Hidden Lust in the Last Days
by Kelly McDonald, Jr.
There is a hidden lust in the last days that we must guard ourselves against! What is it? How do we recognize it? How do we protect ourselves from it?
The hidden lust of our times is the lust for knowledge. The Apostle Paul spoke about this development in 2 Timothy 4:3-4:
“3 For the time will come when they will not listen to the sound doctrine, but having itching ears, will heap up for themselves teachers after their own lusts, 4 and will turn away their ears from the truth, and turn away to fables.”
Why is it happening now?
This trend was prophesied by Paul to happen in the future, but why now? Another prophecy helps us identify the time in history when these words would come to pass. In Daniel 12:4, we learn: “But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end. Many will run back and forth, and knowledge will be increased.” (Dan. 12:4, WEB).
The Hebrew word translated as ‘increased’ is rabah. It means increase by leaps and bounds. In Genesis, it was used of the flood waters increasing upon the earth.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened” (Genesis 7:11).
Jesus said that the days just before His return would be like the days of Noah (Matthew 24:37). Daniel 12:4 certainly ties into this concept, but with reference to knowledge rather than water.
For most of human history there has not been great access to knowledge by the average person at any one time. There were scattered monuments, documents, and other finds that could be accessed. But a person had to physically travel to those locations and look at them. A select few could gain some knowledge over the course of their lives.
But consider the prevalence of knowledge today!
Today, knowledge from past generations can be accessed with the touch of a finger. Entire encyclopedia sets are available for search online. You can search ancient documents and monuments within seconds. There are more ancient documents being translated into modern languages today than ever before; this allows the average person to better access historical documents. One can also travel to see ancient sites in a reasonable amount of time.
We have access to a greater amount of knowledge and at a faster pace than any other time in human history. In the days of Noah there was probably a lot of knowledge because people lived so long – but that kosmos was destroyed and our knowledge of that world is limited.
In 1982, Buckminster Fuller developed a knowledge increase curve. He estimated that humans doubled knowledge every century. After World War II, knowledge began to double every 25 years. By 1982, it was doubling every 12-13 months. IBM released a report in 2006 than the world’s fund of knowledge will eventually double every 11-12 hours (Marc Rosenburg, 2017).
Like the flood waters in the days of Noah, knowledge is rapidly increasing. Daniel warned us about this increase thousands of years before it happened. This prophecy is a major proof of the Bible’s validity.
There are also specific technological advancements in this area that connect to prophecies about the end. Consider the capacity for knowledge that the average person can store and access:
1990s – Floppy Disk (1.4 MB storage)
2000s – CDs – (700 MB storage – a 500 times increase from floppy disks)
2020s – Thumb drives or flash drives can be purchased for 128 GB (reasonably priced). This is 91,428 times growth since the early 1990s. Expensive external hard drives can go up to 144 Terrabytes. This is over 102 million times growth since 1990s.
Moreover, consider the proliferation of smart phones! In the 1990s, the flip phone was popular. In the early 2000s, smart phone development began. The lowest level of memory for many smart phones is 8 GB. That is many thousands of times more capacity than a floppy disk.
Today, you can get phones, tablets, and other technology with hundreds of GB. That is hundreds of thousands of times more capacity than a floppy disk. Much of this new technology can fit in your pocket. The memory has greatly increased, but the size has decreased.
This new technology is prophetic as it allows us to take large amounts of knowledge “to and fro.” It allows for a person’s knowledge to increase suddenly!
Our ability to spread knowledge has also greatly increased. There are people online who have millions of followers. They can type a message, picture, or video from their couch and millions of people can see it within seconds. Even people without fame or notoriety can have thousands of followers.
The average person can receive, spread, or retain knowledge at a more rapid pace than ever before. And this rapid pace is certainly a rabah – exponential increase. In the last one hundred years, we went from horses, trains, and telegrams to cars, planes, and phones. Truly many are traveling ‘to and fro.’
I receive messages from people in other countries who don’t have running water, but they have smart phone or internet access. Knowledge is becoming more important to people than basic needs.
There is a dark side to this prophesied trend!
In 2 Timothy 4:3-4, the Apostle Paul spoke of a future prophetic time (kairos) where people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, their focus will be on gathering knowledge. If there was ever a time in which this prophetic message was true, it is in our time where knowledge is increasing rapidly and can be accessed rapidly by the average person.
