Exactly what happened last Sunday night in Las Vegas is incomprehensible. Fifty-nine people have died. Based on current estimates, over 500 people were wounded. Some of them are currently fighting for their lives, meaning the number of dead may rise.
The gunman, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, brutally gunned down his innocent victims from the 32nd floor of his Vegas hotel suite. He brought 23 guns to his hotel room to carry out the slaughter. Investigators believe that at least one of the guns was fully automatic.
The question is why? That’s what everybody is asking and investigations are trying to answer.
As I reflect on the Las Vegas massacre, I am reminded of Paul the apostle’s words in his second letter to Timothy. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come,” Paul wrote (2 Timothy 3:1, KJV). In the NASB version of the Bible, “perilous times” is rendered “difficult times.” The New International Version (NIV) renders “terrible times.”
As we consider the recurrent “breaking news” reports of terrorism around the world and the horrific mass murders in America that keep happening, I believe many will agree that we are living in perilous times. The Las Vegas massacre is the deadliest mass shooting in recent American history. As a result of this diabolical act, we are sure to have another round of gun control debates. My guess is that little if anything will come of those debates.
In Paul’s letter, he gives a number of reasons why the last days will be characterized as perilous times. Let me just pick a few of them from his lengthy list: men will be “without natural affection,” “trucebreakers,” “fierce,” and “despisers of those that are good” (verse 3). These all speak to the callous heart of man. It is the main catalyst for the increasingly perilous times that we are living in.
Reportedly, the gunmen behind the Las Vegas massacre legally purchased tens of weapons over the past few years. If that turns out to be the case, illegally obtained guns is not a factor in this tragedy. But we are dealing with a person who was terribly sick in his head, darkened in his heart, or perhaps both.
Paul the apostle goes on to say that evil men will become increasingly worse (verse 13). I believe we are seeing the evidence of that already. Accordingly, we won’t see the good ol’ days here again. There will be no “utopia” in the current land. Instead, the perilous times of our day are becoming the new normal. That means we must all become more vigilant and more observant of suspicious activities.
So what was Paul’s advice to Timothy? “You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (verse 14, 15, NASB). Timothy learned the Scriptures when he was a child. Writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul advises him to continue in the things he learned as a child. They would make him wise and through faith in Christ save him.
Hence, the biblical advice for Christians during perilous times is to stay with the Word. God does not micromanage the affairs of this sin-cursed world. But He is still in control. He can still make good on the promises of His Word. He is more than able to keep us during these turbulent times. We should all do we can to make this world the best it can be. But equally important, we need to stay rooted in God’s unchanging Word.
Copyright © 2017 by Frank King. All rights reserved.