How Deep Are We Into The Last Days?

by Mike Ratliff

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. (2 Timothy 3:1-7 ESV)

The title to this post is strictly a rhetorical question. I do not expect anyone to be able to answer it succinctly except the Lord and He isn’t going to do that. However, as we, those of us who are not blind to the truth that is, survey the church visible, we must honestly say that what is going on is exactly what the Apostle Paul was talking about in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. Could things get worse? Sure, they could. Could God grant the Church a reprieve and send mighty men of God who would preach in the power of the Holy Spirit and bring another Great Awakening? God can do that if He wills, but will He? 

My good friend Ken Silva posted Brian McLaren Takes On Al Mohler Over Rob Bell earlier today. I suggest you read it. Near the bottom of that post is a quote from Dr. Walter Martin which is below.

There is a progression that takes place in liberal theology: It begins with a corrupt bibliology, a corrupt view of the nature and the inspiration of Scripture. They have a corrupt theology because once you are picking and choosing from the Bible what you want, your theology has to suffer from it, because your human reason is corrupt… every major theological seminary that has turned from orthodox Christianity began with disbelief of Biblical doctrine.

There wasn’t a single exception.This corrupt Bibliology then lead them to the next step. Their theology began to be touched by it, their view of the Cross, the Virgin Birth were both immediately questioned; then came the miracles of Christ… And finally they had emptied the Gospel of all its content; they were simply using the outward shell so that they go on collecting money from the people and the churches; because they knew that if the people in the pew knew that they were apostate, they’d throw them out. So the strategy was hang on to the trust funds; hang on to the money we’ve got; hang on the properties we control, and we will gradually educate the laymen into this new approach to theology.

And then finally we will take control of everything. The gradual process of feeding you theological poison until you become immunized enough so that you don’t know what’s happening to you. And when you wake up to what’s happening to you, it’s too late they’ve got everything. That is not a baseless charge, I stand prepared to prove that the Cult of Liberal Theology in the United States has deliberately and consistently followed this methodology to entrap, control and dominate the denominations and the churches of the United States and our educational institutions. (The Cult of Liberalism, available from Walter Martin Religious InfoNet)

Did you notice the progression? It is important that we understand where this corruption starts. What is the first thing that so-called christian liberals attack as they attempt to take over or change whatever Christian institution or church or denomination or function? They are corrupt or liberal because they began with a corrupt bibliology, which is a corrupt view of the nature and the inspiration of Scripture. This is the first domino. If it goes then the rest fall rather quickly and by the time full corruption has set in all that is left is just an empty shell of the Gospel and just a façade of what used be Christian. So, what is it that we must do in order to fight the good fight to stop the liberal agenda from making what is left of the church visible in the United States nothing more than another part of Rick Warren’s empire?

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5 ESV)

Let’s look at this a verse at a time.

1) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom:

1) Διαμαρτύρομαι ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς, καὶ τὴν ἐπιφάνειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν βασιλείαν αὐτοῦ·

The ESV’s rendering of “I charge you” translates the verb διαμαρτύρομαι or diamarturomai, which is in Present Tense, Indicative Mood, and Middle Voice. Paul is telling Timothy and everyone who reads this that what he is about to say is a command. The Greek has the idea of issuing a forceful order or directive. Paul then enforces this even further by saying, “ἐνώπιον τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ Χριστοῦ Ἰησοῦ τοῦ μέλλοντος κρίνειν ζῶντας καὶ νεκρούς” or, literally, “before God and Christ Jesus the one about to judge the living and dead…” Why is Paul emphasizing this this way? This grammatical construction suggests imminency—that Christ is about to judge. He is doing this to make sure that we understand our accountability to Christ as Judge. All believers, especially ministers of the Word of God, serve Christ and this service is rendered both under His watchful eye and with the knowledge that as Judge He will one day appraise the works of every believer. Therefore, Paul is about to issue a command and is emphasizing this accountability to all of us. Woe be to all believers, especially ministers of the Word of God, who do not take this seriously by not obeying the command Paul is giving.

2) preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

2) κήρυξον τὸν λόγον, ἐπίστηθι εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως, ἔλεγξον, ἐπιτίμησον, παρακάλεσον, ἐν πάσῃ μακροθυμίᾳ καὶ διδαχῇ.

