The following news story will likely attract only the interest of some in the political and business world. Its details of ‘money laundering’, the machinations of which are so complex that it leaves even the ‘experts’ baffled and will leave the average reader unable to follow the meandering path of the money involved. The ramifications of such a crime is lost on the most of us.
This story will however generate an interest above the normal because of the involvement of the Conservative Party. It does serve to highlight the increasing link between the ‘political world’ and the ‘criminal/business world’!
What will not be recognised by many is that here we have a reminder of that matter of which the Bible makes much! The Lord has given us extensive information on the moral atmosphere which will develop and reach a fulness in the last days of this age. Like a cancer which has been held in ‘remission’ by various medical treatments but which makes many attempts at a comeback only to be curbed, but which finally overwhelms the medication and brings the life of the victim to an end, so the Word of God tells us of the workings of what is called ‘the mystery of iniquity’ (2 Thessalonians 2:7) which will follow just such a path.
The term, ‘mystery of iniquity’, may be explained as meaning ‘the hidden wicked spirit engaged in an ongoing defiance of God’s Law’. Paul says it was at work in his day and it has been at work really since the fall of man. Furthermore the apostle tells us that it has been held in check by the Lord throughout ages. “Only he who now letteth will let (hold back, detain), until he be taken out of the way.”
This latter phrase may be explained as meaning ‘that the spirit of rebellion is held in check by God, but the restraint will one day be taken out of the way and the spirit of rebellion will be allow to have its way’. That will happen in the day God has appointed. “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time,” 2 Thessalonians 2:6.
The identity of the agency used to restrain this evil thing is much debated, but I will suggest to you that as James and Peter tell us, “God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble,” James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5, so it is God Himself Who restrains this spirit of apostasy. After all, it is a direct attack upon Him, His Word and His Kingdom, so it is not surprising that He directly interposes in the matter. We are reminded of this fact in Romans 13:1-2. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” There we are taught that resistance of the ordinance of God will bring down God’s damnation.
This a solemn truth to be pondered in these lawless days!
“The mystery of iniquity” is, I believe, that ongoing scheme of the devil, carried out by his numerous agencies, to overthrow the purpose of God undertaken by His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. That purpose may be seen revealed throughout the Bible in verses such as the following.
“Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him,” Psalm 2:6-12.
“Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom,” Luke 12:32.
“And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever,” Revelation 11:15.
From the temptation of Adam and Eve, the devil has been unrelenting in his attempts to frustrate this divine purpose. The devil’s proud and ambitious plan is seen in the sinful aspirations he plants in men’s hearts. The heart of the evil king of Babylon is uncovered for us in Isaiah 14. The unconverted are called the ‘children of the devil’, Matthew 13:38; John 8:44, and in their affections and lusts may be seen a mirror-image of their father the devil’s heart. Thus Isaiah is inspired to use a title, Lucifer, associated with the devil when referring to the king of Babylon (14:4), a chief agent of the devil in days gone by.
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, 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. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house. But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet. Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned. Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities. For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD. I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts. The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?” Isaiah 14:12-27.
These verses contain prophecies regarding the Babylon of old and also the Babylon that will re-emerge with the future Antichrist who is pictured for us in the person of Nebuchadnezzar. Revelation 17 reveals to us the future ‘religious Babylon’, ‘the scarlet woman’, verses 6-7, and the ‘political Babylon’, the ‘Beast’, verses 11-17.
Please note the over-ruling sovereign power of God at work in all these developments! “And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled,” verses 16-17.
This takes us back to Paul’s words already noted. “Only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”
Christians, the Bible gives us information which, if but studied and believed, will allay all fears that may arise from the dreadful developments beginning to take place in this world!
One of the chief features of the kingdom of the future Antichrist is referred to in Revelation 18 and 19. There we have revealed the core of Antichrist’s success and dominance and the casting down of him and his empire, Revelation 18:1-3.
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
Just as the family of the deceased is seen to the fore of the mourners at a funeral, so we may see who the closest ‘relatives’ of the Antichrist will be by looking at those those who mourn ‘loudest’ at his demise!
“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate,” Revelation 18:9-19.
Kings will mourn the demise and the fall of Babylon but ‘out-mourning’ them will be the ‘merchants. Their cries are given prominence in the above verses. The whole structure of their wicked trading enterprise will be an integral part of the Antichrist’s kingdom. Indeed, it will be a chief source of the finances that he will need for the administering his evil affairs. Under Antichrist corrupt and criminal regime, the equally corrupt trading by these merchants will make them very rich.
I would suggest, Christian, that the news report of the financial and political duplicity referred to in the following BBC news report is but a slight ‘drawing back of the curtain’ behind which mercantile corruption is taking place. This is an activity that will feature more and more as that which we see in its final form revealed to us in Revelation 18, grows and evolves into full-blown ‘Antichristianity’.
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
17th May 2023
By Steve Swann and Dominic Casciani
BBC News,16th May 2023.
Javad Marandi has donated more than £633,800 to the Conservative Party
A top businessman whose foreign companies were part of a global money laundering investigation is a major donor to the Conservative Party.
Javad Marandi, who has an OBE for business and philanthropy, can be named after losing a 19-month legal battle with the BBC to remain anonymous.
Mr Marandi strongly denies wrongdoing and isn’t subject to criminal sanction.
The judgement against him is a milestone for freedom of the press amid growing privacy laws in the courts.
A spokesman for the businessman said: “Mr Marandi is deeply disappointed at the court’s decision to lift reporting restrictions, knowing the reputational damage that is likely to follow.”
The BBC’s reporting on Tuesday prompted an urgent question in the House of Commons from opposition MPs asking for an investigation into Conservative donations.
A National Crime Agency (NCA) investigation found some of Mr Marandi’s overseas interests had played a key role in an elaborate money-laundering scheme involving one of Azerbaijan’s richest oligarchs.
In January 2022, a judge ruled the NCA could seize £5.6m [$7m] from the London-based family of Javanshir Feyziyev, a member of Azerbaijan’s parliament.