What to Expect of the Human Race in 2016 and Beyond

Posted on January 1, 2016


By David Ettinger

Where’s the Hope?
2016A new hope, a new year. Well, at least if you know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. But for those who don’t know Christ? Not much to be hopeful about. Why so morbid? One reason is I read 2 Timothy Chapter 3. Here are the first four verses:

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.

This is what we can expect of the human race of 2016 and beyond.

A Warning
In 1 and 2 Timothy, the apostle Paul is encouraging Timothy, the young pastor of the church of Ephesus, to stand up against false teachers. In so doing, Paul warns that the behavior of these teachers – and society in general – would become increasingly more reprehensible.

The time frame for Paul’s warning is “the last days.” In the New Testament, this term encompasses the birth of the Church to the return of Christ. Paul truly believed the world was nearing its end and that Christ was going to return in his lifetime (Romans 13:11). Though Paul was incorrect, his admonition is well taken: Christians are to live as if Christ can return within hours.

darknessSo, yes, since the birth of the Church, we have been in “the last days,” but we are 2,000 years closer to Christ’s return. The understanding is that as we draw nearer to Jesus’ return, the condition of the human race will continue to worsen. “Terrible times” await as society will progressively degenerate.

What’s Coming
Let’s look at what the human race is coming to.

In detailing the human condition, Paul begins by saying that “People will be lovers of themselves.” The Greek word for this phrase is philautoi, and can be translated “self-centered” or “narcissistic.” Can we agree that selfishness is at an all-time high? It’s getting worse. Expect it. Expect, too, number 2 on the list: that people will be “lovers of money.” From the Greek philargyroi, the sense here is of ravenous covetousness where only more and more wealth will satisfy.

Third on Paul’s list is boastfulness, from the Greek alazon, indicating an outward communication of the vanity that is within. Number 4 is “proud,” from the Greek huperephanos, which means “to show one’s self above others.” This manifestation of self-love will display itself in number 5: abusiveness. The Greek for “abusive” is blasphemoi, which reflects the godlessness behind it. From here, it is but a baby step to number 6, “disobedient to their parents.” The Greek word for “disobedient” is apeitheis, “a willingness to be persuaded,” “a spurning of belief.” Children will have little to no regard for their parents.

blue eyeNumber 7 is “ungrateful,” the Greek is acharustoi, which denotes thanklessness. Children will care nothing for the sacrifices made by their parents, regarding such kindness as something owed to them. At number 8 is “unholy.” The Greek anosioi connotes “profanity.”

Ninth is “without love.” This one is disturbing as the Greek word astorgoi can also be translated “heartless,” indicating a loss of natural love and affection. Number 10 is “unforgiving.” The Greek aspondoi means “without libation.” In Bible days, truces required drink offerings, without which there could be no truce. There will be no commitment, no grace, no forgiving others of their wrong. At number 11, Paul gives us “slanderous,” from the Greek diaboloi, or devil. Satan’s influence will continue to increase as the time of Christ’s return nears.

This takes us to number 12, “without self-control.” The Greek akrateis indicates those who are “powerless and impotent” morally; ones who can’t restrain themselves. At number 13 we have “brutal,” which is the Greek anemeroi, and means “untamed,” ­ the opposite of civil. Number 14 is “not lovers of good,” the Greek aphilagathoi, to oppose what is good.

Number 15 is “treacherous.” The Greek prodotai means “to be disposed toward betrayal.” Next is 16, “rash,” which in the Greek is propetis, “to be disposed toward recklessness.” Number 17 is “conceited.” The Greek tuphoo is to be high-minded, to be filled with self-importance. Paul ends his disturbing list with number 18, “lovers of pleasure [philedonoi] rather than lovers of God [philotheoi],” which is self-explanatory.

light in the darkHas society always been like this? Yes. But in 2016, society will exemplify these traits in more extreme degrees than ever; 2017 will be worse; 2018 even worse; and so on.

Don’t Despair
It would be easy to review Paul’s list and lament the terrible times in which you live, but God doesn’t want you to. He has given you a calling: to be a beacon of light in this ever-darkening world. Jesus instructs you to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16).

Yes, the darkest days in human history are coming fast. Paul has warned you of this, and you will witness it in 20016 and beyond. However, as a child of God, you can also expect something else to occur in the relatively near future, something glorious and beyond imagination: the Rapture:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

And when that day comes, the darkness will be dispelled in a moment. Expect it!