THE RESTRAINER AND WHAT IS BEING RESTRAINED
I know that most believe it to be the Holy Spirit, that is restraining Satan incarnate from coming on the world stage. I certainly did as well, but is that what is really being talked about in 2Thessalonians 2? I think this confusion comes from misunderstanding who or what is being restrained. Most think it is the man of lawlessness, the son of perdition that is somehow being restrained from coming upon the scene by the Church and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. But is that what Paul is really talking about. No!
Let’s remember, to keep it simple and deal with things in context. Once we do that, we can plainly see what is being revealed in these verses, with just a bit of research on a couple key words. I think the confusion about these verses happens when we come to these passages with preconceived notions, and are looking for support for those notions. If we look at these verses, with innocent eyes, as if reading them for the first time, and not having any idea of what is being said before looking at them, the truth is revealed.
First and foremost, who, or what is being restrained? Quite simply and remarkably, it is so obvious, that it is the SECOND COMING OF THE LORD JESUS!!! And Paul makes this abundantly clear, if we just look at it, as it is written. Let’s do that, verse by verse.
2 Th 2:1 ¶”Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him,”
What is the subject of this discussion? It is all about the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering together unto Him!!! Simple.
2Th 2:2 “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.”
Paul is telling them not to worry, or be troubled because they have been misinformed that the Day of the Lord is at hand. (The Second Coming, not a secret Rapture).
2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Let’s really focus on the words “that day shall not come”. What day? The Day of the Lord!! That is the whole subject, that is what is being restrained. What is restraining the Day of the Lord? Two events that must take place; one being the falling away of the Church, into apostasy, and the second being the revealing of the man of sin.
Let no man deceive you by telling you that these two events have already happened, because the Day of the Lord cannot come until these two events, that Paul already told them about, are fulfilled.
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
In this verse, Paul is describing the son of perdition, and what he will do, BEFORE THE 2ND COMING OF THE LORD.
2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
Here Paul is reminding them that he had already explained all this to them, these things that must happen BEFORE the Day of the Lord.
2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
PLEASE NOTE HERE: Paul says “WHAT WITHOLDETH”, not WHO is withholding. It is not a person, or a spirit!!
What is restraining or withholding? That ‘what’ is two events, that ‘what’ is not a person, but, it is these two events, that must come to pass BEFORE, the Second Coming of the Lord.
Paul is reminding them that they already know what is restraining the Second Coming of Christ, the two events that he had already explained to them. These events are withholding the coming of the Lord. It is His plan, that He revealed to Paul, and until these things happen, the Lord will not come. He, the Lord Jesus, will be revealed in His time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [will let], until he be taken out of the way.
The above verse is where it gets a bit more complicated to glean its true meaning within the context already established. But, it is not by any means impossible if we look at the Greek words, and their meaning being used here.
What is most interesting here is that the words ‘letteth’ and ‘taken’ seem to have just the opposite meaning of what one would think they mean. First let us look at the meaning of the word ‘letteth’, as used in this verse.
Strong’s G2722 – katechō
Outline of Biblical Usage
1) to hold back, detain, retain
a) from going away
b) to restrain, hinder (the course or progress of)
1) that which hinders, Antichrist from making his appearance
2) to check a ship’s headway i.e. to hold or head the ship
c) to hold fast, keep secure, keep firm possession of
2) to get possession of, take
b) to possess
So, we can see to us holding back, or restraining seems to be just the opposite of letting…that is confusing and needed to be understood before an understanding can be had. Now let’s look at the word ‘taken’:
Strong’s G1096 – ginomai TAKEN
1) to become, i.e. to come into existence, begin to be, receive being
2) to become, i.e. to come to pass, happen
a) of events
3) to arise, appear in history, come upon the stage
a) of men appearing in public
4) to be made, finished
a) of miracles, to be performed, wrought
5) to become, be made
We find the word ‘taken’ to actually mean to be made known, appear, come on the world stage. That sure seems the opposite of taken, as in taken away, or taken out of the way.
Now lets put that verse together using what we found to be the correct meaning of those two words. It would go something like this:
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now restrains, or hinders (the course or progress of) the Coming of the Lord, until he (the man of sin) arises, appears in history, and comes upon the stage.
Paul addresses both events by saying, the mystery of iniquity, meaning the falling away, is already happening. The second event that is hindering the Second Coming, is the revealing of the Antichrist. The Antichrist being revealed… is taken out of the way, of Christ’s Second Coming, by being revealed.
Or more simply put, what is being restrained is the Second Coming, and what is restraining it are two events that need to happen first. These two events are in the Lord’s time table, and when it is time, He will reveal Himself, to the world at His Second Coming.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
Satan shall be revealed for what he is and be destroyed by the brightness of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.
2Th 2:9 [Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
Christ will take out the coming Anti-Christ who deceived the whole world, when He comes.
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Christ will also destroy all those who are unrighteous and deceiving their fellow man. All those who did not love the TRUTH.
Does this make sense to anyone else out there? It sure makes sense to me, and I am not sure why I was prompted to look into this today, but I have seen these verses with new eyes, and they seem much easier to understand then ever before. It seems extremely important to know what is being restrained, before we come to any other conclusions.
What is being restrained? It is the DAY OF THE LORD that is being held back until two events take place….one, the falling away of the Church in apostasy, and two, the revealing of the Antichrist. These events must happen first, before the Lord will return.
This is the Plan of the Lord, and all will be revealed in its proper and appointed time.
PRAISE THE LORD!!!
Blessing of His Grace to all!
JESUS IS ALL AND EVERYTHING!!