Introduction: The Traditional Understanding About Who Is
The consensus among many who claim to know the answer to this provocative question is that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit. There is another theory, less popular, that suggests that human government is or will be the restraint referred to in the Thessalonians passages.
In their excellent book Alien Encounters, page 289 (absolute must reading) Chuck Missler and Mark Eastman first paraphrase the King James version of these passages and then proceed to set forth the prevailing accepted interpretation in the Christian community of them today: “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of his mouth and destroy with the rightness of his coming.” (II Thessalonians 2:5-8). "We believe that the restrainer referred to in this verse is the Holy Spirit working through the Church. Paul states that once “he who now restrains . . . is taken out of the way . . . the lawless one will be revealed.” We know that the Holy Spirit will not be taken out of the world because during the Tribulation (the last three and one-half years of Daniel’s 70th week) He will be working in the lives of Christians who are converted after the Rapture. The point is that the Holy Spirit— working through The Church—is restraining the forces of darkness, and He may be restraining far more than we can imagine! The removal of this restraining force (The Church empowered by the Holy Spirit) will allow Satan free reign once the troublemakers (Christians) are removed.”
I was literally raised in a Baptist church during the depression of 1930’s for the first ten years of my life. Their point of view (Missler and Eastman) concerning the “restrainer” is what I was taught and, of course, what I accepted as truth until recently when I began to reflect on the years of research I have done in the area of spiritual warfare as well as the many battles I have fought with Lucifer, one-on-one, with the understanding that the winner would take all.
Exegesis and The Scriptural Identity of The Restrainer
As much as I admire and respect the laborious work of these authors, (I learned much from it) I believe their interpretation of the Thessalonians passages is wrong. I believe that the majority of gospel preaching, soul winning churches are wrong on this issue. I think much of the body of Christ has been misled concerning these vitally important passages of scripture in Thessalonians. Also, I believe the faulty exegesis of scripture here is the result of the authors’ predetermination to fit the Rapture concept in their interpretation and make it work. It won’t. (It is important to understand that the scripture does not identify the identity of the restrainer, only that he will be taken out of the way at the appropriate time so the lawless one can be revealed, not that he will simply stop restraining. This eliminates any possibility of the Holy Spirit being the restrainer.)
The scripture clearly teaches a second coming of Christ, but nothing about a Rapture. To believe in a Rapture, someone would have to tell you about it because you would never find it in the Bible on your own. Anyone can find the teaching on the second coming.
What is my reasoning for my position? Consider the following:
The Holy Spirit Does Not Have The Right To Function As The Restrainer
Not only is the Holy Spirit not the restrainer, He does not have the authority or legal right to restrain any of the activities of the kingdom of hell. Period! If the Holy Spirit were the restrainer, where was He during the many tumultuous times down through the ages when a restrainer would have been welcomed by countless numbers of victims? For instance, where was He during The holocaust? Are we to believe that the one God chose to restrain evil is selective in what He restrains and when He restrains it? The whole idea of the Holy Spirit being the restrainer in the Thessalonians passages is ludicrous; but, to make the Rapture concept work, the Holy Spirit was elected to give it credibility.
I have determined that there are rules regarding warfare in the spirit. God himself set those rules in the beginning and as long as Lucifer abides by them, God has no legal recourse against him. He intervened once through the flood, but promised never to do it again.
In other words, God will not violate Lucifer’s legal rights so long as his conquests are won legally. Lucifer’s most powerful weapon used to destroy man is simply “temptation”. Temptation was the weapon of choice in the Garden when the serpent challenged Eve. It was a legal challenge and I see no reason to believe that the Holy Spirit intervened in any way to restrain the serpent, nor did the Lord see fit to overturn the serious consequences of their sin and say to the couple, “It has been a bad day for all of us. Let’s just forget that it ever happened and we will start all over tomorrow.”
It is blatantly wrong for those who are not familiar with what Don Basham, author of Deliver Us from Evil, in 1972, referred to as the censored forth of Christ’s ministry, to attempt to interpret all other scripture without an understanding of what truth the censored scripture contains. Part of that truth deals with Lucifer’s direct control over man’s outer-man that was gained in the “garden” incident and was not eliminated at the cross. Christ set man free from the Law of Sin and Death. “Deliverance” sets us free from the results of sin. Paul made this clear to the church at Corinth that they should cleanse themselves of all filthiness of the flesh, perfecting themselves unto holiness. Therefore, it is man who is being restrained by Lucifer to keep him from regaining control of his outer-man and becoming an overcomer as it was with Adam and Eve before they sinned.
