“The Last Days”

“In the last days perilous times shall come.” —II Timothy 3:1

LAST NOVEMBER 16-18, 1995, a Fasting and Prayer ‘95 assembly took place at the Los Angeles Convention Center, in which religious leaders, clergymen and lay persons were invited to fast and pray for solutions to the moral and spiritual crisis in America. The invitation to attend this gathering read in part:

“Our country is facing its greatest hour of crisis. It is common knowledge that all statistical indicators of cultural health have been in a free-fall for the past three decades. As a people, we are beset with problems without a human solution: twelve-year old children carry guns and commit wanton murder in our schools and inner cities; vast numbers of couples abandon their marriage promises; teenagers are ending their lives in a futile search for significance; the young and old alike fruitlessly search for peace and meaning through drugs and alcohol; and we are reaping a host of incurable diseases from our rampant sexual promiscuity. While outwardly we seem prosperous, inwardly we are dying, like a physically powerful athlete dying of an incurable cancer.

“All of us know we must find a solution to these massive problems. Hundreds of billions of dollars and millions of hours of endless discussions have already been expended in such efforts, but to no avail. These thorny issues are not simply social, political, or economic dilemmas which can be met with political solutions. If that were true, they would have been solved long ago.

“As presumptuous and arrogant as it may sound to some, all of us listed* on the front and reverse sides of this letter know precisely why this is happening; it has been revealed in the Bible. We know that the only One who can change people is God, the very One who created us.

* Prominent ministers and religious leaders

“Consequently, my colleagues and I, along with many others, are claiming for America a promise which God gave to ancient Israel through his servant, King Solomon, as recorded in II Chronicles 7:14: ‘If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land’.

“The sole purpose of the November gathering is to fast, pray and humbly seek the favor of Almighty God and ask him to intervene, to heal our nation, and to spare us the destruction suffered by other nations who have rejected him. This anticipated historic Fasting and Prayer event is not without precedence. It stands in a distinguished tradition born of our godly forefathers.”

The letter went on to tell of Abraham Lincoln’s proclamation during the Civil War, calling Americans to fast and pray to God to forgive them for their sin, and heal their land.

It is good to see in our nation such a desire to turn to God, asking for his assistance in the very serious problems during this time of the ‘last days’. When the Apostle Paul wrote his letter to Timothy almost two thousand years ago, he foresaw what was coming upon our society in the ‘last days’ of this present evil world. He said: “Know … that in the last days perilous times [times of stress] shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, truce-breakers, false accusers, incontinent [without restraints], fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.”—II Tim. 3:1-5

The Apostle Paul, in characterizing the people of our society, indicates that they were expected to be lovers of God, but would not be. He gave the example of Jannes and Jambres—magicians of Pharaoh’s court, who opposed Moses. “So do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.” (vs. 8) When Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, who was sent by God to lead Israel out of Egypt, they opposed one of the greatest leaders the world has known.

Today we see our society being forced more and more to make a decision toward maintaining leadership, or giving in to anarchy. This was recognized by those who arranged the Fast and Prayer meeting. In commenting on Lincoln’s proclamation, they said, “The consequences of war are terrible, but even worse are the consequences of moral anarchy and the disintegration of our national character.”

Anarchy can take on many forms. Its definitions are: ‘having no ruler’; ‘absence of government’; ‘lawlessness’; ‘absence of order’; ‘a utopian society made up of individuals who have no government, and who enjoy complete freedom’. To have moral anarchy is a matter of ceasing to observe God’s laws.

Originally anarchy began as a philosophy and a theory that all government is an evil. In order that it be put into practice, it needed to overthrow governments. The extreme efforts of anarchists have taken the form of terrorist acts, and resistance to all present governments and social orders. It is in direct contrast to leadership, which is the guidance and direction of people by a leader. Leadership implies that a large number of people are willing and desirous of receiving suggestions and direction from a fewer number of people.

Sometimes leadership becomes dictatorial and wicked. At such times the people can rebel and cause a revolution or change in leadership. New leaders seize control of the large group, usually with the help and consent of a majority in the group. We associate revolutions and anarchy with the great ‘time of trouble’ (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21), and anarchy, in particular, with the last phase of this trouble. No one wants to see anarchy come. Any semblance of law and order is better than none at all.

Law and order in the universe is God’s arrangement. Law and order are prime requisites for the welfare of God’s creatures. Remove law and order, and all mankind is exposed to the threat of annihilation.

A good example of how anarchy can threaten the annihilation of mankind occurred in recent time in the African country of Rwanda. That country lost its leader in a plane crash, and the anarchy that occurred brought the wholesale slaughter of thousands of its residents, causing thousands more to flee the country.


