While paul had just spent three weeks with the Thessalonians–during a church plant journey, he found a wrong understanding amongst the Thessalonians: they believed that Jesus had already come, so he had to take his time explaining the coming of Christ when he spoke about the restrainer.
While Paul was not clear on who the restrainer is, the restrainer is thought to be a “strong entity who restrains” according to (ESB|NASB) and “the one who holds back” according to (NIV). So, Who is this restrainer that wields so much power to keep the antichrist at bay? And what’s his job?
Understanding The Role Of The Holy Spirit in Our Lives
In our beloved Christian doctrine, we place a high value on the “Comforter,” or “Counselor” as the Holy Spirit is commonly referred to in the Bible. John 16:7, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you”
In the Trinity, which also includes God the Father and Jesus Christ, he is the third member. The Holy Spirit is a restrainer, which means that He aids in controlling sinful conduct and guides us toward a more moral course of action(John 16:8).
It should be clear that the holy spirit does not physically restrain us from sinful acts, rather, he convicts us of righteousness, and he further guides us to take better actions. John 16:8 “And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:”
The holy spirit is a comforter in times of distress and trouble, he guides us through the temptations of this earth, and if we submit to his leading he empowers us with the wisdom of God to aid us handle difficult situations and strengthening our weakened mortal bodies
Who is the restrainer in the Bible
Going by context, it is natural to struggle to understand who the restrainer could be, whether it’s Angel Michael or the holy spirit. But if we digest the Bible deeply, we can understand who this restrainer is.
The restrainer is the holy spirit and he is able to restrain and delay the manifestation of the antichrist through his indwelling in the church. Paul reassured the church in his second letter to the Thessalonians that they were not yet living in the Day of the Lord, or the judgment of the end times.
“Let no one deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction,” he writes in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. God’s plan calls for a global revolt and the appearance of the Antichrist before the Day of the Lord and its accompanying judgment can begin. And now you know what is holding him back so that he may be disclosed at the correct moment,” Paul says of the wicked force in (verses 6-8) “so that he may be revealed at the proper time.” For the hidden force of lawlessness is already at work, but the one holding it back will keep doing so until he is removed. Then the lawless one will be exposed”.
Looking at the current state of our existence, we could see that lawlessness is already taking place, but the restrainer is preventing it from becoming full-scale lawlessness until its time for Christ to come and the manifestation of the antichrist.
The devil cannot be the restrainer, as he will be fully present, the Roman government’s era of King Agrippa is long past and can’t be the restrainer.
But from a different angle, the word of God is the power of God, as he created the heavens and earth by speaking. Mattew 24:14 say “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” But that verse never acknowledged the removal of the gospel.
And in Matthew 24:35 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.” we can see that the restrainer is not the devil, or the Roman government, but a combination of the Gospel and the Holy Spirit: since the holy spirit will aid the preaching of the gospel by convincing believers of their righteous duty ( disseminating the word of God) until the end.