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In Ephesians 5:16 NLT

Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.

Why are the days evil?

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    ... few and evil have the days of the years of my life been, (Genesis 47:9). Up-voted +1.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 0:08
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    ... because we are evil and surrounded by evil and sin everywhere. Rom 3:10-18.
    – Dottard
    Commented Jun 10, 2022 at 3:02
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    [James 5:1-3 ESV] Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Your riches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have corroded, and their corrosion will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid up treasure in the last days.
    – Michael16
    Commented Jun 19, 2022 at 12:31

5 Answers 5

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It simply refers to the evil days or terrible end times aka abomination of desolation, that they were living in. Keep in mind that the whole NT has the apocalyptic theme in which at least 6 million Jews were killed during those few years of "evil days" of persecution. The phrase is just like anyone saying today, that we are living in bad times, pointing out to the increased sin, perversion and persecution. I came across a sermon video of David Wilkerson preaching this generation is worse than Sodom and Gomorrah, he is pointing out the perversion in his nation in general, by saying how evil are the days we live in. The same phrase can be said by people in various nations in all the times, however the NT writers knew well about their end times, so it suits their context best.

Craig Keener in IVP commentary writes:

Eph 6:13. The “evil day” could refer generically to any time of judgment or testing (cf., e.g., Amos 5:13; 6:3; 2 Maccabees 1:5; Sirach 51:11-12; Eph 5:16), though some scholars think it applies specifically to the period of intense tribulation Jewish people expected prior to the end of the age (cf. Dan 12:1), which some scholars believe Paul elsewhere regarded as present (cf. Rom 8:22-23).

To quote those references from Catholic Public Domain Version 2009,

  • Sirach 51:11-12 Then I remembered your mercy, O Lord, and your works, which are from the very beginning. For you rescue those who persevere for you, O Lord, and you free them from the hands of the Gentiles.
  • Amos 5:13 Therefore, the prudent will be silent at that time, for it is an evil time.
  • Amos 6:3 You have been set aside for the day of disaster, and you approach the throne of iniquity.
  • 2 Macc 1:5 May he heed your prayers and be reconciled to you, and may he not forsake you in the evil time.
  • Ephesians 5:16 but like the wise: atoning for this age, because this is an evil time.
  • Ephesians 6:13 Because of this, take up the armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand the evil day and remain perfect in all things.
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The days are evil because Satan is the god of this eon. It is called the present evil age.

in whom the god of this present age has blinded their unbelieving minds. 2Corinthians 4:4

4who did give himself for our sins, that he might deliver us out of the present evil age, according to the will of God even our Father, 5to whom [is] the glory to the ages of the ages. Amen. Galatians 1:4

in which once ye did walk according to the age of this world, according to the ruler of the authority of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience, Ephesians 2;3

The majority of people living today are blinded by the god of the eon. He is the one that is working in the sons of disobedience which are the majority of this world right now.

The world governments are definitely influenced by Satan.

It's a dark world because of the spirits that are ruling over it now.

10Therefore, my brethren, be strengthened in our Lord and in the force of his power. 11And put on all the armor of God, so that you can stand against the strategies of The Devil. 12Because your fight has not been with flesh and blood, but with Principalities and The Rulers and The Powers of this dark world and with wicked spirits which are under Heaven. Ephesians 6:10

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God is perfect.

Matthew 5:48 Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

God is light.

1 John 1:5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all.

The ‘days are evil’ because there is darkness and imperfection in this world. Sin can be explained by describing anything that is not of God. As a lie is a distortion of the Truth.

God is truth.

Isaiah 65:16-17 “Because he who is blessed in the earth Will be blessed by the God of truth; And he who swears in the earth Will swear by the God of truth; Because the former troubles are forgotten, And because they are hidden from My sight!

“For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former things will not be remembered or come to mind.

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The Epistle of Paul to the Ephesians was written in the later time of Paul, while he was imprison in Rome at around 60-62AD. This seemed to be the final chapter of his preaching, in which he emphasized the word "mystery", which had been used nine times in six chapters.

The mystery of Gospel, revealed by the Holy Spirit to Paul, that "The Church is the body of Jesus Christ". The purpose of the church, as revealed in 3:10-12 (NIV);


10 His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 In him and through faith in him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.

We became Christian, forming the church, saved by Grace, not by our good deeds. As before we were Christian, we lived following the ways of the world, and the disobedient spirit, Satan. (Ephesus 2:1-2 NIV - As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient). By definition, everyone were dead until we believe in Jesus, saved by His Grace and reborn again.

The Epistle of Paul to Ephesians was written to his fellow Christians. Chapter 4-6 are focus on "Living a life of Holy". His words were mostly encouraging us to follow, rather than warning us if failed. We must be careful not all Christians are eventually saved, many so called Christian haven't been reborne, still living a life of transgression and disobedient. When reading Epehsus 5:16, better include 5:14-17 (NIV)


14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.

Sleeper were those Christian who still lived their life messy. If they died tomorrow, they missed their own salvation, the only opportunity to be saved. Foolish were those who do not understand the Lord's will: "Reborn and live a life of Holy".

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The phrase "the days are evil" refers to the challenging and tempting situations that we encounter in the world, such as temptation to sin, the influence of worldly values, or the presence of suffering and injustice.

These challenges can lead us away from God's goodness and love if we are not prepared to resist them, if we don't follow the teachings of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Therefore, the apostle Paul urges us to put on the "whole armor of God" (Ephesians 6:11-17) in order to withstand the attacks of the evil one and remain steadfast in our faith, even in the midst of a world that is often hostile to the Gospel.

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