Dr. Lawrence Butler, The Bridge Church, Pembroke.
“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (ii Thess.2:5-7). Paul reminds the Thessalonians that he had taught them these things when he was with them.
He had not changed his doctrine, for it had been given to him by revelation (Gal. 1:12). The last part of verse 6 and verse 7 describe the same influence, so before talking about that, let’s consider the “mystery of iniquity.”
Great events rarely, if ever, occur without some extensive preparation taking place. Before the Reformation and Martin Luther, for example, there were years of disillusionment with the Catholic Church. From improper behavior among church officials to the teaching of false doctrine, moral and ethical norms were being abandoned. Many were put to death, enduring great physical abuse during the process, because they disagreed with a church official or church doctrine. People wanted to know more about God, while the church struggled to keep them ignorant and under their control.
Thus, the Catholic Church fought to prevent the publication of the Bible in any language other than Latin. Ultimately, the Reformation sprang forth, and could not be stopped.
This is just one example of how events prepared the way for a great cultural and religious change.
The same type of foundation is already being laid for another tremendous cultural and religious change. It is called “the mystery of iniquity.” The “falling away” spoken of by Paul is but a step in the wrong direction. We also see “oppositions of science falsely so called.” We’ve all heard of evolution, the missing link, the big bang theory and the know nothing of God ideas.
These things are simply more influences that turn hearts and minds away from faith and trust in God.
It is a humanistic view which says that man can solve his own problems through education and reason. It will never work, and has always failed. The results of such ideas can be found in II Timothy 3:1-9, where people are described as being “heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof…” Such a foundation will cause government to fail as people demand to do their own thing, and church will be forsaken. This leads to the acceptance of the Antichrist.