By Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer.. From the book Why End Times? Chapter 1 – Why End Times?
The final hour
We have therefore been living for over 2000 years in ‘the Last Days’, in the End Times. These last days will also have a last day. And that last day will also have a last or final hour. The hands of the clock of history stand at 5 minutes to 12 – almost midnight. John speaks about that last and final hour in his first letter, 1 John 2:18: “…Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come.
This is how we know it is the last hour.” This was a well-known fact in the early Church of Christ: that many antichrists would come, but eventually a super- antichrist – more precisely THE antichrist, as many Greek manuscripts add the word ‘the’. This one, last and final antichrist is to be preceded by many antichrists. The battle between light and dark- ness ignited immediately when the Word became flesh – and this battle has now been going on for over 2000 years.
Paul speaks about this coming of the antichrist in exactly the same way. He calls this final antichrist ‘the lawless one’, the ‘man of lawlessness’, the ‘man doomed to destruction’, ‘the adversary’. He will surely come one day. However, the spirit of lawlessness, the mystery of lawlessness, is already at work in our time, says Paul.
The falling-away is already under way, he says. He speaks about this in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4: “…Concerning the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to Him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us – whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter – asserting 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 will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s Temple, proclaiming himself to be God.” And then he follows through in verse 7a: “…For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work.”
What kind of lawlessness? It comes in many flavours. Do you re- member those sugary balls, from your younger days? Maybe they still exist today. They do in Holland! These were round, sweet balls, often on a little stick, that changed colour, and even taste, when you licked them. And every time, after you had licked them for a while, you took them out of your mouth to see what they looked like, what new colour had appeared – the same ball, but with an endless number of colours and tastes! Today lawlessness of all kinds is quickly spreading around the globe. And these many forms press ever onwards, further and further – lawlessness in all kinds of colours, smells and tastes, but in essence, one and the same ‘ball’.
The Greek word for ‘lawlessness’ that the Lord Jesus uses in Matthew 24:12 (His discourse on the last things) is: άνομία, anomia. ‘Nomos’ is the Greek word for: habit, common law, manner, established practice, law, even the law of nature. ‘Anomia’ is lawless- ness, unrighteousness, illegal practice. See also Matthew 7:23, 13:41, 23:28, 24:12, Romans 4:7, 6:19, 2 Corinthians 6:14, 2 Thessalonians
2:3 and 7, Titus 2:14, Hebrews 1:9, 10:17 and 1 John 3:4 for the use of this word. I sum these verses up for you in the next passage.
- This is the lawlessness that will cause people to be sent away by the Lord, even though they say “…Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name and in Your name drive out demons and in Your name perform many miracles?” And Jesus says: “…Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from Me, you evildoers!”This is the lawlessness of the weeds that will be burnt with fire, that end up in the hot furnace where there will be wailing and gnashing of
- This is the unrighteousness of those who will be called blessed if they are forgiven and their sins covered
- This is the evil against which Paul strives, the evil he does not want to do but that he does nevertheless, through the power of sin.
- This is the lawlessness of unbelievers with whom you are not to be unequally yoked together, for what fellowship can light have with darkness?
- This is the lawlessness of the man of lawlessness, the antichrist, the opponent of God, the mystery of lawlessness that was already active in Paul’s
- This is the unrighteousness which Christ Jesus gave Himself to free all of us from its clutches, to cleanse a people to be His own – zealous in good works.
- This is the unrighteousness God has The Epistle to the He- brews quotes from Psalm 45:8 concerning the wickedness that the Lord will not remember in the New Covenant when He puts His laws in hearts and writes them in people’s minds.
- John says: “…Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawless- ness.”
These are the fruits borne by carnal man, by the flesh, in contrast to the fruit of the Spirit.
Galatians 5:13-23 says: “…You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the Kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”
Man by his selfish, sinful nature produces the fruit of the flesh. Therefore Jesus teaches in John 3:3: “…no one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again.” One must be born again! Because only then will you produce the nine-fold fruit of the Holy Spirit – like the parts of an orange: one fruit, one orange but made up of several parts. A new life and a new way of walking in life will flow forth from within you, by the power of the Holy Spirit. “…For those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires” (Galatians 5:24).
The world is full of this ‘anomia’- unrighteousness/sins/lawlessness – increasingly so as we approach the last days and the last hour of this phase of world history. The powers of darkness are on the march, and the night will be at its darkest when the dawn of the coming of the King is at its nearest! But then the Son of Righteousness and the Morning Star will dawn in our hearts and all will be completely renewed! This is the Christian hope. This is what we are earnestly looking forward to. This gives us the courage to persevere, even when the realm of THE antichrist is showing itself more and more; even when he seems to be in total control and has “…authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. Over all inhabitants of the earth” (Revelation 13:7-8).
If people in the Second World War in Holland had known in advance that the German Nazi Occupation would last for only five years they would have encouraged one another more confidently: “keep up your resistance, suffering will only last a little longer – just five years!” But we did not know that! So we must take heart. There will only be a little more suffering and fighting, and then the great liberation will come! Had we known, but we did not know! Hitler said his Empire would reign for a thousand years! But in the case of THE antichrist we do know: it will only last for 3½ years (Revelation 12:14)!
To be continued.. with: Chapter 1 – Why End Times? – The Restrainer
The book Why End Times? and other books from Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer can be ordered from the webshop of Christians for Israel International.