The examples of proper leadership are taught in the Bible. The family relationship is basic to God’s arrangement upon earth. God intended that the father of the family be properly the head of the wife, of the family, of the house. We can see how this is patterned after the Divine arrangement where God, the Father, is head of all creation. We can assume—even though information is limited—that as long as Adam lived, and he lived 930 years (Gen. 5:5), that all of his sons and daughters and their children looked to him as a leader, as a judge, as the wise one.

Such was the case in the ancient world—the “world that then was.” (II Pet. 3:6) Order prevailed until those angels who “left their first estate” (Jude 6) created great confusion by intermarriage with the daughters of men, bringing forth a hybrid race which did not look to the ancient patriarchs of Adam’s family for leadership. (Gen. 6:1-4) Anarchy was part of the evil of that time, causing God to “repent” that he had created man. (vs. 6) It was necessary to bring an end to that world by the great Deluge of Noah’s time. We see that in the last days of that world, anarchy became rampant, and God brought it to an end.

The Scriptures describe those days before the great Deluge, saying “The wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Gen. 6:5, Revised Standard Version) The descriptive details are lacking, but if they were supplied, they no doubt would read very much like Paul’s words in his second letter to Timothy, quoted earlier in this article. Included in Paul’s description of the ‘last days’ is the complete break-down of the family relationship. Instead of leadership, there was anarchy.


After the Flood, the Patriarchal Age came—so named because God dealt with certain patriarchs. After the Flood life upon earth was similar to Adam’s day, with few people on earth at that time. These had respect for the patriarchs who provided leadership.

As each family grew larger, it became a clan—and the clan became a tribe—and tribes became nations. A patriarch could be the head of a clan or a tribe, but when they grew large enough to become a nation, they often became too large for the patriarchal arrangement. Yet they were so accustomed to a single wise man leading them, that nations adopted a single individual as their head in the form of a king.

Israel was in tribal form as the sons of Jacob, and their descendants were under patriarchal leadership when they entered Egypt. There they grew into a nation reaching two million people when God sent Moses to lead them out of Egypt. This was a difficult task for one man, but God enabled Moses to carry it out. When Moses had a visit from Jethro, his father-in-law, a God-fearing man, Jethro saw that Moses was occupied from morning till night trying to handle the burden of the people and all their disputes and problems. Jethro was used by God to give Moses advice on selecting able men to assist in judging the people, and Moses did as he was advised.—Exod. 18:13-27

This arrangement of appointing elders, heads, rulers over thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens of the people was pleasing to the Lord, and was used of the Lord as a model for a true democracy. In Numbers 11:15-29 we see how God instructed Moses to gather seventy able men before the Tabernacle, when Moses was faced with a severe problem by the murmuring of the people. When Moses gathered the seventy around the tent, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they prophesied. This was a marvelous picture of the future, which pointed clearly to the need for leadership blessed by God with his Holy Spirit.

Somehow, two of the seventy remained in the camp when the Lord gave his Spirit to the seventy, and they prophesied. When a young man ran to Moses to tell him about these two prophesying in the camp, Joshua said to Moses, “Forbid them.” But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the Lord’s people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!” (RSV) This was an example of good leadership, which can only be so, if the Lord’s Holy Spirit will guide and direct the ones chosen for this task.

The task facing the leaders of the “Fast and Prayer Movement” in our time is enormous. How can they bring to pass the spiritual healing of the moral degeneracy in our nation? Unless the Lord provides his Holy Spirit to these leaders they cannot succeed. Yet God’s plan is such that he has this method in mind. He is selecting out of this world a “people for his name”! (Acts 15:14) These are to be associated with Christ in being leaders for all mankind. God has assured the world of this leadership to come by giving these footstep followers his Holy Spirit.

The nation of Israel was a type of the world. Moses was their leader, representing the completed Christ, and was the one who kept them from going astray. Israel needed leadership, good leadership, and the Lord supplied it. Time and again they would stray from God’s commandments and he would have to deliver them.

After Moses and Joshua died, the Lord used judges to deliver Israel out of trouble. This continued until Samuel, who was the last of the judges and who was asked by the people to appoint a king. Samuel felt that the people had rejected him. But God made it plain that they had not rejected him, as he explained: “They have not rejected thee, but they have rejected me, that I should not reign over them.” (I Sam. 8:7) God told Samuel that Israel had rejected his form of government. Becoming influenced by the Gentile nations around them, they wanted to copy them; God complied and let them have a king.

Israel had good kings and bad kings, and God continued to use these experiences as types. He told them through their prophets of a king who was to come some day who would rule with prosperity and peace. He would be the son of David and be known as the Messiah, the Anointed One. During this period of kings, Solomon ruled in prosperity and peace, but it was short-lived. During all the remaining years of the kings, Messiah never arrived and eventually Israel lost its kingdom. They were oppressed by other nations after that, and have not had a king since that day.


