The Daily Word of Righteousness

Who Is "He Who Now Restrains"?

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [restrains] will let, until he be taken out of the way. (II Thessalonians 2:7)

Many of the Christian churches, in accordance with the doctrine of the "pre-tribulation rapture" of the believers, understand "he who now restrains" to be the Holy Spirit. The "Gentile Bride" is to be lifted up to Heaven accompanied by the Holy Spirit. The removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth will permit the full revelation of the "man of sin." This is what is taught currently.

While we agree that the Holy Spirit in the saints is the Power who is restraining the open revelation of the man of sin, we do not believe that the Holy Spirit Himself will be removed from the earth during the great apostasy.

We have at least six reasons for not accepting the current position that II Thessalonians 2:7 means the Holy Spirit of God will be withdrawn into Heaven with the believers before the days of trouble come.

First of all, the doctrine of a special, secret translation of the saints to prevent their suffering cannot, as we see it, be defended by any straightforward interpretation of the Scriptures. The "secret translation" selects passages here and there and colors them with preconceptions. It is based on assumptions and reasoning. It is not derived from the careful exegesis of any passage of Scripture that we know of; neither does it come by revelation from the Lord.

We have been in churches where there have been many prophetic pronouncements. We have never heard one prophecy given by a believer that spoke of an any-moment "rapture" of the believers.

We exhort godly ministers to look once again to the Book to see if there will be a secret coming of the Lord Jesus before His glorious appearing in the clouds of the heaven.

Second, the serious student will note that II Thessalonians 2:7 does not speak of the restrainer being lifted up to Heaven nor does I Thessalonians 4:17 speak of the saints being lifted up to Heaven. The idea of the Holy Spirit and the saints being lifted up to Heaven is the result of the "coloring" that occurs because of the teaching of the "rapture."

Third, Paul has just stated (II Thessalonians 2:3) that the Day of Christ, which beyond all question is the second coming of the Lord, will not occur until after the man of sin is revealed

Our fourth reason for disagreeing with the current Christian understanding is, there is no statement in either the Old Testament or the New Testament to the effect that the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth prior to the great tribulation or at any other time.

Although there is no scriptural support for the teaching of the removal of the Holy Spirit from the earth, there is a scriptural explanation of II Thessalonians 2:7. It is that the anointing for witnessing that will characterize the last days, the "latter rain" outpouring of the Spirit, will be diminished greatly as soon as the worldwide witness has been given to God's satisfaction.

To be continued.