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With some poetic form fiddling we present part of Paul’s second epistle to Timothy…

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THE END OF THE TUNNEL

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…In the last days difficult times will come.

For men will be

lovers of self,

lovers of money,

boastful,

arrogant,

revilers,

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[For more use the DOOR.]

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[MORE]

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disobedient to parents,

ungrateful,

unholy,

unloving,

irreconcilable,

malicious gossips,

without self-control,

brutal,

haters of good,

treacherous,

reckless,

conceited,

lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God;

holding to a form of godliness, although they…………

      have denied its power…

always learning and never able to come to……………

      the knowledge of truth….

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   This comes from 2 Tim. 3:2 – 5. Of course, when you read Scripture, especially when it’s been diddled with (like here) you need to ask some questions. Let us suggest some…as well as in some cases some answers or some responses. (Of course we’ll number things as usual.)

   (1)  “What’s the context here? People are always jerking Scripture around to make it say what they want it to!”  Good question! Paul is telling his young disciple and new leader about what to expect as he does God’s work in the new churches. Through our reading this, we also get clues about was in store for him as well as what’s probably in store for other Christians in the future.

   (2)  “Sounds like what’s going on today!”  True, but remember that the Christians before us from Day 1 (or month or year 1?) have been saying  “last days” for centuries. Christians have repeatedly been martyred for their faith since the beginning. Christians have been slaughtered recently in Somalia and the Middle East. Even as we write Christians are being driven from their homelands where their ancestors have believed in Christ for 2000 years.

   (3)  “Is this a prophecy that we are in the end times?”  No it is not. (See above.) It’s the “we” here that’s troubling. Look at the context. ‘The last days” sounds suggestive. There’s no calendar time given here. Perhaps Timothy, even Paul, thought it was not far away. Even Jesus, while on Earth, didn’t know “the day or hour.” Other Scriptures fill in pieces about the end, however (not our subject here).

   (4)  “Then what does this show?”  Well, for one thing, it identifies behaviors that God is aware of, and doesn’t approve of. Christians should avoid these things for these acts contradict the two great commandments: love God first and for most; and love your neighbor as yourself. But we’ll risk going further: These evil behaviors will be ramped up, and much more obvious–and not just to select regional groups–in biblical end times.

   (5)  “Did Paul see the comments in this letter as to also especially referring to “the end times”?”  Well, probably yes; however, we feel that Scripture here¹ is not so much dealing with timing, but that when the final end of this world order things will be really going downhill.

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  [We'll say here what we've often said before: Our prayer is that in on comments on Scripture, that whatever is true and important may be remembered and that whatever is false or trivial be forgotten or do no harm.]

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   ¹ We definitely believe in a dramatic set of events that occur in the “last times” of this present world order, but that isn’t the subject at hand here.