2 Thes. 2. Did Paul Teach a Pre-Trib Rapture? Part II
6 And now you know what is holding him(the anti-Christ) 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 will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.
The anti-Christ cannot be revealed until this ‘he’ the restrainer is removed.
So someone has to be removed, taken out of the way before the anti-Christ can be revealed. Remember in verse 3 Paul said that the day of the Lord, the tribulation would not come until the revealing of the anti-Christ.
2 Thes 2: 3Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (that day will not come) until the rebellion (apostasy) occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed,
The Removal of the one who is holding him (the anti-Christ) back.
In verse 7 we are told that there is someone that is now preventing the revealing of the man of sin, the anti-Christ, that the man of sin will not be revealed until this (He) someone is taken away. It seems very probable that this “someone” is the Holy Spirit as He indwells individual members of the Church.
Church age believers are given, filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in the Church age saints is what's holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ. This is what Paul was referring to where with verse 6 he said, And now you know 'what' is holding him, the anti-Christ back.
So it would appear to me that the one who is holding the revealing of the anti-Christ back is actually the Church. The 'what' from verse 6. The “he” in 2 Thessalonians 2 verse 7 is the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant in each individual believer. This would clear the way for a worldwide deception thus the acceptance of the anti-Christ.
The ‘He’ cannot be the Holy Spirit as a whole for He is still present during the tribulation for no one can be saved apart from the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was present during the Old Covenant. It’s the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant that is removed with the Church.
Notice that Paul says ‘the one who’ holds him back will do so till ‘He’ is taken out of the way. This could not be referring to a government or any natural earthly power or to time as one post-triber says. His reference is in a form of a person, in the singular, who and He. The anti-Christ will actually control the new one-world government of the finial 7 years before Jesus returns.
This one holding the anti-Christ back could not be any one man or angel for even the angel Gabriel could not stand up against the power of Satan alone. But the power of the Holy Spirit in the Church is greater than anything Satan could come up with. Jesus said concerning the Church,
Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. (King James).
1 John 4: 4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Here’s another point that the Church cannot be present during the tribulation, in the book of Revelation you see that the gates of hell are prevailing against the saints. Rev. 13: 7He was given power to make war against the saints and to conquer them. These saints then cannot be a part of the Church. These saints in the book of Revelation are just like saints during the Old Testament times.
The word saint is found in the Old Testament but the Church was not born until the day of Pentecost. These saints of the Old Testament were not part of the Church. The saints of the tribulation are not part of the Church. The tribulation is Daniels last week that was allotted to Israel, Daniel’s people, the Jews, see Daniel 9.
Since the Holy Spirit is present during the tribulation like during the Old Testament, the one that is holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ has to be the Church, all the true Christians in the Church. It’s only Christians that proclaim the gospel and speak out against sin in the world. Only true believers have the Holy Spirit.
1Cor. 3:16 Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?
1Cor. 6:19 Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;
This is the Holy Spirit of the New Covenant, of the Church age. The Holy Spirit was present during the Old Testament but not in the fullness he is now. He did not indwell them then like he does us now. You see in Acts one and two that the Holy Spirit was given on the day of Pentecost. This was the start of the Church. In the Gospels Jesus told the disciples that they were to receive the Holy Spirit later.
John 14: 25"All this I have spoken while still with you. 26But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.
But the Holy Spirit was already present. Jesus was referring to the new ministry of the new covenant of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of believers by the Holy Spirit. Now we have the fullness of the Father and Son in the Holy Spirit.
It’s now the Church, Jesus in the Church that is holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ. The Church is probably holding back more right now than we realize.
The Church is the body of Christ, Christ to the world.
1Cor. 12:27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
2Cor. 5:20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
1 John 4:17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him.
We see someone who is holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ has to be removed before the anti-Christ can be revealed thus starting the day of the Lord, the tribulation. So what we have just seen is that the Church has to be removed, taken out of the way before the anti-Christ can be revealed and the tribulation starts with the revealing of the anti-Christ.
With the Church now being Jesus to the world, the ‘he’ that is now holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ, it would make a pre-tribulation view of the rapture the only view that Paul could have taught. A pre-trib rapture is the only one that can work out with all of the above conditions. Only a pre-trib view can work with the rapture occurring at an unknown time with the removal of the one, (The Church) that is holding back the revealing of the anti-Christ thus starting the day of the Lord, the time of God’s Wrath. We see the tribulation, the judgments of God start with the first seal in Rev. chapter 6, which is the revealing of the anti-Christ.
Rev. 6: 1I watched as the Lamb opened the first of the seven seals. Then I heard one of the four living creatures say in a voice like thunder, "Come!" 2I looked, and there before me was a white horse! Its rider held a bow, and he was given a crown, and he rode out as a conqueror bent on conquest.
Those of the other rapture views say that the wrath of God does not start with the first seal in Revelation chapter 6. If the releasing of the worst dictator the world has ever seen is not the wrath of God on a Christ rejecting world I don’t know what could be. Look again at how Paul describes him.
2 Thes. 2: 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
Did you notice verse 11, God sends this man of sin, the anti-Christ. You see this also in the book of Revelation. It is Jesus that takes the scroll from the Father and is opening the seals, not Satan. See Revelation chapter 5 and 6. Jesus receives the scroll from God the Father and then he proceeds to open it. So everything from the first seal to the last bowl judgment is from God.
Read verse one thru three this way again.
2 Thes. 2:1 Concerning the (Rapture), we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that (the tribulation has already come). 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (the tribulation) will not come until the rebellion (falling away) occurs and (the anti-Christ) the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.
Remember, the New Testament was written in Greek. They didn’t have the word ‘Rapture’ for Paul to use. Nor did they use the word Tribulation. These words are English translations that came along later by the Church as terms to describe these two events. The Rapture is the “gathering together of the believers in Christ”. The “Day of the Lord” is the tribulation.
When you start putting all the scriptures together they point to a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church. To me it is just too much here that suggests that Paul had taught a pre-trib rapture of the Church.
Again, The day of the Lord, the tribulation will not start until the anti-Christ has been revealed and he will not be revealed until the Church is taken out of the way. The revealing of the anti-Christ, when he signs the covenant with Israel will start Israel’s last 7 years, Daniel’s 70th week, the time of Jacobs(Israel’s) trouble. This will start God’s prophetic stopwatch. We don’t know how much time there will be between the rapture and the anti-Christ bringing about this peace agreement. But the rapture has to occur before they sign this agreement.
We see that the anti-Christ will not be revealed until “He”, Jesus has been taken out of the way. The Church is now Jesus to the world. The influence of Jesus, the influence of the Holy Spirit will be taken away when the Church is taken up. The anti-Christ will be revealed after the rapture. The day of the Lord, the tribulation cannot start until all this has happened first.
The evidence points to the day of the Lord, the tribulation being the whole 7 years and the rapture occurring before the tribulation.
With being able to see a falling away from the truth of the Bible occurring now and with the rapture taking place before the revealing of the anti-Christ, just how close could we be to the coming of the Lord for the Church.
You should learn all you can concerning what the Bible says is coming upon the world so you can share it with your unsaved friends and family. So you can warn them. So they won’t find themselves here during the time of the Tribulation. For our time is short. More importantly they won’t find themselves standing before God the Father as their judge, but will stand before Jesus as their Lord and Savior.
Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.