For the conclusion of 2016, it’s Paul’s concluding words to Timothy…
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, 3 unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, 4 traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! (II Tim 3:1-5 NKJV).
This is Paul’s description of the last days apostate church, totally corrupted by paganism and false doctrine.
Another Parable spoke He unto them; the Kingdom of Heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened (Matt 13:33 KJV).
Because you say, I am rich, and increased with good, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see (Rev 3:17-18 KJV).
For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, 7 always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. 8 Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; 9 but they will progress no further, for their folly will be manifest to all, as theirs also was (II Tim 3:6-9 NKJV).
“Gullible women” are the easiest prey for false teachers. And I would venture to add that effeminate-minded males are the same. Paul uses Jannes and Jambres as examples of mystics who “resist the truth.”
Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers; now the magicians of Eypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments. For they cast down every man his rod, and they became serpents; but Aaron’s rod swallowed up their rods (Exodus 7:11-12 KJV).
The Truth of God boldly proclaimed insures that such mystics “will progress no further.”
And I, Brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the Testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and Him Crucified (I Cor 2:1-2 KJV).
But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (II Tim 3:10-13 NKJV).
The “evil men and impostors” actually is even better translated “seducers.” The word in Greek that Paul uses to describe these is so acute that it does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament. The Truth of God opens the door to even more understanding of Truth, while deception opens the door to even more deception. False teachers, prophets, apostles are contagious like a pathogen.
But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work (II Tim 3:14-17 NKJV).
The Torah, or Old Testament, points forward to God’s Plan of Salvation through the Messiah, the LORD Jesus and Him Crucified, Risen, and Coming Again. Scripture is our “instruction in righteousness.”
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry (II Tim 4:1-5 NKJV).
Paul charges Timothy as a minister of the Truth of God to “preach the Word!” Not preach himself, or his revelations, or mysticism, or self-help humanism… or anything that exalts itself against the Knowledge of the Truth of God. And he tells Timothy to hold himself in constant readiness to proclaim the Truth of God, whether it is in the form of reproof or rebuke or exhortation. “Longsuffering” refers to a gentleness that continues even when the Truth of God is met with rejection. However, the Doctrine of Truth according to Scripture does not change, even though it is rejected.
Paul warns that the “time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine,” but they will instead demand that their itching ears be tickled with smooth and comfortable words of pagan mysticism. The masses of people will willingly reward such smooth talkers who sufficiently compromise the Truth of God, as they have rejected the Truth of God to embrace a polluted lie.
For the preaching of the Cross is to them who perish foolishness; but unto us who are Saved it is the Power of God (I Cor 1:18 KJV).
For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. 7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (II Tim 4:6-8 NKJV).
It appears that Paul knows his time has come. He has fought with sin to a finish and is resting in complete victory, having been faithful in carrying out that which had been assigned to him.
Be diligent to come to me quickly; 10 for Demas has forsaken me, having loved this present world, and has departed for Thessalonica—Crescens for Galatia, Titus for Dalmatia. 11 Only Luke is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is useful to me for ministry. 12 And Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. 13 Bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas when you come—and the books, especially the parchments. 14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much harm. May the Lord repay him according to his works. 15 You also must beware of him, for he has greatly resisted our words (II Tim 4:9-15 NKJV).
Paul speaks of those who have been faithful to the Witness of the Truth of God and those who have opposed it.
At my first defense no one stood with me, but all forsook me. May it not be charged against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that the message might be preached fully through me, and that all the Gentiles might hear. Also I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion. 18 And the Lord will deliver me from every evil work and preserve me for His heavenly kingdom. To Him be glory forever and ever. Amen (II Tim 4:16-18 NKJV).
Paul pleads to the LORD for these unnerved friends who, solely through fear and not ill-will to the cause, had deserted him, that their actions not be laid to their charge.
Greet Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus. 20 Erastus stayed in Corinth, but Trophimus I have left in Miletus sick. 21 Do your utmost to come before winter. Eubulus greets you, as well as Pudens, Linus, Claudia, and all the brethren. 22 The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Grace be with you. Amen (II Tim 4:19-22 NKJV).
In conclusion, Paul invokes the Resurrection Name of the Messiah—the LORD Jesus Christ.
Now, son of man, speak out against the women who prophesy from their own imaginations. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: What sorrow awaits you women who are ensnaring the souls of my people, young and old alike. You tie magic charms on their wrists and furnish them with magic veils. Do you think you can trap others without bringing destruction on yourselves? You bring shame on me among my people for a few handfuls of barley or a piece of bread. By lying to my people who love to listen to lies, you kill those who should not die, and you promise life to those who should not live.
“This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against all your magic charms, which you use to ensnare my people like birds. I will tear them from your arms, setting my people free like birds set free from a cage. I will tear off the magic veils and save my people from your grasp. They will no longer be your victims. Then you will know that I am the Lord. You have discouraged the righteous with your lies, but I didn’t want them to be sad. And you have encouraged the wicked by promising them life, even though they continue in their sins. Because of all this, you will no longer talk of seeing visions that you never saw, nor will you make predictions. For I will rescue my people from your grasp. Then you will know that I am the Lord” (Ezekiel 13:17-23 NLT).