Mystery of Godliness and Mystery of Iniquity by Zac Poonen
It is written in Rev. 10:7, “but in the days of the voice of the seventh angel,when he is about to sound, then the mystery of God is finished, as He preached to His servants the prophets.”
Once the seventh of the seven-fold trumpet is sounded, the ‘mystery of God’ will be finished. What is this mystery of God? In the New Testament, the word ‘mystery’ occurs a number of times. It means a secret which cannot be understood without God’s revelation. It is not a secret that cannot be understood at all, but one that only God can reveal. The mysteries mentioned in the New Testament can basically be summed up under two heads:
(1) The mystery of godliness (1 Tim. 3:16); and
(2) The mystery of iniquity (2 Thess. 2:7).
The mystery of godliness is the truth. The mystery of iniquity is the lie.
The “mystery of godliness” can be divided into three parts.
(a) The first part of this mystery of godliness is mentioned in1 Tim.3:16. In the previous verse, the church is called “the pillar and support of the truth” (v.15). Of which truth? The one mentioned in the next verse: “Great is the mystery of godliness; Christ was manifest in the flesh and was pure in the spirit, beheld by the angels, proclaimed among the nations.” The essential message here is that Jesus Christ came as a Man like us and was yet pure in His spirit. So we too need not sin. We can walk as He walked. (1 Jn.2:6). That is `the truth’. The church is to be a pillar upholding this truth! But unfortunately, the church through the ages has not held up this truth.
(b) The second part of the mystery of godliness is mentioned in Eph.5:31, 32. 1 Tim. 3:16 referred to a greatmystery. Here too we see a great mystery – the mystery of Christ and the church being one flesh. Jesus Christ has now got a bride (the church) – who also walks as He walked, keeping her spirit pure.
(c) The third part of the mystery is mentioned in 1 Cor. 15:51,52, where we are told how we will be transformed into the likeness of Christ in the twinkling of an eye, when Jesus comes and the last trumpet sounds.
Now we come to “the mystery of iniquity” (2 Thess.2:7)- which is basically that Satan also manifests himself in the flesh – finally as the Antichrist.
In verses 9-11, we read of Satan working through the spirit of the antichrist with lying signs and wonders and the deception of wickedness to deceive people. We also read of God sending a deluding influence upon those who don’t receive the love of the truth so as to be saved – “so that they might all believe THE LIE” (v.11 – Literal).
What is the lie referred to here? It is the lie that Satan told Eve in the garden of Eden: “You can sin and get away with it. God won’t punish you.”
That is the greatest lie that Satan has deceived the world with. Even many believers believe that lie of Satan!! The mystery of iniquity is that this lie has worked and worked and drawn many into deception. This culminates in false Christendom giving Satan a bride – Babylon! She also is called a mystery in Rev.17:5, just as the church is called a mystery.
The false church can be identified by this mark that it proclaims Satan’s lie that “you can sin and God will not take it seriously”.
If ungodly atheists preached that, we could understand it. But how do Christian preachers preach that to their congregations? How are Christians taken up these days with false signs and wonders rather than with holiness? How can they say they have been filled with the HOLY Spirit and not be holy?! This is a mystery indeed – the mystery of iniquity. In the days of the seventh trumpet, all the mysteries will be finished and the deception of Satan will become clear to the whole world. But today, God’s servants, the prophets, proclaim it (Rev.10:7).
Copyright – Zac Poonen. No changes whatsoever are to be made to the content of the article without written permission from the author.