|Posted on June 3, 2020 at 12:55 AM|
We seem to be going from the pan to the fire as a nation. At least, that is what the media would have us to believe. From the worldwide pandemic to the riots in our cities, never mind the hateful political divisions, our world seems to be on the brink of collapse. These times remind me of an old song by Barry McGuire called “The Eve of Destruction” that described the chaos and cultural revolution during the late sixties. It appeared then as it does now that our country was so divided that it would soon fall apart.
But two things come to mind when I consider these current events. First, the motives of the media are not as pure as the folks in charge would have us to believe. Like all other industries the media is driven by the profit margin and bottom line. The fact that Americans are addicted to sensationalism has made the news media much more of an entertainment than educational endeavor. Add to that the power of the media to shape public opinion in a democratic society and it becomes ripe for political groups to manipulate for their own agenda. But above all, the individual members of the media have been conditioned by the secular society we live in to leave God out of the picture altogether.
Second, just because the media and even our own elected leaders have marginalized God or rejected him altogether does not mean God is not present or has stopped working. The first century churches faced the same kind of cultural and political issues we are facing and even began to wonder if Jesus had come back and they somehow missed out on it. In Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians he assures them that no matter how evil their culture and corrupt their government there are two things that must happen before the end. First, a great “falling away” and second, the appearance of “the man of sin” or antichrist.
What we are seeing now is the what Paul calls the “mystery of iniquity” at work in this world according to the power of the god of this world, Satan. It is being held in check from fulfilling its agenda by the operation of God through his Spirit who is continually convincing the world “of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment” that they might be saved. The end will not come until God is ready to remove his restraint and the great “falling away” occurs. While biblical scholars have argued the meaning of the “falling away” Paul is speaking of, it is quite possible a reference to the rapture of the church which would remove the restraining force of evil in the world.
The appearance afterward of the “man of sin, the son of perdition” is an obvious reference to rise of the Antichrist to global power. He is the figure prophesied by the Scriptures to establish a global government and religious system that is opposed to God and will fulfill Satan’s ancient desire to be “like the Most High God”. It is then that the Son of God puts and end to the corruption of evil in this world by his coming to establish his righteous kingdom on earth. As bad as it may seem to us now, we haven’t seen anything yet compared to what is to come.
Although Paul’s encouragement may seem like, “cheer up boys, it’s going to get worse” the truth is that God is still in charge of this world we live in. Even as the “mystery of iniquity” continues to push its evil agenda around us our hope lies in the sovereign power of a loving God who has promised to never forsake us. As Paul told the Thessalonians, “Now we beseech you brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled…”