John G (4 Jan 2011)
"Listen, I tell you a mystery."


 
Doves...

I could never figure out who would be comforting those going through/coming out of the great tribulation if the Holy Spirit was removed with the church at the rapture, God said He would "NEVER" leave us nor forsake us.  Thought I would share "WHO IS THE RESTRAINER" . . .

Just can't imagine Satan being restrained much longer.

God bless everyone, see you in the Rapture.

John G.  Tampa, FL





Who is the Restrainer?

Paul tells us that the Antichrist will be revealed at the appointed time.

And now you know what is holding him back, so that he [Antichrist] may be revealed at the proper time (2 Thessalonians 2:6).

Connecting the prophecies of Daniel with Paul’s we can understand that the Antichrist will be revealed at the abomination that causes desolation. We also know from Daniel and Jesus that the abomination that causes desolation starts the time of Great Tribulation.

Now, we are about to dig into one of the most fascinating and perhaps challenging eschatological mysteries of the Bible. Paul tells us that someone is now restraining “the secret power of lawlessness.”  He goes on to say that when the restrainer is no longer restraining - “the secret power of lawlessness” - the Antichrist will be revealed.

So, who is now holding back the secret power of lawlessness? Who is the Restrainer? Let’s look carefully at what Paul is telling us.

And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8)

For centuries students and scholars alike have attempted to guess who the restrainer is “the one who now holds it back.” However, few seem to have consulted the Scriptures for the answer. One premise of our study is that, if God desires that we know and understand a prophecy before it happens, He will provide the answer in Scripture. That is why we have repeatedly sought to have Scripture interpret Scripture, for our understanding. The answer, if available, will be revealed by studying all Scripture related to the question. However, before we search for the identity of the restrainer, “the one who now holds it back,” we will first search for the identity of who is being held back. Paul indicates that there are three players in this last days scenario, and one we already know is the Antichrist.

1.         He who is being held back         -              ?

2.         He who is doing the holding       -              ?

3.         He who will be revealed              -        Antichrist

So, according to Scripture, who has or is the “secret power of lawlessness” which is being held back?

Who has the secret power of lawlessness?

What do we know about the one who has “the secret power of lawlessness” other than that he is being held back? Paul says that “the secret power of lawlessness” is already at work and the one who has it is currently being held back. Therefore, we know that, in 51 AD, when Paul wrote this letter, “the secret power of lawlessness” was already at work and that he who has it was still being held back at that time. We also know that he will be held back until the time of the abomination that causes desolation, which is when the Antichrist will be revealed. Paul says,

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God… And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time (2 Thessalonians 2:4, 6).

The apostle John provides evidence to the identity of the one who has “the secret power of lawlessness” when he defines lawlessness. He then connects lawlessness to Satan. Notice that like Paul, John also indicates that Satan has been at work from the beginning and is still at work even to this day.

 Everyone who sins breaks the law; in fact, sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4).

He who does what is sinful is of the devil, because the devil has been sinning from the beginning (1 John 3:8).

In these verses John defines “sin” as lawlessness and says that Satan is the power behind sin. While it seems clear that John is saying that Satan is the one who has the power of lawlessness, we should search further to determine if there is other Scripture to support this position. Let’s look in the prophecies of Daniel and Revelation during the time of the Antichrist and the abomination that causes desolation. The reason for looking at these prophecies is because Paul is telling us that the Antichrist will be revealed when Satan is no longer restrained. Are there any connections between Satan and the Antichrist? Let’s look at some verses, bold added for emphasis.

He [Antichrist] will become very strong, but not by his own power. He will cause astounding devastation and will succeed in whatever he does. He will destroy the mighty men and the holy people. He will cause deceit to prosper, and he will consider himself superior (Daniel 8:24, 25).

Daniel says that the Antichrist will become very powerful but that someone else will provide the power he needs. A characteristic of this power, which is evident in both Paul’s and Daniel’s writing, is deception; the Antichrist uses deception to mislead the world. “He will cause deceit to prosper” (Daniel 8:25) as he “deceives those who are perishing” (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Also, in Revelation, we see that Satan will give his power and authority to the Antichrist.

The dragon [Satan] gave the beast [Antichrist] his power and his throne and great authority (Revelation 13:2).

Revelation provides the evidence to confirm that Satan is the one who has the secret power of lawlessness. Satan gives the Antichrist his power to deceive the world during the Great Tribulation.

Paul also ties the work of Satan and the Antichrist together, just as we have seen in Revelation. Paul says,

The coming of the lawless one [Antichrist] will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing (2 Thessalonians 2:9, 10).

Therefore, we now know the identity of two of the three players in Paul’s last days scenario:

1.     He who is being held back    -        Satan

2.     He who is doing the holding -            ?

3.     He who will be revealed        -        Antichrist

Who is holding back Satan?

