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.
Note: I wrote this post in 2016. It feels just as relevant today, so I thought I would repost it.
I got an email today that sent me straight to my Bible. The author of the email wondered if it was possible if God was withdrawing His hand of restraint. I found the premise incredibly interesting. 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 believers had received a 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 basically let them know that he will have personally signed the letter if he has written them. He confirms this at the end of the letter (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 signs one by one.
Let no one deceive you by any means;
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?