The ESV’s rendering of “preach” translates the verb κήρυξον, which is the Aorist Tense, Imperative Mood, Active Voice form of κηρύσσω or kērussō, “to preach, proclaim, tell, announce a message.” This is the first part of the command. Our focus must be on preaching the Word and this means the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ as well as expository preaching through books of God’s Word in the power of the Holy Spirit. Notice the rest of the command. We don’t preach the word only to those who want to hear it and only when it is convenient, but we must ἐπίστηθι or “be ready.” Again, this is in the Aorist, Imperative, Active form. The base verb is ἐφίστημι or ephistēmi, “in this context this verb carries the ideas of urgency, preparedness, and readiness. It was used of a soldier prepared to go into battle or a guard who was continually alert for any surprise attack. Think about the surprise attacks that descend upon us nowadays from the enemy! Notice the next two contrasts, “in season and out of season.” This the translation of εὐκαίρως ἀκαίρως. These are adverbs. The first one, εὐκαίρως or eukairōs speaks of opportunely: – conveniently, in season. On the other hand, ἀκαίρως or akairōs speaks of inopportunely: – out of season. In other words, we are to be prepared to preach the Word urgently whether it is convenient or not. We are to do so whether the people want to hear the truth or not. We are not to be concerned about tickling people’s ears. We see that in the next part of the verse because this is what real preaching of the Word of God does. It reproves, rebukes and exhorts. We do all this with complete patience as teachers of the Word of God.

3-4)  For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.

3-4) Ἔσται γὰρ καιρὸς ὅτε τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας οὐκ ἀνέξονται ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὰς ἰδίας ἐπιθυμίας ἑαυτοῖς ἐπισωρεύσουσιν διδασκάλους κνηθόμενοι τὴν ἀκοὴν καὶ ἀπὸ μὲν τῆς ἀληθείας τὴν ἀκοὴν ἀποστρέψουσιν, ἐπὶ δὲ τοὺς μύθους ἐκτραπήσονται.

The phrase, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching” is a rendering of “Ἔσται γὰρ καιρὸς ὅτε τῆς ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας οὐκ ἀνέξονται.” It is the teaching of sound doctrine (ὑγιαινούσης διδασκαλίας) that is the problem for these people. The word οὐκ absolutely nullifies the verb ἀνέξονται, which is the Future Tense, Indicative Mood, and Middle Voice form of ἀνέχομαι or anechomai, “to hold oneself up against, that is, (figuratively) put up with: – bear with endure, forbear, suffer.” What Paul is saying refers to holding up under adversity and a good translation here would be “tolerate.” This is a warning that in the dangerous times of these last days, many will become intolerant of the confrontive, demanding preaching of God’s Word as Paul just described for us above that is commanded for us to continue to do whether it is convenient or not. How are we to remain faithful in this when so many are resisting the truth?

5) As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

5) Σὺ δὲ νῆφε ἐν πᾶσιν, κακοπάθησον, ἔργον ποίησον εὐαγγελιστοῦ, τὴν διακονίαν σου πληροφόρησον.

Regardless of the resistance from the enemies of the cross of Christ, we must remain faithful because we have been given this command in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus as a charge. I wonder how many ministers of the Word of God understand that they have been given this commission to do this this way? There are some of us whom God has given spiritual gifts like those I have that enable me to put these posts together or get up in front of people and exposit God’s Word or teach or counsel or rebuke and exhort. We all have ministries. Let us do them in the power of the Holy Spirit regardless of the merciless attacks and outright lies coming from those who claim to be Christian leaders, but who prove they are wolves by their denial of good doctrines of our Orthodox Christian Faith. We prove they are false by remaining faithful and showing that what they teach is not the truth, not by attacking them directly.

Even so, as we remain faithful, there will always be those who will not tolerate the truth and will resort to all sorts of evil tactics to attack us as well as the message we proclaim. No matter what, let us do our work, fulfilling our ministry.

Soli Deo Gloria!

All Greek Text in this Post is from: Novum Testamentum Graece (Nestle-Aland), 27th edition, © German Bible Society, Stuttgart 1992

18 thoughts on “How Deep Are We Into The Last Days?

  1. Many churches today search out what works (not even questioning if it is biblcial) to add numbers to their church and then call it a sucess, they are compromising the Truth of Scriptures and it doesn’t seem to matter?
    I am so thankful for what you and many others are doing Mike.
    1 Timothy 1: 3-7remain at Ephesus that you may charge certain persons not to teach any different doctrine, nor to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies, which promote speculations rather than the stewardship from God that is by faith. The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions.”
    One of the most loving thing we can do as christians is to gently expose bad doctrines and those that are promoting it. There are so many folks out there being fed garbage for the sake of numbers and profit and in turn adding to the kingdom of satan.

