can remain subdued or hidden from view through fake nobility while manifesting itself in different venues, this particular form of pride is “all out there” for the whole world to see. It is the essence of “the proud look,” which God hates, and is Satanic to the core. Arrogance of this type is dangerous, implacable, cold, cruel, merciless, and vindictive, and is so blatantly obvious that no spiritual discernment is necessary.

       It is no surprise to find “blasphemers” following on the heels of “proud” on God’s list. After all, when men have inordinate self-love, are given over to avarice and greed, braggadocios and haughty, it would be unusual if they were not blasphemers as well. The Greek word in this verse is blasphemos. It means scurrilous, calumnious (against man), or specifically impious (against God) and railing. Scurrilous is defined as “using or given to the language of low buffoonery; being vulgar and evil; low; containing low obscenities or coarse abuse.” Here we have blasphemy on two fronts—against man, and against God. No doubt, you can think of more than one source of on-going blasphemy in the world today, on every level.

       Following blasphemy is “disobedient to parents.” It is appalling how disrespectful and disobedient children are these days to their parents. What is even more shocking are the growing numbers of children who murder their parents, and equally shocking is the victimization of elderly parents by their offspring. Jesus warned of this division in families. He said, And the brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child: and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them to be put to death” Matthew 10:21. As one asks,” Why? How could this be?”

       Perhaps the answer to these questions is contained in the next word, “unthankful.” The Greek word is acharistos, and it means “thankless,” or “ungrateful.” When was the last time you saw a truly thankful child or adolescent, (or even an adult) who was thankful both for and to his or her parents, and thankful to God? The bitter fact of the matter is a person who is enamored with self, covetous, boastful, proud, and blasphemous, cannot be truly grateful or thankful for anybody or anything. If such a person does open his or her mouth on occasion and utter a phrase of praise or thankfulness to God, it amounts to nothing but mere lip service. What does such a selfish person know about true gratitude for the sacrifices made by his or her parents on his or her behalf? How could such an ingrate be filled with gratitude to God for His plan of salvation when he or she has never repented of his or her wretchedness and sin in the first place?

       Now we come to “unholy.” The Greek for this word is anosios and it means wicked. To be unholy means ungodly. Either a person belongs to God, walking after, and being led by, and filled with His Spirit because he or she belongs to Him, or he or she is lost in his or her sins. Either a person is born again, or he or she is not. There are no in betweens. The Bible does not give us a “cushion” between the saved and the unsaved, even though we may have a natural tendency to believe that just because an unsaved person is not “holy,” neither are they lost. We all want to fudge the lines and think in terms of the “good” people somehow being spared of eternal judgment.

       It all comes back to holiness. God is holy; therefore, He cannot receive unsanctified sinners into His presence. Christians today tend to think in terms of what is relevant to our modern times instead of standing on the eternal truths of God’s Word that never change regardless of what transpires in our culture or nation. If holiness is “outdated,” then by what standard do we hold people accountable? If holiness is not longer relevant, then when did the immutable God change? In addition, if God did somehow change and He is no longer holy, how can we trust in His word? If we diminish the holiness of God, ignore His attributes, and refashion Him into our likeness, then does it not naturally follow that we might just as well worship ourselves?

       Moving on to verse 3, we read: “Without natural affection.” This means, “to cherish affectionately” as opposed to “hard-hearted towards kindred.” In other words, this type of affection is natural and normal as opposed to being inordinate, perverted, self-serving, or base. Is not the murder of innocent babies, the rise of euthanasia, and the disdain for one’s own children, and perverted practices (such as pornography) a lack of natural affection? We see lack of natural affection in the jihadists, the haters of Jews and Israel, the racists such as the Black Panthers and the Neo Nazis. We witness the mind-numbing lack of natural affection in the plans of the Globalist elite to exterminate over two-thirds of the world’s population through their homosexual agenda, abortion, wars, germ warfare (over populated areas, such as “chem trails”), toxic vaccinations, planned famines and other forms of genocide. These are perilous time indeed!

