Apostasy Watch
12-01-11 The Falling Away part two

Tha Falling Away - part 2 - The Restrainer

 

In part one of The Falling Away, we showed that the falling away is an apostasy, a defection from the truth and not a rapture of the church. In part 2 we shall answer the question what is being restrained and who is the restrainer

2 Thess 2:5-6
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

Now you know. I often marvel that something so simple can be made so complex by modern prophecy experts. Countless articles and books have been written to explain the identity of the restrainer and what is being restrained. If the Thessalonians understood, why is it so difficult for us? What did they know? In the first 4 verses, Paul has explained to them what is being withheld and why. It’s really very simple.

In verse 6 the word translated as revealed is the Greek word apokalyptō which means to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up, to make known, make manifest, disclose what before was unknown.

The thing that is being withheld is the revelation (or unveiling) of the man of sin. The reason that the identity of the man of sin remained hidden is that it was not yet time for his unveiling. When could we expect his unveiling? At the time of the falling away.  Therefore it is the apostasy that reveals the man of sin. We could say it like this:

for [that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, thus revealing the  man of sin, the son of perdition.

Paul was making clear to the people of his day that the conditions did not exist at that time for the Day of the Lord to take place. First must come the apostasy and at that time the man of sin would be revealed.

In verses 7 & 8 he goes into more detail regarding the process of the unveiling of the son of perdition. These verses have always been difficult and troublesome scriptures for many students of prophecy.

2 Thes 2:7-8
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 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.

Perhaps a little word study might help clarify things here.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work….

Mystery of iniquity means a secret or hidden working of lawlessness. This does not mean general lawlessness or sin in the world. That iniquity isn’t hidden. It is open for all to see. The iniquity spoken of here is hidden or covered, it is veiled.

…….only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way…….

The term he who now, is the Greek word arti {ar'-tee}which means at this moment in time. It has nothing to do with a person or an entity of any sort.

The term letteth is the Greek word katecho {kat-ekh'-o} meaning to hold back or restrain from going away. In our modern language the word let means to allow but in this context the meaning is exactly the opposite. 

Until means until (finally a word that means what we think it means!)

The term he be taken is the Greek word ginomai {ghin'-om-ahee} which means to come into existence, to become, or to arise.

Out of means out of.

The way is the Greek word mesos {mes'-os} which means middle or in the midst of. 

So you see, the restrainer is not a he. It is not a person, a spirit, or an entity of any kind. The restrainer is a condition. Once the condition is met, the secret is revealed. Does that help or are you thoroughly confused? How about if we say it like this:

The secret working of lawlessness is already at work but at this point in time that lawlessness remains hidden until the great apostasy becomes a reality.  Once the apostasy makes its appearance then the wicked one (son of perdition) will be seen for who he is.

Some have taught that it is the Holy Spirit that restrains evil and that the wicked one will be revealed only when the Holy Spirit is removed from the earth. This is usually taught in conjunction with the pre-tribulation rapture theory. The idea being that once the church is removed from the earth, the Holy Spirit, having been resident inside believers will no longer be here to restrain evil. Is this, or something like this, what you’ve always been taught?

The idea that the Holy Spirit will ever be removed from the earth is preposterous. Even those who hold a pre-tribulation rapture view believe that some of those who remain will be saved during the tribulation. So tell me, how can anyone be saved without the Holy Spirit since it is the Spirit that draws men unto Christ.

Secondly it is not the job of the Holy Spirit to restrain evil in the earth. The Holy Spirit is sent to testify of Christ (John 15:26) and aid believers by leading them into all truth (John 14:26).  The Holy Spirit only restrains the sin nature in believers. He is no restraint to sin in a general sense. The scriptures make it clear that evil men will get progressively worse (2Tim 3:13).  

Again, let me reiterate, the restrainer is not an entity but a condition. Once the condition is met the previously concealed secret is revealed. Daniel’s prophecy regarding the rise of anti-christ confirms this condition

Dan 8:23
And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up.

In verse 19, the angel tells Daniel he will show him the time of the appointed end. In verse 23 he explains that when the transgressors (rebels) are come to the full (are complete), and king of fierce countenance (the anti-christ) will arise.

Apostasy is a rebellion against God. It is the acceptance of a false gospel as truth. When we see a wide spread condition of apostasy within the religious system we know the time is at hand. Once the apostasy reaches its zenith, the man of sin will be revealed. In my view we are fast approaching that point.

It is important to note here that the entire anti-christ deception is aimed at God’s people, not the world. Most Christians today have been deceived to believe that the target of the anti-christ is the world. That is not true. All these warnings are written to born again, spirit filled believers. If we were going to be raptured out of here before the anti-christ made his appearance, why bother with the warnings?

In part three of The Falling Away we will examine the true temple of God, the place where the son of perdition seeks to dwell.

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