In these verses, the Greek word translated as ‘will turn’ (apostrepsousin) can also mean to put a sword in its sheath. This lust for knowledge takes the sword of the Word and puts it in the sheath. That does not mean the Word of God is not acknowledged by people. It just becomes another category of knowledge piled on top of other categories of knowledge. This attitude can create religiously knowledgeable zealots that are not transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit.
The lust for knowledge creates the never-ending itch of wanting to heap up more knowledge. As one attains these heaps, they feel empowered – as if they are putting together the great puzzle to solve mysteries of the universe. Yet, at the end of the day they are no closer to absolute truth than when they started.
Why you ask? Because their lust will never be satisfied. The Apostle Paul said that in this age we know in part (I Cor. 13:8-12). Interestingly enough, this explanation is given in the chapter on love.
In this same letter, Paul wrote, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (I Cor. 8:1). Those snake-bit with the lust for knowledge are not always considerate of their actions towards others or even self. Their pursuit of knowledge is of upmost importance.
The first fruit of the Spirit is LOVE, not knowledge. The Holy Spirit is the LOVE of God shed abroad in our hearts (Romans 5:5). Love is the foundation from which knowledge can be added without blurring our focus on what is most important. “…and to know Christ’s love which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Ephesians 3:19).
To be filled with the FULLNESS of God we must intimately know the LOVE of God that surpasses knowledge. Then knowledge can be properly added. This explains why Peter exhorted believers to grow in GRACE and KNOWLEDGE (2 Peter 3:18). The lust for knowledge neglects the love that surpasses knowledge and the grace of God.
As humans, we are finite beings. We have a limited amount of time on earth. We have a limited amount of knowledge that we can retain at any given moment (despite being able to access much knowledge). What do you want to use your limited time, energy, and memory for?
What will you fill it with? To overcome yourself, your desires cannot be the center of your time. Lust for piles of knowledge creates something called intrigue. This is one of the names given to Antiochus Epiphanes, who is the forerunner of the man of lawlessness (see Daniel 11:21-34; 2 Thess. 2:1-8).
Does something intrigue you to the point that you miss the conviction and leading of God’s Spirit? Knowledge can captivate you, but in a way that causes you to be more connected to this age and kosmos (world). How attached are you to this Kosmos?
You can become so enthralled in this age and world with the PRIDE of your knowledge that you become as Lot’s wife – who was attracted to Sodom and Gomorrah. But she suffered judgment for turning back to what God intended to destroy. What was it she wanted to keep? At least in part, knowledge of that cursed place.
In our times, everyone can have a following – even if its just a few people. Because only a few may follow, they can claim that they are truly following the “narrow path” from Matthew 7:13-14. And everyone can have a host of pet teachers that only tell them what they want to hear or what version of evidence they prefer.
An Opportunity Exists for Truth
Amidst this chaos, there’s an opportunity there for us to plug into the knowledge of God. We are called to be the light of the world amidst the darkness around us (Matthew 5:14, Phil. 2:14-16).
There’s one aspect of the flood in Noah’s day I did not talk about. The increase of the waters came from both below and above. I believe this would correspond to earthly knowledge (below) and heavenly knowledge (above).
Today, we have more study tools at our disposal than ever. The Bible is more readily available now than ever. The knowledge of its original languages is progressing so fast that many people can take courses online anywhere around the world. The Bible is being translated into more languages every year. There is revelation knowledge out of the Word that is being released. It has progressed in various forms from the 1800s until now. Knowledge of the Kingdom of God is also growing.
We can use these same tools to reach people with the true, genuine gospel faster than ever before. We can reach people with love, grace, and the knowledge of God.
Recall the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Don’t be one who refused compassion and love to those in need because they don’t have the same knowledge that you possess.
We live in dangerous times. We must guard ourselves with lust for knowledge with the love of God and others.
Kelly McDonald, Jr.
Marc Rosenburg. Marc My Words: The Coming Knowledge Tsunami. Oct. 10, 2017. https://www.learningguild.com/articles/2468/marc-my-words-the-coming-knowledge-tsunami/. Accessed 2/7/2023.