This is a continuation of our Societal Characteristics of the Last Days series. In Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4, we studied Paul’s societal characteristics given to Timothy in 2 Timothy 3:1-7. Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 will be focused on Paul’s Characteristics of the Last Days as given to the Romans in Romans 1:28-32.
Though Romans 1:28-32 is a rundown of the characteristics of the antediluvian world just prior to the judgment of the flood, we can be sure that these characteristics – which are so similar to those in 2 Timothy 3:1-7 – are being repeated today just prior to God’s wrath being poured out during the Tribulation period. After all, Jesus said that the last days would be similar to those of the pre-flood world:
“But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37-39).
As we did in the first four parts, we will be looking at the definitions of the words in the original Greek, note some practical observations, include supplemental Scriptures, offer Christian encouragement, and, in a few instances, a sampling of current events in an attempt to expound upon these Societal Characteristics of the Last Days.
I would also like to offer a reminder to the reader of what we had written regarding our position in the world before we came to Christ in the series dedicated to the characteristics found in 2 Timothy 3:
Admittedly, and not surprisingly, this series might very well be considered offensive to the world. This study is viewed through the lens of the Creator’s revealed character and expectations of His creatures found in the Word of God.
The Savior has commanded His children to love all people, including our enemies. Jesus Christ proved His love to all of humanity as He prayed for His executioners while being crucified and, ultimately, paying the penalty of every human being’s sins on the cross, satisfying the Father’s wrath against us.
The truth is, we all were an abomination in the eyes of a Holy and Just God before realizing our desperate need for a Savior and giving our lives to Him. May our love of God and mankind always be our guide as we witness to a lost and dying world, directing them to the one true God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient” (Romans 1:28).
The Greek word for “reprobate” is 96 ἀδόκιμος “adokimos” and means castaway, rejected, reprobate. From a (as a negative particle) and dokimos; unapproved, i.e., rejected; by implication, worthless (literally or morally) — castaway, rejected, reprobate.
When a man or woman rejects God, who they know not only exists but is their Creator and Judge, then God will give them over to a mind that is “rejected, reprobate, and worthless.” This, in turn, will result in them doing those things that are not “proper, or fit” (literal modern-day translation of “convenient”).
We need look no further than the devastating effects of Darwinian evolution on our world and society.
Absolutely no different than the pagans before them who worshiped statues of wood, stone, and metals, the ridiculous theory of evolution worships those same natural elements as forces having a mind of their own with creative powers that have supposedly created what we see today. Instead of bowing to the actual elements themselves, the evolutionist bows down at the altar of “natural selection” and “survival of the fittest” as they give nature itself creative jurisprudence.
The end result of such a fanciful tale to flee from the God of creation they intuitively know – besides the devaluation and disregard of human life – is the societal characteristics that follow.
For the Christian, though, we know Who the Creator is and give all diligence to give Him the glory He justly deserves. Not only that, but we give our lives to this Creator, Jesus Christ, and allow Him to guide our every step, never attempting to acquiesce to our own wills but to the One whose will we recognize is our very life.
“Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
“Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life” (John 8:12).
Being filled with all… Unrighteousness
The Greek word for “unrighteousness” is 93 ἀδικία “adikia” and means iniquity, injustice, unrighteousness, wrong (a feminine noun derived from 1/A “not” and 1349/díkē, “justice”) – properly, the opposite of justice; unrighteousness, as a violation of God’s standards (justice) which brings divine disapproval; a count (violation) of God’s justice, i.e., what is contrary to His righteous judgments (what He approves). From adikos; (legal) injustice (properly, the quality, by implication, the act); morally, wrongfulness (of character, life or act) — iniquity, unjust, unrighteousness, wrong. (emphasis mine) [All definitions Biblehub.com]
This word is translated as “wrong, iniquity, unrighteous, and unjust” in the King James Bible.
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away” (Isaiah 64:6).
While the above verse was directed toward the Israelites, this very truth is applicable to all human beings. Even our “righteousness” as seen in the eyes of men is despicable in the sight of a holy and righteous God. Israel was our example throughout her rebellious history.
“… every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 25:21b).
In order for one to be righteous, they have to acknowledge a righteous God who gives the definition of what righteousness is. If not, then man is able to be the arbiter of what is and what isn’t righteous. And once man attains to this godhood of determining his own righteousness and the righteousness of others, then the battle begins for whose definition of righteousness will prevail, and we can always be certain that this “righteousness” will be anything but.
We see this today in that everyone desires to be the offended party so they may have their just retribution against their perceived offenders and be the recipient of society’s “righteous” empathy.
