The Mystery of Iniquity

Michael Beck

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work …” (2 Thes. 2:7)

While the prophets of Babylon herald a new age of the spirit that is about to dawn, the servants of God know that the day is soon at hand when, “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15) The true knowledge of the Lord in that day will fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. Destroyed will be “the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.” (Isa. 25:7)  “… Then will I turn to the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the LORD, to serve him with one consent.” (Zeph. 3:9) Such a radical transition from folly to wisdom, from darkness to light, will not take place without a fight. The god of this world, the blinder of men’s minds to the gospel of Christ, will wage one last great campaign against the truth of God. Those who fight against God for him must be spiritually prepared for such a conflict. Before the dawn of the glorious new day, a “darkness shall cover the earth,” a “gross darkness” blacker than ever before will engulf it’s inhabitants.

Such a radical transition from folly to wisdom, from darkness to light, will not take place without a fight.

Let it not be thought that this darkness has suddenly arrived on the scene. The Apostle John told the Christians of his day that although the Antichrist was yet to come, the “spirit of antichrist … even now already is it in the world.” (1 John 4:3) The Apostle Paul explained to his embattled converts at Thessalonica that a spiritual warfare was behind their persecutions. While he was with them he had told them of the coming Man of Lawlessness, who possessed by the spirit of rebellion would claim no need for any god but himself. But before he would be able to gain allegiance from the earth inhabitants, that same spirit of rebellious autonomy from the rule of God, would have to work like leaven through the mass of mankind. This is the “mystery of lawlessness that does already work.” When mankind was so leavened with this lawless spirit, Paul told them that there would be no more hindrance for the Man of Lawlessness to be revealed. He would arise from the midst of a lawless, reprobate generation, the pure representation of Man’s quest for independence from God.

From the time that Adam first said “yes” to the serpent and “no” to God, an evil wind began to blow, moving man’s soul further and further from God. The spiritual forces that took root then, and have been growing ever since, will bring forth the spectacular ripened fruit of rebellion in the very last day. When the wickedness is great, the harvest of evil fully ripe, the Father will command His Son to put in the sickle and gather the clusters into the press, full and overflowing with rebellion that cries out for judgment. He who had once come as a Lamb, not to judge but to save, will then come as a Lion, to “tread the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.”

Though the Antichrist has not yet come, the spirit of antichrist is now here.

The day of rebellious man’s revolt against God will reach a head when, “… that man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God, sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” (2 The. 2:4) “… When the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.” (Daniel 8:23) This “king of fierce countenance” “shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand.” (Daniel 8:26) The great clash between the day of man and the Day of the Lord will culminate in the valley of Armageddon when “the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gather together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army.” (Rev. 19:19)

Though the Antichrist has not yet come, the spirit of antichrist is now here. The winds are gathering strength even now. The shadows are lengthening over a world that has rejected the Light. The rulers of the darkness of this world animate the builders of the new world order and they are agreed in this: the Sovereign Father of mankind and the Christ of the Bible, who shed His blood to take away man’s sin, must be eradicated and replaced. But this stone which the builders reject, cut out of the mountain, not by human hand, will soon smash the toes of the image of man. Then the God of heaven will set up His kingdom on earth, one which shall never be destroyed (Dan. 2:31-45).

What answers does the church have for a world that will only grow more perplexed in the face of astonishing changes?

On the eve of this passing age, the privilege of those born of God, is to “judge all things.” (1 Corinthians 2:15) By this, Paul meant that those truly united with the Spirit of Christ would be able to interpret the events of this life according to the understanding of God. Like never before, the world is in need of those with an “understanding of the times.” (1 Chronicles 12:32) Without such an understanding, the events of the present consume men’s minds: when calamitous, with debilitating anguish; when favorable, with drunken giddiness. What answers does the church have for a world that will only grow more perplexed in the face of astonishing changes? In order to judge correctly, this understanding must always be cognizant of both the longer history in which one’s own time is set and the elemental spiritual conflict that conditions all events. Sobriety allows us to see correctly life’s bigger picture. Drunkenness plunges us into the present, masking real, abiding woes with deceptive, fleeting pleasures. While promising insight it is an escape to ignorance and a denial of reality.

