It does not take a very spiritual mind for man to see that he lives in a world of sin & darkness. But it does take spiritual discernment to see that this world of darkness begins & lives within man himself. The Bible clearly reveals that the cause of man's outward disorder originates from his inward disorder - Jas.4:1,2. Though the words of man's mouth be smoother than butter, war was in his heart. Though his words were softer than oil, yet were they drawn swords - Psa.55:21; Psa.140:2,3.
Jesus proclaimed in a parable, "Hearken unto me everyone of you & understand: There is nothing [natural or physical] from without a man, that entering into him can defile him: but those things which come out of him [expressed fears, angers, lusts and sorrows], those are they that defile the man - Mk.7:15. "FOR FROM WITHIN, OUT OF THE HEART OF MEN, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries...covetousness, wickedness, pride, foolishness: all these evil things come from within, & defile the man." Mk.7:21-23; Matt.15:17-20.
In Galatians chapter 5, Paul calls the outward working & manifestation of these things "the works of the flesh." Gal.5:19-21. Paul connected this with the "law of sin'' which was in his members - Ro.7:23. James reveals that a man's unbridled tongue is "an unruly evil, full of deadly poison'' coming forth from "a world of iniquity" within, "that setteth on fire the course of nature" without. Read all of James chapter 3. This ungodly world of iniquity is that which is described in Eph.6:12.
Solomon, In his God given insight & wisdom declared, "The heart of the sons of men is full of evil." Eccl.9:3. Hundreds of years later, a man greater than Solomon declared, that it was "out of the abundance of the heart" the mouth spoke - Matt.12:34; Lk.6:45; Prv.4:23. Prv.19:21 declares, "there are many devices in a man's heart", which the psalmist says "because of their iniquities" (Psa.107:17-20), afflict them, both inwardly & outwardly. But thanks be to our loving & merciful God, He has sent His living Word to heal men from all their afflictions of this natural & spiritual body of death - Psa.34:19; Ro.7:24+.
Only God really knows, discerns & understands "all the imaginations of the thoughts'' (1Chr.28:9) of the workings of the heart (See Matt.23:25-28), which Jeremiah said "is deceitful above all things & desperately wicked - Jer.17:9; Heb.4:12,13. Because one is a Christian, it does not exempt him from the deceitfully deceptive images of the heart - Gen. chptr. 37; Gen.49:5-8; Eph.4:29; 5:1-7; Co1.3:8. For His name's sake & in His understanding mercy, the Lord has promised to remove all of that which Ezekiel described as "the stony heart'' (Ezk.36:26), which same heart Job said doth "carry thee away." Jb.15:12-16.
Dear ones of the Lord, God does not condemn us - Jn.3:17,18; 8:11. It is really our iniquitous hearts & untruthful words (Matt.12:37) that condemn & deceive us - 1Jn.3:20,21. Unlike the carnal judgment of man, God's judgment is designed to work for us, not against us - Ro.8:31-34. The only way our hearts cannot possibly condemn us is if we "walk after the Spirit." Ro.8:1.
In this study we shall seek to answer such questions as "How does our heart condemn us?" "Why doth thy heart carry thee away?" Why does man carry on "frowardly in the way of his heart?'' Isa.57:17. "Why does sin so easily beset us?'' Heb.12:1. "Who is our worst enemy?"
In our search for truth, we must of necessity emphasize in part some negative aspects of creation in order to also bring to light positive truths that can set one free - Jn.8:32. If we cannot see beforehand who the real enemies are and where they lie in wait to capture & imprison our spirits, we will surely be caught in their many hidden snares. In actual practice, the only way we can effectively uncover and then begin to destroy the enemies strongholds, is through looking to, & following after Jesus, the captain of our salvation.
We ourselves, need not consciously go looking for an enemy. The more we truly look to Jesus, the more we will discover the enemy of SELF, & the more we will be enabled to give these areas over to Him in true repentance - Jb.42:5,6. "All things that are reproved [bring conviction] are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest [expose out of darkness] is light.'' Eph.5:13; 1Cor.4:5.
We don't search out the darkness as such, but rather look only to the light which is constantly shining to expose that which is evil before our eyes of understanding. Using the same principles, the answers to "the mystery of godliness" (1Tim.3:16) can be discerned in light of what the Bible terms "the mystery of INIQUITY." 2Ths.2:7. A mystery is something that is hidden for a time but is not impossible to uncover or solve - Lk.8:10.
There is a key word that can be used to unlock the inner court door of our spiritual understanding. It is a word of common usage throughout the whole Bible. The word to which we refer is the word "iniquity." Strong's Concordance describes its meaning as "perversity", "moral evil", "fault", 'mischief", "punishment [of iniquity], moral wrongfulness "[of character, life or act] etc. Iniquity can be an inward quality or an outward act. Young's describes it as "vanity", "perversity", "perverseness", "unrighteousness", "wrong", "lawlessness & evil wickedness". These are good general descriptions. But the holy Spirit would have us zero in here for a closer understanding especially on the inward aspects of iniquity.
From the foregoing, general descriptions, we could deduce that "iniquity" is the generative nature of evil itself, hence the presence in man of an evil & unholy nature. "Evil" being simply a lower sphere, a realm existing outside of & absent from goodness & most certainly apart from holiness.
In essence, evil is an unconscious moral state of the soul's existence. Both goodness & evil can be seen in outward manifestations of the soul's external expressions. There is that realm of true holiness which is always "good", but there is a state of "goodness" which is not necessarily "holy." We will show that iniquity can often operate not only as evil, but also in the form of goodness--but it cannot be found at all in the state of true and righteous holiness.
It might surprise many to learn that the words "iniquity" & "iniquities" are used more often than the closely aligned terms "Satan" or "the devil" are used. Make no mistake, the devil is real [albeit not in the sense depicted by popular theology]; but when we have concluded this study you should be able to see that the traditional devil is not primarily our greatest enemy - our own iniquities are! "Because the iniquities of Ephraim are bound up; his sin is hid.'' Hos.13:12. In this "O Israel, THOU HAST DESTROYED THYSELF; but in Me is thy help" (Hos.13:9) declares the Lord. "Oh, Why will you die, oh house of Israel?" Ezk.33:11.
We declare that the only reason the devil has any power over "the seat of the beast" (Rev.16:10; 13:2) is because the iniquity of the heart & mind that was, & still is found in the inner state or world of the first man Adam (Ezk.28:15), is the serpents meat - Isa.65:25. He has a God given right to partake of that which is carnal & earthy (Gen.3:14) & that which is devoid of that holy wisdom which descendeth from above - Jas.3:15.
The operation of iniquity & not sin alone, is actually that which primarily & inherently caused separation & still continues in its malicious devices, to separate man from his only true God - Isa.59:1; Psa.66:18. "Thou has hid thy face from us & consumed us BECAUSE OF OUR INIQUITIES." Isa.64:7. Not mainly because of sin, not because of the devil, but because "OUR INIQUITIES like the wind, HAVE TAKEN US AWAY." Isa.64:6. They have caused a temporary separation of man from His God. According to His plan, God for a time, holds back a full harvest of blessing because of our iniquity which causes sin - Jer.5:23-25. Iniquity is the largest stumbling block in our relationship with God - Ezk.9:9; 14:3,4; Jer.5:25.
We must explain at this point that iniquity is closely connected to sin, but is not specifically the same perverse function as transgression & sin - Jer.16:10; Ex.34:7,9. To be sure, iniquity is always in sin, but sin is not always in the form of iniquity; just as sin is always evil but evil is not necessarily sin - Isa.45:7. In the blood of Christ our sin is instantly forgiven, but it remains that the iniquities of our unrighteous self-life must be progressively cleansed. Iniquity in its broadest sense of usage is also called "unrighteousness."
God is faithful "to forgive us our sins, & to cleanse us from all unrighteousness [Grk. word is same for "iniquity"]." Sins can be forgiven but the power of the cross must be progressively applied to the power of the sin nature - 2Cor.4:10,11; 1Cor.15:31. We will clarify this further on in the type of the scapegoat.
