For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 2Thess. 2:7
By the late C. Parker Thomas, Midnight Cry Ministries: LYING SIGNS & WONDERS, Chapter 12: THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY
There are many mysteries referred to in the bible – for example, the mystery of Christ, the mystery of the gospel, the mystery of the kingdom, and the mystery of iniquity. A mystery is something that is hidden. At least it is hidden until God sees fit to reveal it. Deuteronomy 29:29.
The Greek word for iniquity “anomia,” as used here by Paul, means illegality, violation of law, transgress, transgression of the law, wickedness, or unrighteousness. The root word “anomas” that “anomia” comes from means principally lawless, not subject to law, or without law.
From a study of the two words it is evident that “anomia” is used where the transgressor may be and often is working under the cloak of religion or good works. It is a subtle type of iniquity because it masquerades as good and often has the approval and the esteem of the world behind it. An example of this type of iniquity is found in Matthew 7:22-23.
“Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? and then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”
From a study of Matthew 7 it is evident this worker of iniquity was connected with the false prophets that come in sheep’s clothing and the broad way that leads many to their destruction.
This work of iniquity or lawlessness is not just the rebellious nature of man in manifestation against authority. It is a calculated work of satanic wisdom working behind the facade of religion and good works. It is actually the age-old conspiracy of Lucifer and his wicked host to control the whole world system and eventually lead man into open rebellion against God.
Although it was held in check in Paul’s day it was already at work in the world. “For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: ….”
Let’s notice two other translations of this scripture. “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work …” (Williams). “Meanwhile, the conspiracy of revolt is already at work …” (Knox).
Called the secret power of lawlessness, the power behind man’s rebellion against God is Satan and his demoniac host. Called a “conspiracy of revolt” by Knox, the mystery of iniquity is simply the continuation of Lucifer’s original conspiracy of revolt against God.
Blinded by this power of lawlessness, man, for the most part, is completely ignorant of who his real enemy is. This is what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 6:12, where he says, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.”
It is also this same power that blinds man to the truth of the gospel. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4.
In both of the foregoing scriptures the revelation of God shows us the real power arrayed against God’s people. It likewise shows us the secret power that blinds the minds of men “lest the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.”
The most difficult thing in the world for man to see is that the whole world order including most of its religion is a giant conspiracy of Satan to keep man from the truth. Although some would admit to the baser expressions of lawlessness being inspired of the devil, very few can see the diabolical wisdom of Satan permeating the whole world system. This indeed is “… the mystery of iniquity….”
Behind the governments of the world, including the political and religious systems, are the unseen rulers of darkness headed up by Lucifer. There is not a government, political or religious philosophy in the world that has not been corrupted by Satan.
Our real enemy is not man but forces of evil, called powers, principalities, world rulers, spirit forces, angelic rulers, angelic authorities and potentates. These are all living and operating from the supernatural, invisible realm of darkness. Webster defines the word “principality” as a prince of a territory.
We are prone to think of Satan’s emissaries as living only in a disembodied state, hovering around in space and whispering evil into our ears. It is true, there are literally billions of evil spirits living in the atmosphere around the earth, tempting, deceiving, harassing, and vexing mankind. But the devils that we need most to be on the alert for are those who are trying to influence us through man. This is where Satan through his demon host does his greatest damage in leading men to ruin.
Though we do not wish to minimize the need for guarding our minds against the enemy that whispers in our ears, we must also be on the alert against him deceiving us through man. This type of deception may be on a much higher plane, but it is just as destructive and can lead into a morass of spiritual and moral corruption that brings forth death.
Demons’ greatest work of deception and evil is accomplished as they project themselves through the life and personality of a person. Their evil spirit nature is actually imparted or ministered in this manner.
Even as God’s spirit is ministered to man through human vessels, so is the spirit of lawlessness ministered to man through human vessels. As the word of God is the vehicle or means through which God enters a human life. Satan’s word, the lie, is the means used to enter and destroy man.
Beyond doubt Satan’s kingdom is a vast organized conspiracy with master spirits located in strategic places throughout the earth.
It seems each earthly kingdom or domain is ruled over by these evil princes. God’s messenger to Daniel was hindered from coming to Daniel for twenty-one days by the Prince of Persia who was evidently one of Satan’s evil princes over this earthly kingdom. Daniel 10:1-13. Michael the Archangel, called “one of the chief princes” in God’s kingdom, came and fought against the prince of Persia thus enabling the messenger to get through to Daniel.
It will also be noted from verse 20 that the prince of Grecia was expected to come after the messenger departed to fight with the prince of Persia. This prince of Grecia was no doubt another evil potentate probably indwelling the human king over Grecia who would come on the scene later. The thing we need to see from these scriptures is that human personalities under the control of evil spirits were actually involved. The kings of Persia referred to in verse 13 were no doubt also men under the control of evil spirit personalities.
All this simply bears out the great truth that we wrestle not against flesh and blood but powers and principalities. Through often hiding under the cloak of human flesh it is evil spirit beings who are our real enemies.
From this we also learn that God’s princes among men and angels (Daniel and Michael) can expect to be bitterly opposed by Satan’s princes. We also learn that Christ and his holy angels are working with God’s people against Satan and his evil host.
Above all we must begin to see that human personalities, high and low, are merely pawns of Satan in his battle against Christ and his kingdom.
Although the mystery of iniquity has been held in check during this day of grace, unfettered freedom will be given to organize the nations into one diabolical whole before the coming of Christ. This has been Satan’s purpose from the beginning. For a short time he will think his dream has come true as the whole world of unregenerate mankind embraces a strong delusion.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. verses 11-12