As men’s hearts “fail them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth” they will seek refuge in a spiritual intoxication. (Luke 21:26) Buoyed by a religion that exalts man’s sovereignty to do as he pleases “the inhabitants of the earth” will be made “drunk with the wine of her fornication.” “Whoredom and wine and new wine” will “take away the heart.” (Hosea 4:11) Like never before, evil will be called good and good called evil. Judgment will be “turned away backward”; truth will be “fallen in the street.” (Isaiah 59:14) Mankind will reel in a drunken stupor brought on by their embracing of the lie. There will be no right judgment, no proper understanding, deception will be complete.

Those drunk with the wine of fornication will also be drunk with the blood of the saints.

The cup is already to the mouth. Intoxication has set in. “Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.” (Proverbs 20:1) The “song of the drunkards” even now is ringing forth. Their highminded mockery of the sober has begun in earnest. As the darkness of the night increases and mankind becomes more drunken, they will turn with a vengeance upon the saints which “keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus.” (Revelation 13:10) “He that departs from evil” will “make himself a prey.” (Isaiah 59:15) Those drunk with the wine of fornication will also be drunk with the blood of the saints. Indeed, “in the last days perilous (dangerous) times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” (2 Timothy 3:1-4)

It is imperative, as the darkness approaches and the peril increases that those “who are of the day, be sober.” (1 Thes 5:9) “Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.” (1 Thes 5:6,7) This is no time for those professing Christ to be ignorant of the battle that began with Lucifer’s rebellion and will end with his banishment to the lake of fire. The battle lines are not newly drawn, but the battle is renewed in every generation, in each new day. At issue is who will rule the heart of man: the Lord God who made heaven and earth, or the usurping prince of darkness, Lucifer. This once perfect angel, is now called Satan or the devil, for which the Greek word is diabolos, which means “slanderer.” He, along with his angelic and demonic hosts, ever seek to slander the Lord and His goodness, hoping to turn men’s hearts down the same path of blasphemy and rebellion.

In the last days, there will be no subtlety concerning this unholy alliance that began in Eden.

The embracing of the Man of Sin, or the Lawless One, who will openly worship the Dragon, will be the culmination of that hidden alliance that has existed since man first chose his own will rather than God’s command. Lawlessness was birthed into the first man’s heart at that moment. Man became the prey of a new god who with serpentine guile promised man what he accused God of denying him: self-determination. To be sovereign like God, to do as one pleases, was the wish of Lucifer and the bait of the serpent. That God should set a limit on what man could taste and experience was painted by the serpent as an evidence of God’s unwillingness for man to be like God. If God who is in the heavens “hath done whatsoever he hath pleased” (Psalm 115:3), why shouldn’t man have this sovereign right to taste, see, know and experience whatever pleases him. So man, deceived into believing that life was to be gained through finding his own pleasure, regardless of the bounds which God gave him to live by, swallowed the serpent’s lie and set off on the lawless road that seems right to a man but ends in destruction.

Sin is the sign of man’s complicity with powers of darkness who continue in that original rebellion. It is and has always been, the evidence of man’s refusal to have God rule over him. In the last days, there will be no subtlety concerning this unholy alliance that began in Eden. Satan will give that perfect representative of rebellious man a mouth which will speak great blasphemies against the Most High. (Rev. 13:5,6) In spite of the cup of God’s wrath being poured out upon them, together with the Beast, men will curse God and refuse to repent of their wickedness. (Rev. 9:20,21) The full fruit of that rebellion which Satan began and man joined him in, will be manifested in all it’s high-handed, clench-fisted infamy at the end of this age. No longer will sin be cloaked as anything other than a simple refusal to obey the rightful Ruler and Monarch of all creation.

Michael Beck is a pastor in the Dallas, TX area and the main author on Signpost. Receive a daily devotional he publishes every morning via email.