MYSTERY OF INIQUITY Chapter Two Prerequisite to the Rapture
We have seen that Satan does have a dominion that was his in the beginning with God, and an authority that was transferred to him by Adam. He uses that authority stealthily and ruthlessly to injure God by hurting his people. God is bound by his nature to be just, righteous, and loving, God cannot act in an unlawful manner to defeat Satan, even though Satan stands in absolute rebellion against him. God has committed all judgment into the hands of his Son (John 5:22). Messiah must rule until he has put down all authority and power in heaven and earth (I Cor 15:24-28). The mystery of iniquity, Satan’s lawlessness, has been shrouded. But now we begin to more fully understand the position that Satan maintains, and to which he holds fast – rights that he was given before his rebellion, and the authority he secured by his conquest over Adam, subjugating the entire human race. Let us now look at the context of the mystery of iniquity.
He Who Now Holds Fast
II Thessalonians 2:5-6, Remember, when I was with you, I told you these things? Now you know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his own time… (KJV)
The Greek indicates that the believers in Thessalonica already knew what Paul was about to restate. How did they know? Paul may have spent several days and nights on the subject while he was with them. The evidence indicates that Paul was shown many of the same things that John recorded in Revelation (II Cor 12). Some things he could tell them, others he could not (such as the specific events of the Seven Thunders).
…Now you already know what withholdeth…..
The word withholdeth is a poor translation of
which primarily translates: To seize and hold fast to retain possession. To know what holds fast to retain possession, we must consider the larger context:
Now you already know what holds fast
that he (the son of destruction) might be revealed in his own time, because the mystery of iniquity is already at work. But he now holds fast only until he is taken out of the midst. Then shall the Wicked one (the man of sin) be revealed, whose coming is after the working of Satan.
The context allows only one interpretation of that which is holding fast. It is, and can legally and grammatically only be, the mystery of iniquity, which is already at work. It is Satan, the lawless one in rebellion against the one to whom he owes his allegiance, who is now holding fast to his delegated power and authority until he is taken out of the midst of the throne room of God, where he now stands as the accuser. It is the behind the scenes working in the spirit realm of the god of this age, who will be cast down to the earth and finally bound, judged, and cast into the Lake of Fire. It is he, the lawless one himself, who now holds fast to his delegated authority before the throne of God, and his delivered authority from the hand of Adam.
We have seen the mystery of iniquity at work as it was revealed in Revelation 12, where Satan holds fast to his position of authority before the throne of God only until he is taken out of the midst by Michael and his angels, acting under the authority of Jesus. Midst is the term used for the area within the throne room of God (Rev 4:6, 5:6, 6:6), where both Jesus and Satan have authority; Satan as the accuser, and Jesus as our advocate. The term throne in Revelation refers not solely to a seat, but also to the expansive area around the throne, or throne room. This is where Satan accuses the brethren day and night. Satan now holds fast to that position, but only until he is overcome by Michael and his angels, taken out of the midst, and cast down to the earth. Then, at that time, the Wicked one will be revealed (suddenly uncovered). He is the man of sin, the son of destruction, in II Thes 2:3. It is he who is revealed in verse 7 and it is he whom the Messiah will destroy with the brightness of his coming at the Battle of Armageddon, in verse 8. It is he who was also prophesied in Dan 9:26 as the prince that shall come who shall cause the abomination of desolation.
Straining for a “Restrainer”
For several decades I, along with a multitude of ultra-dispensational, pre-tribulation secret rapturists, have redefined the word katecho to mean “the restrainer”. We fabricated a scenario that was never alluded to in any of Paul’s writings or in the text of Paul’s writings or in the text of the entire Bible. That the Holy Spirit is restraining Satan’s power, and when the Holy Spirit is taken from the earth (as well as the Christians) then the man of sin will be revealed. Even though the language and the context would never allow this redefinition, some of the modern Bible translations were influenced by this error. That redefinition has even further buried the working of the mystery of iniquity. But redefinition does not truth make, especially when it is in direct contradiction to the clear teaching in the context, and the words of Messiah himself.