Because the world has rejected the Supreme Lawmaker and the originator of the true definition of righteousness, the world is literally up-in-arms with each other. Their unrighteousness is clearly on display by their rejection of their righteous Creator. We see this every day and in every place. All of this is because “they did not like to retain God in their knowledge” and have abandoned the only One who can free them from their bondage to unrighteousness.
Consequently, because of the unrighteousness they refuse to confess, they believe they have no accountability to the God they no longer want to retain in their knowledge and are free to exercise their unrighteousness, while claiming a “righteousness” they neither have nor know. This unrighteousness – even though they think themselves as righteous in their own eyes – leads to a litany of other evil and debase societal characteristics that the Apostle Paul is about to converge on.
But for the believer in Jesus Christ, our righteousness is inexorably linked to Yeshua’s righteousness. Our righteousness is fully dependent upon His and can only be received by faith in Him.
“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
“Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:22-26).
Christ’s righteousness is what the Father sees in His newly reborn children.
“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord” (1 Corinthians 1:30-31).
Being filled with all… Fornication
The Greek word for “fornication” is 4204 πορνεία “porneia” and means fornication (the root of the English terms “pornography, pornographic“; cf. 4205/pórnos) which is derived from pernaō, “to sell off”) – properly, a selling off (surrendering) of sexual purity; promiscuity of any (every) type. [See also the contrasting term, 3430/moixeía (“marital unfaithfulness“).] From porneuo; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively, idolatry — fornication. (emphasis mine)
“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10).
When one has rejected God and has immediately graduated to unrighteousness, the next step is fornication – it has to be. Once one is their own god, they have to feed that god with sacrifices worthy of their newfound deity with so-called “pleasures forevermore.”
It begins by feeding the flesh through images in the mind (in the ancient past), pictures on glossy paper (in the recent past), and videos and even watching others in real-life situations (in today’s world). But it doesn’t end there. The flesh is never satisfied and always desires more in its fallen state.
Once standard male/female fornication is pursued and achieved for a given length of time, that, too, will lose its appeal. That individual; that group of people; that nation; that fallen world; needs more to satisfy the fleshly desires that are never gratified.
From mental images and pornography to fornication and/or rape. From marriage to adultery. From many sexual encounters to alternative sexual appetites. The endless pull of moral depravity grows until the human being is no longer satisfied with another human being, and the disgusting sexual appetite has nowhere to go but to beastiality.
Here are just a few of many current examples of morally depraved fornication, sexual perversion, and alternative sexuality:
“Neither shalt thou lie with any beast to defile thyself therewith: neither shall any woman stand before a beast to lie down thereto: it is confusion” (Leviticus 18:23).
As a child of God – though many of us were once of them who do such wicked things – we no longer are under the bondage of sin through the grace of Christ and His purging of our transgressions on the cross.
“But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience” (Ephesians 5:3-6).
We are freed from the bondage of all sin because of our loving Creator and Savior’s sacrifice and our willingness to come to Him for forgiveness in faith.
“But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness” (Romans 6:17-18).
Being filled with all…. Wickedness
The Greek word for “wickedness” is 4189 πονηρία “ponéria” and means iniquity, wickedness, (from 4192/pónos, “pain, laborious trouble”) – properly, pain-ridden evil, derived from 4192 (pónos) which refers to “pain (pure and simple)” – resulting in “toil, then drudge, i.e., ‘bad‘ like our… criminal” (WP, 1, 325). See 4190 (ponēros). From poneros; depravity, i.e., (specially), malice; plural (concretely) plots, sins — iniquity, wickedness. (emphasis mine)
“Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end; but establish the just: for the righteous God trieth the hearts and reins” (Psalm 7:9).
There’s not much lacking in the above definition. Everything from pain, evil, depravity, malice, sins and iniquity — they’re all there. Once the mind of the unrighteous, God-rejecting fornicator enters this arena, the branching out to other detestable actions and desires is boundless.
This all-encompassing wickedness permeates a God-hating, Christ-rejecting society, and, unfortunately, we can see it in just about every aspect of life today. We need not go into the many detestably wicked elements of our society as a whole, but suffice it to say – and as hard as it is to believe – it’s only going to get worse.
With the above examples of morally depraved fornication, sexual perversion, and alternative sexuality, we will be offering other current examples of a wide array of wickedness found in many areas of life that we see in today’s last of the last days world that we live in.
Those of us who are truly saved have victory in Christ Jesus our Lord because it is He who works in us, is faithful, and keeps us from evil!
“And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil.