Iniquity could he described in type, as a rapidly growing seed which can grow into the fruit of sin. It is embedded in human nature. Its intrinsic power does cause the human will to exercise unrighteous & unholy choices. Sin, often described as "missing the mark", is an outworking & an aftermath of an inward lust, passion, or inordinate desire...whereby when one is tempted, the power of HIS OWN LUST entices & compels him. When this lust [or seed of iniquity] conceives in the form of unrighteous human choices, consciously or not, "it bringeth forth sin: & sin when it is finished bringeth forth [physical &/or spiritual forms of] death..." Jas.1:15; Ezk.33:12,13. "When the righteous turneth from his righteousness, & committeth iniquity, he shall even die thereby." Ezk.33:18; Ro.8:6; Prv.11:3; 11:19.
The sinning soul remains subject to all forms of death - Ezk.18:4; Ro.6:16,23. "There is a way that seemeth right unto man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." Prv.14:12; 16:25. The only way out of this "death" is through Him who not only has but also is, the true way of "life" - Jn.14:6. We "must be saved" (Ac.4:12) out of death. "Ye must be born again." Jn.3:7.
The Bible reveals, there is "sin unto death." 1Jn.5:16. This is basically, any sin that is not repented of - Jas.4:17; Heb.10:26-29; 6:4-8. Here again we see that sin when it is finished & carried to its completion will continue to produce spiritual death - Jas.1:15. We know that "all unrighteousness is sin" & any "sin not unto death" (1Jn.5:17) is that which is repented of and consequently immediately forgiven of the Lord.
We are looking at a basic inward earthy source of desire which the Bible calls iniquity. This iniquity operates as one of the basic powers of "the law of sin & death." It keeps the first Adam nature & every other subordinate power (Eph.6:12) under God bound to that law - Ro. chptrs. 6 & 7. Always, "the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and pondereth [prepares, weighs] all his goings. HIS OWN INIQUITIES shall take the wicked himself, & HE SHALL BE BOUND WITH THE CORDS OF HIS SINS." Prv.5:22. This is no different than being held "IN THE BOND OF INIQUITY" (Ac.8:23), even "the snare of the devil." 2Tim.2:26.
This inner bondage of weakness & infirmity of man's self-centered will, also lends itself to an outward manifestation of lawlessness in iniquity. Hence the phrase "iniquity unto iniquity" (Ro.6:19) which also results in a cycle of "sin to sin." Isa.30:1. "He that soweth iniquity shall reap vanity.'' Prv.22 :8. The real reward of iniquity is in the form of reaping what you sow - Hos.10:13; Psa.103:10; 94:21,23. "Every transgression & disobedience" receives a just recompense of reward (Heb.2:2) if not in this life, then in the next. These are universal laws of God & cannot be annulled by man.
"They that plow iniquity, & sow wickedness, reap the same" (Job 4:8; Gal.6:8) and wickedness is dwelling among the ungodly only because it is dwelling in them - Psa.55:15. Man was born in iniquity (Eph.2:1-3) & his heart continually "gathereth iniquity to itself" (Psa.41:6) wherefore all "the land is polluted with iniquity" (Lev.18:25) both within & without & is "sold under sin." Ro.7:14. No wonder, that before Jesus, there were "none righteous, no not one." Ro.3:9-19.
It is a truth that all have been bound in iniquity & sin & come short of the glory of God - Ro.3:23. But God has shut all mankind up together in sin & unbelief for the purpose of good & not for evil--namely, "that He might also have mercy upon all." Ro.11:32; Psa.90:3. This is the sovereign & divine conclusion to all that was expressed in Romans chapters 9 through 11 & the operation & fulfillment of it is expressed in Ro.11:33-36.
In the meantime, the manner in which the Lord deals with sin is not necessarily the same method He employs in dealing with iniquity. The fourth & sixteenth chapter of Leviticus reveals the type & pattern. God, in whom is no iniquity (Deut.32:4; 2Chr.19:7; 1Jn.1:5), has made Jesus who knew no sin "to be [a] sin [offering] for us", that we by faith might be justified through forgiveness of sins - 2Cor.5:21.
Christ was in the fulfilling of the goat chosen of God (Lev.6:8), slain as "the sin offering that is for the people" (vs.15), & was as the ram & bullock to cover sins of ignorance & of exposed sin. These were to make atonement for the holy place because of the uncleaness of the children of Israel. But there was more to the pattern. There were also two goats. One for forgiveness of sin, the other for cleansing of iniquity. One for justification, the other for sanctification.
"And when He hath made an end of reconciling the holy place, & the tabernacle of the congregation & the alter, He shall bring the live goat [even the living Christ together with His "living stones"]: And Aaron [the Father] shall lay both his hands [impart a witness of the holy Spirit's anointed ministry] upon the head (Matt.3:16) of the live goat [representative of Christ the head joined to His body - Eph.1:22,23] & confess [Hebrew-hold out in the hand] over him all the INIQUITIES of the children of Israel, AND all their transgressions in all their SINS, putting them upon the head [Christ] of the goat [the body of Christ] & shall send him away by the hand of a fit [timely, ready] man into the wilderness [place of testing]: & the goat shall [there for the ages, continue] bear [carry away] upon him [self..the whole body] all their iniquities (Isa.53:4-12) unto a land not inhabited ["gezard"]....signifying a spiritual place wherein comes separation & cutting off of self]: and he shall let go [make free] the goat in the wilderness." Lev.16:20-22; Isa.53:11,12; Psa.103:12.
Here, in the spiritual bareness of this present earth, He leaves His body to be tested & to endure, until He [God] does "open rivers IN HIGH PLACES, & fountains [of His living waters] in the midst of the valleys [of our low spiritual places]...and...[in His time] make the wilderness [the soul of spiritual Israel] a pool of [life giving] water, & the dry land springs of water." Isa.41:18; Jn.7:38. How long? "Until he [that mysterious carnal man of iniquity in our high places of pride & still asserting himself in the yet barren & unsanctified land of the soul] be taken out of the way." 2Ths.2:7.
"And the bullock...& the goat...shall one carry forth without the camp [choosing to bear His reproach - Heb.13:11-12], & they shall burn in the fire [at the alter of sacrifice] their skins, & their flesh, & their dung." Lev.16:27. "That outward appearance & that flesh which harbored the dung of iniquity must be consumed "with the holy Ghost & with fire." Matt.3:11; Nu.31:23; Ezk.20:47. So we see that in order to enter "into the holy place within the veil [of flesh] before the mercy seat", more than just a lip service confession for forgiveness of sins is required.
Unrighteousness must be thoroughly cleansed in & through the process of repentance & sanctification wherein our new man [in the Spirit of Christ] dying daily to both iniquity & sin, brings newness of life to the land of our soul. Remember who it was who died on that cross & whose life it is now abiding in you (Gal.2:20) that takes away the sin of the world and all that is within your old man of death. "Knowing this, that our old man IS CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, that THE BODY OF SIN might be destroyed [katargeo: rendered entirely idle, useless] that henceforth we should not serve sin..." Ro.6:5-14.
Our iniquities in the body of sin must be dealt with & purged in the likeness & presence of the Scapegoat who has made provision for their removal, not only through His pure & holy blood but also in washings & in fire "by the spirit of judgment, & by the spirit of burning." Isa.4:4. "For He is like a refiner's fire, & like fullers soap [in water]:..and He shall purify the sons of Levi" when they offer unto the Lord their own lives (Ac.17:28) as a living sacrifice [scapegoat] in the fire (Ro.12:1), presenting themselves wholly unto the Lord as "an offering in righteousness." Mal.3:3.
Now, describing the difference between sin & iniquity in yet another way, we see sin as an actual transgression in unrighteousness (1Jn.5:17) of any God given, God enforced law (1Jn.3:4), but
iniquity is that initial energized "power of darkness" (Lk.22:53) constantly pulling & pointing toward SELF, opposing God & causing man to sin. By missing the mark of righteousness, whether in inward choice (Matt.5:28) or outward action, iniquity produces & causes sin. Sin is but an outward sign of inward working unrighteous iniquity. It is this mysterious power of iniquity which drives man's will in the barren desert of his soul to be exercised in choices of perversity, rebellion, lawlessness, disobedience, uncleanness, unholiness, SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS etc.
