Perilous Times Shall Come
This know also, that in the last times, perilous times shall come.
— 2 Timothy 3:1
Few people would question that we are living in dangerous and treacherous times. Especially for people without God, the last decades have brought fear and terror into the hearts of people around the world. Regardless of where you live — whether in the United States, Europe, Asia, or the former Soviet Union — people have been rudely awakened to the truth that the world is no longer the place it used to be.
This is definitely a different age, far removed from the world many of us remember as children. Even today it is difficult to imagine how things could have spiraled out of control so quickly; however, nearly 2,000 years ago when the apostle Paul wrote the book of Second Timothy, the Holy Spirit spoke through him to alert us that such a day would come. By the inspiration of the Spirit, Paul wrote, “This know also, that in the last times, perilous times shall come” (2 Timothy 3:1).
The word “know” in this verse is a translation of the Greek word ginosko. The word ginosko is a common word that is normally translated knowledge. In this verse, Paul used ginosko in the present imperative tense, which means this message is something so critical that it must be known, must be recognized, and must be acknowledged. Whatever the Holy Spirit is about to say, it is so important that hearing it is not optional — it MUST be known and understood.
Paul then told us what we must know. He let us know that “perilous times shall come.” The word “perilous” comes from the Greek word chalepos, a word that is used only two times in the 27 books of the New Testament. This word chalepos was used to denote spoken words that were hurtful, harsh, cruel, ruthless, cutting, wounding, and therefore hard to bear. But it was also used to describe animals that were vicious, ferocious, fierce, unruly, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and dangerous. In nearly every place where this word is used in secular literature of the ancient world, it depicts something said that is harmful or an environment besieged with high risk or danger.
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The only other time the word chalepos is found in the New Testament is in Matthew 8:28, where Matthew used it to describe two demon-possessed men. Matthew 8:28 vividly tells us, “And when he was come to the other side into the country of the Gadarenes, there met him two possessed with devils, coming out of the tombs, exceeding fierce, so that no man might pass by that way.”
This phrase “exceeding fierce” in Matthew 8:28 is actually a translation of this very same Greek word chalepos. Because the word chalepos is used to describe these two demon-possessed men, it categorically conveys that they were vicious, ferocious, fierce, unruly, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and dangerous. In fact, if you read the entire story in Matthew’s gospel, it’s clear that the people who lived in the region of the Gadarenes kept a safe distance between themselves and these two men because they knew that being in close proximity to them would put their lives in jeopardy. These two demon-possessed men were chalepos — vicious, ferocious, fierce, unruly, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and dangerous. But they represented no threat to Jesus because He knew that He had authority over them. Therefore, instead of running like everyone else, Jesus stood up against those dark forces and set those men free.
This brings us back to Second Timothy 3:1 where the Holy Spirit prophesies through Paul that “perilous times shall come.” If you take all of the original Greek words into consideration, it delivers a potent message from the Spirit of God.
Taking the definitions of all these words into consideration, Second Timothy 3:1 could be taken to mean:
“You emphatically must know what I am about to tell you! In the last days, periods of time will come that are hurtful, harmful, dangerous, unpredictable, uncontrollable, and high-risk.…”
The Holy Spirit warned us 2,000 years ago that the world would become a dangerous place at the end of the age. However, we had no idea how fast or how far it would spin out of control. But as we live in the world today, we are waking up to the harsh reality of a world that is exceedingly fierce.
Because the world “perilous,” the Greek word chalepos, is used to describe the demon- possessed men in Matthew 8:28, I personally believe that the Holy Spirit was warning us that demonic activity will be released in the last days that will bring about hurtful, harsh, cruel, ruth- less, cutting, wounding situations that will be emotionally hard to bear. As a result of demonic activity, the world will become a place that is vicious, ferocious, fierce, unruly, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and dangerous. We are living in a generation that faces threats that no other generation has ever known. As always, the Holy Spirit was correct in what He was trying to tell us.
- So how should we as believers respond to all of this?
- Should we stay in our houses, close the blinds, and hide from what’s going on in the world?
- Should we never fly on a plane again or take public transportation?
- Should we stop sending our children to public schools?
- What should we do in response to these Spirit-predicted truths and the external reality that continually faces us in the world today?
Instead of retreating in fear, you and I must accept the challenge to step forward as Jesus did when He encountered the demon-possessed men of the Gadarenes. What terrified other people and made them retreat in fear is exactly what beckoned Jesus to action. In this hour, we must not retreat in fear!
The situation in today’s world beckons you to action. This is the time for you to step forward and use the authority Jesus Christ gave you to bring deliverance, freedom, and peace to each place that the devil has tried to bring chaos, harm, hurt, hazard, and risk. The situation that exists in the world today is your opportunity to let the power and glory of God shine through you!
Read carefully the words of Isaiah 60:1,2. Accept the challenge of the Holy Spirit as He cries out to you and me: “Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee”!
Although the world is sinking deeper into fear and darkness, this is our finest hour as children of God! So tell fear to leave you in Jesus’ name, and embrace the opportunities you encounter along the way to bring deliverance and freedom to people gripped with fear by the news they hear each day. Think of it — God considers you well able to live for Him and to fulfill His purpose for your life, even in the midst of these perilous last days! Embrace the honor of that position in His plan, and determine to trust Him with your life and be who He needs you to be every moment of the day!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I thank You for choosing me to live in the last days when prophecies are being fulfilled before my very eyes. I ask You to help me keep a soft heart and not become hardened when others around me grow cold and hardened through the deceitfulness of this age. People everywhere need freedom, and deliverance from the torment of fear and pain. Instead of retreating into self-preservation mode, I will deliberately yield to Your heart for the hurting world that is all around me. Your love is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Spirit who was given to me. Therefore, I give place to Your love within me to see them with Your eyes, to feel for them as You feel for them. I hear and respond to Your call that is beckoning me to step forward with the authority of Jesus to make a difference in the lives of everyone near to me.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I declare by faith that I am anointed by God to live in this day and age! I am alive today for a purpose. God has chosen me to be a part of this special generation so that I can shine His glory and power into the darkness that exists in so many places and in so many people’s lives. I will not allow fear to paralyze or intimidate me. Instead, I will allow God’s goodness, power, and love to operate in me for the freedom, deliverance, safety, and preservation of those who are near me. I am fully equipped by the Holy Spirit to glorify God without compromise in these difficult times. God is depending on me to do my part to bring His authority, His peace, His rule, and His reign into every place where Satan wants to create hurt, harm, hazard, and fear. Jesus commanded me to occupy until He comes. Therefore, I choose to establish His Kingdom and to enforce His will on the earth as it is in Heaven!
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of someone who is seized with fear because of the events happening in the world today? What effect has fear had on that person’s life?
- What does the Spirit of God want you to do to bring deliverance, freedom, and peace to people in your life who are tormented with fear? You have the answers they need — so what is He asking you to do to make a significant difference in their lives?
- When you step into a situation where fear or panic exists, in what ways can you exercise the authority of Jesus Christ — publicly or privately — to bring peace and safety to that situation? Have you made a practice of doing this?