Lawlessness & Terrorism

Bible Prophecy says that these will increase at the End of the Age

and the Bible

The Bible describes End Time events

Bible prophecy says that lawlessness will increase at the end of the age. In fact, this increase will itself be a sign of the end of the age.

The Bible says 'difficult times will come' when men will be irreconcilable, treacherous and reckless (2 Tim 3.1-7). It speaks of an on-going 'spiritual' war against mankind (Eph 6.10-20).

It speaks about a 'mystery of lawlessness' (2 Thes 2.7) - something at work in the world, driven by unseen spiritual forces and constrained to a degree until the very end of the age. At that point in time the 'man of lawlessness' (2 Thes 2.1-12) will be revealed. He will be empowered by these dark spiritual forces and, for just a few years, becomes the end-time world dictator.

9/11 - worst ever act of terrorism

9-11 was the worst ever act of terrorism

Related topics:
End Times

Forms of Lawlessness - End Time Signs

When asked for a sign of the end of the age, Jesus responded by giving a whole catalogue of signs. One of them was:

"And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold" (Mat 24.12)

The actual Greek word used was 'anomia' meaning violation of law. The context of this verse implies that Jesus might have been referring to what is commonly understood to be lawlessness - something that has to be endured, often with violence and pain. Today, lawlessness is commonly taken to be a lack of civil order or peace, and could result from a failure of government, or from anarchy and defiance of the law. Common crime is defiance of the law and so can be labelled 'lawlessness'.

But there is another very important aspect of lawlessness - that of deliberate rejection of God's law, especially by governments. In recent years (say from the mid-20th century), western governments in particular have deliberately rejected biblical instruction. For example, they have repealed witchcraft law, legalised abortion, legalised homosexuality, and re-defined marriage to accommodate same-sex relationships. This also is lawlessness and Jesus may have alluded to this in Mat 24.12 by, in effect, saying, 'Defiance of God's law will increase just before the end of the age'.

Is terrorism also to be included under the heading of lawlessness? There are many types of terrorism but these all have the following characteristics:

"terrorism involves violence and the threat of violence"

This could range from threats against individuals to intimidating a whole population, as in chemical & biological terrorism, cyber terrorism, and nuclear terrorism. It is certainly a lack of peace and defiance of the law and in this sense many would consider terrorism to be synonymous with lawlessness. In fact, the US Federal Criminal Code defines terrorism as 'violation of the criminal laws'. The US National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) employs the standard US definition of terrorism: 'premeditated, politically motivated violence perpetrated against noncombatant targets by sub-national groups or clandestine agents, usually intended to influence an audience.' The question then is:

Do we see an increase in civil disorder, crime, and violence (terrorism) today?
What do the timelines say?

Lawlessness Statistics (Timelines)

It is important to mention a number of caveats when examining such statistics

  • Statistics for common crime e.g. burglary, and for violence (including terrorism) can show markedly differing trends. There are plausible reasons for this discrepancy.
  • Politics can affect the way terrorism is quantified, so there is no guarantee that such statistics are presented in an objective and consistent manner.
  • The way crime statistics are gathered and defined can vary over time. Britain for example has changed how it measures such statistics a number of times and so timeline statistics are not straightforward.
  • It is claimed that crime measures have increasingly failed to capture the totality of crime and in particular the expansion of crime based on the theft of information and use of the internet.

For all these reasons, the statistics below at best give us general trends and certainly not hard facts.


In 2001, 9-11 was the worst ever act of terrorism. Since then it is claimed that the world has made progress in the Global War on Terror. But is this true? See below.

International Terrorism, US NCTC

Fig.1: NCTC 'Signifant' In International Terrorism Incidents (Image courtesy CDI)

International Terrorism

Fig.2: International Terrorism Incidents (data Wikipedia)

Figure 1 shows data from the US National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC). There were 651 incidents in 2004 compared to 175 in 2003. The NCTC 2009 Report on Terrorism gave 7585 'attacks' in 2005, 8225 in 2007 and 8541 in 2009 (excluding Iraq).