No matter how much one wrestles the words “that which holds fast” to say that the Holy Spirit, or the Christians in this world, are restraining the man of sin from being revealed, it will never make it the truth. The Christians in America could not even keep our republic, which was rooted in adherence to the Scriptures, from being taken over by atheist socialists. There is not one shred of evidence in the entire Bible that we are keeping the man of sin from being revealed. We have nothing to do with this event, Michael and his angels do! This strained restrainer concept is an attempt to take our eyes off the context of Thessalonians, and produce a rapture, an easy out, before the man of sin is revealed. Twisting this word to produce what the context clearly condemns is the working of Satan. He is the author of the strong but comfortable delusion that Paul exposes.
You could torture to say restrains, out of duress (much like you can get a child to say “uncle” by twisting his arm). However, the context would never justify twisting “the mystery of iniquity which holds fast to his authority until he is taken out of the midst of God’s throne room by Michael and his angels” in “he Holy Spirit” within the believer, which restrains the working of Satan until the church is taken out in a secret rapture before the man of sin is revealed.” Only one would be the truth, the other would be a deliberate twisting of the scripture, the result of the working of Satan to bury the mystery of iniquity and the truth of the timing of the return of Messiah from the eyes of Christian’s understanding.
A Letter to the Church in Tribulation
The section of scripture we have been considering in II Thessalonians is in the middle of a letter to the believers in the throes of great tribulation. It is very significant that this letter to the believers in tribulation is the last of Paul’s seven epistles in their sequential order. It depicts Messiah’s return for his persecuted saints proclaiming their glorious hour of deliverance. They are encouraged to endure faithfully to the end, when Jesus will set them free from the pains of tribulation.
To understand this letter we need to read it as a letter from the beginning rather than by selecting a few isolated numbered sound bites (verses); a series of specific sentences that “prove” a preconceived notion. It takes a few minutes to carefully read the letter. It is worth every second, because we will find out exactly when Jesus Christ will return to gather the church and pour out the wrath of God. We will see the legal parameters of what must occur before the gathering of the Saints, so that we will not be misled not taken by surprise. For clarification, brackets have been inserted to bring in the truths concerning the mystery of iniquity that we have discovered from the 12th chapter of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
The Second Letter of Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians
From: Paul, Silas, and Timothy
To: The church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Grace to you, and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
We are constrained to always thank God for you, brethren, as it is fitting, because your faith grows greatly, and the love of every one of you abounds toward each other. We glory in you (among the churches of God) for your endurance and faith in all the persecutions and tribulations that you are enduring. Your endurance and faith being a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that you may continue to be considered worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are now suffering.
Seeing it is a righteous act for God to recompense tribulation to those that tribulate you; And you who are no being tribulated with us, will rest when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that do not know God, and on those that do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Here we see exactly when the believers will be suddenly relieved of the strain of tribulation. This is the glorious Day of the Lord, when he is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, just as he indicated to his disciples on the Mount of Olives. This is the day of our deliverance, and the day the Lord repays tribulation to those who have tribulate us. We continue:
(who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.)
Who shall, in verse 9, starts a parenthetical future clause, which indicates the final disposition of the ones to which it refers. The Lord shall in the future accomplish this act, but not at this moment. We have another parenthetical future clause in chapter 2 verse 8, which is just as obvious.
Then shall the Wicked one be revealed, (who the Lord shall consume with the Spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.)
The Wicked on will not be destroyed at the moment that he is revealed, or at the coming of Messiah for his saints at the last trumpet, but at the Battle of Armageddon, just as Revelation 19 indicates. Here we see the absolute necessary of staying with the chronology of the book of Revelation if we are going to make sense of the order that these prophetic occurrences transpire. This future parenthetical clause that we are addressing in the first chapter does not indicate that which will happen at his return for his saints, but looks forward to the future time of the White Throne Judgment after the millennial reign of Messiah, when the final disposition of Satan and those whose names are not found in the Book of Life are cast into the lake of fire and “punished with everlasting destruction”. Now we read this parenthetical in its entirety, inserting in bold italics the timing of this occurrence, as we understand from Rev 20:11-15.
