Somehow, I failed to post article #2, and went straight to #3. My apologies for this.
Be sure to begin with the first article here.
We are commenting on an article sent to me. The article proposes to give “compelling” evidence to prove that Christ’s parousia (Second Coming) is near.
Reason #2–Plummeting morality. The article suggest that “studies show a shocking breakdown in morality since the middle of the century.” Proof that our generation is the pivotal one is offered by an appeal to 2 Timothy 3:1-4.This point assumes a great deal.
Paul told Timothy that “in the last days,” “evil men and seducers will grow worse and worse.” The assumption is that since we do see a breakdown in modern morality, we must be the generation of which Paul spoke.
The events Paul foretold were to occur in the last days. Yet, Paul and the New Testament writers were living in the last days! See my book The Last Days Identified, for a full discussion of the topic of the last days. The book is available from this website.
On Pentecost, Peter affirmed that the wonderful events of that day were the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy concerning the last days. Peter affirmed “this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel.” John likewise affirmed: “It is the last hour! As you have heard that anti-christ should come, even now there are many anti-christs, thereby you know that it is the last hour” (1 John 2:18).
There can be no mistake, the last days existed in the first century generation. And if they existed then, it is certain that the last days do not exist now. The very term denotes the closing period of an era…not an indefinite period of thousands of years. Incidentally, the term “the last days” does not refer to the Christian Age. The last days existed before the Christian Age began on Pentecost, because Jesus appeared in the last days, and he appeared before Pentecost (Hebrews 1;1; 9:26; 1 Peter 1;20).
That Paul was not anticipating the fulfillment of his prediction, in 2 Timothy 3, in some far off future is evident, because he foretold what would happen “in the last days,” and then told Timothy “from such men turn away!” (v.5). Paul’s contrast between the evil that was coming, and Timothy personally, shows that Paul was concerned with contemporary events.
Another assumption in the article is that immorality has never been as bad as it is now. Those who believe this–and we say this kindly–simply do not know anything about the world in which Paul wrote! Read Romans 1, and understand that Paul was describing the world in which he lived. Read the description of immorality in 1 Corinthians 6:9, and realize that not only were the things Paul mentions present, they were actually a part of the religion of the ancient world. In other words, sexual immorality, drunkenness, and debauchery were not only done, they were sanctioned, even demanded, by the religion of the ancient world! Words are hardly adequate to describe the depravity, the cruelty, the injustice, of the first century world.
If one wanted to identify the cruelest, the meanest, the most immoral, (one has but to read about the Roman emperors to be convinced that even today’s politicians are saints in comparison!), he would have to settle on the generation of Paul and the apostles. It is simply a historical error to claim that the modern breakdown in morals equals, or even compares, to the first century.
When Paul foretold the worsening of morals, he was not anticipating a generation future to him. He was trying to prepare Timothy for events that were already present. It is a mistake to apply Paul’s prediction to a generation 2000 years removed from the one he was speaking to, and about. The breakdown in morality, lamentable as it is, is not a sign that Christ’s coming is near. More to come.