The Mystery of Iniquity 2 Thes. 2:7 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
The mystery of iniquity is the antichrist. But why is he referred to in 2 Thes 2:7 as the “mystery” of iniquity. There are several reasons why the antichrist is a mystery.
The first reason that the antichrist is a mystery is that he is already working and most people cannot detect his presence or his work. According to 1 John 4:1-4, there are many false prophets in the world. These false prophets are not of God; the spirit that they operate under is the spirit of antichrist. Sometimes, the spirit that is in them is very easy to detect, because of their error (1 John 4:6). But many times, the spirit that works in them can be much harder to discern.
For instance, in Acts 16:16-18, there was a damsel possessed with the spirit of divination which Paul eventually cast out of her. When she followed Paul around, she said, “These men are the servants of the most high God, which show unto us the way of salvation.” That is a true testimony about what Paul was preaching. However, the spirit that was speaking in her was not the Holy Spirit; it was a spirit of divination. Do you see, then, how hard the spirit can be to discern, at times? That’s why the work of the antichrist today is called a mystery.
One of the ways that you know the spirit of antichrist is working today is that Christianity is in apostasy. As Paul said in 2 Thessalonians 2: 3, before the coming of the Lord, “there [must] come a falling away first.” The spirit of antichrist is accomplishing that already today. The falling away has been most evident since 1881, with the beginning of the translation of modern English versions of the Bible.
The second reason that the antichrist is a mystery is that when he shows up, he will not be regarded by the multitudes as the antichrist, but rather as God, (2 Thessalonians 2: 4). He is going to raise an image of himself, which Daniel called, “the abomination of desolation,” (Matthew24:15). And the world is going to be forced to worship his image, (Revelation 13:14-15). He is going to use deception in order to trick the people into worshiping him and his image, (Revelation 13: 14). His deception will include a resurrection, found in Revelation 13: 3 and 17:8; great speeches, as in Revelation 13: 5; the ability to impart life to an image, found in Revelation 13: 15, etc. He will get this power directly from the devil, (Revelation 13: 2).
The third reason that the antichrist is a mystery is that he can be identified now in Scripture, though most people haven’t found him. Most students of the Bible are not able to locate him. According to 2 Thessalonians 2: 3, the antichrist is the man of sin, “the son of perdition.” This designation as the “son of perdition” helps us to identify who he will be. In order for us to determine this, we have to cross reference a number of scriptures.
When Jesus Christ prayed to his Father in John 17, he referred to the son of perdition as the only disciple that he lost. In John chapter 17:12, Jesus said, “none of them is lost, but the son of perdition.” That is clearly a reference to Judas Iscariot. Judas Iscariot was a devil (John 6:70-71). Because he “lifted up his heel against” Jesus (John 13: 18, Psalm 41:9), he lost his office as a disciple and had to be replaced by another disciple (Psalm 109:8, Acts 1: 17-26). Peter told us in at Acts 1, that Judas died and went to “his own place,” (Acts1:25). “His own place” is clearly not a reference to hell, but rather “the bottomless pit,” (Revelation 9:11). The bottomless pit has a king whose name in Hebrew is Abaddon, which means “destruction.” And in Greek his name is Apollyon, which means “perdition, (Revelation 9:11).” Ah, there’s that word “perdition” again!!
During the tribulation, the antichrist receives a deadly wound, (Revelation 13: 3, 12). According to Zechariah 11:17, this wound is “upon his arm and upon his right eye.” Did you notice the context of Zechariah 11:17? The context is a reference to Judas Iscariot (Zechariah 11:11-17, which prophesies the betrayal of Jesus for 30 pieces of silver). When the deadly wound is healed, Judas Iscariot comes up out of the bottomless pit (Revelation 17:8) and completes the reign of the antichrist until he is destroyed “with the brightness of [Jesus’] coming (2 Thessalonians 2: 8).” As Revelation 17:8 says, when he “shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, [he shall] go into perdition.” Ah, that word identifies him as clearly as the sun identifies the day! When he is destroyed, his master, the devil, will be sent down to the same bottomless pit in chains for 1000 years while the Lord Jesus Christ reigns on this earth. Praise the Lord!!