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Thread: The restrainer and the falling away

  1. #1
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    The restrainer and the falling away

    Hello all,

    In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul describes what must take place before Christ's return: the falling away, the removal of the restrainer, then the revealing of the lawless one (man of sin - son of perdition - antichrist - false prophet), "whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming".

    Until a few days ago, I had never heard of this 'restrainer'. After reading this chapter and an excellent blog post by CadyandZoe, it seems clear to me this 'restrainer' is the Holy Spirit, who's work in the world today is actually preventing the antichrist from coming to power.

    So my question to everyone is this: does the falling away occur first, after which the restrainer is taken out of the way because people are no longer interested in truth or sound doctrine, or does his removal actually trigger the falling away because they are no longer enlightened? I believe it is the former based on the following scripture:

    2 Timothy 2:2-4

    Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

    2 Peter 3:3-4,8-9

    scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”
    But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.

  2. #2

    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    It seems logical to me that the restrainer is the man that makes peace on the earth, and, once he is removed the lawless one feels safe to come out of hiding.

    The man that makes peace on the earth is every armed man: most notably police and soldiers.

    As the world tires of violence and begins to view all weapons as "evil" the "good" persons of the earth will forsake them and groups like Black Lives Matter will make it uncomfortable to be a policeman and, gradually, the guns go away and the criminal is the only possessor of firearms.

    To the extent that the Holy Spirit motivates "heros" he is partially responsible, but it will seem that we have chosen our own fate.
    PROV 25:26 Like a muddied spring, and a polluted well, so is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked. -World English Bible

    MT 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.


    As opposed to the bad man that does nothing?

    MT 12:37 For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

    Righteousness comes from the Bible, but our ability to possess the Bible comes from the possession of the sword.

  3. #3

    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    One has pointed out (by color-coding) the sequence which is repeated in the passage of verses 3-8 :

    3 Let no man deceive you by any means:
    for that day [DOTL time period, from v.2] shall not be present,
    if not shall have come The Departure first, [this is the specific event Paul mentioned in v.1 (noun)]

    and that man of sin be revealed [...]


    6
    And now ye know what withholdeth/restraining

    that he might be revealed in his time.



    7
    For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:
    only he who now letteth/hinders/restraining will let/hinder/restrain,
    until out of the midst he be come [come to be]. [contrast this with "in the midst" of Phil2:15 (and also Rev1:13), both of which refer to the concept of "LIGHT/S"]

    8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, [...]



    [the Green is OUTSIDE the DOTL, the Red is INSIDE the DOTL (not a 24-hr day); this is the same sequence (order of events) as is shown in 1Th4-5 (note there also the DAY/NIGHT contrast); The three GREEN phrases are in association, just as are the three RED phrases; the word "UNTIL" shows the same thing as verse 3, that one thing must happen "FIRST" (the "AND THEN" thing then follows); Paul's 2 epistles here are all about our departure in the rapture (an eschatological salvation), rather than to cover the concept of a falling away from some faith issue (the man of sin's "deception" and so forth come after he is revealed [IN the DOTL, COMMENCING that time period], and I hope I've just demonstrated how our departure must come "FIRST" before the Day of the Lord [with its man of sin, IN HIS TIME] can "be present" [as they wrongly thought it "IS PRESENT" back then at that time])]



    The phrase for "he apostasia" is "the departure," and was translated as such (or 'the departing [noun]') in the first 7 English translations of the Bible, before the kjv changed it to "a falling away"... I might try to go back and find those articles posted awhile back, covering this, and post those... (if I'm successful in the search )


    The Day of the Lord time period includes (all three aspects):

    1) the "DARK" portion (7-yrs/70th Wk upon the earth; the "man of sin's" IN HIS TIME: his BEGINNING, his MIDDLE, his END [comp.Dan9:27]; "the Day of the Lord" ARRIVES /so cometh as a thief "IN THE NIGHT" [Dan7:7])

    2) the "SUN of righteousness ARISE" portion (Christ's 2nd Coming to the earth point-in-time)

    3) the "REIGN... GLORIOUSLY" portion (His 1000-yr reign on/over the earth)

  4. #4

    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by stoomart View Post
    So my question to everyone is this: does the falling away occur first, after which the restrainer is taken out of the way because people are no longer interested in truth or sound doctrine, or does his removal actually trigger the falling away because they are no longer enlightened?
    Yes. The sequence of events is as follows:

    1. The falling away (apostasy) comes first, and we are seeing that all around us. It began in the 19th century and has affected the majority of Christendom.

