The context of 2 Thessalonians 2, taken as it is written, is the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church which leads to the Antichrist coming to power.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” 2 Thessalonians 2:6,7 (KJV)
The other day, I saw some postings where people were talking about how the Holy Spirit is now “restraining the appearance of the Antichrist”, and when the Holy Spirit is “taken out of the way”, Antichrist will come upon the world stage. They base their assumptions on verses found in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-9 (KJV). I would like to examine those and other verses in that chapter, and see if we can rightly divide our way to a deeper understanding of those passages.
The apostle Paul was writing to people in Thessalonica who had received letters from people purporting to be Paul, and had told them that they had “missed the rapture” of the Church that is such a central pillar in Paul’s writings. So here in 2 Thessalonians, Paul is writing to assure them that they had, in fact, not missed the rapture, and he proceeds to tell them what some of the things that will signal the Rapture of the Church, and what will immediately follow after that event.
Living in the time of the great falling away is right now
In verse 3, he tells them that there are two things needed before the Rapture of the Church can take place, and they are these:
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;” 2 Thessalonians 2:3 (KJV)
The “falling away” is a departure of the Church from sound doctrine, and replacing it with “ear tickling” nonsense that appeals to people’s flesh and not to their soul or spirit. Paul would go on to discuss that in more detail in his letter to Timothy:
“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” 2 Timothy 4:3,4 (KJV)
That period of time began in the mid-19th century with the Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, etc, and is now in full bloom here in 2017 with such heretical junk by false teachers and preachers that sadly make up the main body of professing Christians worldwide. But depressing as it may be, after reading all our examples you will be 100% convinced that the great “falling away” is well under way. So you can add this one to the “fulfilled/being fulfilled” column from Paul’s list. Now let’s look at the other one, the revealing of the “son of perdition”.
Does the King James Bible reveal the Antichrist to be Judas Iscariot?
In our article entitled “DOES THE KING JAMES BIBLE REVEAL THE IDENTITY OF THE ANTICHRIST?“, we make our case for why we think that when the Antichrist shows up, it will be none other than Judas the Betrayer brought back for the end times. If you have not already done so, please click on the link and go read it now. But suffice to say, Paul says that the revealing of the Antichrist is the second thing on the list that must take place for the Rapture of the Church to happen. In one sense, that has already happened because, if you’re a Bible believer, then you already know who the Antichrist is – it’s Judas. But since you can understand something intellectually without it being revealed physically, let’s assume that Paul’s main meaning is that the Antichrist has to physically show up before the Rapture. No problem there. Paul never wrote one, single verse of Scripture in all his writings tells Christians how to live under the rule of Antichrist. Not one. So it’s safe to assume that the Church will see the Antichrist, know him for who he is, and be taken out in the rapture without living under his deceptive and demonic rule.
An excellent example of this is found in recent history, in type, with the rise of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. In our article “7 WAYS THAT ADOLF HITLER WAS A PERFECT TYPE OF THE COMING BIBLICAL ANTICHRIST“, we showed you how Hitler fulfilled many of the Biblical qualifications of the Biblical Antichrist. There were people living in Germany in the late 1920’s who saw Adolf Hitler for the evil man he truly was, knew what was coming, and got out before Hitler actually came to power. In much the same way, this is how the Church will see Antichrist, and we will surely get out before he actually takes over. This, I believe, is what Paul is saying in verse 3 in 2 Thessalonians 2. Let’s move on.
Is the Holy Spirit taken out of the the way?
So the context of 2 Thessalonians 2, taken as it is written, is the Pretribulation Rapture of the Church which leads to the Antichrist coming to power. The Berean Bible student, seeing if these “things are so”, will take careful note that nowhere in the chapter so far is there a mention of the Holy Spirit. Not one. So how do people come to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is “taken out of the way” to reveal Antichrist? This wrong interpretation happens for 2 reasons. The first reason being that since most of the 20th century Bible commentators has declared this to be, people have just agreed without researching it for themselves. The second reason for this are the corrupt “new” Bible translations that remove the word “let” and attempt to replace it with “restrain”.
The word “let” is the key to unlocking this mystery
The word “let” is found exactly 1,511 times in your King James Bible, appearing in exactly 1,219 verses. It is used in all the usual ways you might expect, such as “And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”, “And when he had set the brands on fire, he let them go into the standing corn of the Philistines,”, “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.”, and the list goes on in the both Testaments in exactly how the word “let” is still used in 2017. The word “restrain” is found exactly twice in Job 15:8 and Psalm 76:10, and used exactly the way it is still used today. So accounting for variances in the English language between 1611 and 2017, which as far as these two words go is nil, there is no reason at all why the KJV translators could not have used “restrain” or “restraineth” in place of “let” if what they wanted to show was the act of restraining.
