I was enjoying my daily Bible reading recently when one little word made a light bulb of thoughts explode in my mind.
This word has been prominent in the media for weeks to describe the looting, burning and defacing of statutes taking place across the United States. It’s been going on in the lawless city of Portland, Oregon for the past forty-five days.
I was expecting another term in my reading–and that’s what surprised me. I anticipated “anti-Christ” which conjures up visions of an evil world dictator or the “opposite” of Jesus Christ.
Now I’m reminded what the “opposite of Jesus” entails.
Dr. Eugene Peterson, the pastor/translator of The Message Bible, now resides in heaven and doesn’t have to worry about worldly events. However, in his modern and pithy translation of Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, I discovered an enlightening perspective that might help us on earth.
I encourage you to read the following section meditatively.
2 Thessalonians 2: 1-17 – The Message – Sub-title: The Anarchist
“1-3 Now, friends, read these next words carefully. Slow down and don’t go jumping to conclusions regarding the day when our Master, Jesus Christ, will come back and we assemble to welcome him. Don’t let anyone shake you up or get you excited over some breathless report or rumored letter from me that the day of the Master’s arrival has come and gone. Don’t fall for any line like that.”
“3-5 Before that day comes, a couple of things have to happen. First, the Apostasy. Second, the debut of the Anarchist, a real dog of Satan. He’ll defy and then take over every so-called god or altar. Having cleared away the opposition, he’ll then set himself up in God’s Temple as “God Almighty.” Don’t you remember me going over all this in detail when I was with you? Are your memories that short?”
“6-8 You’ll also remember that I told you the Anarchist is being held back until just the right time. That doesn’t mean that the spirit of anarchy is not now at work. It is, secretly and underground. But the time will come when the Anarchist will no longer be held back, but will be let loose. But don’t worry. The Master Jesus will be right on his heels and blow him away. The Master appears and—puff!—the Anarchist is out of there.”
“9-12 The Anarchist’s coming is all Satan’s work. All his power and signs and miracles are fake, evil sleight of hand that plays to the gallery of those who hate the truth that could save them. And since they’re so obsessed with evil, God rubs their noses in it—gives them what they want. Since they refuse to trust truth, they’re banished to their chosen world of lies and illusions.”
“13-14 Meanwhile, we’ve got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends—so loved by God! God picked you out as his from the very start. Think of it: included in God’s original plan of salvation by the bond of faith in the living truth. This is the life of the Spirit he invited you to through the Message we delivered, in which you get in on the glory of our Master, Jesus Christ.”
“15-17 So, friends, take a firm stand, feet on the ground and head high. Keep a tight grip on what you were taught, whether in personal conversation or by our letter. May Jesus himself and God our Father, who reached out in love and surprised you with gifts of unending help and confidence, put a fresh heart in you, invigorate your work, enliven your speech.”
The essence of the person we’ve usually called the “Anti-Christ” is the spirit of anarchy–the very thing we’ve seen unleashed in our cities. We’ve experienced it before–it’s the heart-beat of sin. But in 2020, it’s as if the “mask” of Satan has been taken off and we’re experiencing a tsunami of evil that is unprecedented in our history.
It’s a spirit (mind-set) of anarchy.
Here’s the definition: an·ar·chy -/ˈanərkē/. Noun. 1. a state of disorder due to absence or non-recognition of authority.
Satan was the first moral being who chose “disorder” by refusing to recognize God’s authority in his life (Ezekiel 28:12-17). Human beings join that rebellion when we, too, choose to go our own way.
One of my new favorite writers is African American scholar Carol M. Swain, a former professor of political science and law at Vanderbilt University. Here’s her take on the recent rebellion:
“Two hundred and forty-four years after the 13 British colonies in North America declared their independence and became a sovereign nation, America is poised to collapse from within. Her imminent demise will not come from foreign troops quartered on her soil. It will come from Marxists and anarchists who use racial grievance and the cries of the oppressed to dismantle America’s institutions and defenses.”
“Insurrection labeled as “peaceful protest” is the battering ram weakening our nation’s foundations. Using the voices of the oppressed and deceived masses, and their bodies and legitimate grievances as shields, is part of a deliberate plan to bring about a new order guaranteed to be worse than what exists now.”
This destructive spirit of anarchy knows no bounds. Jack Graham, pastor of Prestonwood Baptist Church (Dallas, TX), recently tweeted:
“The same anarchism that wants to erase American history and heritage will be coming after Biblical history next. Next up after the founding fathers will be Jesus and the apostles.”
It’s already happening to Catholic churches. The Anarchist and his followers want to tear down all aspects of godly culture.
Let’s review end times’ anarchism from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-7.
- Verses 1-3 – Jesus has not returned yet. But He will. We will “assemble to welcome him.” No lock down on that gathering. No power in hell can stop the King of kings.
- Verses 3-5 – A great “turning away” (Apostasy) precedes Jesus’ coming. Is this what we’re witnessing in the Western World, especially among the younger generation? (A high percentage of the looters are youth.) If this is not the final “Apostasy,” it is certainly a precursor.
- Verses 6-8 – the biblical base of the West held the spirit of anarchy at bay for hundreds of years. Much of Satan’s work was “secret and underground.” No more. The mask is off. The double jeopardy of disorderly mobs and compliant political leaders wreaks havoc throughout the land. Anarchy will explode for a time. But King Jesus will destroy it with one breath (“puff!).
- Verses 9-12 – Anarchy is based on “fake” news and the hatred for and rejection of truth.
- Verses 13-14 – We should thank God for our salvation and keeping bringing people to Jesus.
- Verses 15-17 – We must “stand tall,” keep a “tight grip” on God’s Word and be “invigorated” in our speech and actions.
We overcome disorder with godly discipline and lawlessness with joyful submission to our Loving Savior.
The Old Testament Temple–the symbol of God’s blessing and presence–showcased two fifty-foot pillars. One was called Jakin, which refers to “Stability.” The other was named Boaz, meaning “Security” (2 Chronicles 3: 17).
When we submit to God’s principles (law) and leadership (authority) both in our individual lives and nations, we experience the fruits of stability and security.
When we don’t, anarchy destroys everything.
Victor Davis Hanson describes the present-day anarchists:
“The woke but godless, the arrogant but ignorant, the violent but physically unimpressive, the degreed but poorly educated, the broke but acquisitive, the ambitious but stalled—these are history’s ingredients of riot and revolution.”
Read that sentence again and substitute “Satan” instead of humans.
That’s a pretty good description of the original anarchist.