Is The Holy Spirit Or The Church The Restrainer Of 2 Thess.?

Discussion in 'Bible Study' started by Phoneman777, Jun 22, 2014.

  1. #1 Phoneman777, Jun 22, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2014
    19th century England's "greatest teacher on prophecy", H. Grattan Guinness, has this to say:

    "Paul distinctly tells us that he knew, and that the Thessalonians knew, what that hindrance was, and that it was then in existence. The early Church, through the writings of the Fathers, tells us what it knew upon the subject, and with remarkable unanimity affirms that this “let,” or hindrance, was the Roman empire as governed by the Caesars ; that while the Caesars held imperial power, it was impossible for the predicted antichrist to arise, and that on the fall of the Caesars he would arise. Here we have a point on which Paul affirms the existence of knowledge in the Christian Church. The early Church knew, he says, what this hindrance was. The early Church tells us what it did know upon the subject, and no one in these days can be in a position to contradict its testimony as to what Paul had, by word of mouth only, told the Thessalonians. It is a point on which ancient tradition alone can have any authority. Modern speculation is positively impertinent on such a subject."

    For obvious reasons, Paul did not write down what he had previously told the Thessalonians, lest the letter fall into the wrong hands and bring against the fledgling Christian church the full might of the empire in response to what could only have been perceived as insurrection and intrigue.

    Unfortunately, prophecy teachers for some time have wholly ignored the testimony of the ECF on the subject of the Restrainer, in order that the Futurism version of eschatology might be advanced. Again, according to Guinness, "modern speculation is positively impertinent on such a subject." "Modern speculation" being, of course, that the church is the restraining power which will be "raptured" out of the way in order to allow for the rise of antichrist. It should be pointed out that this modern speculation has only become mainstream Protestant theology in just the past several decades and was never found among Protestant eschatology prior to this period. For centuries, they had the same eschatological understanding on this subject as did Guinness.

    Some of what the ECFs wrote on this issue:

    “‘He who now hinders will hinder until he be taken out of the way’”; what obstacle is there but the ROMAN STATE; the falling away of which, by being scattered into 10 kingdoms, shall introduce antichrist.”---Tertullian, 200 A.D

    “Only there is one that restrains now, until he be taken out of the way, that is, when the ROMAN EMPIRE is taken out of the way, then he, the antichrist, shall come.”---Chrysostrom, 400 A.D.

    “It is not absurd to believe that these words of the apostle (Paul), “…only he that now holdeth, let him hold until he be taken out of the way”, refers to the ROMAN EMPIRE.”---St. Augustine, -400 A.D.

    It is recommended that a review of the whole article The Early Church Fathers were Historicist - H. Grattan Guinness be made, but skip to point 5 of the article for further examples of such ECF testimony:
  2. This is not a statement of condemnation, just church history: It is clear from history that the ECF were Historist. The great men of the Protestant Reformation were Historist, as well, evidencing this from their interpretation of Daniel and Revelation. History also tells us that Futurism, with one of its main pillars of support being that the Restrainer does his work just before the end time Rapture, is an idea formed by Jesuit priest Fransisco Ribera which (as in the case of Preterism by Jesuit priest Luiz Alcazar) was developed in response to Protestantism's identification of the Antichrist; a serious blow to Catholicism that caused a crisis of epic proportions - the mass exodus of Christians from the Catholic church who immediately joined up with the Protestant churches. As difficult and undesirable as it may be, we need to reexamine the issues of the past to see if we are on the right course today.
  3. we need to trust in God and the Holy Spirit
  4. Prophecy is of no PRIVATE interpretation and this is why so many theologies exist. You'll need to read the passage in context too.
  5. Amen, we are to trust and rely on God as we "try the spirits to see if they are of God" using Scripture as the standard of testing so as not to be deceived by "spirits of demons working miracles."
  6. Testing the Spirits:

    1 John 4:2-3 (KJV)
    Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that [spirit] of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.

    Notice the dates of those comments you provided, less than 40 years after the fall of Rome, and one 165 years before the fall of Rome.