    2. The Restrainer -- the Holy Spirit -- is taken out of the way, which means that His restraining influence on Satan (and the appearance of the Antichrist) is temporarily removed. [Some claim that Michael the archangel is the Restrainer, but that is not likely, since even Michael dared not rebuke the devil (Jude 9), let alone restrain his evil influence]

    3. Since the Holy Spirit indwells each and every believer, it also means that the Church is taken out of the way in the Resurrection/Rapture.

    4. The Antichrist takes control of the world for 3 1/2 years, and is able to establish this control through the supernatural signs and lying wonders which are presented to deceive the world.

    5. Those who are deceived are also the ones who did not love the truth and rejected the Gospel. There are many who are in this category today.

  5. #5

    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by stoomart View Post
    Hello all,

    In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul describes what must take place before Christ's return: the falling away, the removal of the restrainer, then the revealing of the lawless one (man of sin - son of perdition - antichrist - false prophet), "whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming".

    Until a few days ago, I had never heard of this 'restrainer'. After reading this chapter and an excellent blog post by CadyandZoe, it seems clear to me this 'restrainer' is the Holy Spirit, who's work in the world today is actually preventing the antichrist from coming to power.

    So my question to everyone is this: does the falling away occur first, after which the restrainer is taken out of the way because people are no longer interested in truth or sound doctrine, or does his removal actually trigger the falling away because they are no longer enlightened? I believe it is the former based on the following scripture:

    2 Timothy 2:2-4

    Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

    2 Peter 3:3-4,8-9

    scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”
    But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    I agree that those Scriptures likely refer to a "falling away." However, I can't agree that the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit, although I for many years held to that view. So let me explain...

    The "falling away" has to do with Daniel's prophecy of the Antichrist, the "little horn" who will, like Antiochus 4, persecute the truth and cause God's people to suffer. Those who work on the side of Antichrist are "falling away" from God.

    The other aspect of "falling away" has to do with the long history of Israel backsliding from the truth. Throughout the judges and especially just before the captivities Israel fell into paganism, idolatry, and immorality. There were gross cases of injustice and violence, which led God to bring judgment against Israel. This is a "falling away" which I think can be expected in any nation over time.

    But if we put together this history of Israel's backsliding with Daniel's prophecy of the Antichrist in ch. 7 what we have is a picture of a large bloc of powerful nations who ally with Antichrist and turn away from God. And these may, like Israel, have been formerly godly countries that decided to go their own way.

    In fact you can track in the history of Christianity in Europe both a rise and a fall in spirituality. We see in the decline of the Catholic Church a renaissance of pagan art, indicating an increased worldliness in the time right before the Reformation. And following the Reformations we see in the Enlightenment a turn back to pagan philosophy or skeptical philosophy, in a full on attempt to abandon traditional Christianity.

    In our own day we're seeing the abandonment of all pretense of traditional Christian belief and practice. We have adopted immorality as "normal," and accuse those who resist sin as being "bigoted," or "judgmental."

    So this "falling away" by formerly Christian nations may very well be the "falling away" that Paul anticipated would accompany the Antichrist. But I feel confident that Paul was speaking more directly of Antichrist himself.

    As to the Restrainer I think that if he was the Holy Spirit it would likely have been identified as such. The reason not to identify it may be for two reasons. One, to identify the Restrainer as Rome may be to put a bad light on Rome as the "4th Beast of Daniel," which actually prepares the way for the Beast. And two, Paul may not have had to mention who the Restrainer was because it was already well known--not something that required identification.

