God's Two Greatest Mysteries
In our lesson text [Luke 13:10-17] we noticed that there was a blind ruler in the synagogue. Let's take a closer look at this blind ruler. Paul said in II Cor. 4:3-4,
"And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. The God of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God."
Notice here that there is a blinded mind and a blinded mind is always a carnal mind. Paul also said in Romans 8:5-7,
"For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh: But they that are after the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be Spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God. Neither indeed can be."
The carnal mind is actually an enemy of God. It is hostile to God and actually hates God. Paul is telling us here, that we must be aware of the danger of following after the carnal mind. Because the carnal mind is a rebellious mind and will not submit to God's will.
Just as Paul said in II Cor. 4, there is a veil of flesh over the minds of many people which makes them blind when they read the Bible. The reason why is because they have an unteachable attitude. [spirit] They are not interested in hearing anything that disagrees with their personal desires.
In II Cor. 2:9-14, Paul said that the mind without the Spirit cannot understand things that are written and inspired by the Spirit. The things of the Spirit are foolishness to the carnal mind. This is the problem with the blind ruler of the synagogue. The deeper things of God are foolishness to those who are blind.
There is coming a day when the Christ in you is going to rebuke your carnal mind and your body is going to be straightened out and the result will be a glorification of your body. Your only hope of deliverance is the Christ in you. In the fullness of time, the Christ in you is going to rebuke your carnal way of thinking, [the blind ruler of YOUR temple] and you will be set free from your bondage to sin once and for all.
Your carnal mind is an adversary to the Christ nature in you and when the Christ nature in you rebukes your hypocritical carnal mind He will humiliate your way of thinking and your flesh will be set free from the bondage of sin and death.
The Church world today, as a whole, is looking for a fire escape. There is a spirit that prevails, even among Spirit filled Christians, which is irresponsible and rebellious. Our churches are filled with people who have a nature of wanting to do their own thing. They are untamed, rebellious, obstinate and stubborn. Samuel said that rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness as iniquity and idolatry.
Any Bible scholar will tell you that the antichrist spirit is intermingled and intertwined with concepts of the occult and witchcraft. What is the spirit behind the occult? What is the spirit behind witchcraft? It is the spirit of stubbornness and lawlessness and rebellion.
What you must understand is that Jesus Christ is the only door, the only gateway into the spirit realm. Jesus said in John 14:6,
"I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me."
Jesus is the only legal, valid entry into the realm of spirit. Satan's greatest deception is to get Christians to want to be independent of Christ's way and door. What is Christ's way and door? Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers and their purpose is to mature the body and to bring government and order to His people.
Jesus is the only way to the Father and He said that no man could come to Him unless he was drawn by the Spirit of His Father. There is only one way to move in spiritual arenas and that is by His Spirit. If you enter into the spirit realm any other way, such as the occult, mediums, and drugs, you are a thief and robber and a rebel.
The carnal natural mind of man is hostile toward God and is filled with unrighteousness and ungodliness and always pouring forth the traditions of men which make the Word of God non-effective. Romans 8:6-8 says,
"For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God: For it does not subject itself to the Law of God (rule of God), for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God."
Notice that the mind set on the flesh is a rebellious mind. Hostile toward the will of God, and it is not able to submit. Galatians 5:17 says,
"For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do what you want to."
Remember that God breathed into Adam and Adam became a living soul. When the Spirit and the flesh came together, Adam became a living soul. Paul declares here, that there is a war going on between the spirit and the flesh. He also declares that the flesh is antichrist, antispirit and rebellious.
James 3:13 - 4:10 says,
"Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such "wisdom" does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, of the devil. For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice."
"But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness. What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You quarrel and fight."
This is nothing more than the manifestation of the carnal mind. Paul said in 2 Thess. 2:1-4,
"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us , saying that the Day of the Lord has already come. Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He opposes and exalts himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, and even sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
This letter was written to the Church at Thessalonica to correct the any minute teaching concerning the coming of Christ. In the following discourse, I want to point out several things that Paul said must happen before this can occur.
In the first verse we want to look at the word 'gathered'. This word 'gathered' is Strong's No. 1997 and is the Greek word 'Ep-ee-soon-a- gog-ay' and means a complete collection. Specifically a church meeting for worship or an assembling (gathering) together. There are two places this Greek word is found in the New Testament. Here and in Heb. 10:25 which talks about not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together. It is taken from a root word No. 1996 'Ep ee- soon ag-o' meaning together and is found seven times in the new testament.
In Matt. 23:37 Jesus said,
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children TOGETHER, as a hen GATHERS her chicks under her wings."
And in. Matt 24:21 Jesus said,
"And He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call, and they shall GATHER His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other."
Jesus Christ is appearing in the saints even now, which is the unveiling of this first mystery of Christ in You, but there is also going to be an appearing of the Lord in the air.
