II Timothy 3:12-17; 4:1-8
August 4, 2019
Upon the incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus our salvation hinges. He
who believes these truths aright hath believed the gospel, and believing the gospel he
shall without doubt find eternal salvation therein. But men want novelties
they cannot endure that the trumpet should give forth the same certain
sound, they crave some fresh fantasia every day. “The gospel with
variations” is the music for them. Intellect is progressive, they say; they
must, therefore, march ahead of their forefathers. Incarnate Deity, a holy
life, an atoning death, and a literal resurrection,-having heard these things
now for nearly nineteen (now twenty) centuries they are just a little stale, and the
cultivated mind hungers for a change from the old-fashioned manna. Even
in Paul’s day this tendency was manifest, and so they sought to seeking a
recondite (deep) meaning, they overlooked the fact itself, losing the substance in a
foolish preference for the shadow. While God set before them glorious
events which fill heaven with amazement they showed their foolish wisdom
by accepting the plain historical facts as myths to be interpreted or riddles
to be solved. He who believed as a little child was pushed aside as a fool
that the disputer and the scribe might come in to mystify simplicity, and
hide the light of truth. Hence there had arisen a certain Hymenaeus’ and
Philetus,” Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the
resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.” regard facts
as mysteries or parables, and they labored to find a spiritual meaning in
them till they went so far as to deny them as actual facts. They tear out the bowels
of the truth, and give us the carcass stuffed with hypotheses, speculations,
and larger hopes. The golden shields of Solomon are taken away, and
shields of brass are hung up in their stead: will they not answer every
purpose, and is not the metal more in favor with the age? It may be so, but
we never admired Rehoboam, and we are old-fashioned enough to prefer
the original shields of gold. The Apostle Paul was very anxious that
Timothy at least should stand firm to the old witness, and should
understand in their plain meaning his testimonies to the fact that Jesus
Christ of the seed of David ROSE AGAIN FROM THE DEAD! CH Spurgeon
1 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.”
(καιροὶ χαλεποί - kairoi chalepoi – perilous times; grievous times).
Grievous is not a very good rendering. “Perilous,” though in some contexts
it is a right rendering, is a little too restricted here. “Difficult,” “trying,”
“uneasy,” “hard to deal with”, “hard to bear” or the like, is nearer the sense.
Fierce, Grievous, Perilous - They are times when a Christian
hardly knows which way to turn or what to do. He has to live under a
constant sense of hindrance and difficulty of one sort or another.
Whether perilous or grievous, the times that follow are a strange prevalence
of moral evil and its coexistence with Christian forms.
2 “For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters,
proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,”
Men (οἱἄνθρωποι - hoi anthropoi – men; humans ); men in general,
the bulk of men in the Church; for he is speaking, not of the world at large, but of
professing Christians. Lovers of their own selves. (φίλαυτοι – philautoi –
lovers of self); only here in the New Testament, and not found in the Septuagint;
but used by Aristotle in a striking passage, where he distinguishes those who are
φίλαυτοι in a good sense, and those who are justly blamed for being
φίλαυτοι, i.e. selfish and greedy. The Christian character is exactly the
opposite (see I Corinthians 10:24; 13:5). Covetous. (φιλάργυροι - philarguroi –
lovers of money); elsewhere in the New Testament only in Luke 16:14, though
not uncommon in classical Greek; φιλαργυρία – philarguria – coveted; fondness
for money - is found in I Timothy 6:10. Boasters. (ἀλάζονες – alazones – boastful;
ostentatious; showy ); as Romans 1:30, and in classical Greek. It the derivation of
the word is ἄλη – alae - wandering, we may compare the περιερχόμενοι –
perierchomenoi - wandering - of Acts 19:13, “vagabond Jews.” Such vagabonds
were usually boasters. Hence ἀλαζών – alazon - came to mean “a boaster.”
Proud, blasphemers.. Υπερηφανία – huperaephania – proud; haughty and
βλασφημία – blasphaemia -–blasphermers; railers; calumniators are coupled
together in Mark 7:22; and ὑπερηφάνους – huperaephanous – proud and
ἀλάζονας - alazonas - boasters in Romans 1:30. In the New Testament
βλάσφημος – blasphaemos – blasphemer and βλασφημία –blasphaemia –
blasphemy are most commonly used of evil speaking against God and holy things;
but not always (see Ephesians 4:31; Colossians 3:8; I Timothy 6:4). Here
apparently it means generally “evil speakers.” Disobedient to parents.