Simply stated, INIQUITY IS "SELF WILL" (Gen.49:6; Tit.1:7; 2Ptr.2:10), a perversion of the holiness that's in God's will. One of the most outrageous & unscriptural statements we still hear in the church today is that "God can do anything but go against your self will." Strange, because when self will is put into action, sin always results. Christ didn't come just to deal with the symptoms of men's spiritual disease, He came also came to deal with the source! And iniquity is at the source. Sin results & the symptoms of it are seen if man either through the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh or the pride of life (1Jn.2:16) chooses to satisfy any ungodly desire that is abiding in spiritual death.
Iniquity is not always easily seen except through the eyes of the Spirit. A basic, self satisfying interest & egotistical attitude can lurk behind even man's loftiest acts of virtue. It is a way that seems right unto man but is apart from true life. These self serving interests & motives are often well hidden in the deceptive subtilty of the heart which no man can really know except by the holy Spirit - Gen.44:16.
Iniquity could also be defined as that open or hidden rebellion of self assertion which rejects God's standards. This is often in the form of secret enticement from the heart, wherein one unknowingly chooses to operate unholy methods of the carnal self, resulting in "works of the flesh" which in turn brings sentence against it - Jb.31:27,28.
Iniquity is found in many facets of human existence, not the least of which includes stubborness & idolatry (1Sam.15:23), bitterness (Ac.8:23) & covetousness (Isa.57:17). It can utterly consume a man - Gen.19:15. A little leaven has surely leavened the whole lump - 1Cor.5:7. Often, iniquity is more easily discernible in those whom the Bible describes as "lovers of their own selves." 2Tim.1:7.
Through Adam, death in the form of blindness, ignorance & alienation from God (Eph.4:18) entered into his inner & outer world (Ro.5:12) when evidence of iniquity was found hidden in his heart & then made manifest through him - Ezk. chptr. 28. Henceforth now are all men born, "shapen in iniquity & conceived in sin." Psa.51:5.. It is evident that sin (Ro.5:12) as well as iniquities have been handed down throughout the generations, in that our fathers have sinned & we have borne their iniquities - Ex.20:5; Nu.14:8; Lam.5:7. Lust, fear, anger & sorrow in all their ungodly forms became evident as a result of the intrinsic powers of iniquity. The lower immature nature of the first man Adam brought evil & corruption into the world through lust - 2Ptr.1:4; 1Tim.6:10.
In Adam's day before the flood "when men began to multiply on the face of the earth" (Gen.6:1)..."God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth & that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was evil continually." Gen.6:5. And so it is again in our day. "Because iniquity shall abound the love of many shall wax cold.'' Matt.24:12. "Evil men & seducers shall wax worse & worse, deceiving, & being deceived." 2Tim.3:13.
Iniquity seeks to bury the love of God. But alas, it shall never be. The puny power of man's rebellious nature is no match for the awesome power of the grace which abounds in the Almighty's love - Ro.5:15-21. "Where sin abounded, grace did [& still will] MUCH MORE abound.'' Ro.5:20. In traditional doctrines of the church we see a denial of this truth in their beliefs in man as an absolute free moral agent which vastly limits God's grace in its scope and effectiveness. But thank God, He is not a man that is in any way bound!
"Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord'' (Gen.6:8) the same way we & the most vile of men such as Saul (Ac.9:1) have found grace in their initial salvation in times past. Noah received it not because he was more righteous in his heart than any other, but simply because he & other saints (Eph.1:1-14) were chosen of God's own will to be an instrument in this earth to further God's righteous plans & purposes - Ro.9:11-23.
The great flood destroyed much natural life that was in existence but purposely did not destroy the seed of iniquity that remained in the generation of Noah's sons. God could easily have done so but this was not according to the method nor timing of His own plans & will. There yet remains in the divine purpose & plans of God, to pour out a flood of spiritual water & fire in the ends of the ages to complete His marvelous works & principles of bringing true life out of death. There is an interim outpouring of both to come very shortly.
Will you prepare to enter the safety of the Ark and ride above the flood as did Noah? Will you feel pain & torment from the coming fire, or will you willingly allow it to burn off the remainder of your cords and bonds of iniquity? Will it be a day of great darkness or a day of great light? Isa.60:2; Jl.2:2.
Following Noah's generation, we find "the whole earth was of one language and of one speech." Gen.11:1. In other words, there was a great gathering together & unification of knowledge & carnality. The people had decided on their own to settle in Shinar, meaning hostile land. People live today in many lands that are still hostile towards the true God, the Lord Jesus Christ.
Abraham by contrast, looked for a dwelling place whose builder & maker was God (Heb.11:10) & history records he fled from corruption in Ur. Men had become self satisfied & complacent with their own choices "and said LET US make brick." Gen.11:3. So spiritually speaking, they began to create a man made foundation out of the dust of the earth, out of the ungodly & exalted knowledge of their own carnal minds, reintroducing into the world a major form of idolatry.
"And they said, LET US build a city & a tower, whose top [end] may reach to heaven." The primary purpose of this edifice was to preserve their unity - Gen.11:4. Just as has happened in following generations "they were filled & their heart was exalted, therefore they have forgotten" (Hos.13:6) the Lord. The instructions to undertake their projects had not come from the Lord & consequently we see today, the same city in the spiritual realm as "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Rev.17:18.
Man has yielded to his iniquities. "Her sins (the sins of the harlot Babylon - spiritually, the unregenerate souls of mankind) have reached unto heaven & God hath remembered HER lNlQUlTlES." Rev.18:5. "Therein her judgment reacheth unto heaven, & is lifted up even to the skies." Jer.57:9. The Lord wants his chosen to "flee out of the midst of Babylon...be not CUT OFF IN HER INIQUITIES." Jer.51:6; Isa.59:2. It appears not many have taken flight nor will they be part of any "rapture" flight which they wait to catch!
Self righteous iniquity took the place of the tower of Babel [in type] & man still tries to reach God through the ineffectual efforts of the carnal mind...which mind in reality is always at enmity with God - Ro.8:7. Their hidden heart thoughts also were, "LET US MAKE US A NAME [iniquity of pride, self exaltation] lest we be scattered [iniquity of self preservation through fear] abroad..'' Gen.11:4. The Lord knew their hearts were set as one, in fleshly, not godly unity, to do only "which they have IMAGINED to do" (vs.6). Their hearts were set once again in the same manner as before the flood - Gen.6:5.
The perverted image in their mind & soul was being crafted by the work of their own hands.
Unknowingly they were building [in type of course] the confused Babylonish image of their beastly natured iniquitous minds; & so it continues even today only on a world wide scale - Rev. chptr. 13. Whether God knew man would reach a form of fleshly Utopia or else totally destroy himself, it is evident in Biblical revelation that He has not purposed for either of these things to happen.
In the divine wisdom of His plan, the next step was to mix & confuse the peoples language & scatter them abroad...''and they left off to build [not FROM building] the city - vs.7,8. "Therefore is the name of it called Babel.'' Gen.11:9. Just as there is a glorious spiritual city of God being built by God today of living stones, so also by man there is built up with dead stones, that mysterious city "Babylon the Great" (Rev.17:5), which [world wide community &] city of iniquity has almost fulfilled her purpose in the earth. She is divided against herself in her religious, social, economic & political systems & is again ready to fall - Rev.16:19; Matt.12:25,26. "Though they climb up to heaven, thence will I bring them down" (Am.9:2), says the Lord.
In all of this, can you not see beloved of God, that "Babylon" has merely been as "a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine [intoxicating cup of iniquity]: therefore the nations are mad." Jer.51:7; Psa.75:8; Rev.17. The nations & her peoples are in opposition to God & to one another & in turmoil, confusion and filthiness.
Lest we err, we must at all times keep the sovereignty of God's powerful hand in perspective. Notice that it was God who confused their language & scattered them over the earth. It was God that "determined the times before appointed, & the bounds of their habitations." Ac.17:26; Jb.14:5; Gen.11:9; Dan.4:25. Largely because of this, fleshly world unity is now impossible. Carnal men regard these barriers to their unity as a great evil--not knowing nor caring that it was God who ordained it all.
