This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
— 2 Timothy 3:1
The Bible makes it unmistakably plain that in the last days, the world will be filled with difficulties, the like of which have never before been known in the history of mankind. In fact, the Holy Spirit was so committed to making sure we understand what will occur in the last days that in Second Timothy 3:1, it is as if He points His prophetic finger two thousand years into the future and specifically foretells what will occur at the end of the age.
Paul wrote these words by inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Second Timothy 3:1: “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” Notice that this verse begins by saying, “This know.…” The word “know” is the Greek word ginosko, the Greek word for knowledge. But in this verse, it is used in the present imperative tense, which means it is a strong command to recognize that there is something that must be known, must be recognized, and must be acknowledged. Having this knowledge is not optional; it is mandatory.
The verse continues, “This know also, that in the last days.…” The word “last” in this verse is from the word eschatos, which points to the ultimate end of a thing — such as the last month of the year; the last week of the month; the last day of a week; or the very extreme end of the age. In other words, the word eschatos doesn’t merely describe the last days in general, but the very last of the last days. It was used in classical Greek literature to depict a place furthest away, such as the very ends of the earth. In this sense, it also signified something that is final.
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With this word eschatos, the Holy Spirit through Paul takes us right into the end of the age to enlighten our eyes and help us see what the world environment will be like in the concluding moments of the age. Paul goes on to say that “perilous” times will mark that final age. “Perilous” is the Greek word chalepos — a word used to describe ugly words that, when spoken, are hurtful and emotionally hard to bear. It is also used in various pieces of literature to depict wild, vicious, uncontrollable animals that are unpredictable and dangerous. It always carries the idea of an action, place, person, or thing that is harsh, harmful, and filled with high risk.
This is the very word used in Matthew 8:28 to portray the two demon-possessed men who were so legendary in the country of the Gadarenes. It says, “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.” The words “exceeding fierce” is this same word chalepos. This means the two demon-possessed men were like wild, vicious, and uncontrollable animals, completely unpredictable and dangerous. Simply being in the region near these men placed one’s life in jeopardy because these demonized men were chalepos — harsh and harmful, presenting a high risk to anyone in the region.
Taking the definitions of all these words into consideration, Second Timothy 3:1 could be taken to mean:
“You emphatically must know what I am about to tell you! In the very last part of the last days, in the very end of the age, hurtful, harmful, dangerous, unpredictable, uncontrollable, high-risk periods of time will come.”
Considering the events that have shaken the world in recent years, we shouldn’t be shocked to hear that this is the meaning of Second Timothy 3:1. Dangerous, harmful, high-risk periods of time have already arrived! We are living in a generation that faces world threats no other generation has ever known. As always, the Holy Spirit was correct in what He was trying to tell us.
But why did the Holy Spirit forewarn us about these events? Were His prophetic warnings intended to scare or to fill us with fear? No! The Holy Spirit, as He always has done, wanted to prepare God’s people so they could be spiritually alert and ready to minister to people who suffer harm as a result of the events that will grip the world at the end of the age.
According to Second Timothy 3:1, we are living in an age that will be marked by “perilous” world events. Let us therefore be wise, protecting our minds, our family members, and every other area of our lives by renewing our minds with the Word of God. Rather than hide in fear, let’s get God’s perspective about what we should be doing to help people who have been victimized by this age. Let’s move out with the power of God and be ready to minister to those who have suffered harm because of the times in which we live!
My Prayer for Today
Lord, You designed me to live in these last days according to Your great plan. Because You are in charge of my life, I know it’s no mistake that I am alive in this generation. Since these days are filled with greater risk than any other generation has ever known, I need faith to face these times victoriously. I need wisdom to minister to others who are wounded and hurt. So today I ask You to help me embrace this time as a part of my destiny and to become strong in faith so I can reach out to those who are near me and who need spiritual assistance! Help me to recognize their need and to know exactly how I should respond to help them.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
My Confession for Today
I declare by faith that I am chosen and equipped to live in this last generation. The Word of God protects my mind, my family, and everything that is a part of my life. I will renew my mind with the Word of God and get God’s perspective about what His role is for me in these last days. Therefore, I will be a blessing and a help to people who have been victimized by these difficult and trying times. Rather than hide in fear, I will move out with the power of God and stay ever-ready to minister to those who have suffered harm because of the times in which we live!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
Questions to Answer
1. Are you heeding the warning of the Holy Spirit to be spiritually alert in these last days?
2. If God were to ask you to minister to someone who is suffering, do you feel prepared to help that person? How can you become better prepared?
3. Do you feel overcome with fear or filled with faith as you contemplate what it will take to face the special challenges of our generation?