There has always been an allure about discovering the secrets behind a mystery. Researchers have investigated for thousands of years the mysteries behind the Great Pyramid, the hieroglyphs, Stonehenge and other inexplicable puzzles of epochs past. During the episode of the hit TV series Dallas, where we discover who shot John Ross Ewing, Jr.; also known as JR, a record 360 million viewers from 53 countries tuned in; a figure that has yet to be matched for a single television episode. And America was riveted to their seats during the O.J. Simpson murder trial to see if he really killed his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her alleged lover, Ron Goldman.
Understanding mysteries, from the benign to the profound, satisfies something in our curiosity; however, there are mysteries that we long to understand, but then once their secrets are revealed they become anticlimactic moments. I recall my time in Las Vegas while on a business trip when I visited the Magic Shop in Caesar’s Palace. The magician/salesman performed an illusion where he showed a quarter that was too big to fit through the mouth of a bottle. After he caused the coin to suddenly appear in the bottle, considering my personal interest in magic I had to know the secret behind this illusion; consequently, I paid the $29.95 to discover the key to this mystery.
After ringing me up, the salesman took me to a private room in the back and opened up the box that had the magic coin, and...surprise, surprise…it was a folding quarter. After demonstrating the trick twice for me and then giving me an opportunity to practice this surreptitious, sure to capture the attention of the crowd, illusion, my wife and I went on our way to explore the other treasures Vegas had to offer. Nineteen years later, the folding quarter is on a shelf in my basement, stuffed in the same box and bag that the salesman placed it in back in his secret chamber.
Notwithstanding the anticlimactic mysteries and those that torment our curiosity, there are secrets that people have very little interest in knowing. Perhaps you are familiar with the clandestine line, “I can tell you, but then I would have to kill you.” The threat of death is enough to prevent most people from pursuing certain knowledge, but there are also secrets that do not have the threat of death affixed to them, but we still discover a certain level of comfort in not knowing what lies behind their veil. One such secret is the mystery of iniquity. The Apostle Paul makes a puzzling reference to this mystery in his second letter to the Thessalonians:
3.Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4.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, showing himself that he is God. 5.Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6.And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. 7.For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8.And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9.Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10.And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved (2 Thessalonians 2:3-10, emphasis mine).
A mystery is something that cannot be explained or understood without the aid of one who has an understanding of the secret, and iniquity goes beyond simply an act of gross immorality. Many people commit gross immoral acts, but all of them do not rise to the level of iniquity. Iniquity comes from the Hebrew word “avon,” which speaks to the condition of the heart at the time of the moral failing. It is a direct and deliberate violation of God’s standard. The distinction between an act of iniquity and an act of sin is that one who commits iniquity has purposed in their heart that they will freely defy God’s standards and it is done in a conscious, remorseless act of rebellion against God. However, one who commits an act of sin may not necessarily want to violate God’s will, but they are either unable or unwilling to resist the temptation. However, to be sure, sin is still subject to the wrath of God.
Paul has revealed, perhaps for the first time, a furtive strategy by the coalescing of satanic forces and the political leadership that would at some future point result in the son of perdition sitting at the apex of human government. As a practical matter, in our modern society where this coup will take place, it is profound to consider that a satanically inspired cabal of men will control world politics to the degree that will inspire the election (or appointment) of satan’s handpicked heir. According to 2 Thessalonians above, this son of perdition will make the boast of being divine, and the book of Revelation buttresses this point by saying the masses will worship him: And they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him (Revelation 13:4b)?
One may ask, “How does humanity become so gullible, that it will initially select the son of perdition as its global leader, and then it will worship him as God?” Well this has less to do with naiveté than it does with the extraordinary ability of the forces behind this coup of human government to deceive the masses. In fact, the Scripture, remarking on the end-time political climate, says that the social atmosphere will be so saturation with incredible deception that if the days were not shortened even the elect would be deceived:
22.And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened. 23.Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. 24.For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:22-24).
Consequently, the more cogent question is, “How do the satanic forces gain the level of traction in society where it will deceive the entire world, and if it was not for an attrition in the number of days, even the elect would be deceived?” The answer: The mystery of iniquity.
...to be continued