(who shall, in the end, be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power.)
Now let us back up and read from verse 6, leaving out the explanatory parenthesis to follow the flow of the letter.
Seeing it is a righteous act for God to recompense tribulation to those that tribulate you; And you who are now tribulated with us, rest, the strain and pain that you are experiencing will be suddenly relieved when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels.
In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that do not know God, and on those that do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in those that believe, IN THAT DAY (because our testimony among you was believed).
When will the tribulation of the saints be suddenly relieved? In that day. For whom is he coming? For his saints. Why is he going to be glorified in them? Because their (Paul, Silas, and Timothy’s) testimony among them was believed. Of which day is he speaking? That day when the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel and the trump of God, taking vengeance on those who have been tribulating the believers and suddenly relieving the pain and strain of tribulation. The tribulated will rest when the Lord Jesus comes for his saints in all of his glory. The word rest is in the Greek, Anacin, (from whence is derived the brand name of a famous pain reliever). The picture that the word Anacin paints is a person bound and stretched tightly on a rack. Bones are popping out of their sockets and internal organs are beginning to tear loose from the connecting tissue. Ropes and chains holding the body in tension are as tight as a violin string. At the point of losing consciousness, when there appears to be no hope; the avenger breaks through the door; slashes the binding chains, and destroys those who have been torturing his beloved. It is the Day of the Lord. (see Appendix IV, The Witness of the Heavens).
“Therefore we always pray for you, that our God would consider your worthy of this calling, (by your endurance unto the end) and fulfill in you, the pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: “That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
After his prayer for the tribulated Saints, Paul expounds with clarity the day of our deliverance at the glorious coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.
“Now we implore you brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him; Do not be shaken up or troubled, (not by spirit, nor by dissertation, nor by letter, as if it were from us), thinking that the day of the Lord is imminent
. Let no man deceive you by any means; BECAUSE that day shall not come, EXCEPT FIRST”
This third paragraph, starting with chapter 2:1, is concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto him. They were not, and we are not, to be troubled or deceived by any of the means that truth (and lies) is generally disseminated. We are not to be worked into frenzy, thinking that the gathering together is imminent. We are told the condition that first must be fulfilled before that day can happen. BECAUSE sets the reason. EXCEPT FIRST sets the condition that must be met, the absolute legal prerequisite to his coming to gather the saints, thereby relieving the pain and strain of tribulation. What is it?
“Let no man deceive you by any means; BECAUSE that day shall not come EXCEPT FIRST there come the rebellious stand, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or is venerated; so that he, as God, sits in the temple of God, proclaiming that he is God.”
There are no other words that can be used to express with greater clarity, the reason, the condition, and the act. We are not to be shaken because the gathering together is not imminent. The condition that must come first is the rebellious stand. The result of this rebellious stand is that the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction who exalts himself above God. Verse four is nearly a verbatim recitation of Daniel’s description of the king of wickedness in chapter 11, verses 36 and 37, and the mouth, or blasphemous spokesman of the beast government in Revelation 13:5-8. Why did we not see it more clearly? Because the mystery of iniquity is already at work to blind the eyes of men to the truth.
A Falling Away?
Once men formulate an opinion, they have a tendency to protect their theology, as if the universe revolves around their interpretation. Meekness is a fine line to walk, and not very comfortable. The King James translators did not help things much either. After laying out the reason and absolute prerequisite for the gathering together of the saints, they let the whole buildup fall flat on its face:
BECAUSE THAT DAY SHALL NOT COME, EXCEPT FIRST THERE COME…….. A FALLING AWAY
I must express my personal disappointment at such an uneventful conclusion to a most intense crescendo. I am about to find out in no uncertain terms when the Lord is returning to gather the saints together and end our tribulations, I am finally going to know so specifically that will not be deceived by any means. Then I get this vague, lackluster, inconclusive: “a falling away”.