    2 Thessalonians 2:5-10 (KJV)
    Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 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, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

    Still no antichrist in 1400 years... I don't think it was Rome that was the hinderer since I don't think it would take Satan so long to actually come up with someone... Besides, the great falling away didn't start until around the 1920's when compared to the 1700-1800's. Not to mentioned the myriad of prophecies fulfilled since then... just my opinion.
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  7. Amen, private interpretation is dangerous but Peter's point is not to advocate for the equally dangerous error of consensus theology - just that we ensure that our theology agrees with the Bible. The crowd has always been wrong: In Noah's day they drowned, in Moses' day they built a golden calf, in Isaiah's day they worshiped Baal, Jesus day they crucified Him, during the Dark Ages the faithful were persecuted by the Roman church, and it will be thus in the time of the Mark of the Beast vs. the Seal of God.
  8. #8 Phoneman777, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    Though Futurism yet looks for the rise of Antichrist, Historicism - the belief of the early Protestants and held by them all the way down through to about the early part of the twentieth century - teaches that the Antichrist was the Roman Catholic Papacy which arose immediately after the fall of the Roman Empire in 538 A.D. when the Bishop of Rome stepped forth to take the place of the previously occupied throne of the Caesars; hence the Roman Empire's approbation "hindrance". The ECF claim that Paul referred to it, not someone or something down toward the end of time, as such.

    The "falling away" (Gr. Apostasia), or "apostacy" was what they considered to be the massive amount of paganism that was dragged into the church by the Bishops. Things such as the Eucharist, Confessional, Idolatry, Veneration of Saints, blasphemous titles given to the Pope such as "another God on Earth", and a host of many others, as well as the millions upon millions of Christians who were killed for refusing to accept these teachings, were regarded as being the will of God. Historicism was so intrinsic to the Protestant Reformation that is became one of the two most prominent teachings that defined it: 1) salvation by grace through faith and 2) the Antichrist of prophecy is none other than the Papal power residing in Rome.

    This is not opinion, it's a matter of history, and many Christians today are surprised and even shocked to learn that these issues were and are so. The important thing is that we understand what has happened so that we can make up our minds for ourselves whether the Jesuitical doctrines of Futurism and Preterism, or the ECF and Protestant doctrine of Historicm, is the correct interpretation of end time prophecy, and not rely on consensus theology to dictate Bible theology. Please review this link if you'd like to gain an understanding of how and why the Protestants of the past concluded from the Bible that Historicism, not Futurism, was the correct interpretation.
  9. Correction: the above link provides insight on what the ECF believed. For insight into what the Protestants of the past believed, please see:
  10. #10 Abdicate, Jun 24, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2014
    So this whole thing was a setup... you already made up your mind. So be it. I'll stick to the scriptures and a few good dictionaries.

    FYI in the Greek, the English word “apostasy” is ποστασία (apostasia), and it comes from two Greek words: the Greek preposition πό (apo), which means “from, or away from”; and the Greek noun στάσις (stasis), which means “a condition of being in a certain position or state of affairs; a movement toward a (new) state of affairs; and a lack of agreement respecting policy.” Thus, with reference to the rapture, those who say this is what ποστασία (apostasia) is referring to do so because they say the preposition πό (apo) indicates “moving away from one position to another,” which would include “moving away from the earth” to heaven with Jesus when He raptures the church.

    ἀποστασία • (apostasía) (genitive ἀποστασίας) f, first declension
    1. defection, revolt, rebellion (especially in the religious sense: apostasy)
    2. departure
    2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 (KJV)
    Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and [by] our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 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;

    Verse one sets the tone of the rest of the sentence, "gathering together", and then instead of "falling away" using "departure", but not from the truth, but the gathering(!), and THEN that man of sin is revealed...

    "...for [that day shall not come], except there come a departure first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;" What a difference in meaning!!! And it better lines up with other verses!

    And it sounds familiar, oh yea...

    2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 (KJV)
    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:

    Just for the record, Paul repeats himself, just to clarify. The beauty of God's word is the double meaning throughout the word of God. Indeed the world will reject God (apostasy) AND we'll be caught away and THEN the antichrist is revealed.

    Scripture interprets scripture.
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  11. #11 Phoneman777, Jun 25, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2014
    The purpose of this thread is to share, not "set up" anything. Jesuit priest Francisco Ribera's Futurism theory has been served up morning, noon, and night for decades, so we're all very familiar with your synopsis, but this is a chance to allow a discussion of Historicism. If Futurism is able to stand the test of Biblical and historical scrutiny, then Futurists should welcome the chance to defend it against any challenge. Historicism was preached, taught, and believed in every Protestant church since the 16th century up until a few decades ago, which alone warrants it a well deserved opportunity to speak. Surely, these millions of scholarly men and women had a reason for believing such, but most people such as yourself have never studied objectively into why they did so.