Yes, God ordained the confusion in scattering the people & destroying their unity. In his blindness, most of mankind still fails to see that his attempts to be one apart from the Spirit of God, only bring the judgment of God upon them. There is another great judgment that is beginning to take place. If you can hear it, even this day concerning all men & all nations, "GOD HAS PUT IN THEIR HEARTS TO FULFILL HIS WILL, & to agree, & give their kingdoms unto the beast [of iniquity...even the carnal will of the flesh], until the words of God be fulfilled." Rev.17:17; Isa.10:5-19; Josh.11:20. Then shall He intervene & completely destroy the city of Babylon, that earthly soulish city & dwelling place of the spirit of man. It is not the natural earth that shall be utterly destroyed but rather that beastly system which strives for fleshly unity.
If all this be so, you may wonder just what place does the devil have in all this? We would bring this out not to exalt his power but rather to expose it. Satan, "the crooked serpent" (Jb.26:13; Isa.27:1), "the dragon" (Rev.12:9), or "leviathan" as he is called in Job.41:1 & Isa.27:1, is presently a ruler over all the lower kingdoms of the earth (Matt.4:8) & a "king over all the children of pride.'' Jb.41:34. So is the darkened carnal mind also amongst the rulers of the darkness of this world." Eph.6:12.
Leviathan's "scales", that spiritual skin [in contrast to Ezk.37:6], the dark covering which holds together, covers and seals the spiritual "body of this death" (Ro.7:5,24) and even the natural children of pride & disobedience (Eph.2:2) who are servants to whom they obey (Ro.6:16), are held together in a spiritual "bond of iniquity." Ac.8:33; Prv.5:22.
In type, this spiritual flesh bond is keeping these servants in captivity to the binding law of sin and death which currently operates behind the veil of natural flesh in every man - Ro.7:23; 2Ptr.2:19b.. This is none other than "the covering cast over all people, & the vail that is spread over all nations." Isa.25:7.
Spirit & soul, flesh & devil, sin & iniquity, natural life & death in man, is as a covering of scales "so near to another, that no air can come between them. [Though they be separate scales], they are joined one to another, they stick [work] together [in an unholy alliance as opposites to the true Godhead & body], that cannot be sundered." Jb.41:5-17. Except of course by "the sword of the Spirit" (Eph.6:17; 2Ths.2:8) in the mighty hand of God. Like "behemoth [the enormously sinful beast nature of lowered humanity] which I made with [in] thee" (Jb.40:15)..."the sinews [bands] of his stones [testicles, reproductive stones of death] are wrapped together in fear" (Jb.40:17) in bondage of death.
These are the children of pride, the children of the beast & his nature, "who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage." Heb.2:15. "He [behemoth, the beast] is the chief [tool, instrument used] of the ways of God: He that made him can make His sword approach unto him [at His sovereign will]." Jb.40:19.
But for now, behemoth's strength remaineth in his loins reproducing evil thoughts & evil men, & his iniquitous power is in the umbilical cord of his belly through which all spiritually unborn men are bound together, held captive in sin & death because of iniquity - Jb.40:16. Although the carnal mind remains dead IN sin, know that the word of God is well able to make it dead TO sin." Ro.7:6.
Beloved, the major hindrance in the body of Christ today is not our former hidden sins. They were dealt with in the blood of Christ. But you must yet be renewed in "the spirit of your mind.'' Eph.4:23. There needs yet be a cleansing of the heart & soul. This mysterious hindrance or "mystery of iniquity" (2Ths.2:7) can only be discovered in revelation of the Adamic man of sin, the "old man", the beast nature, the carnal mind, the unregenerate soul which still operates that antichrist power of iniquity in the temple of God--whom we as the church are.
The majority of the church is looking for an antichrist who is yet to appear at some future date. How sly & deceitful is the human heart. They need look no longer for he is already here! The carnal "man of sin" sits as a self appointed ruler on his own "throne of iniquity" (Psa.94:20), within the body of man intent on corrupting God's wisdom by reason of his own glory - Ezk.28:17.
This self anointed king of the natural mind does constantly try to rule, even by unknowingly exalting himself through a deceitful heart in trying to take the place of God. "This is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now is already in the world" (1Jn.4:3) operating its deception from man's inner world of iniquity.
"Ye have heard that many antichrists shall come, even now there are many antichrists" (1Jn.2:18) in the outer world , but there has always been one major one within us that has hindered our walk with thoughts and acts that did not acknowledge nor confess the Spirit of Christ - 1Jn.4:2,3. This was true before we were saved & is true in a different and even more subtle way after salvation.
Even now this "man of sin...the son of perdition; who opposeth (the Spirit of Christ) & exalteth himSELF above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he (in usurped place) as God sitteth in the temple of God (1Cor.3:16), shewing himself that he is God...And now ye know what withholdeth (hinders yourself) that he (this mind which is other than Christ's) might be revealed in his (which is also God's perfect) time (of revelation & coming).
For THE MYSTERY OF INIQUITY doth already work (& has always been working): only he (the "inner man" of sin, the carnal mind etc.) who now letteth (hinders & deceives) will let (hinder continually) , until he (this antichrist, other than Christ's mind & Spirit) be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked (power) be revealed, whom the Lord shall destroy with the spirit of His mouth & shall destroy with the brightness of His coming [within]...through [progressive] sanctification of the spirit & belief of the truth..."2Ths.2:3-14.
Meanwhile, this king of SELF WILL who opposes any other unity than that of the flesh, continues to rise up from within proclaiming, "I WILL ascend into heaven, [in my own way], I WILL exalt MY THRONE above the stars of God: I WILL sit also upon the mount of the congregation in the sides of the north: I WILL ascend above the heights of the clouds; I WILL be like the most High." all according to my own will & way! These are the basic & deceitful primary thoughts of the fleshly heart - Isa.14:13,14. From the deep dark places in "the chambers of MAN'S IMAGERY" (Ezk.8:12; Isa.29:15) flow vain imaginations & every high thing that would exalt itself against the knowledge of God - 2Cor.10:5.
The enmity & pride of the carnal man, that "old man which is corrupt, according to deceitful lusts" (Eph.4:22) of iniquity, "now hinders & will continue to hinder, until he be taken out of the way." However the Spirit of the Lord would do it in us individually, it cannot be not by our might, not by our power, but by His Spirit!
The mind & spirit of man is as a walled city (Prv.25:8) with great defense & only the Lord knows how to destroy each one as in the taking of the cities in the natural promised land. This iniquity must be taken out, put out, carried out, cast out of the "inner part of the house of the Lord, to cleanse it" from filthiness - 2Chr. chptr. 29. Only in the revelation of God's MERCY & TRUTH IS INIQUITY PURGED: & by the fear of the Lord men depart from [this] evil - Prv.16:6.
As the mystery of iniquity is continually revealed in hearts of repentance, exposing it for what it is in whatever form one may understand it, it is then consumed & destroyed with the ever increasing brightness & glory (Prv.4:18; 2Cor.3:14-18) of the Lord's presence - 2Ths.2:18. For the Lord has made darkness His secret place also (Psa.18:11; 2Chr.6:1; Psa.139:12) & does command His light to shine out through the darkness of our carnal minds in mercy & truth - 2Cor.4:6; Psa.90:8; 1Cor.4:5; 2Ptr.1:19. As the heavens continue to reveal our iniquity (Jb.20:27; 12:22; Psa.51:6), the two edged sword of the Lord shall slay the beast & the dragon of death that is revealed in the troubled sea of humanity - Isa.27:1; 57:20.
C H A P T E R T W O
In continuing with this insight into iniquity, Isaiah 14:12-14 gives us the basis of that which is beneficial in bringing a more clear & practical understanding of the universal mystery of iniquity. May the God of our Lord Jesus Christ grant unto us the spirit of wisdom & revelation in the knowledge of Him that the eyes of our understanding may be enlightened (Eph.1:17,18) as to the "difference between the holy & the profane" & cause us "to discover between the unclean & the clean" (Ezk.44:23), between godliness & iniquity. The holy Spirit wants to bring this down to a practical understanding that we can exercise & apply in our every day walk.
The Spirit of the word is as a lamp unto our feet & a light in our path of understanding so we need not stumble or fall - Psa.119:105. It's a shame that more have not made the effort to buy oil for their lamps - Matt.25:1-13. If this study condemns anyone, then that person must deal with their own heart, searching out according to God's word where they may be walking after the flesh & not after the Spirit - Ro.8:1-4.