So, now, the big question is, who is holding back Satan “the secret power of lawlessness,” until the appointed time?

In order to determine conclusively the identity of Satan’s restrainer we will examine various prophecies that describe what takes place at the time of the abomination that causes desolation. First, let’s see what Paul says about this event.

Paul’s version of the abomination

Paul describes the abomination that causes desolation as when the Antichrist is revealed.

He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God… And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, (2 Thessalonians 2:4-8)

According to Paul, “he” who now restrains Satan will continue to do so until, the appointed time, when “he” is taken out of the way. When “he” is taken out of the way the Antichrist will be revealed. Therefore, the Antichrist will be revealed when Satan is no longer restrained. Let’s see Paul's version.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since, Daniel wrote extensively about the rise to power of the Antichrist and was the first to prophesy about the abomination that causes desolation, let’s examine his prophecies next.

Daniel’s version of the abomination

In this key prophecy of Daniel we see outlined the period called the Great Tribulation.

At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress [tribulation] such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people--everyone whose name is found written in the book--will be delivered. Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake (Daniel 12:1, 2).

Daniel tells us, that Michael, the protector of God’s people, will arise to take his stand. Michael’s call to action comes before the Great Tribulation, which is the time the Antichrist is revealed.. Since we already know that the Antichrist will be revealed when Satan is unrestrained, we need to determine if something takes place between Michael and Satan at that time. Let’s look at Daniel version.

 

Because the book of Revelation is the single most comprehensive description of the last days we might expect to find the answer to this mystery there.

John’s version of the abomination

In chapter 12 of Revelation, John relates to us a vision he saw in heaven which will take place at the same time the abomination that causes desolation will occur on earth. Let’s read how he describes the scene.

And there was war in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back.. But he [Satan] was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. The great dragon was hurled down--that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him (Revelation 12:7-9).

So, at the appointed time, Michael will arise and fight against Satan and Satan will lose his place in heaven. Apparently, when Satan and his angels are hurled down to the earth, Michael will no longer be restraining him and Satan is able to go after the people of God without restraint.

When the dragon saw that he had been hurled to the earth, he pursued the woman [Israel] who had given birth to the male child [Jesus]. The woman was given the two wings of a great eagle, so that she might fly to the place prepared for her in the desert, where she would be taken care of for a time, times and half a time [3 years], out of the serpent's reach…. Then the dragon was enraged at the woman [Israel] and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring [the Church]--those who obey God's commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus (Revelation 12:13-17).

When Michael throws Satan down to earth, Satan will become furious and pursue the destruction of Israel and the Church during the Great Tribulation. We know this is the time of the Great Tribulation because of what is happening and because John tells us how long this period of distress lasts. He says that this will be for “a time, times and half a time” which is the same expression that Daniel used when he wrote of the Great Tribulation period in Daniel 7:25 and 12:7. Therefore, we know that Michael will cast Satan down to earth at the same time of the abomination that causes desolation, when the Antichrist is revealed. In Revelation 13, John tells us even more about what happens during this last three-and-a-half years of the Great Tribulation when Satan is unrestrained. Let’s read it.

 Men worshiped the dragon [Satan] because he had given authority to the beast [Antichrist], and they also worshiped the beast and asked, "Who is like the beast? Who can make war against him?" The beast was given a mouth to utter proud words and blasphemies and to exercise his authority for forty-two months [3 years]. He opened his mouth to blaspheme God, and to slander his name and his dwelling place and those who live in heaven. He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. And he was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation. All inhabitants of the earth will worship the beast--all whose names have not been written in the book of life belonging to the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world. He, who has an ear, let him hear (Revelation 13:4-9).

Lets see John's version in Revelation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We have now seen the prophecies of Paul, Daniel and John regarding what happens at the time of the abomination that causes desolation. This is the sequence of events as they have written:

1.   Michael arises and throws Satan out of heaven to earth.

2.   Satan gives his power to the Antichrist.

3.   Antichrist is revealed at the abomination that causes desolation.

4.   The Great Tribulation begins immediately and lasts 3 1/2  years.

5.   Christ returns on the Day of the Lord and gathers His elect.

Putting all this together, we have concluded that Michael is the one who is holding back Satan (the power of lawlessness) until the appointed time. Michael will then defeat Satan in battle and throw him and his angels down to earth. Satan’s power of lawlessness will then be unrestrained and he will turn his fury on the people of God.

So now we know the mystery of all three players in Paul’s last days scenario, as it is written.

1.     He who is being held back        -        Satan

2.     He who is doing the holding      -        Michael is the restrainer !

3.     He who will be revealed           -        Antichrist

Once again we see that the Bible is the best source for interpreting the Bible. The mystery regarding the identity of the one who restrains the secret power of lawlessness is clearly revealed.

          01/09/08 - The Restrainer who holds back Satan

Richard H Perry