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  2. Dear Mike,
    What a wonderful post!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    This reminded me of one of the best speeches I have ever read delivered by Gordan H. Clark an elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church OPC on Feb. 28,1935 in the aftermath of “The Auburn Heresy” of 1923.
    Gordon H. Clark stated:
    “Some years ago the modernists [just inject “post”] used to talk in favor of an INCLUSIVE Church. The Church, they said, was big enough to include ALL brands of theology. Today, however, they have changed their tune. They now have EXCOMMUNICATED THE ORTHODOX.”…”This, then in brief, is the situation conservative Christians must meet. Shall the truth of the Bible be upheld or shall orders to support [post] modernism be made the supreme authority over men’s conscience? This is no trivial matter; it is rather a LIFE and DEATH struggle between two mutually exclusive religions. One religion can without harm to it’s integrity reject the infallible Word of God, deny the Virgin Birth, repudiate Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice, and deny the resurrection. That religion will remain complete even if all these things are eliminated; but that religion is NOT Christianity. The other religion IS Chrisitanity because it accepts the Bible as the very Word of God, who cannot lie, because it makes Christ’s sacrifice to satisfy divine justice the only basis of salvation, and because it glories in the historical fact of the resurrection.”
    Wow! I bet J. Gresham Machen was thinking we were near the end when he was the one excommunicated in that mess…
    Thanks for the encouragement to stay the course through the power of our Redeemer Jesus Christ.

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  3. Be ready has come to mean “theres a conference coming”.
    In or out of season has come to mean “the publisher has an idea.”
    The time is coming has come to be “here is what it means to me.”
    I charge you has come to mean “For a gift I’ll send my latest book.”

    Thanks for the post.

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  4. After a 20 year membership in a church that has gone off the rails, I left and found no other place to worship. By the grace of God I was given the name of a young minister in a town an hour away and now drive there every Sabbath to worship in this little OPC church. This faithful, young pastor and an elder visited me last week. He said many good things that led me to believe he was a faithful shepherd to his tiny flock, but I was most touched by his admittance that he finds it terrifying to preach the word of God each Sabbath, that as he prepares his carefully worded, expository messages he continually checks and rechecks to make sure he is delivering the words of God correctly. This, from a young man who was just ordained in December. What a blessing, to find this in this dark day.

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  5. Charisse, I love J. Gresham Machen. God used that crisis he went through to elevate him and look what a treasure of truth we got from it! Perhaps our current “mess” is for that very reason as well. I am God’s soldier, but my goodness I feel so worthless and beat up and downtrodden most of the time. I suppose all those who refuse to compromise go through this, but even so, I do so look forward to the prize.

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  6. Dear Mike,
    What kindness to be counted worthy of suffering for sake of protecting and proclaiming the very Word of God.
    It is the rare preacher/teacher of God’s word that can have any sort of “popularity” in this world without it becoming a snare to their soul.
    In the kindness, patience and long suffering of Christ, charisse

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  7. This topic here is one of the major reasons why I am so thankful for men like you, and everyone at Apprising.org, because amazingly there seem to be few people willing to acknowledge the connection between the Last Days and the Great Deception…

    This surge of false teaching is one of the key “signs” we are told to look for, and yet so many Christians insist on dismissing these things as passing fads. They do not understand that the teaching of these “emergent” leaders is but one arm of a broader, global progression towards a singular belief system which supercedes outward religious and political identities.

    Like you said Mike, we are called to preach the gospel in and out of season, and we must be prepared to do this in what is likely to be the most “out-of-season” period in history….

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  8. AMEN Mike (if there was a “like” button next to others comments, I would be liking Cristina – and saying “ditto”)
    We need to be praying vigilantly for you, and other men of God willing to preach the uncompromised Word of God!

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  9. Amen, Mike. We have to keep on sharing the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ…praying for opportunities to share it and looking at any encounter to slip in a word or two. No matter what anyone else says or does and no matter what things are transpiring in the world. Where else can we go and what else can we do?

    Be ready…with complete patience. Patience and forgiveness with those who reject you, think less of you or get angry with you for your beliefs. Patience- because you never know when a word you have spoken to someone will be the start of repentance and eye opening. Forgiveness-in order to keep relational doors open with those who reject and insult us because of what we tell them. We may be the first person they call when they are ready to hear. What a blessing that is! To have a ready and welcoming ear from someone!

    “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.” Matt 5:11. The Lord calls us blessed.

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  10. Mike,

    Your ministry is a great blessing to me. I thank the Lord for you. I rarely comment anywhere, but know that I follow your words and the words of others like you; watchmen who stand on the walls, defending the flock of Christ.
    As the times become more terrifying and the wolves within the visible church become more cunning, we need more men and women like you who will not compromise the Word of God.

    I recently read “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God” by Jonathan Edwards for the first time. I pray that the wolves will review this uncompromising sermon and feel the heat!

    “So that, whatever some have imagined and pretended about promises made to natural men’s earnest seeking and knocking, it is plain and manifest, that whatever pains a natural man takes in religion, whatever prayers he makes, till he believes in Christ, God is under no manner of obligation to keep him a moment from eternal destruction.” -Jonathan Edwards

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  11. Jeazette, Jonathan Edwards had it right. We need to use his ministry as an example. That message hits so hard because, sadly, it is rarely heard anymore. Ironically, that was the sort of preaching I heard when I was a child back in the 1950’s in a SBC church in Oklahoma. I doubt if you would nowadays though.

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  12. Pingback: How Deep Are We Into The Last Days? (via Possessing the Treasure) « AbbasGirlMe

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