In verse 2 of II Cor. 2, Paul said,
"Don't become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us saying that the day of the Lord has already come."
There were those, in the early days of the Church, who were going around shaking people up by teaching and sending letters with Paul's signature forged on them saying that Jesus had already come back. Even so today many are trying to predict the day and hour when Jesus will return. Let's look very close to what Paul was teaching here concerning the second coming of Christ. Paul preached two mysteries. The present day reality of Christ in you and he preached a present day reality of the antichrist-the beast nature in you. Paul said in verse three,
"Don't let anyone deceived you in any way because that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction." (NIV)
The KJV says, "Until there comes a falling away first." Let's take a look at this word 'falling away'. In Strong's concordance it's No. 646 which is the Greek word 'Op-os-tas-ee'-ah' from which we get our English word 'apostasy' from, and means 'forsake'. It is only found in the New Testament two times. Here and in Acts 21:21 which says,
"They have informed us that you teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to TURN AWAY FROM Moses.."
It is taken from a root word 'Af-is'-tay-mee' and means to depart from. Afistaymee is listed fifteen times in the New Testament; the most notable listing is found in I Tim. 4:1 where Paul said that some would depart from the faith.
The reason that I have looked up this word, 'falling away', with you is that many believe and teach that there is going to be an incarnation of Satan, himself, as the man of sin, the antichrist. And also there are those who teach that the next thing that is going to happen is that we are going to be caught away from the earth or Raptured. They also teach that the falling away first is the departing of the saints or the Rapture which must come first before the Man of Sin can be revealed.
This word falling away means just what it says. There has already begun an apostasy, a falling away from, even among Spirit-filled people! Jesus said in Matt. 24 that the love of many would become cold or wax cold. Surely, in the light of what is happening through out the Body of Christ right now, you would have to admit that the love of many Christians is growing cold!!
If there is going to be a falling away, there first must be something to fall away from. In Rev.3:20 Jesus is seen standing outside most churches and cannot get in because of their man made programs and man made governments and stands outside the door and knocks with His HAND !!! His apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelist... He is trying to get in but the Church, on the whole, is stubborn (idolatry) and rebellious (witchcraft) and will not listen to His delegated authority that He has sent.
In Rev. 3:20 Jesus said, "If you will hear My voice and open the door, I will come in." Listen to me charismatic's, God always speaks to His people through His messengers: apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers and evangelist. You had better stop your rebelling against God's delegated authority because this is His voice to you. But you have got your door shut. Jesus is standing outside most of what is being done today in His Name.
Jesus said also that there would be false prophets in those days, but you cannot have a false prophet unless you have a true prophet. This calls for discernment and knowledge of God's word. The bible says that darkness will cover the earth and gross darkness the people. Darkness is speaking about ignorance of God's will and God's way. Ignorance of God's two greatest mysteries.
There is going to be a manifestation of the Man of Sin but what most people don't understand is that the Man of Sin is a Corporate Man. That Man of Sin, that beast nature, the carnal mind is being revealed. The Man of Sin and the Son of Perdition is Corporate just as the New Creation Man, the New Man in Christ, is Corporate.
In verse 4 you will find out what this Man of Sin will be doing when He is revealed.
"He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshipped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."
Earlier we showed you that your carnal mind is at war with your spirit. Paul said in Rom. 8:6-7,
"For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be."
This beast nature in you, your carnal mind, will oppose or exalt itself above all that is called God or that is worshipped so that he, as god, sits in the temple of God, you, showing himself that he is god.
The generally accepted teaching most Christians is that there is going to be a temple built in Jerusalem and that there is going to be a world wide dictator and he is going to have an image that talks. There are two Greek words for temple in the New Testament Greek. First, the Greek word 'Hieron' which is used consistently in Matt., Mark, Luke, John, Acts and in I Cor. 9:13 and means a literal building. Every other place in the New Testament where you find the word 'temple' it is the Greek word `NAOS' and it means a Spiritual building or the inner sanctuary of God. Paul said in 1 Cor. 3:16,
Know you not, that your body is a Temple of the Holy Spirit???
And in Eph. 2 he said we are growing into a holy Temple in the Lord. This is the same Greek word used in II Thess. 2:4 when he said there is someone sitting in the temple. We are the temple Paul is talking about here and it is not some temple over in Jerusalem because it is a Spiritual temple. The one that is sitting in the temple is, for sure, the antichrist. He is the spirit of antichrist. He opposes and exalt himself above all that is called God and if you listen to him, if you let that stubborn, obstinate, carnal mind rise up in you and if you, by tradition, continue to walk in the vein conversations that you received from your fathers, the result is inevitable. Stubbornness, (which is as iniquity, lawlessness), and rebellion, (which is as the sin of witchcraft), will take control of your carnal mind and will cause you to be blinded to further revelation from the Spirit of the Lord. (I Sam. 15:23) This beast nature, this carnal mind, this traditional way of thinking, opposes and sets itself up against all that is called God.
