The events of the last days will indicate nothing but the certainty of Christ return.
HYMN: SEEK NOT YET REPOSE
TEXT: 2 Timothy 3 and 4 (Reading Text: 2 Timothy 3:1-9)
While it is true that the scriptures do not give a definite time period called the last days, it is generally accepted that the last days refer to the time preceding the return of the Lord. A cursory look at the scriptures suggests that the last days constitute of a period between His ascension and return from heaven. The scriptures in the old testament declare “And it shall come to pass afterwards that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons…daughters… before the great and terrible day of the Lords coming” (Joel 2:28-31). This prophesy we find fulfilled first on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:16-17). And the Lord God further spoke, years after Jesus had ascended into heavens, “And that knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast odd the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11-12). The stretch of “these last days” lies in the bosom of the Father of Spirit alone.
Furthermore, we see some identity significant of this period from the attitude of men. God shows in Matthew 11:12 that “since the time of John the Baptist, the kingdom of God suffereth violence and the violent taketh it by force”. It is like men beholding at a distance and the end time, do dimly breast up to the responsibility of heart-empowered endeavor to press into the kingdom of heaven.
Also, the bible says that “in the last days perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1), perhaps this one strikes the note and comes with the reality of the fact that we are in the last days already. The times are full of perils. From rural communities, regions and nations there are perils hanging loose. World events have helped to draw a picture of the perilous times which we are steeped into already.
The objectives of this study are:
1. To describe “these last days” and know its extent.
2. To appreciate the forces at work on “these last days”.
3. To know how the saints of God should live in “these last days”.
4. To appreciate the power of victory in “these last days”.
Question 1) DO “THESE LAST DAYS” HAVE A BEGINNING?
We note at this point the essence and use of the phraseology “these last days” here is the understanding that there were also did corresponding early or first days. Yes, the Bible gives an account of Satan’s vain ambition over God. His heirs and loyal beings and all that they represent and own. (Isaiah 14:12-17, Ezekiel 28:12-19). When Jesus mentioned in Matthew 11:12 the fact that only violent people were from the days of John the Baptist beginning to take the kingdom of heaven by force, it expresses a change of gear from the usual, and it shows the earnestness that men must have in getting rid of sin, all satanic powers, the world and in remaining steadfast went faced with any opposition (ref. Dake’s commentary). God gives us the information that Satan is already put on the spot and “because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelations 12:12) he has come “having a great wrath” to the inhabitants of the earth and sea. And all of these are merely, however, futile attempts by Satan to thwart what God is up to and doing. Satan may not even be succeeding in slowing down God’s end-time program and timetable which began with the coming into the world by the Lord Jesus Christ and Heralded by John the Baptist.
Question 2). WHO ARE THE PERSONS INVOLVED IN THESE LAST DAYS AFFAIRS? (REVELATION 12:7-9, EPHESIANS 6:12, GENESIS 3:1-24)
On the one side is Jehovah, God Almighty that made the heavens and the earth and every creature and created things both visible mankind or rather the redeemed brethren in the Church of God and then thrones, archangels and other angels. On the vainly attempting opposition side is Satan, the devil his principalities and powers, and he’s rulers of the darkness of this world, and his wicked spirits and unbelievers, these form the defenseless millions of the evil beings, a hierarchy on the opposition of course of God’s insurmountable onslaught on their unholy and proud excess in wickedness.
Question 3). WHAT ARE THE ELEMENTS THAT IDENTIFY THE LAST DAYS? (2 TIMOTHY 4:3-8, 3:6-8).
The last days are identifiable by certain peculiarities which necessarily influenced by this spirit of the end-time which the Bible warns that we do not get entangled with. The file spirit-forces of these last days which are assigned functions by Satan, the devil are responsible for these features which are seen in people at these end-times. They afflict and overtake people causing them to be:
1. Lovers of their own selves: This is the characteristic of been excessively fun of oneself or selfish. If it were possible, those manifesting such traits would make is rather difficult if not impossible for others to have what is due to them as a result of their rigid, unyielding hold on such items.
2. Covetous: The World translated covetous here from the original Greek implies that those sold described are fond of money. This burning desire for money most often drives them into committing heinous crimes against society.
3. Boasters: These are vain self-exalted arrogant braggarts. Such individuals behave in such manner usually because of the devilish societies to which they belong and show very little or no regard for God and all that He stands for.
4. Proud: These manifest undue self-esteem and superiority while oversimplifying certain personal qualities or otherwise which they may have. This deliberately do to spite others.
5. Blasphemers: Many such people will take pleasure in the reviling, defaming or slandering the Holy Spirit. Some even attribute His works to Satan while speaking ill of spiritual things.
6. Disobedience to parents: This era in the history of man has witnessed such headiness among youths that is manifests in utter disobedience to parents. It has been a period when most children are ruled by the spirit of the world. They take delight in doing things contrary to societal norms.
7. Unthankful: When people receive things which they did not work for as though it where their personal right and without showing any form of gratitude. When this becomes a common attitude as it is now, then it only reveals the spirit ruling but also the times we are in.
8. Unholy: This is the display of all manner of depravity and everything that is opposite of holiness in speech and behavior.
