At first thought the apostasy of the Church came to mind, because of all the rash of weird and unscriptural movements such as the Emerging Church, the Word of Faith, Yoga and mysticism entering the church, but honestly I think the most prominent 'second' sign is that as defined in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 which does in fact contain elements of the falling away of the Church.
"But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!" - 2 Tim 3:1-5
It is shocking to see how close this verse describes society today. Read it again tonight before watching the evening news. The passage outlines eight major themes that describe the last days.
- Lovers of Own Selves, boasters, proud, blasphemers, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away - full of pride and arrogance a mocking independence from God honoring only Man not the creator.
- Covetous (Lovers of Money) - It seems that all society does is strive for more money. Our societies' mantra is that the pursuit of money is the only goal and the acquiring of money the only success. The 'want' of more and to acquire things that others have is surely a driving force in our economy today.
- Disobedient to Parents - Defiant children, disrespectful.
- Unthankful - No recognition of from where blessings come.
- Slanderers, without Self Control - This comes straight out of the arrogance and the thought that man is superior and can do anything. Disrespect to each other and authority.
- Without natural affection - The disrespect of human life, murders, abortion etc.
- Trucebreakers, Traitors, False Accusers - It's all around us. Everyone worried about me, me, me. The average man could care less about loving others as much as they love themselves.
- Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God - Look at all the ways that we have found to entertain ourselves and bring us pleasure. We have an emptiness that we try to fill with earthly things, that we should be seeking in God.
Is it no wonder why Paul described these days as perilous? The Greek word chalepos translated as perilous in this passage means, "difficult, dangerous,fierce or perilous". The only other time this word 'chalepos' is used in the bible is in Matthew 8:28 where it is used to describe a man who was possessed by demons and was out of control; Wild like an untamed animal - savage.
Author Stephen Covey, in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Families, provides some insight into our lives today.
"Over the past thirty years, the situation for families has changed powerfully and dramatically. Illegitimate birth rates have increased more that 400 percent. The percentage of families headed by a single parent has more than tripled. The divorce rate has more than doubled. Teenage suicide has increased almost 300 percent. Scholastic Aptitude Test scores among all students have dropped seventy-three points. The number one health problem for American women today is domestic violence. One fourth of all adolescents contract a sexually transmitted disease before they graduate from high school."
Covey goes on to mention another startling fact. Do you know what the most reported problems in the 1940 school classrooms were? Covey mentions them:
- Talking out of turn;
- Chewing gum;
- Making noise;
- Running in the halls;
- Cutting in line;
- Dress code infractions; and
For a comparison let's have a look at the problems within the schools of the 1990's as Covey mentions:
- Drug abuse;
- Alcohol abuse;
These are savage times. Paul tells us that perilous (savage) times shall come. What we need to realize is that these days HAVE come. This is not a future event, it's already here.
According to Paul then, I am left to conclude that we are in the last days.