A few years ago , while observing the world of politics and the affairs of men, the word ”lawlessness”, in its Biblical sense, began to pop into my mind…
Recently I’ve noticed several Christians commentators using the same word to help define the spirit of our times. Anyone who’s missed the proliferation of lawlessness either isn’t looking or doesn’t want to call it what it is.
I decided to do a little Biblical word study, and it seems the word “lawlessness”, used in my ESV and NIV versions, and translated “iniquity” in the KJV and some other versions, most often refers to a rejection of God’s moral law. However, it can also refer to legal injustice (NIV “Strongest Concordance”). We’ve seen a considerable fulfillment of both of these interpretations in recent times.
How is it that the former Secretary of State can lie to the Congress of the United States under oath and jeopardize national security with impunity, and still run for the office of President? (1). Why is most of the mainstream media so dismissive of the implications of her actions, as though they say nothing about her character and her fitness for the position of leadership of the free world? What will she get away with if she becomes President? How is it that so many potential voters can freely ignore such questions?
Surely the answer must be that we are now a lawless people: a civilization which sets its wishes and proclivities above truth and consequences. And it’s no surprise really, given the lawlessness of the administration over the last several years: the blatant ignoring of law and constitution, of history, of the will of the people, and of the religion which birthed and guided the nation for over two hundred years.
At the same time people who are elected to be public servants perpetuate a crass determination to deny life to multiplied millions of humans in favor of convenience, and now the promotion of and apologetic for a foreign god (Islam’s god) at the expense of liberty, truth and free speech. The consequences for the future of America are not good. Our leaders-who hardly deserve to be called leaders-are setting the worst possible example, first of all by so arrogantly fulfilling their own will, and secondly by showing no shame or remorse once discovered.
The elites who consider themselves our masters and our betters want to control us all in every way possible, and as Plato wrote, tyranny will be the end product. Millions of people died over the centuries in order to preserve and pass on to future generations the knowledge of the law of God, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. In many ways the entirety of World War II was a battle to preserve free, Christian civilization. Don’t believe me? Refer to this speech by Sir Winston Churchill to the House of Commons on June 4th 1940:
“I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization; upon it depends our own British life and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire” (2).
And just in case someone may think in these times of historical revisionism that Churchill was an anomaly-a rare fundamentalist wacko, consider the opening of a prayer read to the people of the United States by President Franklin D Roosevelt, on the eve of D-Day, 1944:
And so, in this poignant hour, I ask you to join with me in prayer:
Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity (3).
Notice that Roosevelt called the US a “Republic”. Even the fact that The US was established as a republic is being denied in some circles.
The truth that the knowledge of the law of God shaped western civilization (and much of that to the East also) is now being denied or deleted by presidents, politicians, professors and some church ministers. President Obama, apologizing to the Muslim world in his first days in office, declared that the US is “not a Christian nation”. How things have changed before and since then, with help from others who intend to bring about“fundamental transformation”.
Those who wish to impose their will on us all know very well that:
“Those who control the present control the past, and those who control the past control the future” (4).
The goal of present-day political-correctness is to homogenize the world, to dilute or destroy the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to convince us that all religions and philosophies are equal. This, I believe, can also be termed “lawlessness”, because it rejects the supremacy of the ways of God, and because if everything is true, nothing is true: there is no objective law of God to shape our lives by and to govern our governments by. If everything is true there is no transcendent law of life by which the founders of the United States can make such statements as these:
“We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” (5).
So I considered “lawlessness” and “iniquity” and the rejection of the ways of God, and in the course of my study realized that lawlessness isn’t something new-it’s been going on almost since day one of human existence. First Eve and then Adam were prompted to reject God’s law, which at that point consisted only of a simple command stating, in effect, “You can eat anything you like-just don’t eat from that tree there, or you’ll die”. The serpent convinced Eve that in this simple commandment, intended to give freedom of choice and love, God was intentionally spoiling not only her fun but her “right” to freedom of choice, and she and her mate rejected God’s law.
Later in Scripture we read about the Israelites doing essentially the same thing, also fulfilling the other definition of lawlessness involving legal injustice, to the extent that:
“In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6).
Perhaps the most well-known use of the word “lawlessness”, the one my mind has been returning to, and the one frequently being referenced by others, is in Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians (2:3). It speaks of a “secret power” at work in the world, even in Paul’s time: it’s nothing new. However, it is something we can expect to increase as time goes on:
“But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13”.
As Jesus put it:
“… because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24:12 ESV).
That “secret power” of lawlessness will culminate in the appearance of a man (and the Bible does say “man”, not “woman”) who is lawlessness personified, and the spirit of his time a “rebellion”:
“Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him…that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed…” (2 Thess. 2:1-4).
There’s a resolution to the whole problem of lawlessness, and its ultimate expression, the “man of lawlessness, is already “doomed to destruction” (verse 4).
But it’s not just that one man who will be doomed to destruction. The one who deceived Eve and Adam, and many others since, will be “thrown into the lake of burning sulfur” (Revelation 20:10). Those who have willingly paid attention to him and rejected the ways of God will go the same way:
“And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened…The dead were judged according to what they had done…” (Revelation 20:11-15).
The only question remaining is, whose side are you on? Are you on the side of lawlessness and rebellion, or are you on God’s side? If you’ve lived a life of rebellion and lawlessness as I once did, there is forgiveness for you if you’re willing to change. Please see my post on the gospel of Jesus Christ:
4 George Orwell, “Nineteen Eighty Four”
5 From The Declaration of Independence