(γονεῦσιν ἀπειθεῖς – goneusin apeitheis – to parents stubborn; unpersuadeable)
Selfishness is early to show itself in the form of self-will. The young generation are to
show impatience of being ruled by their parents, which is sure to grow into
impatience in respect of all rightful rule. In the grievous times there is to be
a large development of lawlessness, BEGINNING IN THE FAMILY
CIRCLE. Unthankful. (ἀχάριστοι – acharistoi - ungrateful); as Luke 6:35.
Found occasionally in the Septuagint, and common in classical Greek. Those who
are allowed to have their own way in early life are not likely to grow up to
show gratitude to parents for what they have sacrificed for them, nor are
they likely to show gratitude in the ordinary course of life, nor can we think
of them SHOWING GRATITUDE TO GOD FOR HIS MERCIES! Ingratitude
is to be a striking feature of the grievous times. The ingratitude which they showed to
their parents was a part of their general character. We ought to take special note
of this passive sin — the not being thankful for good received from God
and man. Unholy (ἀνόσιοι – anosioi); as I Timothy 1:9 (where see note).
There are certain sanctities which are everlasting, which are anterior to
all law and custom, which belong to THE DIVINE CONSTITUTION
OF THINGS e.g. the sanctities of the marriage bond. The unholy are
those who have no reverence or love in their hearts for THESE
EVERLASTING SANCTITIES. In the grievous times the most sacred
bonds are to be disregarded..
3 “Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent,
fierce, despisers of those that are good,” - Without natural affection
(ἄστοργοι – astorgoi); as in Romans 1:31, where in the Textus Receptus it is
coupled with ἄσπονδοι – aspondoi - implacable, as here. The verb στέργω –
stergo is “to love,” used primarily of the natural affection of parents to their
children and children to their parents. And στοργή – storgae is that natural love.
These persons were without this στοργή, of which Plato says, “A child loves his
parents, and is loved by them;” and so, according to Paul’s judgment in I Timothy 5:8,
were “worse than infidels.” Affection is that which sweetens life. In the grievous
times affection is to die out, even for those for whom nature specially claims affection.
Parents will act unnaturally toward their children Trucebreakers. (ἄσπονδοι –
aspondoi – implacable denotes “without a libation” (, negative, , “a libation”), i.e.,
“without a truce,” as a libation accompanied the making of treaties and compacts;
then, “one who cannot be persuaded to enter into a covenant,” – from Vine’s
Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words); only here according to the
Received Text, not at all in the Septuagint, but frequent in classical Greek.
Σπονδή – spondae was a solemn truce made over a libation which accompanied
the making of treaties and compacts. 'Ασπονδος – aspondos - at first merely
expresses that anything was done, or any person was left, without such a truce.
But, in a secondary sense, applied to a war, it meant an internecine war (destructive
to both sides in a conflict) admitting of no truce; and thence, as here, applied
to a person, it means “implacable,” one who will make no truce or treaty with his
enemy. The sense “truce breakers” is not justified by any example. The word
implacable supposes a state of variance. In the grievous times men are not to
come to terms with those who have given them offence, but are to pursue
them with all the might of their vengeance. False accusers. (διάβολοι – false
accusers; slanderers; adversaries); as I Timothy 3:11 and Titus 2:3. They are not to
be content with pouring contempt and bitterness on one another in ordinary evil
speaking, but they are to attack one another with falsehoods. (Think of the
change in the media’s way of handling things today – CY -2013) Thus the
diabolic character is to be developed in the grievous times. “ The arch-slanderer is
ὁ διάβολος - ho diabolos - the devil, (ὁ κατήγορυς τῶν ἀδελφῶν – ho
kataegorus ton adelphon - the accuser of the brethren - Revelation 12:10; see
John 6:70). Incontinent. (ἀκρατεῖς – akrateis - without self-control;
[sexually]); here only in the New Testament, not in the Septuagint but frequent in
classical Greek, in the sense of intemperate in the pursuit or use of anything, e.g.
money, the tongue, pleasure, the appetite, etc., which are put in the genitive case.