    The only thing that was already well known about the present restraint of Antichrist is the 4th Beast of Daniel, and the division of that empire into 10 states. It went without saying that this was what restrained the Antichrist from appearing, because he must appear after the empire is actually reconsolidated. The old empire, of course, long ago passed away, and has only been preserved in the form of the states of Europe.

    Confirming this interpretation are the writings of some of the Early Church Fathers. The idea that the Holy Spirit, or the Church, is the Restrainer seems highly unlikely. However, this fits the Pretrib scenario because the Restrainer is moved, much as it is thought the Church will be removed before the Antichrist appears.

    But it is my thought that the Restrainer is "taken out of the way" not to emphasize the *removal of the Restrainer,* but rather to emphasize the fact that Antichrist comes to be unhindered from coming. Just my thoughts....

  6. #6
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    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    So this "falling away" by formerly Christian nations may very well be the "falling away" that Paul anticipated would accompany the Antichrist. But I feel confident that Paul was speaking more directly of Antichrist himself.
    So you don't see this "falling away" as individuals rejecting the truth en masse? This is the sense I get from the context of Paul speaking to the Thessalonians in his encouragement, like it would be something they would notice very clearly.

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    As to the Restrainer I think that if he was the Holy Spirit it would likely have been identified as such. The reason not to identify it may be for two reasons. One, to identify the Restrainer as Rome may be to put a bad light on Rome as the "4th Beast of Daniel," which actually prepares the way for the Beast. And two, Paul may not have had to mention who the Restrainer was because it was already well known--not something that required identification.

    The only thing that was already well known about the present restraint of Antichrist is the 4th Beast of Daniel, and the division of that empire into 10 states. It went without saying that this was what restrained the Antichrist from appearing, because he must appear after the empire is actually reconsolidated. The old empire, of course, long ago passed away, and has only been preserved in the form of the states of Europe.
    I see what you're saying here, but I don't know how much of the OT prophecy and complex eschatological understanding the gentile church of the Thessalonians would be aware of, my understanding from scripture is Paul tended to speak very plainly and literally to the gentile Christians.

  7. #7

    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by stoomart View Post
    So you don't see this "falling away" as individuals rejecting the truth en masse? This is the sense I get from the context of Paul speaking to the Thessalonians in his encouragement, like it would be something they would notice very clearly.

    I see what you're saying here, but I don't know how much of the OT prophecy and complex eschatological understanding the gentile church of the Thessalonians would be aware of, my understanding from scripture is Paul tended to speak very plainly and literally to the gentile Christians.
    Yes, I think he would do so. And yet he was a very learned man. Don't you think he wrote his epistles to Gentiles? These letters sometimes included *very sophisticated* theological teachings.

    I don't think Paul would dumb down prophetic truth if it was important in the present historical context. For example, if the Thessalonians were being persecuted as Christians Paul may have considered it important for them to understand the prophecy of Antichrist in Dan 7.

    But on your question of the "falling away," I think the primary focus Paul had was on *Antichrist himself.* He is the "apostate," the "man of sin."

    2 Thes 2.4 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...
    9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10 and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing.


    You see, the "apostasy," or what you're calling the "falling away," is actually self-explained in the passage. It involves...
    1) opposition to God
    2) self exaltation over God
    3) assuming God's place in His temple
    4) proclamation of himself as Deity
    5) working together with Satan
    6) serving lies through signs and wonders
    7) ungodly deceptions

    Even though I think this "falling away" refers to Antichrist himself I think it has to include the people who are being misled by Antichrist and who follow him. After all, Daniel depicts Antichrist as a ruler over 10 nations. These 10 nations have to be part of the wicked conspiracy, part of the "falling away."

    But this does hearken back to the "falling away" of Israel in ancient times, when they turned away from God to worship wicked idols, and when Israel rejected and let be crucified their own Messiah.

    This will, I think, happen to Christian nations in the NT era, because all nations tend towards sin, backsliding, and apostasy. We should do our utmost to prevent as much of it as we can. But it will, I believe, be inevitable, and will "leaven the whole lump," ie infiltrate and contaminate the masses.