I want to give you seven key words in this passage from II Thess. 2:1- 12.
1. In verse 2 the word `WORD'
2. In verse 4 the phrase `ALL THAT IS CALLED GOD'
3. In verse 8 the phrase `HIS MOUTH'
4. In verse 10 the word `TRUTH'
5. In verse 12 the word `TRUTH'
6. In verse 15 the word `WORD'
7. In verse 17 the word `WORD'
These words and phrases are those things that the carnal mind does not want to hear. For if they are accepted it means the carnal mind will be renewed. Carnal minds do not want to hear the truth and the truth is, that we the Church are not ready to meet Him!!! You are not ready to meet the Lord and I am not ready to meet the Lord. We must all come into maturity and we cannot do that if we are in rebellion to the authority that God has placed in the Church to bring us into maturity. Paul said in Eph. 4:11-16,
"It was He who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, to prepare God's people for works of service, so that the Body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son Of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of men in their deceitful scheming. Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will in all things grow up into Him who is the Head, that is, Christ. From Him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work."
We must mature!! Paul said in Gal. 4:19,
"My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is
formed in you...."
What is holding this back and what is restraining it? That one that is sitting in the temple. That thing in you that opposes and exalts itself above all that is called God and says, "I don't care what the word says, I am going to believe what I have been taught all my life." Well, go ahead if you want to, but if you do, you will become a part of a system that God has labeled The Man of Sin, The Son of Perdition. We do that every time we allow our carnal mind to rise up in arrogance against the Word of God. Peter said in I Peter 1:18-19,
"Forasmuch as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, such as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ....."
Jesus said in Mark 7:13,
"Thus, you nullify (or to make to none effect), the Word of God by your tradition that you have handed down."
When we follow the traditions of men instead of the truth contained in the bible we are exalting our carnal minds above the Word of God which He has elevated even above His name.
The problem with the truth is, that if we accept it, then we are going to have to change our worship, we will have to change what we believe and we will have to change our life style. The Church is not in the need of a Rapture, we're in the need of a cleansing. What would you think if you went to a wedding and the bride came in and had not taken a bath for a year and had her hair up in curlers and an old worn out bathrobe on?
The scriptures say that the Bride has made herself ready. We are doing God's people a disservice if we tell them all they have to do is to be born again. The traditions of men have kept the Church in the shackles of humanistic bondage for two thousand years now. I would like to clarify what I mean by the term Mystery of Iniquity. You must understand that we are the real temple of God that He is concerned about. Not a literal building over in Jerusalem. There is a spirit, an old man, a beast nature, the carnal mind, the spirit of antichrist, the man of sin, the son of perdition that is ruling in God's spiritual temple. The one that is restraining and holding back the move of God is not the devil but is our unrenewed minds. Romans 8:6 says,
"To be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God's law, nor can it do so."
There are seven phrases in II Thessalonians 2 that refer to the living Word. These are important because the carnal mind is hostile to the living Word.
1. In verse 2 Paul says, "..nor by word.."
2. In verse 4--"..above all that is called God.."
John 1:1 says,
"In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
The Greek emphasis is that God was the Word. 'Above all that is called God', is talking about the Word. In verse 8 he says: "..with the breath of His mouth.." And what is it that comes out of His mouth? His Word!! In verse 10 he says: "..refuse to love the TRUTH.." In John 17:17 Jesus said,
"Sanctify them by the truth; Your WORD is TRUTH."
Notice verse 12: "That they all might be damned who believed not the TRUTH, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." People take pleasure in their traditions because their traditions please them. In II Cor. 3:12-18 Paul said,
"Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: and not as Moses, who put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not steadfastly look to the end of that which is abolished. But their minds were blinded, for until this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been re-moved, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, The veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit."
The thing that makes the Rapture theory so contrary to the Word of God is the any minute coming of the Lord and the instantaneous change into perfection. The Bible does not teach an instantaneous change. It teaches a progressive change from:
1. Strength to strength, (Psalms 84:7)
2. Faith to faith, (Romans 1:17)
3. Glory to glory, (II Cor. 3:18)
Someone says, "But I can't see that, brother Johnson!" I know why you can't see it. Because your mind is blind! And I don't mean that as an insult. Paul says, here in this scripture, that even in his day when some people read the scriptures there was a veil over their minds. In other words, when they read the scriptures they could not understand what they were reading.
Paul said, however, that when they turned to listen to the Holy Spirit, that veil, that blindness was taken away. So then, when the Spirit is allowed to be Lord there is liberty. Now, with a mind that is not blinded, you are free for the Spirit to bring revelation from the Lord. As a result, this change will begin to take place in you to take you from glory to glory and bring you into maturity.