Isa.14:12 - "How art thou fallen from heaven [figurative of high spiritual places of righteous exaltation - Matt.11:23], O Lucifer [daystar, light bringer, son of the morning [son of God - Lk.3:38 - offspring of the Morning Star; even he whom in the beginning was made to have dominion & rule over the earth - Gen.1:26-28; Heb.2:7,8]. How art thou cut down [made subject to vanity, iniquity, sin, death etc.- Ro.8:20; brought low] to the ground [the lower earthy, soulish realm of existence] which did weaken the nations [the people born within this realm]."
Some believe this above quoted portion of scripture is referring only to Satan, some to Adam, & some try to balance it by seeing the workings of Satan in Adam from the day of the Adamic fall. The whole chapter refers in type to "the king of Babylon" (vs.4) & truth can be found in seeing both the flesh & spirit in different ways.
Here, we are writing this in the perspective of the Adamic lowering, rather than an angelic fall in order to more clearly understand & expose man's fleshly working of iniquity. We must understand the lowly fallen realm of the alienated "I" of self-found life, as it is in contrast & opposed to the "most high place'' found in the shared Christ-like principles of His life - Jn. chapter 17; Gal.2:20.
It is evident that covetousness (Isa.57:17; 1Tim.6:10) in all its varying forms of selfishness, is in the roots of the tree of the knowledge of good & evil. Iniquity flows from the "I WILL" roots & it branches out into sin. We ask the Spirit here to lay the axe to the five major roots of the extremely deceptive "I WILL'S" that wrongly seek to substitute themselves in the most holy place of God's own perfect will. Each iniquity can work separately but often flows together like sap in the main body or trunk of the tree [way] of good & evil.
It must be interjected here that it is not wrong to have a right motive & desire, not just for good, but also for holiness. In fact nothing could he more scriptural or right. But it is wrong to have unrighteous works & ungodly or selfish motives, attitudes or desires to obtain that goal, or any other. Jesus, in His divinity & also in His humanity, thought it not robbery to be one in unity with His Father. So HE MADE HIMSELF OF NO REPUTATION & took upon Himself the form of a servant who HUMBLED HIMSELF & became OBEDIENT even unto death. Like man (Heb.2:7), Jesus was made a little lower than the angels - Heb.2:9. Through His free will choice of suffering & being made to lack, He was found worthy to be exalted - Phil.2:6-9.
He is our pattern, our example, our standard & our goal. If we wish to be like Him, our own will must necessarily decrease in order that His will can increase in its place - Jn.3:30; Matt. 8:35; Lk.14:11; 9:23,24; Ex.23:30.
When Isaiah saw only the Lord high & lifted up, he confessed He was in reality a man of unclean lips, dwelling in the midst of a people of unclean lips & in this revelation & acknowledgment, his lips were touched with a live coal of fire & the seraphim said, "Lo this hath touched thy lips: & thine iniquity is taken away & thy sin purged." Isa.6:7. Then was he sent forth with a mighty word!
(1) Isa.14:13--"For thou [Adam man, woman - Gen.5:1,2] hast said in thine heart (Ezk.28:6),"I WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN. This iniquity is basically in the attitude of..."I know a better way than God's way, than God's word. I WILL obtain wisdom that I lack in MY OWN WAY (Gen.3:6) through exercising MY OWN WILL in opposition to a known law of God. "Heaven" can be the completion of any goal the carnal may mind strive for.
This particular operation of iniquity is the basis of all do-gooding, with the motive or expectation, either conscious or unconscious of getting to heaven--getting to the top of the class of our school, vocation etc.--no matter what it will take or cost. We can strive in the flesh through our own good work or dishonest works. The rewards of this, are only more travail of the flesh in vanity & vexation of the spirit or in material compensation or pride of life. This can be in the realm of "good for" (Gen.3:6; Deut.1:14) but it is not holy nor a product of the fruit of the spirit.
This iniquity is also found in social climbing, political aspiration, self directed church works (Isa.4:1) & many other works & aspirations wherein the Spirit of the Lord is not leading. It often affects others around us in a negative way. "The vile person will speak villainy & HIS HEART WILL WORK INIQUITY, to produce hypocrisy & to utter error [often unknowingly] against the Lord, to make empty the soul of the hungry & he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail." Isa.32:6.
All these things we will touch on may only be human nature, but they are not the Christ nature, though they may masquerade as such. SELF JUSTIFICATION & RIGHTEOUSNESS only serves to hide sin & iniquity. The light of true justification of the Spirit and godly righteousness tends to expose these dark areas.
(2) "I WILL EXALT MY THRONE ABOVE THE STARS OF GOD..."
This is the iniquity whereby one tries to keep up to the Jones', & one that would seek to exalt our reputation above measure - 2Cor.12:7. It seeks to exalt our opinions, our ways, our fashions, our wills, our choices above other people, even above ministries, governments, powers, even in the highest heights of God's visible glory. This iniquity also shows up in the carnal worldly spirit of male domination of the female, or it can work vice versa. The woman's lib movement is based in this deceptive spirit of wanting equality in total independence. This is actually contrary to God's desire of equality found in the godly principle of oneness & unity not only with the human male species but also with Christ & the Father.
This iniquity is often the one that is motivating authoritarian shepherdship & pyramid type discipleship in church ministries. The basis of all racial as well as other forms of prejudice are operating in this iniquity. It is often the root cause of competition [emulation] & is the cause of every word of gossip, slander, & forms of pride that motivates one to self exaltation.
This is one of the main iniquities which are operating in a large number of religious ministries in kingdom building, in large works & money making schemes, in building programs etc. which are outside of God's directive will. This kind of iniquity can really weaken one by consuming much energy in futility.
(3) "I WILL SIT ALSO UPON THE CONGREGATION IN THE SIDES OF THE NORTH.."
This is the iniquity of wanting to receive honor from men and is the root drive behind the actions of the poor attention seeker. It promotes fleshly showmanship & leads to further works of the flesh, especially in the religious realm. It is closely connected with the "I will exalt my throne" iniquities. It is an iniquity that wants to control others to do ones own will, & it manifests in the selfish desire to he looked up to, listened to & given undue recognition, if not through words, then through actions.
It often brings with it endless strife, frustration, anger, fear etc. The religious Pharisees openly flaunted this one (Matt.6:1-7) & so do they continue today. It is the root of hypocrisy, pride, stubborness & rebellion which promotes self idolatry - 1Sam.15:23. All this is the results of "spiritual wickedness" in high places of the mind - Eph.6:12.
(4) "I WILL ASCEND ABOVE THE HEIGHTS OF THE CLOUDS.."
This iniquity is deeply rooted in human self-preservation. It is the iniquity that draws one to escape facing responsibilities & from facing reality. It is generally rooted in fear & covetousness. It is also found in mans carnal attempts to overcome difficulties without the leading of God. This iniquity demands pink clouds, emotional bliss type of existence, feeding through the five fallen senses in gratification of feelings & vain imaginations. Such things as alcohol, drugs, sex, gambling, music, food & numerous forms of worldly entertainment can all feed & be fed through this iniquity. We need not give it place to take dominion over us.
This iniquity is also the basis of the church's "I'll fly away" escapism doctrine & can also find its gratification temporarily in false religious activity or ecstasy. It is also found in all forms of fantasy; even in reading, television, movies, theater, sports, travel, talk, work, as well as in the numerous devices people use to temporarily escape their problem...or even to just plain escape always putting the Lord first in their lives. In religion, it seeks to abundantly satisfy the flesh rather than the spirit through gimmicks & doctrines promoting perfect health & abundant wealth as perfectly holy things for God's children to strive for.
(5) "I WILL BE LIKE THE MOST HIGH.."
This ungodly force, will drive a person to always try to get his own way & is in the desire to win every argument. It is often closely accompanied with the drive to be exalted above the stars. This iniquity causes the I'm right all the time attitude. It is the ultimate channel of pride. With it comes an unwillingness to change. The Lord is the only one who has the holy right to say "I change not." It is also behind the church's traditonal doctrine of free will & its consequences in man's ultimatate destiny. It elevates man's will to be not only equal in strength to God's will, but even greater!
