Signs of the Times: Lawlessness
March 31, 2021
He answered and said to them, “When it is evening you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red’; and in the morning, ‘It will be foul weather today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Hypocrites! You know how to discern the face of the sky, but you cannot discern the sings of the times (Matthew 16:2-3).
For a long time I thought the Apostle Paul’s reference to ‘lawlessness’ referred to a time when society didn’t honor the laws of the land, i.e. traffic laws, judicial laws, moral laws, etc. Not so. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8). Paul wrote about spiritual lawlessness. If people are spiritually lawless (disregarding the laws of God) they will also be lawless in every other area of life.
We are witnessing unprecedented moral, ethical, judicial, and spiritual lawlessness in this country. We have for a long time, but it’s getting worse. We have seen the government's attitude toward God, the people of God, and the things of God deteriorate to the point there is little or no regard for Jesus Christ or Christianity or the Christian church. That has been clearly demonstrated during the COVID pandemic. Churches were deemed ‘non-essential’ to society in the state’s classification of essential and non-essential entities.
But it’s not just happening here. Spiritual lawlessness has been a staple in countries all over the world. Christianity Today reported (02/17/2020) that in the 2010s, 800,000 Christians were martyred worldwide, which was lower than the 1.6 million killed in the 2000s. In 2019 alone 4,305 were martyred. A researcher with the International Society for Human Rights estimated the number is about 10,000 Christians killed annually since the 2010s. This is not counting those persecuted but not killed (i.e. torture, imprisonment, etc.).
In the United States and other ‘enlightened’ countries, Christianity is more and more marginalized with each passing year. Here we are prevented from invoking the name of Jesus in many venues while there are no restrictions regarding invoking the name of Allah, Buddha, or Father Abraham. However, there is a day coming when spiritual lawlessness will reach its zenith. Paul wrote the ‘mystery’ of lawlessness is being restricted by the restrainer (the Holy Spirit), but there will come a time when He will be ‘taken out of the way’ (His restraining work will end) and the Antichrist will be free to rise to power and prominence. Lawlessness will then escalate to its climax during the Great Tribulation.
“Lord Jesus, keep us aware of this and other signs of the times so we will not misunderstand or be misguided into believing that Your appearing is not at hand. Help us help others understand the truth of what is happening all around us so they might come to know You as Lord and Savior. To Your honor and glory I ask, Amen.”