Sunday, 1 October 2017
And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. 2 Thessalonians 2:6
Paul continues with his thoughts on the revealing of the Antichrist. He said that the Antichrist would not be revealed until after the rapture of the church. This is implied in the previous verses, and it will be implied again in the coming verses. Only then will Antichrist be revealed, and the world enter the day of Christ (the day of the Lord). But something is restraining that from occurring, something they have already been told about. This is reminded to them now with the words, “And now you know what is restraining.”
The words, “And now” are not speaking of anything he has said in this letter. Instead of being in a temporal sense, the word “now” is being used in an introductory sense. They are being asked to call to memory what had already been told them. The reason for explaining it this way is because the church had been fooled; they had been misdirected by false information claiming that “the day of Christ” had come. The reminder now is that the revealing of the Antichrist is actually purposefully hindered, and it would continue to be so until the right time arrived.
The words, “what is restraining,” are insufficient here. There is a definite article in front of “restraining” in the Greek. Therefore, this is not a mere doctrine that they are aware of, but rather of a specific and familiar object. Therefore, it should say, “that which is restraining.” A known entity is restraining the coming of the Antichrist, and the time for that entity to cease restraining will come as planned by God. And so there was absolutely no reason for those in Thessalonica (and thus us!) to speculate about having already entered into the tribulation period.
The truth holds for us even until this day. And yet, how many have claimed that the day of Christ (the day of the Lord) has arrived? How many speculations about the tribulation period have been laid out in chart upon chart! But there is one restraining, and that will continue to be the case so “that he may be revealed in his own time.” The “he” is speaking of Antichrist.
What is restraining the revealing of the Antichrist is not specifically mentioned, but it can be readily inferred based on several things. These will be looked at in the verses to come. But suffice it to say that 1) the Antichrist is one who stands in opposition to Jesus. If this must be restrained for even 2000 years now, it shows that even though Antichrist is a person, there is more involved. He is a person who will be specifically filled by Satan. And 2) if this could be at any given time, then there is a set time – known even 2000 years ago – when this would come about. What could could restrain Satan from so filling whatever person he chose for that long? Stay tuned.
The words, “that he might be revealed in his own time,” have the meaning of “with a view to.” What this means is that God’s purposes will come about because the power of Antichrist will stop being restrained when He sees fit. Just as God ordained Israel to be exiled to Babylon for 70 years, and then that exile ended as prophesied; and then just as the same is true with the ending of their second exile at a pre-prophesied moment to effect His purposes, the ending of the restraint of the power which will be given to the Antichrist is intended to meet God’s purposes for judgment on the unrepentant world.
The word translated as “time” indicates a set and purposeful time. It is a particular season. Just as Christ Jesus was said to have come in the fullness of the time set by God (Galatians 4:4), so Antichrist will come at a particular season to fulfill God’s purposes.
Life application: Way too many people focus on who the Antichrist is. That is a pointless venture. The Bible says he will be revealed at a particular time, and that time will not be until after the rapture of the church. If you are looking for Antichrist, you need to redirect and look for Christ. Stop wasting your time on useless videos about an already-defeated enemy. Instead, pick up your Bible and find Jesus.
Lord God, Your word does tell us that one known as “Antichrist” is coming. It also tells us that believers don’t need to worry about his identity. Instead of looking for that loser, we are asked to fix our eyes on Christ. Help us to remember this, to study Your word to see His glory revealed, and to set our hearts and affections on Him alone. Grant us the wisdom to seek the Lord and not futile speculations about things which You alone have the knowledge of. Surely knowing Christ Jesus in His fullness is enough! Amen.