“And we have confidence in the Lord touching you, that ye both do and will do the things which we command you. And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ” (1 Thessalonians 3:2-5).
Being filled with all… Covetousness
The Greek word for “covetousness” is 4124 πλεονεξία “pleoneksía” and means advantage, covetousness, greediness (a feminine noun derived from 4119/pleíōn, “numerically more” and 2192/éxō, “have”) – properly, the desire for more (things), i.e., lusting for a greater number of temporal things that go beyond what God determines is eternally best (beyond His preferred-will, cf. 2307/thélēma); covetousness (coveting). 4124/pleoneksía (a feminine noun) points to a brand of covetousness, defined by the context. From pleonktes; avarice, i.e. (by implication) fraudulency, extortion — covetous(-ness) practices, greediness. (emphasis mine)
Ah, yes, covetousness. The 10th Commandment of God:
“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s” (Exodus 20:17).
The one commandment, as given to Moses, that is truly an internal heart issue and from which all other sins are derived. All of the other commandments are outward offenses to God and man, but covetousness is the one commandment that exposes man’s depravity of the heart. Jesus hit on this very subject when He said:
“For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:21-23).
But it truly is covetousness of another person and/or a person’s things that leads to “adulteries, fornications, murders, and thefts” and the satisfying of one’s own fleshly appetite that leads to “wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.”
Covetousness in today’s world is beyond prevalent. Everybody wants what another has. People often expect to acquire possessions apart from earning them. In fact, there is a movement to give reparations from a people not responsible for past offenses against others.
What we see today is like nothing we have ever seen before. The virulent pride of entitlement demanded by the masses has coursed through the veins of mankind of every nation on earth. Materialism and lust have partnered together to produce a never-ending hunger of covetousness that can never be content. We have become an entitled generation, greedy, uncontrolled, and uncontented with what the Lord has so graciously provided for the believer and unbeliever alike.
“Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have” (Hebrews 13:5a).
Paul equates covetousness with idolatry. That is, when we covet, we are looking to something or someone outside of ourselves, and in total neglect of God, to satisfy our lusts and longings to produce for us those things which we unnaturally and unlawfully desire.
When ancient Israel practiced pagan idolatry, they were forsaking the Lord and looking unto false gods with the same selfishness in mind. What they couldn’t have – and what they desperately coveted – they thought these idols would give to them and satisfy the wicked desires of their hearts.
“For this ye know, that no… covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:5).
As Paul reminded Timothy, God reminds His children:
“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and raiment let us be therewith content” (1 Timothy 6:6-8).
Being filled with all… Maliciousness
The Greek word for “maliciousness” is 2549 κακία “kakia” and means wickedness, evil, malice, naughtiness (from 2554/kakopoiéō, “a wicked disposition“) – properly, the underlying principle of evil (inherent evil) which is present, even if not outwardly expressed. [2549/kakía (“malice”) shares the same essential meaning as 2556/kakós (“wretched evil,” its adjectival cognate).] From kakos; badness, i.e. (subjectively) depravity, or (actively) malignity, or (passively) trouble — evil, malice(-iousness), naughtiness, wickedness. (emphasis mine)
What’s the natural progression from overt wickedness? Well, it appears that that would be maliciousness. Maliciousness seems to be a combination of wickedness, violence, and occasionally an overwhelming desire to inflict as much damage to another person as is humanly possible.
The malicious evil that permeates all facets of our society is not only deemed acceptable but is also encouraged and often rejoiced over. From people bragging about committing adultery with another person’s spouse and annihilating that marriage, to people intentionally destroying another person’s life – whether it’s their job, friendships, relationships, or their life – out of spite. Maliciousness through “cancel culture” and inhumane, immoral action is rampant and in vogue.
All of this and more is a definite symptom of a sick and dying society ripe for the judgment of God. And judgment is surely coming on a malicious and evil people and world.
“For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person… hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God” (Ephesians 5:5).
Peter reminds the recently reborn Christian to lay aside all malice from their lives.
“Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
The remedy for the believer, as always, is true agape love through God, given back to God, and provided freely to others.
Being filled with all… Envy
The Greek word for “envy” is 5355φθόνος “phthónos” and means envy, a grudge, spite, refers to the jealous envy that negatively “energizes” someone with an embittered mind. “Ill-will” conveys “displeasure at another’s good; without longing to raise oneself to the level of him whom he envies, but only to depress the envied to his own level” (R. Trench, 90). Probably akin to the base of phtheiro; ill-will (as detraction), i.e., Jealousy (spite) — envy. (emphasis mine)
“A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones” (Proverbs 14:30).