A is a general article. In the Greek the word is ‘n, which is the definitive article the. It can be most accurately described by pointing the finger at an object, thereby defining it precisely, and saying, “the_______”. The words “falling away” do not help much either. A falling away from what? The truth? That is how it has been handled in the million and six sermons. Even in Paul’s time:
II Timothy 1:15, … all they which are in Asia be turned away from me…
II Timothy 4:16, …all men have forsaken me….
Falling away from the truth had certainly happened in Paul’s time, but it happened during the Dark Ages as well. Can we be more specific, since we are pointing the finger at an occurrence that will signal and event that must come to pass before Messiah can gather us to the throne room of God for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Or do we acquiesce to a generic “falling away”, to point to the absolute prerequisite to his coming to deliver us?
“A falling away” in the Greek is ‘n (he) = the, apostasia = to stand in seditious opposition or open rebellion. Apostasia has been transliterated into the English “apostasy”, and has come laden with the misconceived meaning, “a falling away from the truth”. In Greek literature apostasia was used as “divorce”, which indicated a betrayal against one’s covenant. It was a stand in opposition to one’s spouse, not a simple “falling out of love”. There is only one other time that the word apostasia is used in the Bible. This one occurrence is rich with meaning.
Acts 21:20 … You see brother Paul, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe, and they are all zealous for the law; And they were seditiously informed about you, that you teach all of the Jews which are among the Gentiles, to forsake Moses.
“Forsake” is apostasia, apo – away from, stasis = to stand; hence to stand away from, in opposition. Here we see the activity of the word sedition that we defined earlier.
Sedition: Conduct or speech which is in opposition to lawful authority, but lacks an overt act that would constitute treason or rebellion.
The self appointed guardians of orthodox religious thought had so seriously twisted Paul’s teachings out of context, that they provoked Paul’s fellow countrymen against him before they even heard his testimony. They attempted to twist Paul’s message into an incitement to rebel against the lawful authority of Moses. They accused him of teaching people to rebel against the authority of God. His speech, if they accusations were true, would have been seditious. The act of the people in response would have been rebellion against Moses.
Rebellion: An open, organized, and armed resistance to authority. An organized uprising of subjects to overthrow their lawful ruler.
Apostasia is an act. The substantive form designated by the suffice apo indicates an act or stand taken. That would put this “stand in opposition” into the category of rebellion, if it were acted upon by the hearers of Paul’s “so called” seditious teachings.
We see then that the apostasia in II Thessalonians chapter 2 is not a vague falling away but rather the act of rebellion. This rebellious act is an active stand against the lawful ruler of the universe, God. The act of rebellion was initiated by Satan himself. He has stood in rebellious opposition to God’s authority since his original act, and his rebellion is not yet complete. He now opposes God before his throne. When he is cast down to the earth he will take his stand of rebellion against God and his people here, through the son of destruction – the man of sin. Apostasia is an act. The substantive form designated by the suffix apo indicates an act or stand taken, but is not yet completed. That would put this “stand in opposition” into the category of a rebellion that was begun, but not yet completed. The stand of rebellion that Satan initiated against the Most High God will be quashed while is bound in the bottomless pit for 1,000 years. His rebellion on earth will resume when he is released and deceives the world one last time at the end of the millennial reign of Messiah on earth. Satan’s rebellion will be eternally terminated as he is cast into the lake of fire and tormented day and night from ages to ages.
The result of the rebellious stand that must come before Messiah gathers his Saints is that the man of sin will be revealed. The son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, will be venerated by most of those that dwell on the earth. He as God, will sit in the temple of God proclaiming that he is God.
The definite article “n” – the – is also very important to understand when one looks at the next phrase: The man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction, who…This is not referring to some general sinful condition of man or some destructive tendency of mankind. It is in o uncertain terms pointing to the one who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God, or is venerated; so that he, as God, sits in the temple of God, proclaiming that he is God. Now we plainly see that the even which must come to pass is the event spoken of by Jesus and Daniel, as the abomination of desolation, or the revealing of the king of unrighteousness. This statement is near verbatim recitation of the accounts in Daniel, Revelation, and Isaiah.
