Iniquity Shall Abound :: by Ron and Nathele Graham

Ron Graham was called home on March 14, 2013. He began writing this commentary before his death and had asked me, Nathele Graham, to continue his service to our Lord by finishing what he began.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many wax shall cold” (Mathew 24:12). This seems like a simple passage, but when it is dissected it takes on a deeper meaning. First let’s dissect this verse then look at the context. What is “iniquity?” The Greek word is anomia and Vines Expository Dictionary tells us it means: lawlessness, wickedness, and unrighteousness. Jesus says because of this iniquity, the “…love of many shall wax cold.”

There are many Greek words with rich meanings that are given the blanket translation into English as “love,” but the meaning is deeper when we look deeper. In this case, the Greek word used is agapē. This is a sacrificial love…the love of God. The next group of words to look at is “wax cold,” the Greek word “psucho” is used and Vines Expository Dictionary describes it this way: “to breathe, blow, cool by blowing, grow cool is used. In Matthew 24:12, in the sense of waning zeal or love.

Putting it all together the above verse means that lawlessness, wickedness, and unrighteousness will abound because people will allow God’s love in them to grow cold. Do we see that happening now? Are we allowing His love in us to grow cold and could that be why the news headlines are so horrific? I see a connection, don’t you?

It is never wise to take one Scripture and interpret it without looking at context. The disciples had asked Jesus “And as he sat upon the Mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world?’” (Matthew 24:3)

Remember, these men were Jewish. The Ekklesia hadn’t been called out yet, and it wasn’t time yet to reveal the Rapture to them. These men were still looking for Messiah to come as the conquering hero and save Israel from all oppressors. He will do that one day but many things must happen before then. The disciples question really concerned Israel and the end, as they understood it. Although they, in fact, were asking about the Second Coming of Jesus, they thought it was all part of this first coming. Jesus told them what will happen in the years from that point until the “end of the world.”

The Greek word aiōn is better translated as “age” instead of “world” and many translations do that. The focus of Jesus’ explanation is pointed at the last seven-year period known as Daniel’s 70th week. He says that this period of time will be unprecedented in human history and describes the events leading up to that time. Basically He says that things will be bad, they will get worse, and then unimaginably bad. “And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars…” (Matthew 24:6).

Wars will happen, but we can see the weapons of war have become increasingly more devastating. “…And there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places” (Matthew 24:7). These things have always been around, but they are increasing in strength. Disease is getting worse (super-bacteria, AIDS, fatal strains of flu, etc.) and earthquakes are increasing in intensity. “All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matthew 24:8). It’s going to get worse!

Jesus goes on to paint an even drearier picture. The disciples would be hated and killed. Foxes Book of Martyrs tells how each of them, with the exception of John, was martyred. Was Jesus just talking to those few men? No, He is talking about what would happen throughout the ages. History shows extreme hatred toward the Jews as well as Christians. Muslims in particular hate both Jews and Christians with satanic vengeance. This hatred is growing. “And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many” (Matthew 24:11).

Can you think of any false prophets that have deceived many? How about Mohammed and Joseph Smith to name just two? We could add Buddha, Rick Warren, and Beth Moore to that list, as well as all promoters of the Emerging Church and New Age movement. The list is long. Deceit abounds, but Jesus started His talk saying “…Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). Pay attention to these words. The only way to not be deceived is to prayerfully study God’s word. Understand what it says and eschew all teachings, ideas, actions, etc. that are not biblical.

Paul also talked of the last days:

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1-4).

Does this sound like anyone you know? People are becoming more and more rude, unpleasant, and verbally abusive. Tempers are out of control. As I read news sites online I see that iniquity abounds and people’s hearts are growing colder and colder. I wonder how much worse it can get. The venom that is spewed in blogs, even Christian toward Christian, is sickening. Iniquity abounds in every sector of our society. Where will it all lead? To the end of the age.

In these days leading up to the Rapture, Christians will undoubtedly have much of the hatred aimed at them. Why? Simple. In the above verse, the apostle Paul is speaking to Christians about the last days. The last days have been coming on since Jesus ascended into heaven. Therefore just as the early Christians endured under extreme persecution so shall Christians in these days before the Rapture endure much of the same persecution. As men turn from God’s love and their hearts grow cold, iniquity will abound.

I know you are thinking right now that we’ve had hatred, bloodshed, and death since Cain killed Abel. Wars have put multitudes in their earthly graves. But what’s coming is far worse than any world war. Daniel’s 70th week, and more specifically the last 3 ½ years of that week, will be more horrific than anything mankind has ever seen. There will be no let up of bloodshed. It’s easy to see how this evil is coming about as our population turns away from God’s love.

