NOTE: This post is a continuation of discussion I started in Part I and Part II of this series. Because this is a continuation of an on-going discussion, I am going to assume that the reader has already worked through Parts I and II. If this is not the case, I respectfully ask that you stop and go read Part I and/or Part II. After you have worked your way through the previous posts in this series, you will be better equipped to come back and read this post.
I want to start by saying I am well aware that this can be a touchy subject for many believers. It is not my desire to cause harm to or discord within the Body of Believers. But neither can I accept what I have come to believe is a misunderstanding in the way The Body understands Scripture. So, if you will be patient and open minded, and allow me to explain my reasoning, I hope I will be able to persuade you to take another look at 2 Thessalonians 2, only with new eyes.
That said, I will confess: I do not know who ‘The Restrainer‘ is, but I happen to agree with the conclusions drawn in this article: That ‘The Restrainer‘ is none other than The Holy Spirit.
If I could remind you of a couple passages I shared in Part I of this series:
Matthew 24:37 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
37 As were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.
Genesis 6:5 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
5 The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.
Judges 17:6 Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)
6 In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes.
Well, if my understanding of 2 Thessalonians 2 is correct, and Paul had at least part of ‘The Days of Noah’ in mind as he was writing, then we could find another parallel connection between ‘The Restrainer’ and ‘The Day’s of Noah:’
Genesis 6:3 English Standard Version (ESV)
3 Then the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not abide in[a] man forever, for he is flesh: his days shall be 120 years.”
OK, now I am going to have to assume the reader has a working knowledge of Scripture. Still, let me remind the reader that, according to Gen 6:3, it would appear that, before the flood, God’s Spirit resided within the heart of the individual. We are told that, when the New Covenant comes, God will once again put His spirit in the heart of the individual. So, is it possible that God removed His spirit before the flood, thereby removing that which ‘restrained’ people from thinking and doing nothing but evil? And, if this is the case, and God were to remove His Spirit from the heart of the individual once again, under the New Covenant, wouldn’t that remove that which ‘restrains’ the evil which resides in the heart of Man? And if that restraint were removed, wouldn’t a great many people turn to thinking about and doing only evil? Making them ‘The Man of Lawlessness‘ and ‘Antichrist?‘ If this is the way we were meant to understand these passages, then it is very likely that ‘The Restrainer‘ is — in fact — the Spirit of God, or Holy Spirit.
Now, I wish to stress that I am not absolutely sure of this, but, in my mind, it all fits together rather seamlessly. If ‘The Man of Lawlessness‘ is anyone who tells himself — in his own heart — that he is his own god, then that person will not only think of and do nothing but evil, he will also be the epitome of ‘Antichrist.’ Furthermore, this understanding of 2 Thessalonians 2 seems to parallel with the story of Noah. And, since Paul is talking to the Thessalonians about the End Times, as was Jesus when He mentioned ‘The Days of Noah,’ it could be that this is how we are meant to understand 2 Thessalonians 2. Personally, I believe this is exactly how we were intended to understand Paul’s message to the Thessalonians:
As the time for Christ’s return draws near, God will remove His Holy Spirit from the hearts of those who do not obey His Commands. This will remove that which has restrained their wickedness, and people will start to fall away from the Church. They will reject God and His Son, and tell themselves — in their own hearts, even — that they are their own god. This will cause their every thought, desire and action to be nothing but evil all the time. In doing so, they will reveal themselves as ‘The Man of Lawlessness,’ and of the spirit of ‘Antichrist.‘ Finally, when Christ does return, He will slay all such lawless people with the breath of His mouth. For better or worse, this is how I have come to understand 2 Thessalonians 2.
[NOTE: There is much more to cover here, but for a sneak peak of what else we might misunderstand about Christ’s return and ‘The Man of Lawlessness,’ look up who — exactly — Christ kills when He returns. I think you will find it is yet another area where we might want to take a little closer look at what Scripture actually says.]
Now, there is a lot left uncovered here. Lord willing, I hope to go back and address all of it in time. However, I had to write this series on 2 Thessalonians 2 so that I could lay the groundwork for a post I am feeling lead to write on one of my other blogs, As Through Glass. If you are interested, you might want to read it:
‘The Man of Lawlessness’ in The Avengers Story Line