Selfishness: A Prophesied Sign of Our Times?
Part 1

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Authored By  :
Bill Kochman

Published On :
October 5, 1997

Last Updated :
September 26, 2014

NOTE: This article or series has not been updated recently. As such, it may possibly contain some outdated information, and/or ideas and beliefs which I no longer embrace, or which have changed to some degree.

Live In Moderation, Unbridled Modern Society, Love Not The World, Western Society Behaves Like A Wild And Unrestrained Teenager, Virtue Lost: Love For Our Fellow Man, Corruption Of Remote Societies By Outside Influences And Commercialism, Adam And Eve Lived In A Veritable Paradise, Selfishness And Pride Led To Their Fall, Satan Convinced Eve That God Was Holding Back On Them, Satan's Oft Used Ploy: You Can Become As Gods, Sin And Death Were Passed To All Men, The Devil's Downfall Was His Pride, Folly At The Tower Of Babel, Wicked Heart Of Man, Cain Slew Abel Out Of Jealousy And Selfishness, King David Commits Adultery With Bathsheba And Murders Uriah Her Husband, Nathan Rebukes David, The Baby Dies, Treachery And War Never Depart From David's House, Two Harlots And A Baby, King Nebuchadnezzar's Abasement, King Herod's Futile Attempt To Kill Young Jesus, Joseph And Family Flee To The Land Of Egypt, Ravenous Iron-Fisted Rome Rules Over Israel, Roman Hedonism, Jesus Taught Doctrine Of Unselfish Love For God And Man, Jesus Shines As A Great Light In The Darkness

Not quite two thousand years ago while writing to the young Christian congregation which had been founded in the Macedonian city of Philippi, the Apostle Paul wrote in part:

"Let your moderation be known unto all men . . ."
Philippians 4:5, KJV

While Paul was applying this verse, and those which follow it, to his own situation and ministry within the early Christian movement, we would all do well to take special heed to Paul's admonition. It does not require very much observation on our part to realize that if there is one personal virtue which is severely lacking in many people who are living at this current time, it is moderation. Quite to the contrary, and to our own shame, modern civilization has devolved into an unbridled society which lives in excess in many ways; particularly in the developed, affluent world of the West, were the mass media controls a person's every mood, and constantly bombards him with the pleasures of the flesh. As the Apostle John admonished us so long ago in his first Epistle:

"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever."
1 John 2:15-17, KJV

Western society behaves like a wild and unrestrained teenager who is tasting personal freedom for the first time. But this can be very dangerous. It may even lead to self-destructive tendencies and harm to both the individual, and to society as a whole, as reading any daily newspaper will easily confirm.

While modern development in our so-called "civilized world" has provided us with many benefits and conveniences, it has also robbed some of us of some of the essential virtues which were bestowed upon us by our Creator. Primary among these is love for our fellow man. This effect is easily observable by studying any remote society which has suddenly been exposed to twenty-first century living. Many "backward" societies can attest to the moral, social and spiritual deterioration their culture has experienced, once they have been introduced to the "blessings" of the outside world, and the delicacies of the global economic system and the offerings -- or enticements -- of Big Business.

Since the very beginning of time in the Garden of Eden, this social problem has reared its ugly head. Prior to their being exposed to the moral and spiritual corruption of that subtle serpent, Adam and Eve lived a perfectly happy and carefree existence. They had absolutely nothing to worry about. In His great love, the Lord had provided them with everything they needed; which was very little. There was no need for clothes; no need for a house; no bills to pay; no food shopping to do; and no broken-down car to fix. In return, as a token of their love and appreciation for the wonderful world which the Lord had provided for them, all God asked them to do was to take care of that wonderful Garden; as we see by this verse:

"And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it."
Genesis 2:15, KJV

The Earth was clean and pure, and so were they; or at least so it seemed. When Adam and Eve disobeyed the Lord at that vile serpent's behest, they were basically rejecting God's love and instruction. In essence, they were saying that the Father's gift simply was not good enough, that they were not satisfied, and that they desired more. In short, they were acting selfishly, and thinking that God was holding back on them. That is exactly what Satan wanted them to think. That is why he said to Eve:

"And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil."
Genesis 3:4-5, KJV

Wow! They could be as gods! "See, Eve! God hasn't told you everything! He is holding back on you!" Liar!

