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What is the Mystery of Godliness in Contrast to the Mystery of Iniquity?
Dr. Allen Barber
February 6, 2012

1 Timothy 3:16 NKJV; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9 KJV
 
16 And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness :
God was manifested in the flesh,
Justified in the Spirit,
Seen by angels,
Preached among the Gentiles,
Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory. 

7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Paul tells us in I Timothy 3:16 that the mystery of godliness is “Christ Incarnate,” that is, God in human flesh or God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ. According to John’s first letter, Chapter 4 Verses 1-3, the incarnation of Christ Jesus is the acid test for true Christianity:

1 John 4:1-3 NKJV

1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world. 

By John’s definition, a false religion, a false church and a phony Christian is one who denies the virgin birth of Jesus.  God says that when Jesus became man it was not only a mystery, but also a great mystery how the God of the universe could stoop to our level and become a man. The fact it is called the mystery of godliness foretells the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus for the putting away of Adam’s sin and humanity’s great problem before God. Humanity’s great problem before God is that “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God – there is none righteous, no not a single one.”  The other part of the mystery of godliness is that Jesus is forever both man and God. When He returns, He will have the same resurrected body, yet glorified that the disciples witnessed when Jesus ascended back into heaven. Jesus Christ was the God–man in His First Advent and He will be the same God-man when He returns and throughout eternity. 

I watched a man, a false prophet, last night on TV who taught that Jesus was just a man and not God. He twisted the Scriptures to prove his premise. However, in doing so, he only proved he was a fool.  All so-called theologians in their smug intellectualism who deny the deity of Jesus in association with His virgin birth are fools and hell-bound sinners. If you are a member of a religious organization that denies the virgin birth of the Lord Jesus, you should get out of it immediately for it is part of Mystery Babylon that God is going to destroy. 

The question is, “Can a person be saved and deny the virgin birth of Jesus?”  No, they cannot!  John makes it clear that anyone who denies that Jesus was God in flesh (He could not have been God in the flesh if he were a sinner and not God; if He did not have a virgin birth, then He was not God; His deity demanded that He have a virgin birth – this is the mystery of godliness) is a liar and has the spirit of antichrist. There are many antichrists in the world today and from one of them will come the man of sin and the son of Satan, the Antichrist. 

Since the mystery of godliness is the incarnation of Jesus Christ, I once thought the mystery of iniquity is Satan incarnate in wicked human flesh. However, I understood by a deeper study into the mystery of iniquity that after certain of the fallen angels inhabited or possessed human bodies before the flood (Gen. 6:4), God put a stop to that and consigned the wicked angels to "tatartus" - a  special holding place until the judgment of the fallen angels (2 Peter 2:4). While demons (also fallen angels) can possess the souls of humans today, primarily in the area of the mind, they are not allowed a a human body as a permanent abode. Satan was once a very high angel, in fact an archangel and on a level above the other angels. We know this because Michael the archangel in disputing the body of Moses with Satan (Satan wanted the body of Moses to inhabit it and use it for his diabolical schemes, but God did not permit it), dared not accuse Satan, but said, "the Lord rebuke you" (Jude 9). 

Judas, the betrayer of Jesus, is called the Son of Perdition and only one other person is called that - the Antichrist. Satan did not inhabit the body of Judas, but rather controlled him via his mind, will and emotions which are the soul of man by a power demon. Demons are spirit beings and can attach themselves to the soul of man or even to animals and material things (Jesus sent demons to a herd of pigs and from Daniel we know demons are territorial for the angel Gabriel told Daniel he was delayed in coming to him because the prince of Persia resisted him 21 days). Satan will control the Antichrist though a Power Demon for there is a hierarchy in the demonic realm and Satan is their king (See my article in the Prophecy Section - "Will Satan inhabit the body of the Antichrist?"). I understood this better after learning of the Ancestral Demon via the deliverance ministry of Dr. Joe Allbright (I participated in one of his workshops as well as read his books on deliverance from demonic oppression).

There are three revelations in 2 Thessalonians 2 - the Antichrist, Satan and the Lord. The book of Revelation implies that even after the revelation of the Antichrist, Satan is a separate entity (Rev. 13:4). When the Lord comes on the Day of the Lord after the tribulation has ended, the angels bind Satan in the bottomless pit, but the Antichrist and False Prophet are cast into the Lake of Fire proving they are all separate entities. While Jesus had an incarnation and possesses a human body now in a glorified state, that is, He is both God and man for eternity, God is not going to permit Satan to inhabit and possess a human body for permanent status and even his control over the Antichrist is temporary and through a power demon he assigns to the Antichrist. When Jesus revealed at the Last Supper that one of His disciples would betray Him, Judas asked if it was him. When Jesus answered him by saying, "What you do, do it quickly," He was talking to Satan via the power demon that controlled or possessed the mind of Judas. Watchman Nee, in his book, The Spiritual Man, shows the close relationship of  the mind and the spirit. 

