The “Mystery of Iniquity” as it Relates to Our Culture’s Rise in Violence

“For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:7 (KJV)

Spiritual warfare is sometimes difficult to recognize. It’s not something that Christians can easily see even if it’s right in front of them. Although the evil that exists comes from the sin that’s in our hearts, there is an additional influence that tempts us to practice evil rather than follow Christ. This “mystery of iniquity” has been given free rein to roam the earth but only momentarily. It’s important to remember that as Christians, we have the ability to overcome this lawlessness by walking in the spirit.

Different Translations of “Mystery of Iniquity”

The term “mystery of iniquity” has mystified many Bible readers. What exactly does this passage mean? Before we get into defining the “mystery of iniquity,” it would help to look at a few different variations of Bible translations.

The term “mystery of iniquity” is used in the King James Version, but this passage is mostly translated differently in other versions. For comparison, let’s look at a few other translations of 2 Thessalonians 2:7:

“For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.” (NIV)

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” (ESV)

“For the secret of this lawlessness is already at work, but only until the person now holding it back gets out of the way. “ (ISV)

“The mystery of evil has even now begun to work within, only if that which now controls will be taken from the midst;” (ABPE).

Defining the “Mystery of Iniquity”

Going back to the original Greek of which the New Testament was written, the word “iniquity” is more literally rendered as “lawlessness.” Thus, we come up with the idea of the “mystery of lawlessness.”

The word “mystery” is also translated into secret” or “as a secret.” Therefore, we come up with the idea that there is some kind of secret behind the power that is fueling lawlessness that is already at work in the world.

The power fueling lawlessness is no secret. The power behind the evil is Satan. The secret or mystery has to do with when the full brunt of this power will be released upon the world.

The only protection against the evil that is to come is Jesus Christ who will come to defeat it. And therein lays the mystery. The mystery of when Christ will return. Jesus said, “Therefore keep watch because you do not know the day on which your Lord will come.” – Matthew 24:42

Part of the reason behind the Apostle Paul’s teaching in 2 Thessalonians was to calm the fears that the judgment of the end times had already come and that the Christians in Thessalonica had been left behind.

Paul was reassuring them that that day had not come, but the power that was going to bring a time of lawlessness was already at work in the world.

The “Mystery of Iniquity” And Today’s Rising Violence

The past few weeks have been unprecedented in regard to mass shootings in a single week. Deadly violence is rising. We have seen a rise not only in shooting violence, but all kinds of evil behavior, including crimes against women and children.

Catholic priest Father Malachi Martin suggests the “mystery of iniquity” could explain the increase in evil we are seeing around the world.

During an interview with Art Bell’s coast-to-coast program, the late Father Malachi Martin, a best-selling Christian author and renowned exorcist, gave an opinion about what happens as a result of the “mystery of iniquity.”

He noted that we are witnessing an increase of shocking things never seen before in our society and that these events are happening with much more frequency.

Of the “mystery of iniquity,” Martin said, “Evil is allowed, time to time, as so to dull the senses of men and women and to so disturb the equilibrium of their minds that they do really crazy, mad, bad things.”

He added that “there is a mental darkness that closes in that makes ordinary people do the most extraordinary evil and shocking things.”

Things Are Going to Get Worse

As bad as the growing evil is now, it’s only going to get worse. Jesus preached about the end times in which the evil that people accomplished would ramp up to unprecedented levels and threaten the existence of all humanity.

“For at that time there will be great tribulation, unmatched from the beginning of the world until now, and never to be seen again. If those days had not been cut short, nobody would be saved. But for the sake of the elect, those days will be shortened.” – Matthew 24:21-22

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