By Rev. R.J. Rushdoony
Again and again, the apostles use the expression “last days” or “last times,” and what is usually meant is the era from Christ’s first coming to His return. These are the last times, says Peter (1 Pet. 1:20) and also John (1 John 2:18), for example. This helps us to understand what Paul means in 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” This is to explain to Timothy why two notable leaders, Hymenaeus and Alexander, had left the faith (1 Tim. 1:20, 4:1). With the coming of Christ, the battle between good and evil has intensified, and men are now “[w]ithout natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,” and given to every evil (2 Tim. 3:3), and in these “last days perilous times shall come” (2 Tim. 3:1).
The word “trucebreakers” means unwilling to live in faithfulness to treaties, and it has reference to international affairs. In both personal and political life, men will use works to deceive, and truthfulness will be despised.
The result will be “perilous times,” or, more literally, ferocious times. The forms of civilization clothe evil in all its ferocity and malice, its hatred of righteousness. Underneath the forms stands the new, the greater, evil—the civilized barbarian.
Thus, Paul warns Timothy and all Christians that life is now an open battle; because Christ has come, the powers of evil are arrayed against Him with intense hatred.
Paul himself faced this ferocity, even from former associates. All the same, he could say, “[T]he Lord shall deliver me from every evil work” (2 Tim. 4:18), because only Christ is Lord over all. He is the victor, and we are victorious in Him.
Article from the California Farmer 268:6 (March 19, 1988), p. 31.
Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church/state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.