9. Without natural affection: It is not uncommon to hear as such sins that have to do with unnatural sex e.g. homosexuality-between man and man, lesbianism-between woman and woman, bestiality-between man and animal, and other sexual perversions.
10. Truce breakers: Many people during these and times no longer placed value on integrity as dear most willing to eat up their words or backout of any previous agreements for very flimsy reasons.
11. False accusers: These are slanderers whose motives for false accusation for others remain obscure save to conjecture; it is the spirit of the times.
12. Incontinent: This is a loss of control over appetites and passions giving rise to very strange habits in the individual.
13. Fierce: Wild and savage behavior which is common to the uncivilized, but this time it is the supposed civilized that exhibit same.
14. Despisers of those that are good: Good people will find it anymore increasingly difficult to maintain their goodness because of the manner evil people will contempt their acts.
15. Traitors: Many Will betray others because of personal gains and other selfish reasons.
16. Heady: The prevailing spirit of the times so rules the lives of many that they become headstrong and rash.
17. High-minded: Usually having to do with a puffed-up attitude reflected today in title chasing and other ego boosting activities.
18. Lovers of pleasure: Sensual gratification is the preoccupation of many and this is done with reckless abandon, even at the expense of God.
19. Having a form of godliness: A manifestation of what looks like godliness which is in mere confession of faith, not heart touched.
20. Denying the power of godliness: Formal religion does not give acknowledgment to the resurrection power of Christ.
Question 4). WHAT ATTITUDES MARK OUT SOME BELIEVERS IN THESE LAST DAYS? (2 TIMOTHY 4:3-4).
There a certain characteristic phenomena represented in certain persons who are suppose supposed to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as their Lord and personal savior. It is helpful to enumerate those ungodly attitudes which God outlined as the attitudes that reign in the heart of such believers. In fact, they become proud in these foolish, unbiblical attitudes as we observe today which includes: -turning their ears away from the truth found in the holy Bible -turning to fables assess it where necessary food -inability to endure doctrine from the word, as well as the -tendency to employ teachers to provide them with what they will lust after.
Question 5). ARE THERE INDICATIONS OF ANY KIND OF TRIUMPH FOR SAINTS IN THESE END TIMES? (2 TIMOTHY 4:16-18; ROMANS 8:37).
This seeming terrible nature of the end times notwithstanding, it is relevant and heartening to know that Jesus is still Lord and in perfect control. In fact, the Lord Jesus regulates the process of these events and He is in perfect control. Nothing is happening unwatched. Besides, believers have been equipped to handle the oppositions of Satan and his kingdom of the evil forces when take heed to God’s word. The Lord has equally promised His continued presence, abiding strength and deliverance to each and every believer as well as the support of His Holy Spirit.
Question 6). WHAT ARE NECESSARY ADAPTABLE CHRISTIAN FUNDAMENTALS IN THE VIEW OF THE TIMES.
Some spiritual basics have been outlined in the Bible to guide Christians through a period like this. Christians are not only admonished to study the word of God on which pages are the truth about the times, they are also enjoined to continue in the things which they have learned and have been assured of (2 Timothy 3:14). Christians are enjoined to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). This will keep the believer perpetually in close contact with his Savior and source of strength. The Lord Jesus also cautions that we should exercise utmost wisdom in our daily living even though we are to be as harmless as doves (Matthew 10:16). Because of the prevailing evil of the times, the believer has no alternative than to put on the entire armor provided by God so as to be able to stand in these days. While desiring to be in fellowship with fellow believers all the time, care should be taken to be sober and vigilant because the devil as a roaring lion seeks whom he may devour as he walks about. The word of God says that we should walk in the Spirit even as we live in the Spirit and can thereby be assured of consistent direction of the Holy Spirit. Finally, believers can overcome the enemy at such times by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony (Revelations 12:11).
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Does the believer have any assurance of victory and hope in the fierceness of what may yet happen? God describes all these events as spiritual warfare. For those doing the fight on God’s side, the saints of God and angels, God’s assurance is that it is a good fight of faith and also that we are more than conquers even before we engage in the war through Jesus Christ who strengthens us. In summary, God announces that we are in a good fight, the end of which had already been determined as a good and victorious and favorable for the saints of Jesus Christ the Lord, who engages in it against the power of darkness. Any saint can endeavor to fight and finish the spiritual warfare and still stand (Ephesians 6:13) and keep faith. A crown of righteousness or life from the Lord for enduring temptation is available to any saint (John 1:12). The saints of God can look forward to the Lord’s coming back with great enthusiastic joy having engaged in the spiritual warfare and stood their grounds for the master, Jesus. The faithful preaching of the gospel of Jesus will assist to terminate the end times and hasten the coming back of Jesus. Our godliness and holy conversation will assure the believer of an unbroken relationship with Christ at His return.
“For many shall come in my name, saying I am Christ; and shall deceive many”.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL GUIDE
Mon: The day of the Lord is terrible. Joel 2:1-14.
Tue: Events of the last days. Matthew 24:3-15.
Wed: Days of Tribulation. Mathew 24:29-35.
Thu: The days shall be like the days of Noah. Matthew 24: 36-41.
Fri: We should make ourselves ready. Matthew 24:42-51.
Sat: There shall be days of Apostasy and hypocrisy. 1 Timothy 4:1-7.