In both the Hebrew and Greek language, the word iniquity means "a self-determined lifestyle lived outside the will of God." Iniquity is not the same as sin even though it is in essence derived from sin. Iniquity is a strong determination to reject the will and laws of God. In that sense it is lawless without respect for divine authority. The modern Bible translations, translate the KJV word iniquity as "lawless" because the Greek word anomia, means "without law."  The Mystery of Iniquity that produces the end-time apostasy and the appearance of the Antichrist is a strong spirit of rebellion against the laws of God. We see this taking place every day in the United States and around the world. The Antichrist will reject all laws except his own government and is so deceived by Satan that he believes he is God.   

One day, Satan will control this Antichrist who will foment his evil plan upon this wicked deceived world. Judging from what I see taking place in the United States and the world at large, he will have many willing volunteers who will bow down and worship him.  The leaders of this nation have already shown their antichrist spirit by endorsing and promoting other gods. The promotion of false religion is setting the stage for the acceptance of the Antichrist as god. It is only a simple step to go from worshiping false religion to the worship of the Antichrist. 

When will Satan control a man called the Antichrist? From my study of the Word, I believe that will take place when Satan is cast out of heaven with his angels upon the earth, which is the middle of the seven-year tribulation period:

Revelation 12:7-9 NKJV

7 And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought, 8 but they did not prevail, nor was a place found for them in heaven any longer. 9 So the great dragon was cast out , that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. 

Comparing this passage in Revelation with Daniel 11 and 12 pinpoints the casting out of Satan from heaven to earth at the time of the Great Tribulation or the last 3 ½ years for Daniel 11 and 12 deal with that period only:

Daniel 11:36-45 NKJV

36 "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. 37 He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. 38 But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. 39 Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain. 40 "At the time of the end the king of the South shall attack him; and the king of the North shall come against him like a whirlwind, with chariots, horsemen, and with many ships; and he shall enter the countries, overwhelm them, and pass through. 41 He shall also enter the Glorious Land, and many countries shall be overthrown; but these shall escape from his hand: Edom, Moab, and the prominent people of Ammon. 42 He shall stretch out his hand against the countries, and the land of Egypt shall not escape. 43 He shall have power over the treasures of gold and silver, and over all the precious things of Egypt; also the Libyans and Ethiopians shall follow at his heels. 44 But news from the east and the north shall trouble him; therefore he shall go out with great fury to destroy and annihilate many. 45 And he shall plant the tents of his palace between the seas and the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and no one will help him.

This is when the Antichrist moves his HQ to Jerusalem which is between the seas (the Mediterranean Sea and either the Sea of Galilee or the Dead Sea). Notice that news out of Russia and China trouble him - the possible meaning of news from the north and east. Notice Verses 36-37 agree with 2 Thessalonians 2:4. 

Daniel 12:1 NKJV

1 At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.36-37 
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book. 

The mystery of iniquity is a complex subject and includes all the mystery religions and secret societies working behind the scenes in cohort with Satan to deceive the world into accepting his government and his Antichrist. It is this iniquity in mystery form, that is, the bringing forth of Satan’s Antichrist that is holding back the Day of the Lord when He returns in His glory to gather the saints into His kingdom and to judge Satan and those nations that worshiped him and took his “Mark.” The Mark is literally selling ones soul to the devil. Neither the Church nor the Holy Spirit is holding back the mystery of iniquity that will find its fruition in Satan’s day. It is God’s own decree that Satan must first work his evil in a final attempt to rule the world before the Lord Jesus can return to this earth (II Thess. 2:8-9). Only two things are holding back the Day of the Lord when Christ returns – the revelation of of Satan via the Antichrist and the preaching of the gospel unto the ends of the earth.  All nations will hear the gospel before Jesus returns, which means it is preached throughout the seven-year tribulation and it will be the Church preaching it not so-called Jewish evangelists. The saved Jews in the Church along with saved Gentiles will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. The gospel of the kingdom is the same as the gospel of salvation for to be a kingdom citizen one must have the kingdom in his heart.