“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.” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). The first question to ask here is when the “last days” will be. For many, it is some period of time in the distant future, and they, therefore, do not feel a sense of accountability and responsibility for the present. Not that it means the ability to sin without consequence exists, but for many people, the “last days” would be a time to start paying particular attention to God and His commands. Let’s face it that is not an entirely inaccurate assumption of the thought process of humanity in general. Why would we worry about something before we have to?
Think about a time in school when you were given an assignment. Except for a tiny minority, the average student would wait for more than half the allowed time to elapse before beginning to work on it. Some would wait until the proverbial last second before starting, but all would take the project progressively more seriously as the final day grew closer. The same goes for exams. As the time for an exam draws closer, students take them much more seriously, studying more and more earnestly until the day of the test. Humanity has an almost natural tendency to put off the seriousness of things until time starts to run out and its effect on us becomes more real in our minds. It stands to reason then that most people will treat the Scriptures the same way – assuming the “last days” is a time far, far in the future.
Let’s look at when we should take spiritual matters of the kind in the abovementioned verses more seriously. Heb. 1:1-2 reads as follows, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers through the prophets, but in these “LAST DAYS” He has spoken to us by His son…”. Clearly, the last days started with Jesus and are not sometime in the distant future.
However, there is a difference between knowing it is the last days and trying to predict the end times. The “last days” is an undetermined period that began with Jesus and, therefore, cannot be used to defend an “end-time prophesy.” The scriptures are clear that we have no indication of the latter, as seen in 1 Thess. 5:1-2, “Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”
But that does not mean we should not take the words seriously because the day of the test where we will answer for what we have done may not be far away after all. Read 2 Tim. 3:1-5 again, and you will see that all of those things are happening and have happened since the time of Jesus. Each of us has, on average, 78.8 years before we face the music, so to speak. Some have far less and some more, but whether more or less, we are essentially in the end times because of our limited lifespan. This is especially true since the test is a surprise one that could come at any second. Take the warnings seriously.