The book of Revelation is about the End Time Tribulation and Israel. The book of Isaiah reveals the details of the Millennium. Daniel gives us insight as to events leading up to That Day of God called the days of the Gentiles, i.e. The Church Age.
“But understand 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.“ (2 Timothy 3:1-5)
*AVOID does not mean ignoring or shutting these people out of one’s life. How else and to whom might one witness if believers isolate from society? It is as says Romans 12:1,2…be transformed in mind and heart.
*Double notation: Do not confuse II Timothy 3 with the Tribulation period alone, i.e., in THAT DAY. II Timothy is talking about the time leading up to the Tribulation. How do we deduce this? If Paul is warning believers to avoid such people, and the church is already raptured, to whom is he talking? It could be the “Jews” meaning Israelis, or it could be that these are signs leading up to believers meeting with Jesus in the clouds.
This long list of issues is intended to be warning signs of the pending judgments of man. Things one can see in society and culture without wearing a pair of bifocals. It does not mean that each item listed above must be found in every person other than the antichrist and his minions. It is a definition or description of this world’s population, a general audience, and replacement culture. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 notes that this itself is not the tribulation. The tribulation will be consequential of 2 Timothy 3. How do we know this? What are the last three words in this passage? “Avoid such people.” Who is to do the avoiding? Believers! True Christians will still be on earth…not yet raptured.
JIV: This is difficult to write or one’s desire to accept. Taking the Bible for what it says, we as believers have life wrong today. “Avoid such people.” Read once again the extensive list found in 2 Timothy 3:1-5. One’s first reaction to avoiding such people may require one to avoid him or herself. One cannot avoid him or herself. There is no perfect church membership in human terms. Is there something in a worship service that is hindering the worship experience?
Consideration would be made for the world, but what about in a worship service? This verse does not mean avoiding the world or living in isolation. It does mean not being drawn to them in a personal relationship of any kind. The underscore is in worship. This falls under the category of being unequally yoked. Can an unbeliever, a person who wishes to give the appearance of worship, and true believers worship together? Can the first two people mentioned, unbeliever and one giving the appearance of worship, be counted in “where two or three are gathered in my name…”?
We Teach but You Decide.
The worst is yet to come. This is man-to-man implications. In the Day of Noah, Genesis 6:5 tells us of these nearing end time, man-to-man issues.
“And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”
The wickedness [râ‛âh, H7451] of man was great…. Boiled down to its primary definition, it means one cares only for him or herself. “…That every imagination (yêtser) of man(kind)…” Yêtser means all thoughts and purpose of man is to connive or do evil. The “all” or “every” in this passage means “without exception.”
“…the thoughts of his (mankind’s) heart were only evil continually.” This needs no elaboration. The word “only” is in the singular tense. These are the times of Noah. These similar times will repeat as we near the Day of the Lord. The flip side coin is that there is a total rejection of God. There may be signs of idle (including idol) worship of a false doctrine. This is the rejection of the Holy Spirit. A form of godliness as defined in 2 Timothy 3:5. One can have a form of CHURCH without ever considering the presence of God (Father, Son, or Holy Spirit). Such will have a strong cultural appeal in society and/or political issues, but studying to improve one’s knowledge of scripture will no longer come from the pulpit.
The next verse (2 Timothy 3:6) explains that there is not only rampant deceit from leadership, but this takes us back to our opening verses. People will be bent on “what’s in it for me?” Many can miss the point of verse 2 Timothy 3:7 when one does not fully grasp or accept the fact of verse #6.
2 Timothy 3:7 states that one can learn things without understanding or connecting the learning to life or eternity itself. One will think of lessons from scripture as pointless and without significance when it conflicts with his or her desires of the heart. The word “knowledge” or epignōsis in Greek using Strong’s definition (G1921): [no] “full discernment, acknowledgment.” It can mean the inability to discern or the refusal to accept the knowledge as actuality. This can take us back to the unequally yoked passage in 2 Corinthians 6:14.
2 Timothy 3:8 uses a comparison to two men who resisted the instructions and leadership of Moses…Jannes and Jambres. Moses is challenged many times during his life. Perhaps Jannes and Jambres are two of the magicians of Pharaoh’s court in Egypt found in Exodus 7:11. This naming tradition is well-attested in ancient and medieval literature. When secular evidence supports scripture, it is worth noting.
*Wikipedia: The [Apocrypha] book, known as The Apocryphon of Jannes and Jambres the magicians, exists in some Greek fragments present in the Chester Beatty Papyri No XVI (which has been edited and translated by Albert Pietersma), and in an extensive Ethiopic fragment discovered in 2014.
*We at ahabiblemoments do not recommend Wikipedia as a sole and solid source for research. Wikipedia is okay at times and misleading at other times.
JIV NOTE: This has been a difficult article to write even though making scripture-based comments. PLEASE NOTE THAT ALL DEDUCTIONS POINT TO SUPPORTING SCRIPTURE. One can be very welcoming to visitors at the church entrance. However, why do we want the pastor to carry our responsibility to lead souls to Christ through our testimonies and witnessing? His job is to rightly divide the Word of God. Too often one wishes the friend, family member, or person we invite to church to decide for Christ and his or her eternity via the pastor’s message, not our verbal witnessing.
Here is the problem. This type of thinking and attitude forces the pastor to spend more time on evangelism than on Bible awareness, knowledge gained, and understanding for those who have already decided to follow for Christ. Those who have made no decision for Christ but attend the service do not understand worship. Such are deluded to think attending church is worship.
Rev. Dr. Jstark
Appendage: Charles Spurgeon wrote: Ask for real vital godliness, for nothing else will serve your turn at the last great day [end time]. Now, this is rightly to handle the word of God; to use it to push truth home upon men for their present conversion, to use it for the striking down of their sins, to use it to draw men to Christ, to use it to arouse sinners, and to use it to produce, not a mere profession, but a real work of grace in the hearts of men. May the Holy Ghost teach all.