What Is Going On?

“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…” 2 Thessalonians 2:7

How do you explain what is happening in the world? Do you come up with humanistic ideas or is there a source that clearly tells us what is happening and why? And, as followers of Christ should we not know deeply what is happening so that we can react accordingly? Should we not be like the men of Issachar who understood the times and therefore knew what Israel was to do? (1 Chronicles 12:32)


A mystery is something that is secret and must be discovered. Most people around us have no orientation to be able to understand what is happening.

In 2 Thessalonians, Paul is clearing up some confusion that the Thessalonians had about the end of time. He reminds them that the end has not come and then lays out a few things that must happen before the end.

One of those is the coming of the ultimate Antichrist—the “man of lawlessness.” There are many antichrists (John would later say), but this is the supreme one, the one who stands above all others, the ultimate opposer of God’s work in human form. He is not Satan, but is filled with Satan’s spirit and carries out his will. He will manifest himself right before the end of time. And, Paul says, he has not yet appeared. (Nor do I think he has yet appeared in our current history.)

But then, Paul makes a clear statement referring to the fact that the “mystery of lawlessness” i.e., this strange, perverse law, is already at work among us. The word “lawlessness” can be used interchangeably with the word “sin” but it has the clear idea of someone or something that opposes the law of God. That goes against. That is adversarial. That is anti-law. 


This helps us understand the world. The devoted Christian must put current events in proper context and the textbook that gives us all we need to know is the Bible.

What is the explanation for what is occuring all around us? It is not the government or the economy or whatever else we may think as a cause. All of these are symptoms. It is that the “mystery of lawlessness is already at work.” Men are rebelling against God and His perfect, wonderful leadership and laws and that is why there is such darkness and destruction in the world.

We must remember this and orient our lives accordingly!


Paul reminds us in Romans 6 not to turn over the members of our body (our eyes, brain, hands, feet, ears, etc.) to be used as “weapons of unrighteousness” in this battle, but to give them to God so they can become “weapons of righteousness.” (Romans 6:12-13) This is a daily decision—in fact, hourly—and the critical step for us to oppose this lawless spirit prevailing in our world.

If we long to see God’s kingdom come and will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we must give our life, our time, our attention to being instruments in God’s hand that oppose the mystery of lawlessness. Our churches and families must become examples of lawful living under the authority and leadership of our great King. What you do today MATTERS in this battle. Oppose the mystery of lawlessness in your corner of the world with the mystery of godliness in your own life!


©2014 Bill Elliff.  Originally posted on Bill’s blog, Graceful Truth.