    Thess. 2 was understood by them to say that Paul's opening remark has to do with two future events that were to take place the same day - the coming of our Lord (second coming) and our gathering (rapture) together to Him - which would happen only AFTER the rise of the Antichrist. Paul says it like this in 1 Thess 4:16 - "The Lord shall descend from heaven (second coming) with a shout, the voice of the Archangel, and with the trump of God and the the dead in Christ shall rise (rapture) first, then we that are alive and remain shall be caught up (rapture) with them." Paul makes it clear that before "that day" in which these two events would happen, there must be a "falling away first" which would subsequently bring about the revelation of Antichrist. The "falling away" was believed to refer to the great apostasy that struck the medieval church where there was a massive departure from Biblical teaching toward pagan doctrines that were adopted in their stead, and sanctioned by the newly crowned Papal power that took control of Europe for over 1000 years, further corrupting the truth of Scripture until the great Protestant Reformation would arise and set the record straight on so many doctrinal points.

    When confronted with the ideas of Ribera, which you are so inclined to defend, the early Protestants so completely squashed them into pieces with Scripture that they disappeared and remained hidden for the next 300 years, only to surface and eventually take center stage when the Reformation finally lost steam due to the end of the purifying fires of persecution, leaving Protestantism of today with the dubious accomplishment of having embraced both Jesuit Ribera's Futurism and Jesuit Alcazar's Preterism, while rejecting Historicism - not realizing that both were intended by Rome to say, "Protestants, when looking for the Antichrist, look to the past or look to the future, just don't look at us."
  12. Why are you studying anything about the catholics? They can't even handle 1 Tim 3:2... I'll stick to the scriptures...
  13. The question for us to consider is........."Is The Holy Spirit Or The Church The Restrainer Of 2 Thess.?"

    Actually it is in verse #6......"And now ye know what withholdeth". That is literally in the Gr......."The thing which holds down".

    Paul us telling us that for the present, (now) there is something holding back the appearance of the Antichrist. Who or what has been debated for around 2000 years and I am pretty sure we will not answer that question here on CFS.

    It may have been the Roman Empire.
    It may have been the generally social structure in place.

    Now do we really believe that social activists or government s going to hold down lawlessness and sin????

    I submit to you that verse #7 of 2 Thess. 2 gives us all some good reasons to assume that it is the ministry of the Holy Spirit which now hinders the work of the A/C who is the beast.

    Has government and the Church stopped was and abortion and homosexuality and murder? There is NO power in either one of those entities.

    The work of the Holy Spirit is manifested in the "Indwelling" power of the believers who make up the church of the living God.

    When the church (born again Believers) are removed at the Rapture or as Paul says....."Taken out of the way", then the A/C will be revealed and his plan will be manifested.

    He will be revealed in his time (Gr. "kairos) and this comment in the Scripture is very strong, and in fact the entire section supports it and that is "the Day has not yet begun. That means of course the Rapture has yet to happen therefore the A/C has yet to be revealed.

    The TIME is a divinely predetermined time which no one knows when it will be.......MAYBE TODAY!!!
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  14. I tend to agree with AB on this one...the great Apostasy is the period of time we are in now (started about the turn of the 20th century) will be followed by the revealing of that wicked one....this man of sin will rule until Christ returns (the parousia) at which point he will be consumed by the brightness of His coming.

    I have heard of other explanations (even angels) but the one I do not agree with is that this is the Holy Spirit. Because people are saved (born of the Spirit) during the trib period...
  15. I fully agree. And thanks for the vote of confidence. :)

    From Adam 'til the last one saved in the Tribulation, it's all done by faith. But it is the Holy Spirit that still restrains evil. We are in the "many are called" stage, and when He is removed, it'll be "few are chosen". But that's just my two cents...
  17. When looking at Historicism, which claims that the Roman Catholic Papacy is the Antichrist of Bible prophecy, it's the unavoidable consequence. Historicism basis this on, among other things, the testimony of the ECF regarding what Paul told the early church about the identity of the Restrainer in 2 Thess 2:6,7 - that it was the Roman Empire in the past, not something that would exist in our day. With the restrainer out of the way, Historicism claims, the Antichrist power in ROME arose. We can't talk about Historicism w/o talking of church history.
  18. According to the ECF, Paul told them it had nothing to do with the present, but that he had previously told them that it was the Roman Empire, but Paul did not want to identify it in the letter lest it fall into the hands of the Roman authority. Futurism, the Jesuit interpretation of Antichrist in prophecy that came as a response to Historicism, teaches that the Restrainer is withholding the rise of Antichrist in the future.
  19. Sorry... I don't have a clue what you're talking about, but that's ok since, as I said, I'll just stick to the scriptures and let the Holy Spirit teach me. That way I can say "this is what I got from the Lord" instead of "this is what I learned from [name your other-than-godly source]". ;)
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