The Invisible End-Time Plague that Forges Path to the Anti-Christ
An infectious plague is spreading in pandemic proportion, pervading the world over and permeating every crevice of society. No one is exempt.
It is an invisible plague, a pestilence, an infectious contagion. But this plague infects the mind rather than the body. It’s a devouring plague, like a locust swarm of biblical magnitude. But, instead of consuming and destroying nature, it’s devouring your soul.
As pervasive and invisible as this plague might be, God doesn’t leave us helpless or totally in the dark. He counsels us to search the scriptures, where He reveals His intent. Let’s take a look in two places: the Old Testament book of Joel and 2 Thessalonians in the New Testament.
JOEL’S DEVOURING LOCUSTS
The prophetic book of Joel contains a plague of systematic destruction like the one that’s sweeping the world today. Joel describes it as a once-in-a-lifetime event so severe that it is to be told to generations to come. A four-fold plague of locusts descends on Israel and devours everything in sight:
“That which the palmerworm [gazam] hath left hath the locust [arbeh] eaten; and that which the locust [arbeh] hath left hath the cankerworm [yekeq] eaten; and that which the cankerworm [yekeq] hath left hath the caterpillar [chaciyl] eaten." ~Joel 1:4 (Hebrew in brackets)
The four Hebrew terms in verse 4 indicate the completeness of the devastation: gazam (devourer), arbeh (rapidly multiplying), yekeq (devour by licking up), and chaciyl (ravager). Verses that follow tell how catastrophic this was in his day, leading to severe famine and drought.
But is Joel describing only the physical devastation of a local locust plague, or does he have something more in mind? The remainder of Joel is set in end times – the “Day of the Lord” – as well as God’s return to Israel (Joel 2:27). Could Joel’s locust plague also refer to an end times situation? I believe that it must, for no other explanation accounts for all the facts given in the rest of Joel and elsewhere.
Here’s what I see that Joel is telling us today:
The timeframe of the devastation is just prior to the tribulation/day of the Lord.
Something of great significance and importance is being devoured and being devoured completely.
Whatever it is that’s being devoured will eventually be restored, but not until Christ returns.
The method of devastation is not a single event or catastrophe but distributed to a large army of devourers, like a swarm of locusts.
Keep those thoughts in mind as we now turn to the second passage of scripture that helps us understand today’s devastating and devouring plague.
THE RESTRAINT OF EVIL IN SECOND THESSALONIANS
It goes without saying that the natural human heart is terribly wicked. Scripture is clear about that. All have sinned, none is righteous.
God, however, has put in place certain restraints so that the worst of evil would be contained. We know this because scripture tells us that there will come a time when those restraints would be removed. The Amplified translation states this plainly.
“For the mystery of lawlessness [rebellion against divine authority and the coming reign of lawlessness] is already at work; [but it is restrained] only until he who now restrains it is taken out of the way. Then the lawless one [the Antichrist] will be revealed and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of His mouth and bring him to an end by the appearance of His coming.” ~2 Thes. 2:7-8, AMP
Let’s unpack this powerful passage one thought at a time.
First, the full potential of lawlessness (“iniquity,” KJV) has always been poised to pounce, but its full effect has been restrained by God. (I will describe the nature of those restraints in the next section.)
Second, those God-ordained restraints will one day be removed. When they are, the full extent of iniquity will no longer be a secret (hidden, mystery) but will be fully seen.
Third, when these restraints have been fully removed and the full extent of iniquity has been made plain, one who is totally lawless (“Wicked,” KJV) will come to power like the rider of the white horse in Revelation 6 or the beast rising out of the sea in Revelation 13. The Amplified translation calls this person Antichrist, as do most commentaries.
I believe Joel’s locust plague predicts the time described here. In this picture, the God-ordained restraints put in place to limit sin’s damage are being devoured like locusts devour vegetation: one nibble at a time, until the cumulative effect is total destruction. When the restraints have been totally removed, the full extent of iniquity will be seen, and the Antichrist will be revealed.
WHAT GOD HAS PUT IN PLACE TO RESTRAIN SIN
God of course is the ultimate Restrainer, and He has put into place four strong barriers to all-out evil. They are so effective that those who oppose God and His ways are carrying out a full-frontal attack on them, swarming over them like locusts and devouring them one bite at a time.
As you read through the list, think of the ways each is being attacked, neutralized, or destroyed. Keep in mind Joel’s plague of locusts, with countless insects all nibbling away until everything that can be devoured has been devoured.
1. Conscience and the Moral Law: Personal Restraint
Unlike the rest of creation, God has given humans this thing called conscience. Conscience bears witness to our thoughts, words, and deeds. It reacts to moral law, and if you violate that law you are accused by your conscience. You feel guilt and anxiety. Conscience is the first barrier that restrains evil and holds back sinners.