       The next are the “trucebreakers.” This is an interesting word, which appears only once in the Bible. In the Greek it is “aspondos,” which means, “without libation (which usually accompanied a treaty), i.e. truceless: implacable, trucebreaker.” This paints a picture (at least to me) of a person in a position of authority and power who is involved in making treaties with others, but who has no intention of keeping his word. Implacable describes such a person as “not capable of being appeased, pacified, or mitigated: unalterable.” This suggests that nothing can be presented in any manner whatsoever to such a temperamental individual that will change his, or her, mind.

       You know the saying, “The accuser is the abuser.” Such are “false accusers,” our next category. Perhaps the Greek meaning of “accusers” may shock you, for it is “diabolos” and means, “Satan, false accuser, devil, slanderer.” Who and where are such people in our world today? We could start at the top of the scale where world rulers dominate the spotlight, then move on down through the different ranks of self-serving bureaucrats and politicians, the liberal news media, God-hating Hollywood actors, writers, bloggers, educators, ad infinitum. Slanderers are definitely not on the endangered species list. Sadly, they are in churches as well. No professing Christian should use his of her tongue as a slanderous weapon, bringing a reproach on the Gospel and shame upon him or herself.

       Next, we have “incontinent.” In the Greek, this word is “akrates” and it means, “powerless, i.e. without self-control.” (And you thought it might mean a “leaky bladder” didn’t you?) All kidding aside, when you contemplate the ramifications of wicked people who lack any form of self-control, you begin to get a picture of unbridled violence, mayhem, chaos, and utter destruction. Such people have no conscience, and having lost all control of self, are being driven and controlled by demons instead.

       “Fierce” aptly follows incontinent. The Greek word is “anemeros” and it means “savage.” In order for you to get a more complete understanding of the importance in understanding the broad scope of this word, here is a complete definition of savage: “Not domesticated or under human control; untamed; cruel, ferocious; uncultivated, wild; boorish, rude; uncivilized; primitive; barbarian, fierce; a brutal person; a rude or unmannerly person; to attack or treat violently or brutally; to attack furiously (as by biting or trampling).” I think this definition of what we see in the world today is not only fitting, but needs no further explanation except to say that this type of person is likewise controlled by demons.

       Our next category is, “despisers of those that are good.” According to Strong’s Concordance, this means “hostile to virtue.” Therefore, those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, and who are virtuous in that they live in obedience to His commandments, are the target of such hostility. One does not need to look far to see the vicious hostility growing against those who have a Christian testimony, and who take a stand for righteousness, and who expose and are against the evils of our age.

       The list goes on in 2 Timothy 3:4, “Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Thus, we see that men shall be betrayers, rash, inflated with self-conceit, lifted up with pride, and proud. On top of all this, they shall be false brethren and idolaters who love pleasures, more than they love God.

       No doubt, at this point, you are able to identify many people in positions of great power and prestige who aptly fit every description given. In addition, you can likewise categorize those who are blatantly dangerous, and a very real threat to life, liberty and property. You realize that we are indeed in the latter days and “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived” 2 Timothy 3:13. However, do you also realize that the most dangerous people in the world are likewise religious?

       We read in verse 5 of 2 Timothy 3, this final and important summation of the traits belonging to the “lovers of self:” “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” This is where so many of God’s people have an Achilles’ heel, or great weakness. When they see a religious person with an outward show of piety, or belief in “God” (or a “god”), or faith in a “higher power” or any one of the many pseudo faiths presented today, they let down their guard. However, as we have seen in verses 1-4 of this chapter, all of these evil traits can be found in people who have an outward appearance of godliness.

       Today we can see the fulfillment of these prophetic words, which Paul penned to Timothy. The Holy Spirit revealed to him in amazing detail (if we care to study it) the perilous times in which we live, specifically bringing to light who are the most dangerous people in the world.

       Therefore, the question is are you anchored in the Rock, fixed in your heart, prepared to fight the good fight of faith, and having done all to stand in these end days? The eternal well-being of your very soul depends on it.

       May God have mercy upon us all in these times, and may He find us watching, wise and ever faithful to the end.