This iniquity is another hidden basis behind the current crossless faith, prosperity teaching, which through erroneous interpretation of scripture confesses only I AM what He is already. I AM righteous, I AM healed, I AM PERFECT & worthy of all things now. When this is not balanced with the realities of nature & everyday life, the heart deceives itself to believing there is no need for further change, no need to face what else I still am in this body of death because Christ has already done everything for me. If we slip, we don't need to change, we don't need deliverance, just faith & we'll retain our worthiness of being like the most High.
This iniquity works as a very subtle counterfeit of truth. On the other hand, this iniquity actually seeks to bring God down to the level of natural man & in doing so it births idolatry, looking to, trusting in, or worshipping things of the creation other than the Creator Himself. It promotes covetousness, greed, selfishness because that's what it is--causing men to serve God for the benefits as did Lot.
Presenting our own plan, whether to God or to other men, & seeking for blessings for one's own selfish use or gratification (Ac.8:18-23) is iniquity no matter which way we try to mask it. It puts oneself in the stead of God. The pride & lust in all of this also causes splits among men & wars among nations, & in this it could be said, "the iniquity of the Ammonites is not yet full." Gen.15:16. Sadly, man uses it to control others.
These five "I will" foundations we have touched on are also typified by the five kings of the Ammorites [sayers] (Josh.10:15), even the five kings of our self life who were highlanders & mountain dwellers [pride] who hid themselves in a dark cave at Makkedah [a place of spotting, branding]. Such a place is also typical of our carnal mind.
As the Spirit of Christ [Joshua] brings these hidden kings to our attention, we must go & take hold of them and bring them before the Lord. Those who are called to be leaders in the Lord's army shall in the Lord's presence & in the Lord's power first put their feet upon the necks, even that stiff-necked rebellious will of these kings--& then shall Joshua slay them. Only in the year that king Uzziah of our self will dies will we see the Lord high and lifted up and His train filling the temple of our hearts - Isa.6:1.
The king of Jerusalem [king over iniquities which bring false peace & security]; the king of Hebron ["communion" - king over those iniquities which hold one in close communion with the world & the flesh]; the king of Jarmuth ["lifted up"- ruler over those iniquities which exalt oneself in pride & lust; the king of Lachish ["walk of a man" - king over the ability of carnal man to walk in the Spirit]; & the king of Eglon ["a bull calf" over iniquities that rules in idolarty, false tradition, religion, & self sacrifice] - Josh.10:23.
We could also compare these to the five lords of the Philistines (Josh.13:3; Judg.3:3) & tie in the five stones of David (1Sam.17:40), the five foolish virgins (Matt.15:1-13) etc. but that would be too lengthy here - Ezk.43:7-9. The Lord at one point spoke of His people to Isaiah.. "Thine works are WORKS OF INIQUITY & the act of violence is in their hand. Their feet run to evil & they make haste to shed innocent blood: their thoughts are THOUGHTS OF INIQUITY: wasting & destruction are in their paths." Isa.59:6,7.
These are some of the results of man working iniquity. Proverbs lists these workings of iniquity as "a proud look, a lying tongue, & hands that shed, innocent blood. An heart that deviseth wicked imagination, feet that be swift in running to mischief, a false witness that speaketh lies, & he that soweth discord among the brethren.'' Prv.6:17-19. These are among the most hateful abominations unto the Lord, & for the overspreading of these abominations the city & sanctuary [the people] of God are made desolate - Dan.9:16-19,27.
In times past & in times present it is said of man, "Thou hast defiled thy sanctuaries BY THE MULTITUDE OF THINE INIQUITIES, by "THE INIQUITY OF THY TRAFFICK." Ezk.28:18. They "draw iniquity with cords of vanity, & sin as it were with a cart rope" (Isa.5:18) thinking they are pure & innocent. Like Israel of old, for the MULTITUDE OF HER INIQUITIES the church remains in a state of wounding & chastisement until the outcasts of Zion shall be enabled to turn their hearts totally unto the Lord because of His outpoured mercy and grace that shall release again the captivity of Zion - Jer. chapter 30.
It is amazing how the church can apply all the Old Testament promises, blessings & rewards to themselves today, but do not relate to the judgments, chastisements & admonitions prevalent to natural Israel in their sojourn. During the time of the revelation of the mark of God (Ezk.9:6; Rev.7:3) & the mark of the beast (Rev.13:17; 14:11), we find that "the iniquity of the house of Judah & Israel is exceeding great, & the land is full of blood, & the city full of perverseness.'' Ezk. 9:9.
This remains true today, whether one takes it literally or spiritually. Because of individual iniquity which causes sin, the church has constantly wearied the Lord (Isa.43:24) becoming a reproach to Him time & time again - Dan.9:16; Lam.2:14; Hos.7:1. "Yet made we not our prayer...that we might turn from our imaginations & understand thy truth." Dan.9:13.
The church's iniquities testify against her (Ezk.14:7) & for the greatness of her iniquity is her sin exposed - Jer.13:22-27. But lo, it remaineth, "Thy prophets have seen vain & foolish things for thee: & THEY HAVE NOT DISCOVERED THINE INIQUITY to turn away thy captivity." Lam.2:14.
We bring the truth of iniquity to light only that it might serve to set you free. The prophet that teacheth lies (Isa.9:15) becomes a fool, & the spiritual man mad FOR THE MULTITUDE OF HIS INIQUITIES." Hos.9:7. The Lord says His "people are destroyed for lack of knowledge." Hos.4:6. "They set their heart on their iniquity'' (Hos.4:8 ) whereby this same "spirit of whoredoms hath caused them to err." Hos.4:12. Not only their iniquities, but also "the leaders of this people cause them to err; & they that are led of them are destroyed.'' Isa.9:16; 3:12; 56:11; Jer. chptr. 23; Ezk.34:10 etc. "They be blind leaders of the blind: And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the ditch." Matt.15:14.
"Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, PRIDE, FULNESS OF BREAD, & ABUNDANCE OF IDLENESS WAS IN HER & her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor & needy.'' Ezk.6:49; Hos.7:14-16. "The pride of Israel doth testify to his face." Hos.5:6; 7:10; Obad.3. The result? Therefore shall the church fall in their iniquity - Hos.5:5. "Though they assemble themselves for corn & wine" (Hos.7:14) & though "they shall go with their flocks & their herds [denominations & fellowships] to seek the Lord;...they shall not find Him; He hath withdrawn Himself from them." Hos.5:6; Isa.57:17.
No man shall be able to heal or cure their ruin (Hos.5:13), until they recognize & acknowledge their offense of iniquity & seek His face in their affliction - Hos.5:15. Meanwhile, "A wonderful & horrible thing is committed in the land; The prophets prophesy falsely, & the priests bear rule by their [iniquitous] means (Jer.13:21,22; chptr.23); and my people love to have it so: & what will ye do in the end thereof?" Jer.5:30,31; 12:10; 10: 21.
Beloved, "Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheeps clothing" (Matt.7:15) as "prophets that make my people err, that bite with their teeth & cry, peace" (Mic.3:5; Jer.14:13, 14; Ezk.chptr.13; 1Ths.5:2,3.); "and there is no peace, saith the Lord God." Ezk.13:16.
"They build up Zion with blood, & Jerusalem with iniquity. The heads thereof judge for reward, & the priests thereof TEACH FOR HIRE, & prophets thereof DIVINE FOR MONEY: yet will they lean upon the Lord, & say, Is not the Lord among us? None evil can come upon us?" Mic.3:10,11. "Therefore they are become great, & waxen rich. They are waxen fat, THEY SHINE...THEY PROSPER; & the right of the needy do they not judge." Jer.5:27,28; Jas.2:2-8. "Everyone is given to covetousness...everyone dealeth falsely. They have healed...slightly, saying peace, peace; when there is no peace." Jer.6:14; 8:11.
Herein are the "WORKERS OF INIQUITY." By their fruit [Gal.5:19-21: not by their knowledge, their gifts, their charisma, their popularity, nor necessarily their works) ye shall know them.'' Matt.7:15-20. "For every tree is known by his own fruit" (Lk.6:44) whether it be "in all goodness & righteousness & truth" (Eph.5:9; Phil.1:11; Col.1:10; Jas.3:17; Matt.13:23), or in unprofitableness & "in the care of this world & the deceitfulness of riches." Matt.l3:22; Jn.15:2; Isa.5:2; Hos.10:1,13.