The Holy Spirit’s function is to bridge Man and Christ. The Holy Spirit’s function on earth is to act as a bridge between Man and Jesus Christ. His assignment has nothing to do with restraining. The Father laid down and enforces the rules of warfare. I can personally attest to that! Well then, if the Holy Spirit is not the restrainer referred to in the Thessalonians passages, then who is? It is Lucifer along with his counterfeit Godhead. The other two outlaws are Satan and the Serpent. Lucifer is the counterfeit of God, Satan is the counterfeit of Christ and the serpent is the counterfeit of the Holy Spirit. They react and interface with one another as the Father, Son and Holy Spirit react and interface.
The counterfeit godhead has never given up. He knows that he cannot defeat the God that created him. That would defy the laws of science; therefore, his plan is to outsmart the Lord. (There is a universal law that protects one who creates something from ever creating anything grater than himself.) For instance, in Ephesians 5:27, Paul described the church that Christ would return for “... That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Lucifer needs to function as the restrainer to postpone going to the lake of fire.
Is there anyone out there today who believes that the present day church is in the spiritual condition of the one Paul described that Jesus would return for. I think not. Well, might Jesus change his mind and return for the one that presently exists? Again, I think not. Then, if that is the case, he is coming for a different church than the one that now exists or the one that now exists will have to be purged and cleansed until it conforms to Jesus’ requirements. I vote for the latter.
I believe the Lord will bring forth the circumstances and conditions for that purging to take place and it will do so in the form of deliverance not through persecution and suffering as some have believed. A mighty deliverance process is about to take place in the church, the likes of which have never before been witnessed, and this will cause some real problems.
In his book, The Final Quest, Rick Joyner made this statement
“A great spiritual civil war now looms before the church. Many will do everything they can to avoid it. This is understandable, and even noble. However, compromise will never maintain a lasting peace. It will only make the ultimate conflict that much more difficult when it comes, and it will come.
The Lord is now preparing a leadership that will be willing to fight a spiritual civil war in order to set men free. The main issue will be slavery versus freedom. The secondary issue, which will be the primary issue for some, will be money. Just as the American Civil War at times looked like it would destroy the entire nation, what is coming upon the church will at times appear as if it will be the end of the church. However, just as the American nation not only survived, but went on to become the most powerful nation on Earth, the same is going to happen to the church. The church will not be destroyed, but the institutions and doctrines that have kept men in spiritual slavery will be.”
One of these teachings has been that of the “Rapture” and another that the Holy Spirit is the “Restrainer”. However, there are probably others. So, how could Lucifer possibly outsmart God. Well, if Christ is coming back for a church that does not yet exist, we have our answer. Lucifer set out 2000 years ago to block any chance of the spots and wrinkles ever being removed from the body of Christ. To understand how this took place, we must go back to the time when Christ began his short ministry. A cursory examination of the gospel books will reveal that those who Christ set free from evil spirit contamination, in fact, had very little of it.
- Mary Magdalene had seven devils.
- The deaf and dumb boy told about in the book of Mark had deaf and dumb spirits.
- The gadarene demoniac had a legion of demons in him, but they came out with one command.
- The boy described in Matthew who had seizures was delivered of the demons responsible for the seizures, etc.
The point is, when Lucifer realized how simple it was for Christ to set these troubled people free from small amounts of contamination, it troubled him. Therefore, he resolved to contaminate those in the future to the extent that hopefully no one would ever find it all.
There is still another trick that Lucifer must pull off to make his plan work and that is to find a way to keep from being put into the lake of fire. It can’t be done, but he will try. I am aware of his plan and all of the preparation that has gone into it, but it is not time for me to reveal this yet.
Only when the restrainer is removed will the new world leader be revealed. If Lucifer can avoid the lake of fire, he can stop the new world leader from taking over. He must stop this new leader because it is he who, as prophesied, will close out the age, not Lucifer. When the present counterfeit godhead (Lucifer, Satan and the serpent) is removed a new godhead will emerge. This godhead will be identified ultimately as the Antichrist, the False Prophet and the Beast. It is this counterfeit godhead that the Lord promises to consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. (Second coming.)