The sister of covetousness is envy. You can’t have one without the other, and they are intrinsically linked.
Coveting another person’s possessions and even their spouse is a direct result of envy, and this envy – when realizing that one can’t acquire the things that they covet – can result in aspiring to destroy the person or persons that have what the flesh unhealthily desires and craves.
Having “displeasure at another’s good” because of envying that person is a rather common reaction from those who covet, and it often leads to maliciousness.
Are you noticing a connection between all of these societal characteristics? Like much in life, everything is interconnected.
This idea can be conveyed using the following internal illustration of what fills the fallen mind and heart of the envious: ‘If I can’t have it (person or thing), then nobody will! And if somebody does have it, then I hate them for having it, and I just wish they would die!’
Many times, if left unchecked and allowed to grow in the heart of the envious, the envious person will seek out personal destruction and/or intentionally cause pain on those they are envious of – whether mental, familial, societal, or even physical.
Sound familiar? It should. We see and hear of these types of things every day. When someone covets, they do so, many times, because of an envious heart.
All of this boils down, again, to an unhealthy dissatisfaction with life. When a fallen human being isn’t being gratified – and they never will be, apart from Christ – then they sense that there is something else out there that will satisfy them.
Once they procure this person or thing that they have regarded necessary for their happiness and satisfaction, they soon discover that it does neither. Then they’re off and running after the next person or thing that they believe will fill the void in their life. It’s an endless miserable cycle that can be witnessed in the world every day.
“Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass” (Psalm 37:4-5).
As has been so well said before: It is Christ – and Christ alone – who can fill that void in every person’s heart and satisfy their soul.
Being filled with all… Murder
The Greek word for “murder” is 5408 φόνος “phónos” and means a murder, slaughter, killing (intentional, unjustified homicide). See 5407 (phoneuō). From an obsolete primary pheno (to slay); murder — murder, + be slain with, slaughter.
“Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it” (John 8:44).
Being filled with all murder is quite an indictment of our societal characteristics in these last days. Whether murder within the heart, or murder in the streets, or premeditated murder in secret, murder has always been an apex of mankind’s depravity.
We are literally seeing violence and murder in every corner of the world today. Though this shouldn’t surprise us, as the prince of this world “was a murderer from the beginning,” and before we were born again – and just like the unbelieving world – “the lusts of [our] father [the devil]” we did do.
Here are just a few, among numerous, current examples of murder today:
The 10th Commandment calls people not to murder. But Jesus said, concerning murder:
“Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire” (Matthew 5:21-22).
Before conversion, we were all lost haters and murderers in our hearts; but upon conversion, we became blessed servants of Christ and His agape love that comes from the heart of the Father through the Holy Spirit living within us.
Being filled with all… Debate
The Greek word for “debate” is 2054 ἔρις “éris” strife, contention, debate, wrangling (a primitive word, NAS dictionary) – literally quarrel, strife; properly, a readiness to quarrel (having a contentious spirit), affection for dispute. Of uncertain affinity; a quarrel, i.e. (by implication) wrangling — contention, debate, strife, variance. (emphasis mine)
“It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman” (Proverbs 21:19).
Before anyone accuses me of sexism, the above verse applies equally to men!
The modern-day illustration of debate – strife, contention, wrangling, quarreling – would be the political divide which stretches into ideological divisions that host a plethora of polar opposites ranging from left-right, liberal-conservative, black-white, homosexual-heterosexual, man-woman-trans, biological sex-gender fluid, just to name a few. And how intense these debates can become! Some will even murder as a result of these debates!
Christians can also become entangled, engulfed, and enraged in these debates – and sometimes rightly so, as we’ve got to be standing for truth and righteousness. Yet, as Christians, the issues can become so intense and passionate that we forget to engage in these arguments and debates with salt, light, and love.
But, as Christians, should we even engage in these debates at all?
I believe that we, and our mission for the Lord, would be well-served not to even engage in many of these debates, as the only way to change people’s minds on such issues is to allow Jesus to change them and their hearts through salvation in Him. And the only way that this can be accomplished is if we actually give them the gospel!
Our responsibility in relation to strife, contention, debate, and quarreling, is that we are not to be partakers of such things. We are commanded to:
“Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men” (Romans 12:17-18).
“These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren” (Proverbs 6:16-19).
We would do well to complete Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 of Societal Characteristics of the Last Days with a well-known verse that reminds us of who we are really dealing with when it comes to these abhorrent sinful conditions of mankind.
“For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12).
May all well remember who our enemy is.
Keep reaching the lost for Christ while we still have time.
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Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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