Used absolutely it means generally “without self-control” as here rendered in
the Revised Version. The Authorized Version “incontinent” (compare I Corinthians
7:5) expresses only one part of the meaning (see ἀκρασία – akrasia – excess;
Incontinence - Matthew 23:25) With self-will uncurbed in early life, it is not
to be wondered at that the men of the grievous times are to be men who
have LOST SELF-CONTROL. Fierce (from ferns, wild, savage);
ἀνήμεροι – anaemeroi – fierce - only here in the New Testament, and not found
in the Septuagint, but frequent in the Greek tragedians and others, of persons,
countries, plants, etc.; e.g. “Beware of the Chalubes, for they are savage (),
and cannot be approached by strangers” (AEschylus, ‘Prom. Vinct.,’ 734,
edit. Scholef.). It corresponds with ἀνελεήμονες – aneleaemones - unmerciful
(Romans 1:31). In the grievous times there will be loss of self-control, PROCEEDING
TO ACTS OF VIOLENCE. Despisers of those that are good. (ἀφιλάγαθοι –
aphilagathoi – averse to good; no lovers of good); only here in the New Testament,
and not at all in the Septuagint or in classical Greek. But φιλάγαθος – philagathos –
lovers of that which is good; is found in Titus 1:8. The Revised Version seems therefore
to be right in rendering here “no lovers of good,” rather than as the Authorized
Version “despisers of those which are good,” after the Vulgate and the new version
of Sanctes Pagninus. In keeping with the personal reference before and after, we prefer
to translate, “no lovers of good men.” With evil so active in them, like Cain (I John
3:12) the presence of good men will be burdensome to them. They are therefore
likely to make the times grievous to the good, by unjustly treating them.
The Perilous Times of the Apostasy (v. 1)
The apostle next proceeds to predict a further progress in error, with the
view of putting Timothy on his guard and sharpening his diligence.
· THE PERIOD OF THIS APOSTASY. “This know also, that in the last
days perilous times shall come.”
Ø The contextual injunction, “from such turn away,” applies to the
present rather that, to a far distant future. The Christian Church has in all
ages shown a condition of things only too closely represented by the moral
picture in the context. The apostle implies that there were “vessels of
dishonour” in the “large house” in his own day, such as Hymenaeus and
Philetus, as well as “vessels unto honor.”
Ø The language has a wide latitude, covering the whole space of the
Christian dispensation. The evil had begun to work in the age of Timothy,
but the worst development of anti-Christian apostasy will be in the closing
days of the dispensation. The “days of the Messiah” are often alluded to in
the Hebrew prophets as “in the last days;” literally, “the end of days”
(Isaiah 2:2; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1).
· THE DANGEROUS CHARACTER OF THIS APOSTASY. “Perilous
times shall come.”
Ø It will be a time of danger to the faith of God’s people.
Ø It will be a time of peril to their lives.
Ø It will be a time of abounding wickedness as well as error.
Corruption Within (v. 8)
“Men of corrupt minds.” It is here that evil begins, though it does not end here.
“As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” (Proverbs 23:7) but he does not
show in himself the development of evil at once. The hour of revelation, however,
will surely come; for “they that be otherwise [than good] cannot be hid.”
(I Timothy 5:25)
· THEY RESIST THE TRUTH. For this reason the truth will not let them
alone. It is an active searching power. It is “a discerner of the thoughts and
intents of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12), and men resent the intrusion of this
all-discovering, all-judging power. Impurity hates purity. Falsehood hates
truth. Worldly minds resist the claim of God’s Word to supremacy over
their hearts and lives. They resist its right to reign, and its claim to dominate
thought and action too.
· THEY BECOME REPROBATE.* Reprobation is no hard decree of
God’s; it is man’s own act and deed, and it is the result of the “corrupt
mind.” This breeding corruption spreads. The seeds of evil are scattered
here and there till the soul is like a wilderness, and the mind which was
made to be a garden of holiness becomes a graveyard of sin. Moral death
ensues, and with death always comes corruption.
*reprobate - ἀδόκιμος – adokimos - signifying “not standing the test,
rejected” – was primarily applied to metals (compare Isaiah 1:22); it is
used always in the New Testament in a passive sense,
(a) of things, Hebrews 6:8, “rejected,” of land that bears thorns
(b) of persons, Romans 1:28, of a “reprobate mind,” a mind of
which God cannot approve, and which must be rejected by
Him, the effect of refusing “to have God in knowledge”
· THEY BECOME REVEALED. “Their folly shall be made manifest”
(v. 9). The secret sin becomes a public shame. The thought incarnates
itself in deed, and retribution takes the form of disgrace.