"NOT EVERYONE THAT SAITH UNTO ME, LORD, LORD, SHALL ENTER into the kingdom of heaven." TO enter initially into the "kingdom of heavens" [Grk.is plural], one must be "ordained to eternal life" (Ac.13:48; 2:47), appointed to be "born again" by the Spirit in order to see & even begin to enter into the highest order of the kingdom of heaven, termed. "the kingdom of God." Jn.3:3-8; Matt.19:23,24. In the case of the Scribes & Pharisees, they were not born again in the sense of accepting Jesus as their Lord & Messiah - Lk.19:14.
They were definitely in the unregenerate class of workers of iniquity, & Jesus was well justified in saying to them, "Depart from me, ye that work iniquity." Matt.7:23. These ones did not call Him Lord, did not cast out devils, did not prophesy nor do many wonderful works IN HIS NAME. This could therefore only apply to those of his professing church, whether they be of true Christendom or not. In the case of the regenerated church, this passage is not talking about losing ones salvation but rather losing ones rights, privileges & consequently rewards, which they could have gained had they done God's will rather than their own will--wherein lies iniquity.
The greater realm of knowing Him & attaining unto the firstfruit resurrection of the dead & sharing the prize of ruling & reigning with Christ in the coming earthly kingdom, is not for any workers of Iniquity. This is for they which were not defiled by the type of churches in Rev. chptrs. 2 & 3 and they which were not defiled in their souls with the political or economic daughters of Babylon's harlot systems. "These are they which follow the Lamb withersoever He goeth.. the firstfruits unto God & to the Lamb." Rev.14:4. "They have WHOLLY FOLLOWED the Lord." Nu.32:11,12.
"He that doeth the will of my Father in heaven" (Matt.7:21) is the basic requirement which also brings with it a true mark of discipleship which is "to love one another." Jn.13:34,35; Eph.5:2; Phil.2:1-5. Jesus said, "Whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, & doeth them" is a wise man who shall build his life upon a rock - vs. 24. "Who is a wise man & endued with knowledge among you? Let him shew out of a good conversation [life] his works with meekness of wisdom." Jas.3:13.
Christ wants God pleasers, not man pleasing workers of iniquity - Jn.12:43. He is bringing forth mature sons "doing the will of God from the heart" (Eph.6:6) "that they may enter in through the gates into the [ruling] city.'' Rev.22:14. The fruit of the spiritual tree of life comes in proving what is the acceptable will of God - Eph.5:8-10. Whoever is a hearer of the word & not a doer, deceives himself as well as others - Jas.1:22.
"Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? "Matt.7:22. But did they do it in the nature of the spirit or of their own heart? Ezk.13:17-23; 20:26. Many speak "and swear by the name of the Lord, & make mention of the God of Israel but not in truth nor in righteousness", yet "they call themselves of the holy city, & stay themselves upon the God of Israel." Isa.48:1,2.
"He flattereth himself in his own eyes." Psa.36:2. But "there is no fear of God before their eyes." Ro.3:18. They are self righteous & deceived in their iniquity." Have we not "in thy name have cast out devils (see Ac.19:13-16)? and in thy name done many wonderful works?"...In other words, "they profess that they know God [in lip service & nature] but in their works they deny Him." Tit.1:16.
These ones include they that are willing to do things only according to their own denominations, their own doctrines, their own will, but want to be called by His name - Isa.4:1; Mal. chptr.1. These are they of whom the word of God speaks..'Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, & do not the things which I say?" Lk.6:46; Jn.15:14,15.
These are they also of Ezk.44:&14, & those that shall say.."Wherein have we despised thy name? Ye offer polluted bread upon mine alter; & ye say, wherein have we polluted thee?" Mal.1:6,7. "And then will I profess unto them, I NEVER KNEW YOU (see also Matt.7:23; 25:11-12; 15:8,9; 1Jn.2:3,4 : DEPART FROM ME, YE THAT WORK INIQUITY." Matt.7:23; 8:12; Lk.13:27-30. These include the unwatching, unprepared foolish Christians of whom Jesus says, "I KNOW you not." Matt.25:12. On the other hand, they might know him as their Saviour but they know Him not as the Lord of their lives.
'The Son of man shall send forth His angels, & they shall gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, & them which do iniquity" (Matt.13:41; Jer.23:39; Ezk.14:9,10) "and shall cut him asunder & appoint him his portion with the hypocrites [and the evil, & wicked & slothful & unprofitable servant - Matt.24:18; Matt. chptr. 25], and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." Matt.24:51; Jb.21:19; Psa.36:12.
Judgment shall be according to godly righteousness, not human inequity or iniquity - Isa.11:3-5; Psa.98:9; 99:4. "All liars [bearers of false witness and tradition] shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire." Rev.21:8. But "He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." Rev.2:11.
"Is not destruction to the wicked? and A STRANGE PUNISHMENT TO THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY." Jb.31:3; Am.3:2. "For it is a fire that consumeth unto destruction [of all death & carnality; not people], and would root out all mine increase.'' Jb.31:12; Matt.3:10; 7:19. Their's is a strange yet merciful & sovereign work of destruction to the carnal mind (Prv.6:15; 10:29; 21:15) in order that the spirit may be ultimately renewed - 1Cor.5:5; 2Sam.7:14,15; 1Cor.3:15; Jer.2:19.
Iniquity brings affliction (Psa.107:17) & a necessary purposeful judgment (Lev.26:43; Jb.31:28), but always in the form & design of corrective chastisement - Psa.9:11; 89:32; Isa.57:17,18. See Lev.26:41- 46. Then shall it truly be fulfilled, their sins & iniquities, I will remember no more." Heb.10:17; 8:12.
David in his understanding & need cried, "Deliver me from the workers of iniquity" (Psa.59:2) and so does our heart cry. But more than this, our lips prayer should ever be, "Deliver us from evil" (Matt.6:13), "deliver my soul from the sword: my darling from the power of the dog" (Psa.22:20), that worldly beastly power of iniquity. See 2Ptr.2:6-9.
Jesus was born in iniquity in that he had the self willed human nature of man within Him (Jn.1:14; Phil.2:7, 8) but did not yield to this power nor did He sin because of it - Heb.4:15. "Therefore the devil had no negative power exerting its full dominion in Him - Jn.14:30. There was no dominating iniquity found manifest in Him that caused Him to become a slave to sin. A principle here is found in Hos.12:8 and Psa.17:3. It could well be said of Jesus, he "that hath withdrawn his hand from iniquity, hath executed true judgment between man & man." Ezk.18:8.
Now hath "God sent Jesus to bless you, in turning away everyone of you from his iniquities." Ac.3:26. Even though "iniquities prevail against us" (Psa.65:3), through Him can "everyone that nameth the name of Christ, depart from iniquity." 2Tim.2:19. His promise is sure, "The meek will He guide in judgment." Psa.25:9. Humility is a fast moving vehicle to have in our journey down the highway of holiness in this our exodus out of the dust of iniquity.
In the light of the holy Spirit, iniquity can be confessed (Lev.26:40), forgiven (Jer.36:3), purged (Prv.6:6 Isa.27:9; 1Sam.3:14), and cleansed - Isa.51:2; Jer.33:8. The holy Spirit must first be allowed to bind the strong man of the carnal mind, and then He is well able to spoil the goods, even those iniquities that dwell therein - Matt.12:29. "Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity...He will turn again...He will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast their sins into the depths of the sea.'' Mic.7:19. God in His mercy will perform this truth, for in the revealing of His holy nature, iniquity is purged - Mic.7:20; Prv.16:6.
David's desire was "let not iniquity have dominion over me'' (Psa.119:133), "let not THE FOOT OF PRIDE come against me...there are the workers of iniquity fallen." Psa.36:11,12. It has well been said that ones attitude determines his altitude - Prv.16:18. Therefore let us remember, "the proud He knoweth afar off." Psa.138:6. "God resisteth the proud but giveth grace unto the humble...Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you" as you humbly seek to cleanse your hands and purify your soul from iniquity - Jas.4:6-9; Isa.6:1-8.