But conscience doesn’t initiate anything; it only reacts. And what it reacts to is whatever moral law is in our hearts. Destroy or pervert that law, and the conscience is neutralized. Destroy the moral law of God, and you have killed the first restraint.
And that’s exactly what is being done today: the moral law of God is being systematically devoured and replaced by societal standards that reverse God’s morality and create a new one. Certain sins are now good, and if you speak against them, you are the bad one. The conscience becomes confused, and the personal restraint against sin is thwarted. Conscience becomes seared: of no use (1 Tim. 4:2)
And that’s the way the “locusts” want it. Doubt me? Then consider how morality has been flipped upside down:
Truth is no longer honored, only narrative and agenda. Nothing’s out of bounds if it furthers someone’s agenda, in this case the agenda of the locust army.
Lying is ok, if it’s for a good cause, thus you can no longer believe what you hear in media and public statements.
Adultery and fornication are called “having an affair” and “hooking up” as if they’re now society’s norm.
Stealing, cheating, and looting are so common that they seldom make the news. And when they do, we’re not surprised.
And the “locusts” go far beyond these specifics. Guilt is now labeled bad and to be avoided, robbing the conscience of its legitimate guilt mechanism to restrain our sins. Emotions are stirred up to create a fabricated anxiety that overloads the conscience so that real anxiety loses its power.
Once conscience and moral law have been destroyed, humanity is unleashed without personal restraint.
2. Family: Relational Restraint
The second restraint that God built into society is the family. God established the family to be the building block of society, a loving place where children can learn the truth of God and His ways.
Is it any wonder that family is under massive attack?
The traditional view of family has been eroded. Marriage is no longer viewed as a permanent institution, just a convenience for a moment. The Massachusetts Family Institute has even called traditional families “unfair.” Not surprisingly there are now more than 30 children’s books extolling non-traditional families.
But it gets worse. Other authorities are usurping the family’s role. Schools become teachers of permissive sexuality, including homosexuality and transgenderism, even to those as young as five! And parents not teaching or abiding by these abominations are called child abusers in some states.
Authorities will take your children if they don’t agree with how you’re raising them. Medical teams have the power to override parents’ wishes. California is considering jail time for people not using transgender pronouns. Unbelievable!
As a consequence, children are turning away from the family unit and to ungodly sources of authority and truth. No wonder we have undisciplined, over-rebellious youth protesting and agitating violently on our college campuses and in the streets. Truly the “mystery of iniquity doth already work” as the family is devastated.
3. Civil Authority: Societal Restraint
When it fulfills its God-ordained role of restraining sinners, civil authority and institutions are effective restraints against the full evil of sin. Unfortunately, the “locust plague” has made some of its greatest inroads into our institutions.
Most institutions are already corrupt, complicit, and compromised to the point of being agents to remove the personal restraints of conscience and the relational restraints of family, with overt attacks ramping up in the past few months.
The media seem to have given up reporting the truth, promoting their agendas above everything else. While always strongly liberal behind the scenes, their strong political bias is now blatantly in the open. It’s gotten to the point that all news is “fake” news.
Events are staged to sway public opinion, reset the narrative, and further the agenda. News has become theater where impressions are more important than facts and truth. To be certain the desired scenes are played out, actors are paid on both side of an argument, like they were in the recent Charlottesville fiasco.
Government at all levels has succumbed to the “mystery of iniquity” that the figurative locust plague has brought about, creating laws that go directly against God’s laws.
4. The Church: Spiritual Restraint
The real cure for the problems in the world is to change human beings from the inside out. (Rom. 12:2). When it does this, the church offers the ultimate restraint, a transformed heart. Unfortunately, too many have succumbed to the figurative locust plague gnawing away at their foundations.
The truth is that apostasy is in full swing. Many are appropriating the name of Jesus to further their own agendas, including the sinful ones mentioned earlier like homosexuality, abortion, and transgenderism.
Social issues of all kinds have trumped preaching the Gospel. Sin has become a dirty word in some pulpits, as have hell, damnation, and repentance. Instead, you hear the prosperity gospel, gnosticsm, and other non-Biblical messages.
In Joel’s day, locusts brought about severe famine and drought. The figurative locust plague that’s been attacking the church has now nibbled away at the truth to the point that people are “hungering and thirsting for righteousness” (Matt. 5:6).