Adam and Eve were acting just like young children who think that they know better than their parents. Thus, in their pride and youthful folly, they replaced their love for their Father -- meaning God -- with love for themselves. Having succumbed to Satan's deception, they became convinced that they could improve their own condition and become as gods by partaking of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. But as we all know, that certainly was not the case whatsoever. Instead, Adam and Eve opened up the proverbial Pandora's Box; the tragic effects of which we are still feeling to this very day. As God's Word informs us, due to their selfish actions, sin and death were passed on to all men, as we see here:

"Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come."
Romans 5:12-14, KJV

"For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive."
1 Corinthians 15:22, KJV

"Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me."
Psalm 51:5, KJV

"For there is not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not."
Ecclesiastes 7:20, KJV

"As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;"
Romans 3:10, 23, KJV

"Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)"
Ephesians 2:5, KJV

"Then said Jesus again unto them, I go my way, and ye shall seek me, and shall die in your sins: whither I go, ye cannot come . . . I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins."
John 8:21, 24, KJV

"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
1 John 1:8-10, KJV

As I explain in articles such as "Satan: His Origin, Purpose and Future", this idea of being equal to or greater than God is the very thing which brought about Satan's fall in the first place. In the Book of Isaiah we read the following:

"How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."
Isaiah 14:12-15, KJV

This particular theme is likewise discussed in the series entitled "Satan: King of Tyrus, King of Empires". Not only was Satan brought down by his own pride, but it is this very same temptation to be as gods which he has repeatedly used to tempt humanity down through history, since the days of the Tower of Babel. In that particular case, those misguided people said to themselves "Let us make us a name." In other words, "Let's be somebody! Let's make ourselves famous!" In their vanity, they sought to build a city and a tower "whose top may reach unto heaven". Isn't that also what Satan tried to do? Consider the following verses:

"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth."
Genesis 11:1-4, KJV

Of course, as we know, God was not about to put up with such pride, vanity, and foolish behavior. Thus, He decided to see how those misguided people would fare with their construction project when they could no longer even understand each other. As we continue reading in Genesis:

"And the LORD came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded. And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth."
Genesis 11:5-9, KJV

Clearly then, Satan knows the heart of man. He knows that it is wicked, proud, rebellious and selfish. All he has to do is push the right buttons, and we so easily succumb to his vile temptations. If you have foolishly fallen for the modern lie which claims that man has a good heart, then please consider the following verses which reveal the truth, as God sees it:

"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."
Genesis 6:5, KJV

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?"
Jeremiah 17:9, KJV

"And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Mark 7:20-23, KJV

To reiterate, Satan knows that if he tries hard enough -- and it doesn't take much effort on his part -- he will find those people who are willing to yield to their selfish pride. Just look at our messed up world today. Can there be any doubt?

When some time after The Fall, wicked Cain rose up and slew his brother Abel in a jealous fit of rage, he was likewise acting out of love for himself, and his concern for his own image before God. Even today Cain's selfish words ring in our ears, and have become a common saying. Consider this:

"And the LORD said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?"
Genesis 4:9, KJV

When King David lusted after the beautiful Bathsheba as she bathed on the rooftop; then committed a premeditated act of adultery with her, which resulted in her becoming pregnant; and then in a vain attempt to conceal his awful sin, sent her husband, Uriah the Hittite, into the frontline of battle so that he would purposely die, David was also motivated by selfish love. Consider the following verses:

"And it came to pass in an eveningtide, that David arose from off his bed, and walked upon the roof of the king's house: and from the roof he saw a woman washing herself; and the woman was very beautiful to look upon. And David sent and enquired after the woman. And one said, Is not this Bathsheba, the daughter of Eliam, the wife of Uriah the Hittite? And David sent messengers, and took her; and she came in unto him, and he lay with her; for she was purified from her uncleanness: and she returned unto her house . . . And it came to pass in the morning, that David wrote a letter to Joab, and sent it by the hand of Uriah. And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die."
2 Samuel 11:2-4, 14-15, KJV

However, as the Scriptures clearly reveal, God was not very happy with David. As a result, not only did the baby die, but the Lord sent the Prophet Nathan to rebuke David, and to pronounce severe judgment against his house, as we see by the following verses:

"And the LORD sent Nathan unto David. And he came unto him, and said unto him, There were two men in one city; the one rich, and the other poor. The rich man had exceeding many flocks and herds: But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter. And there came a traveller unto the rich man, and he spared to take of his own flock and of his own herd, to dress for the wayfaring man that was come unto him; but took the poor man’s lamb, and dressed it for the man that was come to him. And David’s anger was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the LORD liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die: And he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity. And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. Wherefore hast thou despised the commandment of the LORD, to do evil in his sight? thou hast killed Uriah the Hittite with the sword, and hast taken his wife to be thy wife, and hast slain him with the sword of the children of Ammon. Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house; because thou hast despised me, and hast taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be thy wife. Thus saith the LORD, Behold, I will raise up evil against thee out of thine own house, and I will take thy wives before thine eyes, and give them unto thy neighbour, and he shall lie with thy wives in the sight of this sun. For thou didst it secretly: but I will do this thing before all Israel, and before the sun. And David said unto Nathan, I have sinned against the LORD. And Nathan said unto David, The LORD also hath put away thy sin; thou shalt not die. Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die. And Nathan departed unto his house. And the LORD struck the child that Uriah’s wife bare unto David, and it was very sick. David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth. And the elders of his house arose, and went to him, to raise him up from the earth: but he would not, neither did he eat bread with them. And it came to pass on the seventh day, that the child died. And the servants of David feared to tell him that the child was dead: for they said, Behold, while the child was yet alive, we spake unto him, and he would not hearken unto our voice: how will he then vex himself, if we tell him that the child is dead? But when David saw that his servants whispered, David perceived that the child was dead: therefore David said unto his servants, Is the child dead? And they said, He is dead. Then David arose from the earth, and washed, and anointed himself, and changed his apparel, and came into the house of the LORD, and worshipped: then he came to his own house; and when he required, they set bread before him, and he did eat. Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child, while it was alive; but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, While the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether GOD will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me."
2 Samuel 12:1-23, KJV

