The Mystery of Iniquity in Its Historical Aspects -- By: Lewis Grant Randal

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 091:363 (Jul 1934)
Article: The Mystery of Iniquity in Its Historical Aspects
Author: Lewis Grant Randal

The Mystery of Iniquity in Its Historical Aspects

Lewis Grant Randal

[Editor’s Note: This article was written as a paper in connection with a course on the New Testament Mysteries, conducted by Professor Rollin T. Chafer. After receiving his A.B. degree from Whitworth College, Mr. Randal came to Dallas to pursue his theological studies, completing the work for the Master of Theology degree, Magna Cum Laude, in 1932. He is scheduled to receive the degree of Doctor of Theology in 1935.]


The Mystery of Iniquity, otherwise known as the Mystery of Lawlessness, is a true “New Testament Mystery” in that it is revealed in the New Testament while it was not revealed in the Old. There is indeed iniquity recorded in the Old Testament, but nowhere is there an explanation of its cause, course, and consumniation in the Man of Sin. These three things are revealed in the New Testament. However, the burden of this paper is not to establish the doctrine but to regard it as already established and to present a historical survey of the facts and evidence in the case. Prophecy will be regarded as history, whether fulfilled and past or unfulfilled and future.

The Mystery of Iniquity also exhibits a mystery element in the common sense of the term, which is, of course, “something unknown, unexplained, or incomprehensible in its nature,” for, although its cause, course, and consummation have been revealed, the modus operandi is quite unfathomable by the human mind, as with the truth of spiritual regeneration, for Christ said, “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and

whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Likewise, the iniquity itself is discernible but the cause is not. There are two distinct causes of evil among fallen humans, viz., Satan (Luke 22:31; Eph 4:27; 6:11, 12), and man’s own sinful nature (Mark 7:20–23; Jas 1:13–15). The manifestation of sin is apparent, but which of these two causes has produced the visible result cannot always be determined. Satan was the original cause in the beginning, hence today he is at least the indirect cause of all iniquity. In cases where lust of any kind is involved, the primary and perhaps sole cause is probably, yes, undoubtedly, the sinful nature. It cannot be known, however, whether or not there is satanic use of one’s inherent lust as a mean...

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