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.
I got an email today that sent me straight to my Bible. The author of the email wondered if it was possible that God was withdrawing His hand of restraint. I found the premise incredibly interesting and so, I am putting my Jeremiah study down for a bit to look at 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 to see what Scripture says about God's restraining hand, what that means, and what happens when it is lifted.
Let's talk first about why Paul wrote this letter to the Thessalonians. It is clear from the first two verses in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 that these people had received word or a letter of some kind, (not penned by an apostle), which was causing them to be anxious and worried that they had somehow missed the Lord's return. Paul is writing them to soothe those concerns and to basically let them know that if he has written them he will have personally signed the letter. In fact, he makes a point of mentioning at the end of the letter that all his epistles are signed by him (2 Thessalonians 3:17).
Paul then goes on to explain the signs of what will happen before Jesus returns. So let's look at those things one by one.
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God,
What Happens First?
What is holding back the man of sin?
I've read different commentaries on this and the following are some of the current theories. It is thought that:
One thing is clear, apostasy has begun in the church and that is the first sign. I'll look a little more at this next week, but for now, what do you think? Is God lifting His hand? Are we seeing the beginning of the end?