I am not here to debate the merits of this case or the grand jury decision, but I do want to take a moment to talk about lawlessness and it’s significance as an end times sign.
During the Olivet discourse as detailed in the book of Matthew, Jesus gives His audience an overview of the signs of the end times. In Matthew 24:12, Jesus states:
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold.” (NASB)
Dictionary.com defines lawlessness as “contrary to or without regard for the law: being without law; uncontrolled by a law; unbridled; unruly; unrestrained”. This tells us that a “lawless person” is one who has an unrestrained, disregard for the law. The Greek word that is used for lawlessness in this verse is “anomos” literally meaning without law (a – nomos). That tells me that in this verse, Jesus speaks of a deliberate disobedience and a willful rebellion against the laws of man and of GOD. Isn’t this a picture of what we are seeing in the protests this week…deliberate disobedience and willful rebellion against a legal decision that was made? It is lawlessness.
In this verse, Jesus doesn’t just speak of “lawlessness”, but the fact that lawlessness is increased. Jesus is essentially telling us that it isn’t just confined to the actions of a single lawless individual, but that lawless would be pervasive throughout the community as we get closer to the time of His return. Again, isn’t this exactly what we saw this week with protests reaching from one coast of the country to the other?
This verse also lets us know that lawlessness will not subside, but it that it will continue to increase until the end. In fact lawlessness, as defined as rebellion against God’s law, will be a consistent theme seen throughout the end times. 2 Thessalonians 2:3 talks about “the man of lawlessness”. A few verses later, in verse 7, we are told about “the mystery of lawlessness” that is “already at work”, but is being “restrained”. Lawless rebellion against GOD and HIS law will continue through the tribulation as seen in the individuals impacted by the 21 judgments who still refuse to turn to GOD and repent (Rev. 16:9) and still choose to blaspheme God (Rev. 16:21). The final battle, described in scripture as the Battle of Armageddon, is a failed, LAWLESS attempt by the armies of the “man of lawlessness” to defy and defeat the King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev 19:16).
The end result of the “increase of lawlessness” is that “most people’s love will grow cold”. Once again, this is exactly what we are seeing in the news today. The heated debate around the Ferguson protests and the language used on both sides is definitely not “words of love”! Digging further through the news, you can find accounts of "love growing cold" as seen by the increase in parents who have killed their own children. In fact, News 4 New York reported last week that another mother shot her three kids before turning the gun on herself. (http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/Mother-Who-Shot-Kids-Before-Turning-Gun-on-Herself-Dies-Police-283632861.html)
Does all of this mean that we should just lose hope, throw up our hands, give in to the lawlessness ourselves and sit back and wait for the rapture? Absolutely not! Throughout the New Testament, lawlessness is contrasted with righteousness (Rom 6:19, 2 Cor 6:14, Heb 1:9, 1 John 3:3-4). That tells me that if Christians continue to stand for what is right, then those that are “lawless” will see the difference and may even turn from their wicked ways. There are many who are being spurred to act in “lawlessness” who don’t even realize that there is a better way. We need to take a stand for righteousness even in these last days.
Take heart, because although we may see increasing wickedness all around, we have hope, because there is coming a day when all lawlessness will end. Philippians 2:9-11, tells of a day when “at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father”!
As you continue to see lawlessness increasing all around us in the weeks ahead, be encouraged because we are coming closer to the time when “they will see the SON OF MAN COMING ON THE CLOUDS OF THE SKY with power and great glory”! (Mt 24:30)