|Dr. Couch, I am being persuaded in what you say about a social apostasy coming upon the world. Can you explain a little more?|
ANSWER: Yes, what I mean is that the culture, that in some places, to a large degree, has been blessed by biblical Christianity, will turn and be even more evil that previously. And this is exactly what happened in Europe some decades back, and has now happened in America during my lifetime. Christianity held back sin to some extent but now the roof has collapsed and sin is becoming more sinful!
And, the church then is becoming more like the world and the culture! We have some verses that I believe point this out. For example, 2 Timothy 3:1-2.
"But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money ..."
The verses speak of "in the last days difficult times will come." Paul is not in those verses talking about church apostasy but about cultural apostasy and evil growing worse and worse. The Greek reads "Time of stress, fierce, savage times." Paul uses the Future Tense of the "to be" verb. "It will be this way ..."
Then in verse 2 he does not speak of the church folks, but of "the men" of the world, using the Greek word, with the article, "hoi anthropos." This will happen when "the time" (kairos, chronology) will come, and grow more savage, when the change happens in the culture. Paul connects this thought with 4:3 when he writes: "For that 'time' (kairos, chronological period) will come (Future Tense) when 'they' (supplied by the translator) 'will not endure healthy doctrine ... '" Paul here is not talking about true believers but about those in the culture who apostatize from what little they know of truth.
He is not talking about true"possessing Christians" in 3:13, as some think, but again, he is talking about the lost in the culture, when he writes "But evil men (poneeros anthropos) ... and impostors will proceed from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." These are the lost men of the society, the culture, not those who are Christians (though the true believers will be deceived.). Indeed, the evil men are "impostors" (goees). This is the only place in the NT where this word is used. It's often translated "seducers." This is a better translation; they will be seducing and leading astray those who are professors, and who are taken down the wrong path, who go into apostasy and join them in their worldly sinfulness! "Goees" can be translated "a juggler, enchanter, one who uses incantations to deceive." This is happening and going on today. The church is getting like the culture.
"They will proceed" (Future Tense) is from the Greek word "prokopos" meaning "they will go forward, go forward hammering (as a smith hammers metal)," "promoting further" their evil agendas. And nothing will stop them; it will get worse and worse, as the apostasy takes over the culture even more!
The Bible Knowledge Commentary seems to agree with my thoughts on the passage. Several times it mentions "the people (the lost), when they the world will see terrible times of societal degeneration."
I believe we are now in religious, spiritual, and social degeneration and this is the sign that we are in "the last days."
Thanks for asking.
Dr. Mal Couch