When King Solomon displayed his wisdom by testing the two harlots who both claimed that the living baby was their own, he exposed the selfishness of the false mother. Rather than have the baby return safely to its true mother, that wicked woman agreed to have Solomon divide the young child in half with a sword. Consider these verses:

"Then spake the woman whose the living child was unto the king, for her bowels yearned upon her son, and she said, O my lord, give her the living child, and in no wise slay it. But the other said, Let it be neither mine nor thine, but divide it. Then the king answered and said, Give her the living child, and in no wise slay it: she is the mother thereof."
1 Kings 3:26-27, KJV

When King Nebuchadnezzar was driven from his kingdom for a period of seven years, in fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy, it was likewise because God was dealing with him about his selfish pride. In the end, the king finally came to his senses and stated the following:

"Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."
Daniel 4:37, KJV

Like so many other ruthless kings of Israel, when King Herod learned that the young Jesus represented a future threat to his throne, in his futile attempt to murder the small child, he ordered the slaughter of all children two years old and under in Bethlehem and the surrounding region. Obviously, it was only selfishness that motivated Herod to try to eliminate any future challenge to his authority. As Matthew writes:

"Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men."
Matthew 2:16, KJV

Of course, God was more than one step ahead of that wicked king. Thus, He had already sent an Angel to warn Joseph in a dream that he needed to quickly escape to Egypt with his family, as we see here:

"And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son."
Matthew 2:13-15, KJV

By the time that Jesus arrived on the Earth, the situation in Israel -- or Palestine -- had become quite dire. As had been prophesied by the Prophet Daniel, the ruthless Roman Empire was in power. While there was peace on Earth -- or "Pax Romana" as it was called -- it was due to the ironclad fist with which the Caesar's ruled their lands. Their level of tolerance for agitators was extremely low. As a result, thousands of Jewish rebels -- the Zealots, for example -- found themselves crucified upon Roman crosses for daring to challenge the authority of Rome's pagan overlords.

In addition to being a ravenous beast -- which was a fitting picture painted by Daniel -- the citizens of Romans were also an over-indulgent society. Given to wild parties and orgies, they probably gave new meaning to the term "hedonism"; that is, sensual self-indulgence. The Apostle Paul exposed their sins of the flesh in verses such as the following:

"Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;"
Romans 1:24-28, KJV

In light of this selfish overindulgence in the things of the flesh, and the cruelty of their conquerors, it is easy to imagine what a stark contrast Jesus' life and message must have presented to those people who were oppressed by the rulers from Rome. While Rome preached and practiced brute force and subjugation as a means to attain its goals, Jesus greatly emphasized unselfish love as the central thesis of His doctrine, as we see by the following key verses:

"Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."
Matthew 22:37-40, KJV

It is not surprising then that in both the Old and the New Testaments, Jesus' birth, life and message are described as a great light which shines upon those who sat in darkness. Consider the following verses:

"The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined."
Isaiah 9:2, KJV

"And the light of Israel shall be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame: and it shall burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day;"
Isaiah 10:17, KJV

"Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."
Isaiah 42:5-7, KJV

"And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth."
Isaiah 49:6, KJV

"The people which sat in darkness saw great light; and to them which sat in the region and shadow of death light is sprung up."
Matthew 4:16, KJV

"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world."
John 1:4-9, KJV

"Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life."
John 8:12, KJV

"As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world."
John 9:5, KJV

"Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth . . . I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness."
John 12:35, 46, KJV

"Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth."
Acts 13:46-47, KJV

"Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles."
Acts 26:22-23, KJV

"The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee: but the LORD shall be unto thee an everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended."
Isaiah 60:19-20, KJV

"And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there."
Revelation 21:23-25, KJV

"I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star."
Revelation 22:16, KJV

Please go to part two for the continuation of this series.

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