now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For
the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let,
until he be taken out of the way” (II Thess. 2:6-7).
The identity of the
Restrainer is the subject of much debate. Some say it is the Holy Spirit. Some
say it is the Church. Some say it is both the Holy Spirit and the Church. And
there are a few less widely held interpretations.
His identity is important
because He is holding back the man of sin, also called the son of perdition (the
Antichrist) in verse 3. And if the Restrainer is the Church, this means the
Church must be removed from the earth before the Antichrist can appear. And that
is a compelling reason to believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
We believe the Restrainer
is BOTH the Holy Spirit and the Church for several reasons:
1) If the Restrainer is the
Holy Spirit ONLY, removing the Holy Spirit would leave behind a Church
that is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit. There is no such thing as a Church that
is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
2) If the Restrainer is the
Holy Spirit ONLY, removing the Holy Spirit would leave the Church behind
to go through the worst and most dangerous time the world has ever faced (the
Tribulation Period) without the help of the Holy Spirit. This is not like Jesus
who said, “I will not leave you comfortless” a reference to the fact that the
Holy Spirit will always be with the Church (Jn. 14:18) and “I will never leave
thee, nor forsake thee” (Hebrews 13:5). This is always true, but it is most
especially true at times of great danger.
3) If the Restrainer is the
Church ONLY, the removal of the Restrainer would have the Church going to
heaven without the Holy Spirit. Again, there is no such thing as a Church that
is not indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
4) If the
Restrainer is the Church ONLY, it could not hold back the Antichrist who
will receive his power from Satan (Revelation 13:4). The Church could not
restrain the Antichrist (and Satan) without the help of the Holy Spirit. The
power to restrain evil comes from the Holy Spirit.
AFTER THE RAPTURE
The Holy Spirit works in
many ways. He was present at the Creation, but the Church didn’t exist (Genesis
1:2). He came upon Othniel, Gideon and others during Old Testament times, but
the Church didn’t exist (Judges 3:9-10; 6:34). He caused holy men of God to
write Scripture in Old Testament times, but the Church didn’t exist ((II Peter
1:21). Those who limit the work of the Holy Spirit to the Church don’t
understand the Holy Spirit or the many ways He works.
Today, the Holy Spirit
baptizes people into the body of Christ, the Church (I Corinthians 12:13). He
will continue to save people after the Rapture, but He will turn back to
and work like He did in Old Testament times. He will seal the 144,000 Jewish
evangelists (Revelation 7:3). He will save multitudes of Gentiles and Jews
(Revelation 7:9). He will protect the Two Witnesses for 1260 days (Revelation
11:3). He will be poured out upon the Jews at the Second Coming (Zechariah
12:10). But He won’t baptize people into the Body of Christ.
We can conclude at least
1) The Restrainer is both
the Holy Spirit and the Church.
2) The Holy Spirit is
empowering the Church to restrain evil.
3) The Holy Spirit and the
Church will be removed together before the Antichrist can appear.
4) The Pre-Tribulation
Rapture is valid because the Church won’t be here when the Antichrist comes on
5) God saves people without
adding them to the Church which is what will happen when He works through the
144,000, the Two Witnesses after the Rapture.
Prophecy Plus Ministries
Daymond & Rachel Duck