2 Timothy 3:1-8
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! 6 For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith.
This list of attributes is a description of how unbelievers will more and more be like in these last days. It is also particularily a description of those unbelievers who are false prophets. In verse 13 Paul states, “But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.” So the list above I would say are the attributes of evil men and impostors, or false prophets. This list I believe also falls in the context with the description of men in these last days by Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1-2.
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.
John MacArthur pointed out in his Study Bible that the phrase in 2 Timothy 3:1, the last days, and also the phrase in 1 Timothy 4:1, the latter times, “… refers to this age, the time since the first coming of the Lord Jesus.” We are in the last days! We are now living in perilous times where there are among us perilous People.
I recently wrote a post on Coming to the knowledge of the Truth: from 2 Timothy 2:22-3:9. I want to go back now and re-visit that study, concentrating mainly on 2 Timothy 3:5—having a form of godliness but denying its power; and we will look at it in the context of the apostasy of these last days.
When you read that verse (2 Tim. 3:5) by itself it’s not too hard to understand: there are those out there that appear to be Christians but are really not. But when you put that verse in the context of 2 Timothy 3:1-8 (and also 1 Tim. 4:1-2) it’s really quite shocking. Those who appear to be Christian aren’t Christian at all; they are evil. How is that possible? And why would someone that is that evil want to appear to be godly?
Okay, let me try to make clear for you who these people are, what they are like, and what drives them.
Who Are These People?
If you go back to chapter 2 we will see that these perilous men are those who are in opposition to the truth (2:25), and they resist the truth (3:7). They are men (and women) of corrupt minds (3:8). And though it is hard to tell how persistent they are in spreading their false doctrine, it is clear that they are false prophets. 1 Timothy 3:6 indicates that they concentrate on women who are weak willed and gullible and are already loaded down with sins. The fact that these “women” are “always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth” tells us that these false prophets have fed them with their false theology and gave them plenty to study; but yet none of what they study brings them any closer to the truth—too salvation. In fact, it just keeps them more entrapped, more captive and more in darkness.
The following is a list from verses 2-4, showing us what these scoundrel, these false prophets are really like.
What Are These People Like?
Lovers of themselves. Paul tells us clearly that we are to think of others more then ourselves (Phil 2:3-4). The thought here is that these men are selfish and they think only of themselves. Whatever they do they do it only and always for themselves, to please themselves.
Lovers of money. Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 6:10, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness.” This may be the avenue through which these got corrupted in the first place.
Boasters. They love to brag about themselves.
Proud. Or arrogant or haughty.
Blasphemers. Those who sneer at and mock God.
Disobedient to parents. Even the young are among this group. And when they get older they still dishonor their parents.
Unthankful. Or ungrateful, especially to parents.
Unholy. A bad boy or girl, irreverent and disrespectful.
Unloving. Or without love, or inhuman, or having no compassion.
Unforgiving. Or merciless and cruel; it also means being hardheaded and always opposing others.
Slanderers. Or malicious gossips, constant liars, false accusers and trouble makers.
Without self-control. They are without strength to resist temptations and passions; they are immoral.
Brutal. They are ungentle, rough, cruel, and fierce.
Despisers of good. They will sneer at those who try to be good.
Traitors. They are disloyal; you can’t trust them.
Headstrong. They are hotheads and reckless; they are ready to do anything without concern for the consequences.
Haughty. Conceited, puffed up.
Lovers of pleasure rather then lovers of God. Pleasure and sensual gratification is their god. They have no pursuits for good, only to please and entertain themselves.
They have a form of godliness but deny its power. They may profess to be a Christian; they may regularly go to church—to your church. They will participate in religious rituals: repeating confessions of faith, taking communion, being baptized, going to catechism, and even holding high church positions.
Their outward form of Christianity and virtue makes them deceptive and dangerous—especially to the young and vulnerable. As we can see from their attributes, they are not Christians. They have no life of God in them and they deny its power; that is, they deny the existence of God and the power of God. From these we are warned to stay away from.
From the list above we can kind of see the character of those we are talking about. What stands out to me is that they are phonies on the outside and beasts on the inside, who are only interested in themselves, in there own pleasure and status. They may come across to you as friendly, and all smiles, but it’s only to entrap you with whatever they want to sell you. And they have a proud haughtiness about them that would appear almost like a self confidence. But look closely at their character; they are not gentle or kind or genuine in anything they do or teach. They have no love for God, or anyone else, just themselves and the ministry they are trying to promote.
So who are the false prophets of our day? Well I think it could be anyone who is not a believer, who pretends to be religious. He or she doesn’t have to have a position in the church, although it is probably something they seek. There are some who are on television who are false prophets; but certainly not all of them.
I was looking through the internet today, to see what people are saying about who the false prophets of our day are. I was amazed at who was on some of their lists. I couldn’t believe it. Billy Graham? You have to be kidding. He is not a false prophet. He is a godly evangelist. Okay, let me list some of those I saw on the list of false prophet that I know are not.
These (listed below) Are Not False Prophets
Jack Van Impe
D. James Kennedy
Dr. James Dobson
You know, just because you may not agree with everything they say, and they have a different church denomination than you, doesn’t mean they are a false prophet. False prophets are haters of God; they reject God and deny His power. They are phonies, hypocrites, immoral and unloving. I can’t say that of any of these above.
But there are definitely false prophets out there. I have a feeling that allot of them are rather quiet in the church. They sneak around and will try to take you unaware. They may be persuasive and confident, but at the same time suave and quiet, almost shy. Beware of them! They are savage wolves in sheep’s clothing!
What Drives Them?
Paul tells us in 1 Timothy 4:1 that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. This is the group we are talking about. These who have a form of godliness are those who have fallen prey themselves to false teachers. And the way they have fallen is by their deceptions and through the doctrine of demons. And when they fall away, they lead others to do the same—to follow their example.
But what is their purpose? What are they up to? What drives them?
1. A false knowledge. They are driven by something that is false. Examples of this I think are Harold Camping and his followers. Harold has somewhere along the line been fed a line, and he fell into the trap. His followers follow him because they have been led to believe he is telling the truth. But of course we have seen that they all have been deceived.
2. The love of money and the love of pleasure. These things go together. They love money because money will buy them pleasure. And pleasure satisfies. But it only last for a while; and there are grave consequences to the pleasure they seek. We see this more and more in this world. People are living only for themselves, to please themselves. And they will stop at nothing to get it.
3. The love of money and pleasure, supported by false doctrine. This is especially seen among those in leadership positions and salesmen. They will write books, build false ministries, and promote their false doctrine (really the doctrines of demons); and they do it mainly with the intent of selling their good to make money and to support their pleasure habits. All the while they are tightening their own chains that hold them captive to Satan.
4. Satan. They unknowingly are following the purpose and plan of Satan. They may not be aware of why they are so drawn to do what they do. When they give into sin and are willfully disobedient to God, this gives Satan a powerful hold on them, and so they are led and moved to do his will.
Well this is the world we find ourselves in today. And it’s getting worse, not better. So this is a warning.