A simple meaning for “restrain” is “to hold back, or resist.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 and 6-7, Paul introduces the restrainer into the end-time scenario:
“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”
This is the fulfillment of that prophecy made in Daniel 9:27b and 11:36:
“…But in the middle of the week he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering.
And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate….” (:27b);
“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done” (11:36).
It was the foretelling of the desecration of the temple and repeated by Jesus in Matthew 24:15: “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (whoever reads, let him understand) then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
This is a future event, not at the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple in 70 A.D., as some would have you believe. That event was done by the Romans with no spiritual intentions as to presenting anyone as God in the temple. Jesus foretold that event merely by saying, “Not one stone will be left upon another,” (Matthew 24:2) picturing the Romans tearing everything apart for the gold, silver, and precious stones in the temple construction.
Let’s return to the matter of the Restrainer, He who holds back the relentless push for evil to overwhelm mankind.
“And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).
The falling away must come first, before the Day of the Lord. Then, the man of sin is revealed, the one who opposes God. Then, the One who restrains becomes apparent. Who is this?
In order to support their pre-conceived ideas, in my opinion, various names are forwarded as the “one who restrains,” such as early church resistance to the Roman Empire. More recently is the claim that perhaps it is the angel, Michael, who is known to have resisted the devil in their confrontation over the body of Moses (Jude 1:9); but look how Michael handled that situation, for Jude reports that the angel said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you.” So that leaves us to some form of deity, a member of the godhead, or as in the days of Noah and Lot, a direct involvement from heaven. Look at Luke 17:26-30:
“And as it was in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man. They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. Likewise as it was also in the days of Lot, they ate, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they built, but on the day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed.”
In those early Genesis accounts, we are told that God put Noah and his family in the ark, after the creatures were loaded, and closed the door on them. Then the flood came. In Lot’s case, the two angels led him and his family out of the city, and immediately, the city of Sodom and its inhabitants were destroyed. So, in those instances, the direct intervention of God also delivered those of faith.
In these days, the only One who is specifically left in the world is the Holy Spirit, who indwells the born-again believer. The wide range of ministry of the Spirit of God in the believer is a voluminous topic of study. The specific ministry to the individual believer in regard to this context is summarized in 1 John 4:4 where we are told, “…He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”
The Scripture assures the believer that he is sealed by the Holy Spirit into the body of Christ as Christ’s down-payment on His purchase of that lost soul from his bondage of sin. So the question that might be raised, “Who can take away a member of the godhead?” is answered in the amazing mystery of the Rapture.
Jesus promised this in John 14:2-3: “In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
In a recent article, I wrote of observations that indicate the coming destruction of the United States of America, pointing out a whole spread of areas where falling away from faith and to lawlessness is now happening. It raises a question of whether that alone is representative of the whole world. Apparently, the evil forces behind these arenas of the falling away believe that as long as America stands, their cause will not climax in victory. Thus, we see a concentrated effort to bring America down to an entity without sovereignty.
One cannot deny the true meaning of that statement muttered by President Obama at the annual DC Correspondents’ Dinner on April 30, 2016: “The end of the Republic has never looked better!” He was so caught up with anticipation that Hillary Clinton would be the winner of the 2016 presidential election that he could not contain himself. Thus, the goal of destroying the United States from her perch at the top of the nations is Satan’s plan in his drive to pose as God in the place of the God of the universe. This is told of in 2 Thessalonians 2 and is referenced at the beginning of this article.
Topple the United States and the whole world will go down. Why? America is the only nation which allows its citizens the freedom of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” as individual rights coming from God, not the state. That arrangement just cannot be allowed by those who envision a New World Order and a one-world government where no such freedom is planned—except for the elite. There is one thing, though, that is troubling to them—BUT GOD!
No promise made by God or Jesus, as different members of the godhead, will contradict the other. Thus, when the promise is made, “I will never leave nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5), it means just that. When the One who restrains (note the pronoun capitalization in the 2 Thessalonians context) is “taken out of the way,” the believer goes with Him, meeting the believers from heaven who are being joined, their soul and spirit, with their resurrected bodies from their graves.
That is the picture Paul presents in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17: “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.”
The current question is whether or not the growing resistance in state governments and churches against a full-blown pro-abortion effort indicates the work of the Restrainer of the last days which Paul writes of in 2 Thessalonians 2. The pressure to look upon a pregnancy as a type of disease, or merely a tumor-like growth in the womb, has awakened the moral sensitivities of many church members and leaders as well as state government officials.
As I noted in another recent article, the attack upon the only creation that was made in God’s image could only be the work of Satan. His efforts to destroy mankind through direct destruction, as in abortions and in confusion of the sexes in the gender manipulation frenzy, may well be his final effort to oppose the Creator of the universe, Almighty God!
“Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done.”
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(Other articles I have had posted may be found at: https://www.raptureready.com/gene-lawley/ )