"O Israel, return..for thou hast fallen by thine iniquity." Hos.14:1; 5:5. Yet even in this, the Lord still loves us. He knows we are but flesh - Psa.78:39. How then do we stand, draw nigh, and return? The Lord's reply is "ONLY ACKNOWLEDGE THINE INIQUITY." Jer.3:13 ; Isa.58:7b. Then "repent & turn yourselves...so iniquity shall not be your ruin." Ezk.18:30. "Ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God.'' Ac.14:15. "Take with you words, and TURN TO THE LORD: SAY UNTO HIM, TAKE AWAY ALL INIQUITY, and receive us graciously: so will we render... our lips." Hos.14:2.
The cry not only of our lips, but also of our hearts should be..."Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity and cleanse me from my sin." Psa.51:2. Then "depart from iniquity" (2Tim.2:19) and "humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." 1Ptr.5:6; Matt.23:12; Lk.18:14; 2Chr.7:14.
They that he yielded to iniquity dwell in the high places of Eph.6:12, and these high places of rebellion also dwell in them. But God is ever ready to place within the hands of his people, the power of the weapons of our warfare and the rock of our salvation. These He does give to knock down, slay and behead the behemoth's & Goliath's of iniquity in our mind. Only they that be of "a contrite, humble and willing spirit dwell in the high and holy place" with "the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy." Isa.57:15.
These shall have cast down their own throne (Dan.7:9) of iniquity & human glory before the authority of His throne (Rev.4:10), by casting down imaginations, & every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ." 2Cor.10:5. These are they that can testify as David..."He delivered me because He delighted in me." "I kept myself from mine iniquity." Psa.18:19-23. We need not ever fear to do battle with our personal kings and giants when they would rise up against us - Phil.4:13; Deut.20:1; Josh.1:9.
At the end of this age, God is to have a people cleansed from sin and iniquity (Tit.2:14; 2Cor.7:1; Ezk.36:33), their pots washed clean with God's fuller soap and their wrinkles pressed out in the heat of His Spirit - Eph..5:27; Isa.4:4; Mal.3:2. If you are one that is hearing today what the God of Joshua and Jacob is saying unto His household, then "put away the strange gods that are among you, and be ye clean..change your garments and let us arise.." Gen.35:2,3. Then shall it he fulfilled in this Joshua company.."Behold I have CAUSED THINE INIQUITY [part of the old garment] TO PASS FROM THEE, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment" (Zec.3:4), a new white raiment purchased from God (Rev.3:18), wherein "old things are passed away; behold all things are become new." 2Cor.5:17.
Fear not! The Lord has experientially begun to reconcile all things onto Himself. He has sovereignly chosen to begin in a priesthood company who shall be ministers "after the order of Melchisedec" (Heb. chptr. 7), not after the old "church order." These priests under the instructions of their most "high priest" (Heb.4:15), shall together with Him proceed "to make an end of sins and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness." Dan.9:24; Isa.10:22,23.
As sure as all corruption in the bondage of sin and death is to be universally abolished (Ro.8:21; 1Cor.15:25-27) beginning with God's priesthood of firstfruit sons, so shall that iniquity which produced their bondage, one day be no more. "INIQUITY SHALL HAVE AN END." Ezk.21:26-29.
Just as God's Spirit has absolute control over all the seas, so He has control over the proud waves of all humanity (Jb.38:11) whereby He is more than able "to subdue all things UNTO) HIMSELF.'' Phil.3:11. This is not merely the Lord's hope, it is His promise which He hath purposed in Himself to fulfill according to the sovereign work & operation of His own will and purpose - Eph.1:9-11; Rev.21:5; Isa.46:9-11.
"Dominion and fear are with Him, He maketh peace in His high places.'' Jb.25:2; Dan.4:37. Who can resist Him? Ro.9:19; Isa.43:13; Jb.23 13. In God's perfect order and in God's perfect timing, "wickedness shall he broken as a tree.'' Jb.24:20. It's branches ["ye are the branches" - Jn.15:5 of the tree of good and evil that] shall be hewn down and cast into consuming fire if you bear not fruit - Jn.15:2,6.
"Behold, I will kindle a fire in thee." Ezk.20:47. There, in association with that power of life which abolishes the power of death, carnal wickedness shall burn as the fuel of a fire (Isa.9:18,19) in this second death operation of consuming fire, until "where no wood [hay or stubble -1Cor.3:12] is, there THE FIRE GOETH OUT." Prv.26:20. "A clean thing out of an unclean" (Jb.14:4), only the Spirit of the Lord can make, for "our God is a consuming fire." Heb.12:29. It is in the Lord's determined will & purpose to consume all that is evil and to exchange His beauty for our ashes - Isa.61:3.
"Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil.." Isa.33:14,15.
Like the psalmist we cry out, "Oh let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end." Psa.7:9. "Break Thou the arm [the power in the strength of iniquity] of the wicked and the evil man: seek out his wickedness till Thou find none." Psa.10:15. Then cometh the end when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God." 1Cor.15:24. The last enemy in all of the first creation that is to be destroyed is death itself in all aspects of its operation - 1Cor.15:26.
Death shall be "abolished" (2Tim.1:10; Heb.2:14; Rev.21:4) in the sense that all death powers of sin and iniquity shall have been rendered useless, "taken", "put away","destroyed", "consumed" etc.- Jn.1:29; Heb.9:26; Ro.6:6; 2Ths.2:8. The death producing works of the devil shall be destroyed (1Jn.3:8) and the dragon's power shall be slain - Isa.27:1. How odd it is, that though the nature of the devil (spiritual death) is destined to be destroyed, it apparantly lives on forever in billions of souls according to the traditional doctrine of eternal hell.
Because the true Light of the world 'knoweth what is in the darkness" (Dan.2:22), especially the spiritual darkness enveloping the earth and its inhabitants; and because His Fatherly perfect love and mercy encompasses His whole creation, therefore according to His will 'He setteth an end to darkness and searcheth out all perfection." Jb.28:3. The word of God asks, "Upon whom does not this light arise?" Jb.25:2. "For who hath resisted His will?" Ro.9:19.
The answer to the preceeding questions can be found in that the spirit of man was made as the candle OF THE LORD - Prv.20:27. This candle which was created of God shall eventually be lit with His flaming match of grace, bringing to light even the ultimate truth of the Christ life to be revealed to and in, every human spirit who will ever enter into this earth - Jn.1:7; 8:12;12:32. All were originally created "by [Grk: in] Him'' in the beginning (Col. chptr. 1), put "out of" [Gk - from] Him in the interim for processing in order only to be ultimately found "for Him" and "In Him" to the glory of God the Father - Ro.11:36.
The Lord created man "subject to vanity'' (Ro.8:20) in accordance with His own will and purpose but He did not create anyone in vain (Isa.45:18; Rev.4:11; Ro.11:36) that they might forever be in locked in vanity. Vanity is merely a temporal part of the overall process in eonian death that shall be done away at the consummation of the ages.
All death shall be swallowed up in the expanding works and processing's of Christ's eternal Life. All darkness is destined to be swallowed up of His everlasting Light. In the end when all darkness is brought by the Spirit into the full reality of the Light of Christ...the whole creation having been washed in holy water and cleansed in the purifying fire (2Ptr.3:10) of God's all consuming love, then shall every man have praise of God - 1Cor.4:5. And the Almighty Saviour being "all in all" (1Cor.15:28), shall also have worthy praise of all His creation - Rev.5:12,13. "Surely the wrath of man shall praise Thee: [for] the remainder of wrath shalt Thou restrain." Psa.76:10.
In the meantime, in this present world of iniquity we have shown the Christ in direct contrast to the house of "the Israel of God" in order ''that they may be ashamed of their iniquities: and [in order] to let them measure [stretch, extend to conform to] the pattern." Ezk.43:10. "Sing O barren [church], thou that didst not bear...break forth...cry aloud...for more [yet, still in this the meantime] are the children of the desolate...Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine inhabitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes." Isa.54:1,2.
As ministers of reconciliation, the Lord is still saying to those who do hear His voice, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and SHEW MY PEOPLE THEIR TRANSGRESSIONS, AND THE HOUSE OF JACOB THEIR SINS." Isa.58:1; Jl.2:1.
"THY PROPHETS HAVE SEEN VAIN AND FOOLISH THINGS FOR THEE, AND THEY HAVE NOT DISCOVERED THINE INIQUITY..." Lam.2:14.
By: K. Ross McKay