by Terry James
This one will likely land me in trouble. The commentary might be pointing the bony finger of condemnation in a direction many will possibly insist it has no right to be poked.
However, we are at the very end of the Age of Grace (Church Age). Every signal for the soon return of the Lord Jesus Christ is becoming more visible by the hour. We are, when we see these things begin to come to pass, to look up and lift up our heads, because our redemption is drawing near. These words of the Lord Jesus, as recorded in Luke 21:28, are further affirmed in Mark 37:13 where we see His command: “What I say to one, I say unto all; watch.”
Therefore, in the spirit of “watching,” we must look at what God’s prophets tell us to watch for as the end of the age comes more and more into view. The apostle Paul, in that regard, gave some quite specific things that will mark the end of the age. He did so particularly as recorded in 2 Timothy, chapter 3.
I often refer to these many prophetic indicators as the characteristics of end-times man. Paul, in describing these signals, puts them within a time-frame he calls “perilous times.” He describes many of these characteristics in this prophetic segment of his second letter to Timothy. It is the very first of these characteristics of end-times man I will touch upon here. As I said, it will be more than enough to get me in some trouble, most likely.
The reason I say that is that I believe the most popular thing in all of our culture in America today is involved directly in this condemning characteristic. The younger generation–the Millennials-–are the most into exhibiting this characteristic, but they are by no means the only segment of the culture that is involved. The president of the United States, for example, has engaged in this end-times characteristic on a number of occasions as gleefully reported by his fawning press–and by that I mean most all of the mainstream news and entertainment media.
I’m talking about the phenomenon known as the selfie.
The selfie is but the tip of the proverbial iceberg in pointing out this end-times characteristic. The bulk of that iceberg is made up of the vast social networking services such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The selfie, if I really need to define it, is a self-photograph taken by one’s cellphone or other device–usually from above one’s head so that it presents what, I presume, the selfie-taker believes to be the most flattering angle.
The selfie then is disseminated through the above-mentioned social network services–thus to enhance whatsoever the total self-image and desired celebrity the individual wants to present to his or her, hopefully, geometrically progressing, cyberspace world.
See, I told you I would be in trouble–probably with you the reader.
I know that my view of this is just reaching for application of the apostle Paul’s perilous-times condemnation, in the opinion of many. I still believe this is a primary indicator of where we are on God’s prophetic timeline. People are becoming increasingly “lovers of their own selves,” as Paul prophesied. It might seem like an innocuous charge–even a silly one. But, I think it is relevant much more than any of us can imagine.
In my new book, Rapture Ready…Or Not: 15 Reasons This Is the Generation That Will Be Left Behind, I point to the serious ramifications such self-love has produced and will likely further produce to a greater degree as Christ’s call to His Church in the Rapture nears. Here is an excerpt from that part of the book:
Psychologists and sociologists have for years planted in the minds of Americans that self-esteem is something that is important to making a successful life. These point to the fact that at the center of most every problem of the human condition resides the feelings of inadequacy and self-loathing.
We are told that the radical Islamists who attacked on September 11, 2001 did so because they felt inferior due to U.S. treatment that looked down upon them. The whole matter involving the attacks that took the lives of more than three thousand that day, therefore, convinced those in charge of the U.S. State Department to employ a study group designed to help determine how to make those who hate us, particularly in the Middle East, no longer hate us.
So ingrained is self-love in our nation that we in delusion covet the admiration of those who hate us with satanic rage born out of our support for Israel, not out of envy and low self-esteem on the terrorists’ part.
The terrorists, murderers, gang members, rapists, and all other of those who commit crimes these days are analyzed by the woolly-minded psychologists and sociologists based upon the premise that the perpetrators hate themselves, thus all others who they see as deserving of their victimization.
God’s Word says, “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh” (Ephesians 5:29a). In other words, self-loathing is not part of our DNA. Quite the opposite is true. The Bible says that those who have not the Holy Spirit are of their father, the Devil. Satan is the ultimate example of self-love.
The social engineers tell us the secret to ultimately producing a healthy cultural environment is high self-esteem. A sense of self- worth will make man live up to his own great expectations.
Rather than love of self, however, God’s Word tells us to love others, to esteem others more than ourselves, to humble ourselves before God. This generation is obviously doing none of these.
That we are in perilous times can’t be denied, except by the most willfully uncomprehending. I’m afraid that many of this selfie-immersed generation fits within that universe of those destined to be left behind when Christ calls the Church in the Rapture.
We are very near that time. The prophetic evidence is flashing in every direction one looks today. We must lift Christ at every opportunity so many will come to Jesus for salvation when the Holy Spirit draws them to the Savior.