Daniel 11:31, Arms shall stand on his behalf and they shall place the abomination that makes desolate…. and the king shall do according to his will and he shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god and shall speak marvelous things against the God of gods…Neither shall he regard any god for he shall magnify himself above all.
Revelation 13:5-7 And there was given unto the beast, a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and authority was given unto him to continue forty-two months. And he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme his name and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in heaven. And authority was given to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them; and authority was given to him over all kindreds, and tongues and nations.
Isaiah 14:13-14 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into the heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most high.
This section in Isaiah has been attributed to the rebellion of Satan, but in the context it is a proverb spoken against the king of Babylon who is portrayed as the morning star having fallen from heaven. This could very well be speaking prophetically concerning Satan’s future casting down to the earth, and the ruler of the last “Babylon” taking his throne under the power of Satan’s working. It also could have a direct prophetic application for Satan, Nimrod, and Nebuchadnezzar, and a final specific fulfillment at the end time with the antichrist. In any case, the attitude and verbiage are the same as we see in II Thessalonians chapter 2. It appears that the man of sin is one groomed to be inhabited by Satan himself. He is described as the man “anthropos = offspring of man” of sin – a man completely possessed by Satan.
II Thessalonians 2:5, Remember when I was with you I told you these things?
Paul had rehearsed specifics of this revelation with them in detail while he was with them in Thessalonica. He also put some of these things down on parchment so that we would have a record of things that must come to pass in the latter days. This revelation fully corroborates the revelation that John received on Patmos Island. We were not there to know all of the things that Paul revealed to those in Thessalonica. He may have spent days unmasking the mystery of iniquity for them. What you are seeing unfold in this book is a portion of what Paul laid out for those believers. What was necessary for the Saints in tribulation to know then is even more necessary for us (who will experience great tribulation) to know now.
“Now you already know what holds fast to his position in heaven as the accuser that he the son of destruction might be revealed in his own time, because the mystery of iniquity – the accuser’s exercised authority before the throne of God, and clandestine attacks on the brethren below – is already at work. But, he how holds fast to the authority and dominion delivered to him only until he is taken out of the midst of the throne room of God by Michael and his angels. Then shall the Wicked one be revealed, (whom the Lord shall, at Armageddon, consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.) He whose coming - the man of sin – is after the working of Satan: with all power and signs and lying wonders, having full ability to deceive utilizing the unrighteousness that is in them that perish; because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. For this reason, God shall let them go to a working error so that they will believe the lie: That they might all be damned who do not believe the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
The Legal Prerequisite
The context of the first and second chapters of II Thessalonians gives us a picture of persecuted, but courageous Saints of God. They are being encouraged to endure. Paul told them that they will be relieved of the strain and pain of persecution when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his angels, taking fiery vengeance on those who have been tribulating them with torture and death.
Paul instructs them not to be shaken up by anyone who indicates that the day of the Lord gathering his saints, and taking vengeance on the world, is imminent. Paul sets the absolute prerequisite for that day, being the rebellious stand of Satan when he is cast down to the earth. The result of this rebellious stand is that the man of sin is then revealed – suddenly uncovered – the son of destruction who exalts himself as God. This will happen prior to the gathering together. No Christian is to be deceived by anyone who teaches that the Lord could return at any moment, even though they mean well. We are not to be deceived by 88 reasons why the Messiah will return on the 8th day of the 9th months of the year 1988 of a pagan sun god calendar system. And no one should be deceived into thinking that the Day of the Lord cannot refer to the day that Messiah raises the dead at the first resurrection, and gathers those that are alive and remain to meet him in the air. They are one in the same. This is made abundantly clear in the two Epistles to the Thessalonians, as well as I Corinthians and the Revelation.