  8. #8

    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Two things, not persons, withold the coming of the Lord of hosts: falling away of the one who performs lying wonders by power of Satan; and taking that son of perdition out of the way.

    2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 KJV
    Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come , except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

    Two things must happen before the Day of the Lord. They withhold the coming of the Lord of hosts:
    1. falling away
    2. revelation of the Son of perdition


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

    Paul stirs up the Thessalonians by putting them in remembrance of the first thing that shall withold (falling away) before the second (revelation of the son of perdition).



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

    Consistent with the divine pattern, iniquities will continue to abound before the Thessalonians are stirred up (by remembrance) up to the time that the Son of perdition will be taken out of the way.



    [8] 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:

    In the process leading up to the son of perdition being taken out of the way (specifically during the stirring up time), the Wicked will be revealed. The Lord will consume the Wicked with the Spirit and will destroy the Son of perdition by the brightness (light) of His coming.



    [9] Even him , whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, [10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    Powered by Satan, the son of perdition will perform signs and deceitful wonders. All who work unrighteousness will perish with him (the son of perdition) because they don't receive the love of God sourced from the truth and, therefore, will not have the opportunity to be saved.
    Grace and peace unto you from God the Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ!

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    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    2 Thessalonians is clear when the restrainer is taken out the way. It occurs when the man of sin comes to power. This man of sin is a boastful man who has power over the nations and comes to power amidst deceiving signs and wonders and persecutes the saints and comes to his end at the second coming. This is an EXACT match with the beast of Revelation 13 who does all these things for 42 months and Rev 19 says the beast comes to his end at the second coming.
    THE RESTRAINER IS TAKEN OUT THE WAY FOLLOWED BY 42 MONTHS


    Rev12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
    SATAN IS TAKEN OUT OF HEAVEN, FOLLOWED BY 1260 DAYS (time/times/half a time)

    There is more actual biblical evidence that Satan is the restrainer, than the Holy Spirit is the restrainer. The removal of Satan as described in Rev 12 occurs at the same time as the removal of the restrainer, 3.5 years before the end.

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    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    No-one seems to understand what is being restrained. That is due to not reading the verse properly. It is not lawlessness being restrained. A good entity would restrain lawlessness. It's the SECRET IDENTITY OF THE ANTICHRIST that is being restrained. An evil entity keeps an evil secret. When Satan is removed from his heavenly place and thrown down to earth then the antichrist is revealed.

    now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back (from being revealed) will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed

    How obvious is that?

  11. #11
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    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by stoomart View Post
    Hello all,

    In 2 Thessalonians 2, Paul describes what must take place before Christ's return: the falling away, the removal of the restrainer, then the revealing of the lawless one (man of sin - son of perdition - antichrist - false prophet), "whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming".

    Until a few days ago, I had never heard of this 'restrainer'. After reading this chapter and an excellent blog post by CadyandZoe, it seems clear to me this 'restrainer' is the Holy Spirit, who's work in the world today is actually preventing the antichrist from coming to power.

    So my question to everyone is this: does the falling away occur first, after which the restrainer is taken out of the way because people are no longer interested in truth or sound doctrine, or does his removal actually trigger the falling away because they are no longer enlightened? I believe it is the former based on the following scripture:

    2 Timothy 2:2-4

    Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

    2 Peter 3:3-4,8-9

    scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.”
    But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.
    Your OP asks this based on the fact the restrainer is indeed meaning the Holy Spirit, yet not everyone might agree with that. I know I don't. I see nowhere in 2 Thess 2 that Paul even mentions the Holy Spirit one single time in this context. Meaning from verse 1 until verse 12.

    It seems to me verse 6 is key to understanding verse 7.

    2 Thessalonians 2:6 *And now ye know what withholdeth(katecho)that he might be revealed in his time.

    Apparently this has to mean they know what withholdeth, based on what all Paul has said from verse 1 through verse 5, otherwise why would he even say...And now ye know what withholdeth(katecho)?