ONE MORE PIECE TO THE PUZZLE
The final piece to the puzzle is this: while it appears that the restraints on evil are being devoured by a multitude of people, like a large swarm of “locusts,” that’s just what’s visible to the casual observer. What’s really propelling the locust swarm forward is an evil and insidious cabal of Satan empowered leadership that’s doing the planning and organizing behind the scenes.
Look again at Joel chapter 2, where we read that the assault on Judah and Jerusalem is highly organized. There may be hundreds of thousands or even millions of independent participants, but they are being guided in a highly coordinated attack of maximum impact. (Joel 2:7-9).
Don’t be deceived! All these threats to the moral law, family, authority, and church are organized and coordinated from behind the scenes, sometimes many layers behind the scenes. Whether called the Beast system, Luciferians, the New World Order, or the Elite, the organizing force is empowered by Satan himself who is hellbent on destroying and devouring every good thing of God. Look carefully and you will see how the “locusts” (perhaps millions of people) are being manipulated through such things as political correctness, cultural Marxism and fabricated hysteria.
THE RESTORATION OF WHAT THE LOCUSTS HAVE DESTROYED
Part of Joel’s prophecy was that the utter destruction from the locust plague would be fully restored (Joel 2:25-26) once the Lord has returned to Israel (v. 27). That is also be true of the destruction of the restraints on evil in 2 Thes. 2, as I will show. It is this parallel that cinches the case that Joel’s locust prophecy is primarily for our time today.
Once Christ returns and sets up His millennial kingdom, He will restore “the years that the locust hath eaten.” This restoration and its timing is the final evidence we need to show that Joel’s locust plague is a “now” message, something for us to heed today.
Conscience. The moral law that was devoured before is restored. Jeremiah 31:33 promises that after the day of the Lord, God will again put His moral law into the innermost parts of our being and inscribe it on our very hearts. Conscience will be restored as it was in the beginning.
Family. In the Millennium, the family unit that was denigrated, ridiculed, and destroyed in this present evil age will be restored to the high esteem it was always meant to have (Ps. 22:27, Jer. 31:1, Ezek. 47:22, Zech. 14:17-18). People will marry and have children (Isa. 11:6,8; 65:20).
Civil Authority. When Christ returns, He Himself will be the ultimate authority. All the kingdoms (institutions and authority) of this world become the kingdoms (institutions and authority) of our Lord, and He shall reign forever! (Rev. 11:15). The goal of that rule won’t be profit like now or even charity. It will be to guide and instruct those living on the earth. (Isa. 30:21).
Church. With Satan bound (Rev. 20:3) and the Holy Spirit poured out on all people (Joel 2:28-29), the inhabitants of the Millennium will experience a time of unprecedented spiritual opportunity and growth. All the spiritual corruption from the figurative locusts will be gone. The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord (Hab. 2:14). Everyone will know the Lord, “for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord” (Jer. 31:34).
That’s still in the future. We still have to go through at least some of the tribulation and persecution that’s to come, and we should be prepared to do so, even to the point of giving up our lives. (Rev. 12:11). But even if we must stare death in the faith for giving testimony of our Lord, we have that blessed hope that He is with us and we will be with Him forever!
YOUR NEXT STEP
If you’re not a follower of Christ, then I urge you to become one. Reach out to Him by saying this simple prayer, “God, if you are real, make Yourself real to me.” Then watch what happens. God promises that He will be found by all who seek Him, so start seeking. If you’re not sure where to start, find a Christian friend or a church that proclaims Him. Grab a Bible and start reading. (I suggest beginning with the New Testament book of John.) Start reading – slowly – and you’ll begin to see who Jesus really is.
However, if you are already a follower of Christ, there are three things you need to start doing immediately:
Wake up. Wake up to what’s going on around us, right before our very eyes! Stop sleepwalking through life! We are at a major hinge point of history. The signs are all there. Wake up and see them!
Watch. Take notice of what’s going on around us, and watch it from a Biblical perspective. See how God-ordained restraints are being systematically devoured from every angle. Watch as iniquity and lawlessness grow and become more visible.
Warn. Point out what you see happening to others. As Joel himself wrote, “Blow the trumpet… sound an alarm!” (Joel 2:1). Don’t be afraid to make a noise. When you see sin, call it out as sin. Stand your ground when called to fight the “locust plague” that is nibbling away at God’s barriers to evil.
We are on the verge of entering a time of difficulty the likes of which the world has never seen, and we’re going to have to live through at least a part of it. Life is about to get more difficult for everyone as the restraints on evil are nibbled away completely and the Beast system takes over more and more of our lives. When that comes to pass, we’ll be holding on for dear life.
Until then, we need to draw closer to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We need to strengthen our connections with Him through prayer and study. We need to listen for and hear His voice. We need to practice following His lead like we never have before.