We can now see that over the last 1990 years, the Lord’s return was never imminent. He could not have returned 100 years ago. The abomination of desolation spoken of they Daniel, Jesus, Paul, and John must occur first. Paul reminded them that what is saying refers back to what he taught them while he was in Thessalonica. They were already aware of the mystery of iniquity at work and holding fast to this position in heaven, until the future war with Michael and his angels results in his being cast down to earth. When that takes place, the Wicked one will be revealed whose coming is energized by the power of Satan. That man of sin will be destroyed by our Messiah when he returns to establish his kingdom, at the Battle of Armageddon. Those who love this world more that they love the truth will be allowed to go to a working error of the mystery of iniquity. They will believe the lie of which Paul again tells them not to be deceived. This deception concerns the timing of the gathering together of the Saints in relation to the abomination of desolation, when the man of sin, the son of destruction is revealed.
II Thessalonians 2:11 reads: God shall send them strong delusion
The word send is pempo which properly translates “to send home”. Because some would rather listen to the voice of men over the voice of God as it is recorded in the scriptures, God will send them home to where they are comfortable with their own delusions and commodious errors. All who do not love and believe the truth, but find their reward living in the comfortable lap of the world of religion, will be judged accordingly.
In II Thessalonians chapters 1 and 2, there is a clear and repeating emphasis all through this section of scripture concerning Satan and the revealing of the man of sin.
The one who takes his rebellious stand
That which holds fast
They mystery of iniquity
That which is already at work
He who now holds fast
He who is taken out of the midst
The working of Satan
The man of sin revealed
The son of destruction
He who exalts himself above all
He who proclaims himself God
He who will be revealed in his own time
The Wicked one who shall be revealed
He who is coming after Satan’s working
There is also a clear and repeating emphasis all through this section of scripture concerning the day that the Lord Jesus is revealed at his coming for the saints, to gather them together.
The Lord Jesus:
Who will repay tribulation to those who are now tribulating you.
You who are now being tribulated, rest – the strain and pain will be relieved
When Jesus is revealed from heaven with his might angels
When the Lord takes out his vengeance in flaming fire
In that day when he comes to be glorified in his saints
In that day when he comes to be admired in them that believe
In that day when he gathers us together
In that day that will not happen, EXCEPT FIRST
There is absolutely no context for that which is now holding fast to be considered as anything other than Satan holding fast to his position before the throne of God, as the accuser. This section of scripture is telling the Saints that the prerequisite for Messiah returning to end the pain of tribulation is the events laid out in the book of Revelation, when Satan is cast out of heaven and the man of sin is then revealed at the fifth trump, the first Woe. He will not return before then. He cannot. Legal prerequisites exist. God cannot break his word. Praying contrary to his word will not change anything. Satan must be expelled from heaven and his dominion terminated there before the victory in heaven is complete. Jesus cannot gather us to the sea of fire and glass in front of the throne of our heavenly Father, until the mystery of iniquity is conquered and taken out of the midst. No one can enter the throne room for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb until Satan is permanently expelled from heaven, and the wrath of God is completely poured out. Satan’s authority must be stripped from him, legally and permanently. No one goes up before Satan is cast down. Period!
I was guilty of twisting these scriptures in just the way that I have exposed to you. I had to do so to prove my pre-tribulation secret rapture teachings. I was an energetic exponent of the teachings of my theological institution. I had a doctrine, position, reputation, and denomination to protect. In short, I was party to the system of this world that had been well rooted in my religious sect. Just because a denomination is in the mainstream of modern Christianity does not mean that truth is much of a concern. But I did have concerns. For twenty years I did not feel completely comfortable with the way that I was handling II Thessalonians chapter 2; but I would feel more uncomfortable not having a command of the denominational party line on these verses. One weekend of seclusion, with no one to impress and nothing to prove, I prayed honestly: “Lord, you know that I don’t understand the mystery of iniquity – or how it relates to the gathering together of the Saints. If you desire, you can show it to me. I know that you are able to reveal anything that you want.” I was in no hurry. I picked up my Greek New Testament and began to read and think. But I was strangely compelled to leave II Thessalonians and go to the 12th chapter of Revelation, which in my mind had nothing to do with Thessalonians. They mystery of iniquity was revealed to me in a chapter of the Bible that I had blindly misinterpreted for over 20 years. Fourteen hours later, it all fit together. I was electrified by what I saw, but my eschatology lay in shattered pieces on the stone picnic table at which I sat. The verses on which I had based my dispensational interpretation of the pre-tribulation rapture had melted before my eyes. For the first time in my life, I understood what Paul was communicating to the Saints in Thessalonica, and to the Saints today. Once I dropped my haughty intellectual pre-suppositions and went to my knees, my heart began to open to the truth of God’s word.