When that great king, our Lord and Savior, Jesus, came the first time, he was rejected by Israel. It was at that first appearance of this king that the work began of selecting associate leaders. Some did receive him, and “to them gave he power [the privilege] to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.”— John 1:12

Only a few among mankind were enlightened to know about God’s plan. (Eph. 3:11, Wilson’s Emphatic Diaglott) In this selection process, God made it plain that in this planned leadership, Jesus is to have the “preeminence.” (Col. 1:18) He is the Master, and his disciples are those who follow. He is the “chiefest among ten thousand.” (Song of Solomon 5:10) All of this is expressed so well by the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:15-19, when speaking of Jesus, he says, “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell.”

All of the illustrations and figures used to describe our relationship to our Lord make it plain that he is our leader. He is the chief cornerstone (Eph. 2:20,21), all others are the ordinary stones in the edifice. He is the shepherd (John 10:11); we are the sheep. He is the bridegroom (Matt. 9:15); the church is his bride. (Rev. 19:7) He is the captain; we are the soldiers. He is our Lord, and Lord of all lords. He is our King, and King of all kings.—Rev. 19:16

This position of preeminence was earned by Jesus. As the Scriptures explain, first God had “to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.” (Heb. 2:10) So the first task that faced our king was to lay down his life as our Redeemer. This meant that he had to ignore all opportunity to seize kingly authority and to wield power until the due time. Instead he had to yield to those authorities permitted by God to rule over men. Such was the Father’s will.


When Jesus’ hour had come to die, and he stood a second time before Pilate, the Roman governor of Judea, he said not a word. (Mark 15:1-5) Pilate, trying to make Jesus speak and to defend himself, said, “Speakest thou not unto me? Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?” (John 19:10) To this, Jesus replied, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.”—vs. 11

Those who are following Jesus recognize only one Lord, and one Father who had made his Son Lord. They are loyal to their Father, and to their Lord and head above all. Does this mean that they should ignore all other authority, and be independent of governments? By no means. Our Lord Jesus made the matter plain when he was tempted by the leaders of Israel who hated being subject to Rome, and who viewed as a sin the paying of taxes to Rome. They sought to trick Jesus asking, “Is it lawful [according to God’s law] to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?” But Jesus perceived their wicked motives and answered, “Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?” Jesus knew that either a simple, No, or Yes, as an answer would be used against him, with the Roman authorities, or with Israel. He said, “Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.”—Matt. 22:17-21

The leaders of Israel wanted any and every excuse to revolt against Rome, and they felt that dealings with Rome were a violation of allegiance to God. Certainly Rome could never be considered a model form of government, but it was a government, and even that form of government was better than no government.


The Apostle Paul recognized this fact, and wrote to the brethren, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of him who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain; he is the servant of God to execute his wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay all of them their dues, taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due.”—Rom. 13:1-7, RSV

The involvement of God’s people in government and politics has been rare. Those living in the United States of America are thankful to have religious freedom, and demands that are not burdensome. Even those people in countries that have severe governments with curtailed freedoms and heavy demands are able to live and survive. All of us have to tread our way through the maze of government requirements while maintaining a conscience pleasing to God, and are to keep our Lord’s words clearly in mind: ‘Render unto Caesar the things that belong to Caesar; and render unto God the things that belong to God’.


As movements break out toward anarchy, lawlessness, and opposition to governments and authorities, none of us should be swept up into such movements. We should stay aloof from such trends, placing our hopes in the promises of God to be fulfilled in his kingdom. What can some of these trends be? The desire for greater freedoms, less restrictions of every type, and promotion of racial and nationalistic goals with a desire for superiority over others, are among the fuels being added to the fires burning throughout the world in these last days.

The description by the Apostle Paul of people’s attitudes in these last days, indicates that the freedom of all to do as they please without restrictions, is a condition of anarchy that has crept up on us unawares. Any movement that tends to break down the family authority or governmental authority, and to do away with these completely, is a step in the direction of anarchy.

It was not too long ago that some students in the U.S.A. and France took over institutions of higher learning and told them what they wanted taught, and adopted as a banner—not the red flag of communism—but the black flag of anarchy!

The fasting and praying by the religious leaders of our nation on November 16-18 last year was a noble act. They recognized that the problems brought before God’s throne have no human solution. The matters giving them great concern were such as we mentioned early on in this article—twelve-year-olds carrying guns, committing wanton murder; as well as others abandoning marriage promises; increase of teenage suicides; and the use of alcohol and drug escape routes.


Yet, what seems to elude these noble people is that God prophesied that such things would happen in the last days of this present evil world. If they only knew that the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10), was the most important prayer they could utter. If they had the hope of the establishment of his kingdom in the very near future, they would receive overwhelming peace. How glad we are that the great leader, Jesus Christ, and his associates, have been chosen for this leadership. God will change the hearts of men. He has promised to pour out his Holy Spirit upon all flesh. (Joel 2:28) Until this happens, the terrible problems of these last days will not be overcome.

Dawn Bible Students Association
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