There are many indicators exploding on the scene that prove we are in the end-times, but the lack of God’s love in us is certainly one of the most frightening. Sadly, there seems to be a general acceptance of this cold heartedness. Movies, music, video games all seem to glorify killing. Everyone can see we are living in very perilous times─an era where hopelessness abounds. Where there is hopelessness love is easily forgotten. Hate is being promoted from just about every sphere of society today, and yet the Christians are still here. When Christians are taken home to heaven the level of hate will reach a crescendo, and I promise you, you won’t want to be on planet Earth when this prophecy of Jesus Christ’s becomes reality.

Christians who diligently try to show the love of God through their lives and through their speech will be the brunt of much of hate as we near the Rapture. Satan will be right in the middle of this violence to guide the feeble minded lost souls toward full- blown hatred of all Christians.

While the Ekklesia, which is an extension of Jesus Christ, remains on earth we should be combating this insane cold heartedness at every turn. Sadly the apathy and ignorance in the Ekklesia today is obvious. Even many so-called Christians spew hate, which hurts God’s message and does nothing to hinder this growing problem of cold heartedness. As Christ’s followers we’ve studied our Bibles and we know how destructive words can be. So then, how can we Christians continue with unbridled tongues?

“And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell… Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be” (James 3:6, 9-10).

Solomon put it this way “Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry: for anger resteth in the bosom of fools” (Ecclesiastes 7:9).

Let’s not allow the love of God to grow cold in us.

According to Jesus’ words, many coldhearted people will soon be coming on the scene. We are certainly in the last days just before Daniel’s 70th week begins, but those days of Tribulation are not here yet. Those days will be much worse in terms of iniquity. Being on the cusp of those times can be discouraging as we who await the Rapture hold fast to each day anticipating His inevitable call for us to join Him in the clouds. While we wait we have work to do, and no matter how much persecution comes our way we are to hold fast to the faith and allow God’s love to flow from us.

“Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).

If you are a born-again believer in Christ and you’re not involved in fulfilling Christ’s command for you to spread the gospel then you best get involved. Time’s a wasting. Certainly, you can’t possibly want to meet Him face to face and tell Him you were just too busy, too distracted, or too fearful of people’s response so you decided to just wait for the Rapture instead. Or can you? Many Christians are doing just that, and that’s why the love of God is waxing cold. Christians are apathetic. So who is out there showing God’s love? Iniquity abounds.

Right now, while the church remains a force on earth, cold heartedness can be combated. Yes, it’s going to get worse, and perhaps someday we will need to run and hide to keep from be slaughtered. Then again, perhaps we will be given the same courage the first century saints were given and as we stand in the face of certain death we will smile as we see Jesus standing before us. Remember Stephen and his words as they stoned him for standing boldly on God’s Word, “And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit” (Acts 7:59).

There was a young man present when Stephen was stoned for presenting the gospel to the Jews. He consented to Stephen’s death and went on a rampage against Christians. His name was Saul, a man in whom the love of God had waxed cold. As Saul was on his way to Damascus to wreak more havoc he had an encounter with Jesus. Do you think Stephen’s words came into his mind during the following days, as he was blind and alone? Saul, later known as Paul, became zealous for the Lord. What if Stephen had kept silent? We all need to speak of God’s love and not allow it to wax cold.

We who are born again enjoy the residing presence of the Holy Spirit living within us, and He is an awesome convicting Spirit. Jesus will use us to attract the cold hearted, the lost, the loveless unsaved. Reflecting His love through our actions will speak louder than words. In these last days the Holy Spirit is working overtime to convince as many as possible to join us when we are called home at the Rapture.

On a final note, there are those who will try to tell you that you can lose your salvation. One of the proof texts they erroneously use is this:

“But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved” (Matthew 24:13).

Remember the question the disciples asked Jesus? It was about the “end of the age.” They had no idea about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit nor did they know anything about the Rapture. As Jesus explained the progression of the birth pains to them He told them how things would get progressively worse. It was after Christ’s resurrection that the Holy Spirit came to live within them. Until then, the Holy Spirit had been there, but did not indwell a person permanently.

Once a person accepts Christ’s finished work on the cross he is sealed by the Holy Spirit and that cannot be taken away. No, this isn’t a license to sin more, but a responsibility to choose to turn from sin. Now we must reflect God’s love and not allow His love to wax cold in us. Once Christ’s followers are raptured there will be no more manifestation of the Holy Spirit. That time in history will horrendous.

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matthew 24:12).

Accepting Christ during the Great Tribulation will mean death. Accept Christ today before the Rapture and you will not be left here to try to endure until the end of the Tribulation. Share His love so others will come to choose life over death. Don’t allow God’s love to wax cold. Don’t allow iniquity to abound.

God bless you all,

Ron Graham