The goal of Satan, God’s enemy, is to spoil and occupy mankind. The Lord comes to the young people for His move because the older people are, the more they are likely to be spoiled and preoccupied. The younger one is, the less he is likely to be spoiled and preoccupied. In 2 Timothy 3:1-4 Paul says, “But know this, that in the last days difficult times shall come; for men shall be lovers of self, lovers of money… nonlovers of good…lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God.” The difficult times spoken of in these verses are the times when mankind is thoroughly spoiled and fully occupied by Satan.
Second Timothy 3:1-4 speaks of lovers of self, lovers of money, and lovers of pleasure. At the time Paul wrote his second Epistle to Timothy the Roman Empire was fully corrupted. Certain scholars have compared the situation in the United States since the 1950s to the situation of the Roman Empire in the first century. In principle, whatever evil thing is here with us today was also there in the first century. Today throughout the whole earth, young people are lovers of pleasure. Sports, amusements, and entertainment are simply pleasures. Likewise, at the end of the first century, the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, people were hunting for pleasures. They had invented new pleasures. In a sense, the pleasures in America today are not new. We simply have a repetition of history. History tells us that the fall of the Roman Empire was mostly due to the seeking for pleasure. Much immorality came out of the hunt for pleasure. That ruined the Roman Empire.
Paul told Timothy to be aware that difficult times would come when men would be lovers of self. History tells us that at the time of the fall of the Roman Empire, the Romans were self-lovers. They did not care for anyone but themselves. Of course, they were also lovers of money. Self, money, and pleasure always go together. Where self is, money is loved and pleasures are sought. Men in this condition are fully spoiled and occupied with something other than God. They are lovers of themselves, of money, and of pleasures, but not lovers of God or of anything good.
I came to this country in 1958 and have lived here for most of the time since then. According to my observation, this country was not as morally poor in 1958 as it is today. I saw the start of the ruin. To a large degree, this ruin started around 1963. At that time the hippie movement started with its lawlessness, drugs, and immorality. This is a repetition of human history. Many evil things have happened in this country with the young people since 1963 because the intention of Satan, the subtle serpent, is to ruin the young people and frustrate God’s purpose.
Praise the Lord that in the midst of such a situation of ruin, He has visited many of us. Many of the young people among us have not only been caught by God but also occupied by Him. They have been “wrecked” by Him. Satan spoils people, but God “wrecks” people. Satan spoils people to make them useless for God’s purpose, but God wrecks people to make them useless for Satan’s purpose, the purpose of loving money and pleasure. Why would so many young people attend the meetings of the church? Why would they not seek sports or entertainment? It is because they are wrecked. Over sixty years ago, I was wrecked by God. I was a very active, ambitious, and somewhat smart young man. However, one day I was wrecked by God. Several times I tried to go back to my old way, but because I was wrecked, I could not make it. We have been caught and occupied by Him.
(Fellowship with the Young People, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)