2 Thessalonians 2:1–12 (KJV 1900) 1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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, shewing 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. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
It is in this passage we find that there is a conspiracy called the Mystery of Iniquity at work in the world. Although largely restrained by the two forces mentioned in the passage, it is nonetheless currently in operation. What is the Mystery of Iniquity and what, if anything, can we do about it?
Paul first describes the sequence of events that will precede the Day of Christ. His objective here is to reassure the Thessalonians that they have not missed the physical resurrection of the Church, the Rapture. They had been told by false teachers that the Day of Christ has already arrived. He emphasizes that the day of Christ cannot have occurred because the Man of Sin has not been revealed.
We can see that the church is already in Paul’s day under attack by antichrist teachers who have the audacity to represent themselves as apostles, or as representatives of apostles, for the purpose of disturbing the faith of believers, enticing them to fall away from Christ through discouragement. In this situation they were providing misleading communications, through false prophecies [spirit, word] as well as by epistles [letters] purported as coming from the true apostles.
The specific content of their false teaching was that the day of Christ had already arrived. It was a false teaching regarding the unfolding of the future of the Church that was being injected into the minds of the church in Thessalonica. The people were worried, because if the false teaching was true, then the judgment awaiting the world upon the Day of Christ would fall upon the Church as well. There would be no “gathering together unto him” except through the cataclysms of divine judgment to be visited upon the world at that time. As a result, the believers were: “shaken in mind” and “troubled”. These two words point to a disturbed doctrinal foundation caused by false reasoning by false teachers. This disruption of their doctrinal confidence resulted in alarm and fright, the opposite of faith. This deliberate false teaching created a dangerous spiritual state where the believer could not reconcile what he was taught by Paul with what he was being taught by the false apostles. This is one way that people fall away from the truth.
We have seen in 1 John and 2 John that the Mystery of Iniquity is propelled towards its objective by legions of false teachers, referred to as antichrists, who consciously but deceptively seek the overthrow of Christ. John mentions them in 1 John 2.18 where he says that the presence of many antichrists is evidence that we live in the last hour. Again, in 1 John 4.1 he warns that there is a false spirit that animates the many false prophets that were in the world even as he spoke. In 2 John 7 he again speaks of many deceivers having entered the world and calls them antichrists. We must realize that the effects caused by the Mystery of Iniquity are caused by human beings operating under demonic power to construct a kingdom of wickedness that will be eventually headed by the Antichrist. One key element of the Mystery of Iniquity [or Lawlessness] is a system of demon possessed or demon influenced second class antichrists. The Mystery of Iniquity is all about intimate spiritual relationships between demons and men.
Apostasy: A Falling Away from the Faith
The Mystery of Iniquity finds its origin in the initial rebellion of Lucifer in eternity past [Isa 14.12-15; Eze 28.11-19]. In its operation since the advent of Christ, it is synonymous with the spirit of antichrist. The designs of those who work in the spirit of antichrist are the same as those of Lucifer in his prehistoric traffic among the angels: to produce a falling away, an apostasy from the faith. This apostasy is to precede the revelation of the man of sin.
1 Timothy 4:1 (KJV 1900) 1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
“Depart from the faith” is one Greek word from which we get the concept of “apostasy.” The Holy Spirit is predicting that some will depart from the teaching or doctrine of the Christian faith. This is what is signified by the words “the faith”
Jude 3 (KJV 1900) 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.
To walk away from the faith therefore means walking away from the authority of the teachings of the bible, to no longer submit to their authority or even to acknowledge their truth. A person who fails to submit to the Word of God but who acknowledges the Word of God as truth, is sinning, out of fellowship and needs to repent. These people, apostates, are different, they have turned their backs upon the Christian Faith as a valid and meaningful part to their lives.
The passage says that “some shall depart.” Everyone will not embrace the doctrines of the seducing spirit of antichrist. Some will recognize the doctrine of demons as just that and resist it. However, those that will depart from the Christian faith will do so as a result of the deception of a spirit who impersonates the Holy Spirit and a doctrine which does not originate with God but with demons.
This apostasy is to precede the revelation of the man of sin.
What do you get when you combine a false [seducing] spirit, a false teacher and a false word [the doctrine of demons], that causes the falling away of persons from the true Word of God?
Nothing but a false church can come from the amalgamation of a false spirit, teacher and doctrine. It will look just like the real church, otherwise, what is the point of an impersonation? The false teachers of the present age will produce an ecclesiastical entity, a false church that will eventually be used by the Antichrist as a vehicle to transfer worship to himself.
The Thessalonians were victimized by false teachers who had shaken their faith. Fortunately, Paul was there to correct the teaching and to stabilize the church. We are at the point in the 21st century where Christians are going to false teachers to find relief from false teachers. It is possible that we may witness today the beginning of the falling away that will find its complete fulfillment after the Rapture of the Body of Christ from the earth.
The Mystery of Iniquity is a system, a system that has been disguised so as to not be recognizable as a system. A system has objectives, policy and an authority structure. The objective of Mystery of Iniquity is the installment of Lucifer as God, its policy is Good and Evil and its authority a demonic hierarchy that will impose a demonic despotism upon the earth.
[Adapted from the manuscript “The Antichrist and the New World Order,” Richard. G. Walker Sr.© 2020]