Grievous Times (vs. 1-17)
“But know this, that in the last days grievous times shall come.” They were
in the first days of the Christian era; the times foretold were to be in the
last days of that era. There is an intended indefiniteness about the days;
nothing is said about their commencement, or about the period over which
they are to extend. They are to embrace distinct times, but all characterized
by grievousness. From what follows we may infer that the grievousness of
the times will consist in the prevalence of moral evil, and in the strange
coexistence of moral evil with Christian forms. There will be difficulty in
knowing how to act, and also in acting according to knowledge in the face
of strong, quasi-Christian solidarities of evil. From a source of revelation
open to him, the apostle was able to write with certainty regarding the
coming of grievous times in the last days. There is not excluded the
ultimate triumph of religion in this world which is taught elsewhere.
I shall present this in the manner of which Marion Duncan, Pastor of Second
Baptist church presented it in the late 1960’s, over a half-century ago.
For four months Bro. Duncan preached on the sixteen characteristics of the
people of the world at the end of time (here calleed “last days.”) He also
read from Revelation 20 which tells of the binding and loosing of Satan
over time and at its end! He ended each message on each trait by asking
the question, “Is he loose?” At that time it certainly seemed so to be
so, but now after fifty years, 1969-2019, then I had no concept of what the
world would come to, of which, I NOW SEE! (CY – 2019)
I will read once Revelation 20:1-3, 7-10, and then read one of the characteristics
of the time and make a few comments. Then I will also ask you, “IS HE LOOSE?”
· CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MEN IN THE GRIEVOUS TIMES.
Ø “For men shall be lovers of self.” Such men as the apostle here describes
there have been at all times, and the apostle does not say that they will be
then such for the first time, nor that all men without exception shall be
such, but he describes the moral spiritual physiognomy (the supposed art
of judging character from facial characteristics) of the times which
he beholds approaching.” We are not to include in this first part of the
description all who are influenced by self-love; for it is only right before
God that we should be influenced by an intelligent regard to our personal
interest. The persons intended are the selfish — a word which was only
brought in by the Puritan divines toward the middle of the seventeenth century.
They are those who exclude God from the central place to which He is entitled
in their life. They are those who exclude others from the place of interest to
which they are entitled. They thus put self in a false position — make it the
beginning and end of all their thoughts and actions. They properly take the
place of pre-eminence in the apostle’s list; for all classes of sinners are after
the selfish type, i.e. put forward self in some way or other that does not
accord with eternal truth. In the grievous times will be large developments
Ø “Covetous” - Lovers of money. From similarity of composition in the
Greek words, the apostle passes on from lovers of self to lovers of money.
Under this head are not to be included all seekers of money; for it is right
to seek money for good ends. Neither are there to be included all who seek
money for selfish ends. But we are to think rather of the avaricious, i.e.
those who seek to retain money in a selfish way. They look upon it as that
which will make them self-sufficient in the future; and therefore they
grudge to spend it even on present necessity. The times will be grievous
when the avaricious increase.
Ø “Boastful.” – Boasters - Derived from a word signifying
“a wandering about,” this word designated first the:
o vagabond mountebanks - persons who deceives others, especially
in order to trick them out of their money; a charlatan.
o conjuors – magicians, illusionists.
o quacksalver - a person who pretends, professionally or publicly,
to have skill, knowledge, qualification or credentials he or she
does not possess; a charlatan or snake oil salesman". The term
quack is a clipped form of the archaic term quacksalver.
o exorcist - a person who is believed to be able to cast out
the devil or other demons.
These people are “full of empty and boastful professions of cures and other
feats which they could accomplish. Men do not need to go about crying up,
advertising, that which is of great value. What men generally boast of is some
external advantage which is of little consequence in comparison with the
moral worth which should be associated with it. The times will be grievous
when the gift is exalted above the moral use to which it is put.
Ø “Proud.” - Haughty. The haughty are literally, in the Greek ὑπερήφανοι –
huperaephanoi - , those who show themselves above their fellows. In the
glass of their own minds, they behold themselves standing along with others;
and the comparison they make is in their own favor. Their estimate is false in
respect of the importance attached to that in which they pride themselves,
and in respect of the importance attached to that for which they despise
others. Birth is an advantage, but not the only advantage, nor the greatest
advantage, and must be taken along with service and character. In the
grievous times there will be a great amount of pride.
Ø “Blasphemers.” Railers. The word is “blasphemers” but it would be
inconsistent with holding the form of godliness to think of blasphemers in
the usual sense in English. It is better, therefore, to think of those who use
evil words to each other, i.e. words of contempt, or words of bitterness.
There is to be a large development of evil speaking in the grievous times.
