Mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days.
–2 Timothy 3:1 NIV

In 2 Timothy 3:1, Paul said, “In the last days difficult times will come.” The New International Version says “terrible times.” That verse raises two questions. First, what did Paul mean by “the last days”? In one sense, the last days began when Jesus ascended into heaven. But this phrase also refers to the days leading up to the return of Jesus Christ. The second question is, what does Paul mean by terrible times? The same Greek word is also used in Matthew 8:28 to describe the demon-possessed men in the Gadarenes. They were violent men, committing unspeakable acts. So you could translate this verse: “There will be times without moral restraint.” That is what Paul is talking about. Just as those demon-possessed men had no restraint, so it will be in the last days. There will be no moral restraint.

Almost three decades ago, evangelical philosopher Carl Henry predicted that as America increasingly lost its Judeo-Christian heritage, paganism would grow even bolder. And he predicted that by the start of the twenty-first century we would face “naked naturalism and raw paganism”–that is, humanism with the pretty face ripped off, revealing the angry monster underneath it. That is what we are seeing right now: humanism unmasked for what it really is.

These are the times we are living in, and they are a sign that we are living in the last days. But there is even a more direct connection between Bible prophecy and the moral deterioration of our culture. During the last seven years of the Tribulation, there will be a world dictator called the Antichrist. Daniel 7:25 says, “He will speak out against the Most High and wear down the saints of the Highest One, and he will intend to make alterations in times and in law.” What does it mean that the Antichrist will intend to make alterations in times and in law? Daniel says this final world dictator will seek to change the most basic laws of humanity. And we are seeing that happen right now. Our nation’s leaders are attempting to change the most basic laws of God, such as the institution of marriage and the sanctity of life.

Culture may change, and our views certainly change, but the Word of God never changes. Psalm 119:89 says, “Forever, O Lord, Your word is settled in heaven.” This is why Paul tells us to get ready. In the last days, there will be terrible times, times without any moral restraint. But with that prediction is also a great hope: all these things are simply setting the stage for the greatest event in human history. Don’t lose heart; don’t despair. Help and hope are on the way.

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Today’s devotion is excerpted from “The New Moral (Dis)Order” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.

Carl Ferdinand Howard Henry, “Twilight of a Great Civilization” (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1988), 23.

Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. NIV quotation is taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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