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Who is the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7?

Posted by Matt Postiff November 20, 2009 on Matt Postiff's Blog under Interpretation 

It is a much debated text, but I’m convinced that it is an oblique reference to the Holy Spirit and particularly His presence in the church during this age of grace. This is evident because:

  1. Only the divine power of the Spirit of God can truly restrain the full operation of evil (Isaiah 59:19). We cannot. We are not allowed to rebuke the Devil. Instead our disposition should be, “The Lord rebuke you” (Jude 9).
  2. The grammar in the text indicates that the restrainer is the Holy Spirit (neuter “what” now restrains and masculine “he” who restrains) because other texts in the Bible that clearly refer to the Holy Spirit exhibit this same characteristic (John 15:26, 16:13-14). The Spirit’s role in restraint of sin is also seen in Gen 6:3.
  3. The rapture will remove the Holy Spirit, the restrainer, and the Antichrist will be free to do what he wishes.

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