And this is where it gets really interesting. I don’t think they wanted to show the act of “restraining”, so much as they wanted to point you to a much more pointed application of the word “let”.
The Webster’s 1828 Dictionary , the absolute best dictionary to understand English words in light of Scripture, shows a whole lot of meanings for the word “let”, and I would like to point your attention to the first two, and they are as follows:
- To permit; to allow; to suffer; to give leave or power by a positive act, or negatively, to withhold restraint; not to prevent. A leaky ship lets water enter into the hold. let is followed by the infinitive without the sign to.
- To lease; to grant possession and use for a compensation; as, to let to farm; to let an estate for a year; to let a room to lodgers; often followed by out, as, to let out a farm; but the use of out is unnecessary.
Webster tells us that the first and second applications of the word “let” means to “permit or suffer/allow”, and to “rent or lease”. I was watching a movie on Netflix awhile back and it took place in England. The character was looking to rent an apartment, and stopped when he saw a placard advertising that one was available. How did that sign read, you ask? It simply said “Flat To Let”. “Flat” being the British word for apartment, and “let” being the British word for rent/renting.
At this point in our study, for some of you, that “cold chill” traveling down your spine is right now resulting in your “light-bulb moment” of clarity. You know exactly where I’m going with this, so let’s go there right now. (for the rest of you who never got past the “is this another Pretribulation Rapture heresy article?”, take a seat, we’ll deal with you later. Or not.)
The body of Antichrist is “let” to the Devil for a short time
Let’s review the whole passage in it’s entirety:
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,” 2 Thessalonians 2:6-9 (KJV)
Rather than trying to force this passage to say it’s the “Holy Spirit that’s restraining”, which is in no way supported by the context or any verse thus far, I would like to make the bold statement that it says exactly what it means when it uses the word “let” to do so. These verses are showing you how the Devil uses the body of Antichrist, how he “rents” a physical body until the time he no longer needs it.
There are various places in the Bible that prophetically refer to the Antichrist getting killed, then resurrected:
- “Woe to the idol shepherd that leaveth the flock! the sword shall be upon his arm, and upon his right eye: his arm shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be utterly darkened.” Zechariah 11:17 (KJV)
- “Son of man, I have broken the arm of Pharaoh king of Egypt; and, lo, it shall not be bound up to be healed, to put a roller to bind it, to make it strong to hold the sword.”Ezekiel 30:21 (KJV)
- “And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13:3 (KJV)
When Lucifer became Satan, he raised his ugly fist towards God, and declared that he would “be like the Most High”, with the uttering of his 5 “I Will” statements we see here:
“For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.” Isaiah 14:13-15 (KJV)
If you’ve made it this far, putting the cherry on top the sundae is no struggle at all.
We understand from the Bible that Satan is the great imitator of God, a cheap copy pretending to be the real thing, right? That’s what Satan declared in Isaiah, that he would be just like the Most High. With that in mind, note the following regarding the end times on how Satan copies God to fool the unsaved:
- God has a body, Jesus Christ, and Satan has a body, the Antichrist: The Bible tells us that God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the physical representation of God on Earth. The Antichrist sends “his son”, the son of perdition Judas, to be his physical representation on this Earth in the time of Jacob’s trouble.
- The Antichrist is worshipped as the real thing: For a brief 3.5 year period, the world is fooled into thinking that the Messiah has arrived, and they worship him as such. Only it’s not THE Messiah, it’s the phony messiah, Antichrist.
- Antichrist killed and rises again: When Jesus came the first time, He had a ministry that lasted approximately 3.5 years, then He was crucified and rose again 3 days after that. The Antichrist will be worshipped for the first half of the time of Jacob’s trouble, 3.5 years, killed, then rise again in all his unholiness as the Devil Himself.
Now do you see why the KJV translators used “let” and not “restrain”? They were showing us a deeper prophetic truth of how Satan will “rent” the body of Judas in order to fool people, and when he, Judas Antichrist, is killed and “taken out of the way”, Satan comes upon the Earth in full form. So we see it is the body of Antichrist, and not the Holy Spirit, that is taken out of the way, to reveal that “Wicked”, capital W, Satan himself.
In conclusion, the passages dealing with the Antichrist in the time of Jacob’s trouble ends with verse 12, with verse 13 and its paragraph marker denoting a new topic and a new context where we read this:
¶ “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14 (KJV)
It is here that, for the first time in the chapter, we finally do see a mention of the Holy Spirit, and it has nothing to do with the Antichrist, Satan or the end times. Paul is simply reminding us to be grateful to God for saving us, and leading us into all truth by the “sanctification of the Spirit”, the Holy Spirit denoted with a capital “S”.
“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15 (KJV)
When we, as workmen, attend to rightly dividing the Scripture, the fruit of our labors is Bible truth. And now you know why God used “let” and not “restrain” in this chapter.