2 Thessalonians 2:6
ESV - 6 And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time.
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I've always been taught to believe that the restrainer is the church indwelt by the Holy Spirit. He will be "taken out of the way" when the church is raptured (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). See the Ryrie Study Bible for this view as well, by Dr. Charles Caldwell Ryrie. Dr. Ryrie was one of my professors at the Dallas Theological Seminary. He was good, too!
There is a different interpretation of the identity of the restrainer of II Thessalonians 2:6-7, than the usual explanations. Lee W. Brainard who wrote “The Restrainer – Not Who You Think,” claimed the common understanding of the Holy Spirit as the restrainer does not work. The removal of the Holy Spirit, or for that matter, the church, prior to the tribulation has no Scriptural support. Furthermore, no adequate explanation can be given of how the Holy Spirit does this and still works during the Tribulation. To begin with, two pronouns of different gender are used. Verse 6 has a neuter pronoun, even though rendered “he,” and verse 7 has a masculine pronoun “he.” The neuter pronoun of verse 6 is the “mystery of iniquity,” which is mentioned in verse 7. The pronoun “he” in verse 7 refers to an individual mentioned earlier in the context. The Holy Spirit cannot be the one, as He is not mentioned in the passage. “He” refers back to “the man of sin...the son of perdition,” in verse 3. He is also “the lawless one” of verse 8, all masculine. This is the Antichrist. The correct use of pronouns clarifies it is not the Holy Spirit but the Antichrist who restrains. Restraint in this passage is against the truth, not against evil. The mystery of iniquity is the force trying to hold back or hinder the truth, but there will be revealed in time, an individual who is the restrainer. His ultimate goal as given in verse 4 is to not only restrain the truth (Romans 1:18) but to oppose God and set himself up as God in the temple. Some terms in verse 7 are mistranslated. Instead of “only” (Greek “monon”) in verse 7, the word should be ‘except’ as used in Galatians 2:9-10. Lee Brainard cited many places in the works of Josephus where “monon” consistently means “except.” “Only he who restrains” needs to be changed to “except the restrainer” so it reads, “For the mystery of iniquity – except the restrainer...” The last phrase of verse 7 reads, “is out of the way.” The more accurate translation would be “until he appears in the midst.” The verb “ginomai” is incorrectly translated “remove” or “take.” The sense of the verb is the opposite, “arrive,” as in Acts 27:7 and 25:15. The mystery of iniquity is doing its work until one individual comes or arrives on the scene. He is the restrainer, the opposer of God. It is not that the restrainer is taken out of the way, but instead the restrainer will arise from the midst of mankind. Correcting these mistranslations, verses 6 and 7 translate literally: “Even now you know the restraining effort, that he should be revealed in his own season (time). For the mystery of iniquity – except the restrainer – is already working now, until he arises from the midst.” II Thessalonians 2:8-10 further describes the appearing and working of this person. Rather than being the Holy Spirit, the restrainer is the Antichrist.
2 Thessalonians 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 coming of the Lord is at hand for the rapture of the church (1 Thes 4:16-17) for that day shall not come until there comes a falling away, first of the son of perdition, who will use his wealthy power and might as a King (Dan 11:36-37) to influence and to rebuild the temple, showing himself to be God. After building the temple in the first half of the seven-year tribulation, there shall be the two witnesses who shall prophesy and testify (Rev 11:3,7) and then be killed, for then shall the man of sin be revealed who will claim himself to be God. (2 Thes 2:3-4) Mystery of iniquity already works in men, but the man of sin is being restrained to be revealed now by the one who is been given the power to restrain him until the rapture of the church, and then he, the restrainer, is taken out of the way; and then shall the son of perdition begin to be influenced in the building of the temple, which will then be the beginning of the seven-year tribulation. These restrainers called angelic beings or sons of God (Job 1:6) were given and have the power to restrain Satan and the fallen angels of God. Michael the Archangel contended with the devil and had a dispute with the body of Moses. (Jud 1:9) Zechariah was revealed as the Lord rebuked Satan in the presence of the angel of the Lord and Joshua the high priest. (Zec 3;1-2) We have Michael and his angels having a war against the dragon. (Rev 12:7) From the beginning of the creation of God when Adam and Eve sinned and were taken out of the Garden of Eden, cherubs along, with the flaming sword, which is the Seraphim (Isa 6:2,6), turned in every way to keep the way of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The Lord with His angel beings came to Abraham and Lot (Gen 18:1-2/19:1); they also appeared unto Moses in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. (Exo 3:2) The power that has been given to the cherubs and flaming sword is to those who come to the Lord in humility and prayer, which guide them and build a hedge to guard them, just like Job. (Job 1:5,10) The ones who live in pride, anger, and hatred are then led by the unclean spirit and the fallen angels who lead them astray, just like Lot’s wife, who looked back and became a pillar of salt. (Gen 19:26) Revelation 14:1: And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads.
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