For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.
Note: I wrote this post in 2016. It feels just as relevant today, so I thought I would repost it.
I got an email today that sent me straight to my Bible. The author of the email wondered if it was possible if God was withdrawing His hand of restraint. I found the premise incredibly interesting. So I am putting my Jeremiah study down for a bit to look at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 to see what Scripture says about God's restraining hand, what that means, and what happens when it is lifted.
As I carry on with my study of Jeremiah, I was struck by how timely today's verses were. I didn't want this post to be political, but this post is about pride. And if there is one person in the world who is an excellent example of someone who has an excessive amount of it, it is Donald Trump. His type of arrogance seems to be precisely what Jeremiah 9:23 is referring to.
Pride is a finicky thing. It can be exhibited as a feeling of well-being, like when you graduate from high school or college, for example. It can also be a feeling of joy, like when we take pride in the accomplishments of others - like our children. Every milestone they achieve makes us happy and excited for them and, yes - proud. These types of pride are not evil or sinful of themselves. One is based on completing something after working hard. It is a mixture of relief and satisfaction in getting the job done. The other is based on love and wanting the best for someone.
The type of pride God frowns on, however, is based on something totally different. We see and hear it almost every time Donald Trump speaks. It is a combination of arrogance and haughtiness. And yes, I realize the two are practically identical in meaning, but arrogance is excessive pride in oneself, combined with contempt for others. While haughtiness is a feeling of superiority over others, which is often exhibited by a person's demeanour and disdain for others.
Oh, that my head were waters,
Today while studying Jeremiah 9, I was struck by a few things. First was Jeremiah's obvious distress. He basically says that his eyes would be like a fountain of tears if his head were full of water. That's a lot of crying. He was known as The Weeping Prophet for a reason. This tells me a lot about Jeremiah, the person:
We looked for peace, but no good came
Today as I finished up my study of Jeremiah 8, I was struck by several things that made me feel the grief and agony Jeremiah felt when God warned him judgment was coming upon his people. He warned the people that God would deal with them harshly and soon if they didn't repent. However, the priests and false prophets were telling the people the exact opposite. They kept assuring them everything was fine. God would not judge them or harm them in any way because He loved them too much. This is the refrain of many modern-day prophecy teachers who say that God is a loving God and no one on earth will go to hell. They reject all verses in the Bible that say otherwise because they simply cannot accept that God is capable of divine wrath. By teaching this "no one goes to hell" or "there is no hell" theory, they are taking Jesus off the cross and making His death insignificant. Why? Because it was due to God's wrath over disobedience and sin that Jesus came in the first place. If there is no hell or no punishment to come in the hereafter, then why did Jesus come? So now these modern preachers say, Jesus saved us from all that. We no longer have to fear God because everyone is saved, and everyone wins. By doing that, however, no one feels the need to repent and turn back to God. Life just got easier - eat, drink and be merry - because it really doesn't matter what we do - God is a loving God who would never harm anyone, anyway.
In his day, Jeremiah was dealing with priests and prophets who said the same things. They were probably even telling people not to listen to Jeremiah as he stood at the gates of the temple every day, warning of impending destruction. To them, Jeremiah was just a crazy man preaching about the end of the world. And what does the world do with people like that? They tune them out and continue on their way - much to their detriment.
But what does the Bible say about people like that?
A few weeks ago I had a dream where the two pillars of the Temple of God appeared on earth. They spanned a great distance, and people were outside taking pictures of them with their cellphones, but they did not go near them. In fact, they didn't act like it was abnormal to suddenly see two pillars come down from heaven and land in front of them. For the most part, people thought they were an oddity, took pictures and then ignored them.
But I was frantic. I ran out into the streets shouting a warning that the Kingdom of God had come, and now it was the judgement. Immediately I was lifted off the ground and was flying. And all I could hear was a voice shouting, "It's the Two Pillars of God! The Two Pillars!" And then I woke up. I have been thinking about this dream ever since. What was the significance of the two pillars? Was it some kind of warning? But was the warning for me or for the church? So I looked up The Two Pillars of God, and wouldn't you know they had names?