Sign of the Times and The Lawless One
In Matthew 24, we see Jesus explaining some of the signs of the end times so the believers who are living in these times will be able to recognize them. Multiple times, He expressed this idea: “when you see these things, know that the end is near”. This wasn’t speaking about the end of life, but it was speaking of the end of this age as it is today.
Matthew 24:12: “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold.”
Jesus specifically chooses to emphasize two parts in this verse.
The first part emphasized is that lawlessness will abound. The second part that is emphasized is that the love of many will grow cold. Here’s what He’s saying: Know that the end is near because lawlessness will abound. Know that the end is near when you see the love of many grow cold.
How we are able to recognize these things is through Jesus communicating them in Matthew 24. It is necessary for us as believers to be able to recognize these signs, especially when the news headlines begin to read like the back of the Bible. We need to have a clear-cut understanding of the times we’re in so that we are able to see our world within the context of the biblical narrative.
Let’s look at the first part emphasized in this scripture: Lawlessness will abound.
The lawless one created lawlessness. When the bible speaks of “the lawless one” it is referencing Satan. The lawlessness that we see is because of the activity of the lawless one.
As Jesus was speaking to some of the religious teachers of the time (the same religious teachers that He was correcting in a different moment in John 8) He describes Satan in this way: “…he was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. When he lies, it is consistent with his character; for he is a liar and the father of lies…”(John 8:44)
Satan is described as one who has no truth in him. There’s nothing to negotiate with him. He is the father of lies and his very nature is darkness. Since he is in such opposition to the truth of God, he has a goal. He wants to stomp out any expression of God on the earth. He wants to eliminate anything that gives God glory. He wants to stop anyone who honors the Lord.
This is why we’re seeing this aggressive attack on God-established genders and values. This is also why we see a movement against the idea of how God created marriage to be. Marriage is between one man and one woman. The ultimate reason for marriage is that God wanted a human relationship to reflect our relationship as the church with Him..
However, the enemy seeks to deceive the culture of our time. Thus, the culture seeks to pervert this design. The world wants to redefine marriage as though it is this fluid and volatile thing. This isn’t true because God created marriage and He gets to define it. If we are to be God’s expression on the earth, we must understand that marriage reminds satan of God and that’s why he (Satan) attacks marriages.
We must hold tightly to the scriptures that are the truth of God. In light of all the deception we face, Jesus shows us that we must be aware of the sign of cold love as well.
The Love of God
The second emphasis Jesus placed on this teaching was this: the love of many will grow cold. One of the greatest victories for the kingdom of darkness is the church turning on itself and in doing so, our love to grow cold for one another. In this passage of scripture, Jesus isn’t referring to our love for the world to grow cold, He’s referring to our love for one another growing cold.
In John 13 Jesus says this: “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” What He’s communicating here is that the world will truly be convinced of the Gospel when they see the love of God is expressed in how we love each other. People will know that we follow Jesus and have the love of God in us when they see the contrast between how believers love one another and how the world does.
This is why Jesus shows us the sign of the end times: when the believer’s love for one another becomes dim over time. This growing cold is so gradual it’s almost imperceptible. It may not start as strong hate toward someone, but it can start as a simple feeling you can do without someone. We need to have the kind of love where the Holy Spirit is constantly stirring that love up, so that even when we’re being stretched, we can continue in love.
This kind of love is only found in having fellowship with Jesus. Satan lies and he is consistent with his own character. On the contrary, a Christian loves deeply, and is consistent with the character of the Holy Spirit. We love out of our own resources, which is the Holy Spirit living on the inside of us and inspiring us on a daily basis.
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