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Bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter

[Isa 5:20 KJV] 20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
We live in a rapidly changing world. The values of a virtuous society are being completely turned on its head. That moral center that is proven to be the blessing to any people is now thought to be a curse.
The Apostle Paul spoke of this as something that he called the mystery of lawlessness that is already at work in the world.
What is the mystery of iniquity or lawlessness that he wrote of in his second letter to the Thessalonians? (2 Thesss 2:7)
How is it already at work?
A trip back into time reveals what may be the answer.
Genesis 11:9 describes a time after the flood when all of the Noah’s’ descendants were coming together as one people with one language. They were building a place of centralized worship and commerce. The KJV translates God’s commentary on this development:
[Gen 11:6 KJV] 6 And the LORD said, Behold, the people [is] one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
This they begin to do is literally “they produce defilement and desecration to pollute themselves”
“Now nothing” is an absolute negation of what is to follow. Something like, “it absolutely cannot be” or “absolutely nothing”
“Will be restrained” is translated various ways. It has a metaphoric usage of ‘grape gatherers’ speaking of those who secretively plot destruction. (Jer 49:9; Obadiah 1:5)  It speaks of something inaccessible like a fortified high wall (Isa 25:2) or ‘mighty things’, i.e. something mysterious or hard to be understood (Jer 33:3)
“Which they have imagined” can lit be translated: a wicked plot as in [Psa 37:12 KJV] The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth.
“To do,” means to produce or accomplish.
From these observations, is it a stretch to translate this as follows?
“They produce defilement and desecration to pollute themselves. It absolutely cannot be allowed for this destructive, wicked (lawless) plot (mystery) to be accomplished.”
This is a bit different from how it is more frequently translated:
“Now absolutely nothing will be able to restrain their evil designs from happening” For example,Genesis 11:6 in the New Living Translation renders it:
“Look!” he said. “The people are united, and they all speak the same language. After this, nothing they set out to do will be impossible for them!
Does it seem strange that God would in one sentence declare that absolutely nothing is available to restrain this from happening and then in the next breath effect something that does just that?
Perhaps not…Perhaps it is evidence that ‘nothing is impossible with God’.
Yet in view of what God’s restraining purpose here is, doesn’t it make as much sense to translate it as God stating that it cannot be allowed and then following through on His declaration? Such a rendering emphasizes the absolute control that God has in restraining the affairs of men saying as He does to the seas, [Job 38:8,11 KJV] 11”… Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further: and here shall thy proud waves be stayed”
In other words, the ‘mystery of iniquity’ or mystery of lawlessness’ is this grand scheme of making the world of one language and one center of worship. The only restraint is that the Spirit of God Himself intervened by coming down and confounding their languages.
“Now He who restrains will continue to do so until He is taken out of the way”. 2 Thessalonians 2:7
In Paul’s day that mystery of lawlessness at work was the Roman expansion and amalgamation of people groups throughout the Mediterranean world. Caesar worship was to be the unifying factor of all of these people groups.
However, the Holy Spirit indwelling the church empowers Christians to refuse to bow to this one world view and centralized worship. It is no wonder then that the Roman emperor Nero declared Christians to be heretics.
Nor is it hard to understand why Christians today are demonized for politically incorrect positions. It only stands to reason then that when we preach separation from the world we also are anathema and hated those who desire the world to be one.
As long as the Spirit of God is resident in this world through His church, she is a heretic to this worldview. When she is “caught up” then the restrainer will be taken from the earth as well.
This begs the challenging question:
“Am I living the one true God, or am I living for the false, one world?”
“Is the church in these last days changing sweet for bitter and bitter for sweet?”
smc

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