Figure 2 shows 'non-state terrorism' incidents worldwide (incidents not believed to have been carried out by a government).

These figures show a relentless rise in international terrorism since 1900.

The 'Western World'

In 2005 an EU report based on victim surveys in 18 countries of the EU concluded that the level of crime in Europe had fallen back to 1990 levels. It also noted that levels of common crime had shown declining trends in the U.S., Canada, Australia and other industrialized countries. The reasons for this international decrease were suggested to be 'demographic change' (the dynamic balance of population) and the increased use of crime prevention measures. This follows since decreases have been most pronounced in property crime and less so, if at all, in contact crimes, see Crime Statistics.


In Britain there are two official measures of crime: Home Office [HO] police recorded crime and the HO British Crime Survey (BCS). It is claimed that the BCS gives an accurate picture of crime since it asks people about their actual experiences. Between 1997 and 2008 the BCS shows a 30% fall in all crime.

But the BCS does not cover businesses and so, for example, it must exclude the 31m acts of shoplifting in the UK each year. Also, the BCS is misleading for local areas and it presents a completely different picture to the HO long-term national (England & Wales) recorded crime trend. These long-term national trends are shown in Fig.3 and Fig.4 below:

Total Recorded Crime

Fig.3: Total Recorded Crime
(data UK Home Office)

Total Violent Crime

Fig.4: Total Violent Crime
(data UK Home Office)

The red graphs in Fig.3 show the National Crime Recording Standard (NCRS), which was introduced in April 2002 to make crime recording more consistent. This indicates a drop in total recorded crime since 2002, although there was no corresponding fall in violent crime. But even conceding that crime accounting rules have changed several times (in 1998 and 2002), the 2009 total crime level was still probably some 5,000% above the 1900 level! This cannot be due to population increase alone, which only increased about 60%.

The red graphs in Fig.4 show the new Home Office accounting rules introduced in 1998. Taking the statistics 1900-1998, total violent crime increased over 8,000%.


The U.S. has two major crime-data collection programs; the FBI Uniform Crime Reports and the National Crime Victimization Survey from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Figure 5 shows US violent crime and Fig. 6 shows terrorist attacks against the United States and Americans living either in the U.S. or abroad.

US Violent Crime

Fig.5: U.S. Violent Crime
(data US Crime Rates)

Terrorism against Americans

Fig.6: Terrorist Attacks Against Americans
(data Infoplease)

Like common crime in western countries, violent crime in the U.S. shows a fall since 2000, but it still represents an increase of over 350% on 1960 levels. Terrorist attacks show over 900% increase on 1970 levels.


Some crime statistics in western countries, such as burglary and vehicle offences show a decrease over the last decade. This decrease has been attributed in part to better demographics and better crime prevention technology. Where this technology is not so evident crime must be expected to rise. For example, UK drug offences increased 64% over the same period. Even accounting for some decrease, total UK crime is still up some 5,000% on 1900 levels!

Even more alarming is the increase in violence and terrorist attacks. These show a relentless rise since 1900: in the UK violent crime is up at least 8,000%. And international terrorism is up some 15,000% on 1960 levels!

On these figures, it seems that, overall, lawlessness is increasing at an alarming rate. In addition, lawlessness is increasing in the sense that governments have recently introduced godless law in defiance of God's law. Let's repeat what Jesus said:

"And because lawlessness is increased, most people's love will grow cold" (Mat 24.12)

The Implications for YOU

The increase in lawlessness appears to be a fulfilment of Jesus' prophecy that lawlessness will increase at the end of this age. This seems highly probable given that other End Time prophecies are also coming true, such as the emergence of a World Government, the emergence of a World Church, the emergence of Israel, the emergence of electronic ID, and world-wide extreme weather.

The good news is that you can have peace in an increasingly lawless world by trusting in Jesus Christ. Jesus said:

"My peace I give you, not as the world gives ... don't be troubled or fearful" (John 14.27)

See Steps You Must Take.