Ø “Disobedient to parents.” Selfishness is early to show itself in the form of
self-will. The young generation are to show impatience of being ruled by
their parents, which is sure to grow into impatience in respect of all rightful
rule. In the grievous times there is to be a large development of lawlessness,
beginning in the family circle.
Ø “Unthankful.” Those who are allowed to have their own way in early life
are not likely to grow up to show gratitude to parents for what they have
sacrificed for them, nor are they likely to show gratitude in the ordinary
association in life, nor can we think of them showing gratitude to God for
His mercies. INGRATITUDE is to be a striking feature of the grievous
Ø “Unholy.” There are certain sanctities which are EVERLASTING which are
anterior to all law and custom, which belong to the Divine constitution of
things, e.g. the sanctities of the marriage bond. The unholy are those who
have no reverence or love in their hearts for these everlasting sanctities.
In the grievous times the most sacred bonds are to be DISREGARDED!
Ø “Without natural affection.” Affection is that which sweetens life. In the
grievous times affection is to die out, even for those for whom nature
specially claims affection. Parents will act unnaturally toward their children.
(What could be any more unnatural than to kill (abort) their child,
either prior to birth, or NOW AFTER BIRTH????????? – CY – 2019)
Ø “Implacable.” The word supposes a state of variance. In the grievous times
men are not to come to terms with those who have given them offence, but
are to pursue them with all the might of THEIR VENGEANCE!
(Sounds like the Legislative Branches [the House and the Senate] of the
Ø “Slanderers.” They are not to be content with pouring contempt and bitterness
on one another in ordinary evil speaking, but they are to attack one another
with falsehoods. (Witness yesterday when four freshmen members of
the House, now known as The Squad, attacked the President who has been
“Tweeting” his analysis of them – CY – this being July 16, 2019) Thus the
diabolic character is to be developed in the grievous times.
Ø “Without self-control.” Incontinent. (ἀκρατεῖς – akrateis - without
self-control; [sexually]); With self-will uncurbed in early life, it is not
to be wondered at that the men of the grievous times are to be characterized
as men who have
no self-control. (
this sexual cesspool of misconduct. CY – 2019)
Ø “Fierce.” In the grievous times there will be loss of self-control, proceeding
to deeds of violence. (Rape, child molestation, after-birth abortion,
ad nauseum. CY – 2019)
Ø “No lovers of good.” Despisers of those that are good. In keeping with the
personal reference before and after, we prefer to translate,“no lovers of good
men.” With evil so active in them, the presence of good men will be
burdensome to them. (And why, “....because his own works were evil
and his brother’s righteous.” I John 3:12 – CY – 2019) They are therefore
likely to make the times grievous to the good, by unjustly treating them.
Ø “Traitors.” Fidelity is the sacred bond that joins friend to friend. In the
grievous times friend will be often found betraying friend. (“And the
brother shall deliver up the brother to death, and the father the child:
and the children shall rise up against their parents, and cause them
to be put to death.” (Matthew 10:21)
Ø “Heady.” Headstrong. In the grievous times men will go to daring lengths.
Ø “High minded.” Puffed up. The explanation of their daringness is, that they
have no right sense of their own position before God — their:
Ø impotence, and
Ø “Lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” Men will be daring especially
in sensual gratification. (I saw a documentary on cocaine that was going back
as far as the 1970’s and 1980’s and the connection to sex. This means that
the “drug culture” and “sexual revolution” has been entrenched in this
country for nearly half a century, just one of the reasons that is bringing,
not only judgment upon the nation and people, but the Second Coming of
Jesus Christ! CY – July 17, 2019) Pleasure will be preferred TO GOD!
Ø “Holding a form of godliness, but having denied the power thereof.”
The remarkable thing is that the men who have been described (we do
not need to think of the characteristics being all combined) should hold
a form of godliness. The relation of the form of godliness to the men who
make the grievous times, is that it conceals their true character. It is
SELF throughout, in a more or less hateful form, and therefore the
real power of godliness is denied. But it does not appear so
nakedly and hatefully to be self where there is a form of acknowledging
God. The relation of the form of godliness to the grievous times is, that it
allows evil to work more insidiously (in a gradual, subtle way, but with
harmful effects). It is not so difficult to meet pure heathenism as it is to
meet a Christianity that has become heathenish.
Advice. “From these also turn away.” Paul would have things put on a
basis of reality. Between Timothy and such men there could be no
sympathy. Why keep up a semblance of fellowship? Both for them and for
him it was better that the line of demarcation should be drawn, and that all
further relationships should proceed on the footing that they did not belong
to the same Christian society.
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