Hours later, I asked the Lord if he was willing to open the book of Revelation to me, I had been pretending to have a command of the book of Revelation for years. Although it was my “pet book”, honestly, I knew He had never opened it to me. I had pried it open by studying the interpreters of current and past generations. I knew that if Jesus had given the revelation to John to show his servants, then Jesus could, if he wanted, open it up to me. As I prayed on my knees, a brilliant explosion of light in my mind resulted in my repeating over and over, “It is all there, and it is all in order. The abomination of desolation is there, the gathering of the church is there, it is all there and it is all in order.” I repeated that explosion in my mind so many times, that now five years later, it is as fluent as the moment I saw it. I reached for my unmarked reading Bible and began to feverishly mark up the book of Revelation with a rainbow of color. I knew where all the major events were instinctively. I was unable to sleep for the next three days. My personal interpretation was in ruins, but for the first time the book of Revelation was clear to me and without confusion. It is all there, and it is all in order. Reading it in sequence, setting aside the chapters of parenthetical explanations brings out a Technicolor picture that is both horrifying in its destruction, and awesome in its glory.
For the next several weeks of solitude I prayed over and over again, “Lord, if you have shown this to me and it is true, and not the fabrication of my sick mind, burn it in my soul don’t let me compromise what you have shown me. Show me how to communicate this, if it is you Lord. If this is not true, take it from me Lord; I cannot bear to separate myself from my friends. If this is not your revelation, take it from me Lord.”
The fire kept growing in me. In the months to come, the Word was very unforgettably confirmed to me. He repeated specific verbal confirmations from several sources, verbatim; sometimes from very unwilling sources. A fire is shut up in my bones that I cannot quench. Months passed with nothing to sustain me but the clarity of the revelation and the drive to teach it to the people who will be able to make a real difference in the weeks and months to come. I do this willingly, without reward of personal gain.
In May of 1996, this manuscript began as a personal letter in response to a minister’s question. Within a few hours, I knew that I could not stop until I had secured in written form, some of the tings that the Lord had revealed to me. I have deliberately avoided reading any of the prophetic works that have been recently published until after the draft of the manuscript was finished. I have been asked by many if I had read Rosenthal’s work on the pre-wrath rapture. I have not. If the revelation stands or falls, it must be judged against the Word of God and future reality – not by man’s work. I do not know what revelations have been seen or what conclusions have been reached by others. There are however, a few specific revelations to which I have been led, which verify what I have seen in the pages of scripture. Appendix III concerns the modern day prophets, whose voices the Lord used to confirm the revelation.
It is my responsibility to speak out on this, because I had been in the past an unwitting party to the mystery of iniquity. No minister would want to be party to that mystery. Yet by omission, the mystery of iniquity has been hidden from the Saints because ecclesiastically appointed teachers have not exposed the hidden, behind the scenes workings of Satan. While the system of the god of this age labors to bring about the world government of the man who will be revealed as the prince of the New World Order, the Christian church has remained mute as godless humanism is forced upon our offspring. By our silence we are playing into his hand.
By teaching error from the pulpit, we have set the snare of Satan that will catch the church in its own comfort zone. Remember, your denominational hierarchy will not be sitting on the throne in front of you on Judgment Day. He will. You will answer to him personally, and you cannot plead ignorance or, “I was just following orders”. Jesus gives the orders around here. If you don’t want to listen to him, get out of the way and quit misleading God’s people. Your reward may not be as severe if you decide to quit actively promulgating the mystery of iniquity.