    IMO verse 6 is basically saying this...And now ye know what holds back that he might be revealed in his time. Holds back what? Would it not be the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him? Isn't this being held back so that whomever the 'he' is referring to in verse 6, might be revealed in his time? Would anyone conclude Paul is meaning the Holy Spirit is being held back in verse 6? I know I wouldn't. I doubt whom he originally wrote this 2nd letter to would have thought that either.


    So let's say verse 6 is being understood like the following...


    And now ye know what holds back the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, that he might be revealed in his time.

    Whether this is correct or not, not entirely certain. But even if it is or isn't, a bigger problem is how some are interpreting verse 7 in regards to 'taken'.

    The following is a link I just found which basically agrees with my position on the word 'taken' in 2 Thess 2:7, but explains this better than I ever could. I recommend at least checking this link before coming to any final conclusions about verse 7. Not a real lengthy read.

    https://www.logosapostolic.org/bible...lonians2v7.htm

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    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by DurbanDude View Post
    No-one seems to understand what is being restrained. That is due to not reading the verse properly. It is not lawlessness being restrained. A good entity would restrain lawlessness. It's the SECRET IDENTITY OF THE ANTICHRIST that is being restrained. An evil entity keeps an evil secret. When Satan is removed from his heavenly place and thrown down to earth then the antichrist is revealed.

    now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back (from being revealed) will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed

    How obvious is that?
    I recall your interpretation of this in the past. At the time, which was some time ago, I didn't find this fully convincing if I recall correctly. But now that you have brought it up again, compared to the interpretation the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, your interpretation does the text better justice, but not that I am now fully convinced your interpretation might be correct after all. But at least now your interpretation is making more sense to me than it did in the past, meaning a few years back. I may ponder your position on this further, now that you have brought this up again.

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    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by divaD View Post
    I recall your interpretation of this in the past. At the time, which was some time ago, I didn't find this fully convincing if I recall correctly. But now that you have brought it up again, compared to the interpretation the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, your interpretation does the text better justice, but not that I am now fully convinced your interpretation might be correct after all. But at least now your interpretation is making more sense to me than it did in the past, meaning a few years back. I may ponder your position on this further, now that you have brought this up again.
    Thanks, I am also trying to improve in how to express my view.

  14. #14

    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    I have a question about verse 7.

    Verse 7 seems to say that BOTH, the mystery of iniquity AND the restraint (whether it be a person, thing, or events), would continue as they (currently) are until he be taken out of the way. I think most understands that the "he" refers to the man of sin. So this says to me that the MoI and the restraint will cease simultaneously with the revealing of the man of sin. My question is: What is meant by being taken out of "the way"? Does this refer to his demise when Jesus comes back or something else? The first century church, I am told, called the walk of the Christian faith as "The Way". We could describe the times in which we live as the time of the tares and the wheat . At the very least there is a blurring between those who are truly saved and those who are not. In other words, the mystery of iniquity is at work. Is the words of the Apostle Paul referring to the Way?
    Blessings to all who keeps the sayings and the prophecy of HIS book!
    GB

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    Re: The restrainer and the falling away

    Quote Originally Posted by DurbanDude View Post
    SATAN IS TAKEN OUT OF HEAVEN, FOLLOWED BY 1260 DAYS (time/times/half a time)

    There is more actual biblical evidence that Satan is the restrainer, than the Holy Spirit is the restrainer. The removal of Satan as described in Rev 12 occurs at the same time as the removal of the restrainer, 3.5 years before the end.
    I would agree with you here if I didn't believe the war in heaven and Satan's expulsion occurred around the time of the Lord's time on earth and ascension. I believe Jesus cleansed the temple in heaven through the sacrifice of himself as discussed in Hebrews 9:23-28.

    Revelation 12:3-5,9

    And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born. She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne.
    So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.

    Quote Originally Posted by DurbanDude View Post
    It is not lawlessness being restrained. A good entity would restrain lawlessness.
    How obvious is that?
    The obvious conclusion I came to after studying the passage was this, that a good and powerful entity much greater than any angel is currently restraining lawlessness, which I believe will be great and terrible during the antichrist's rule.

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