Q. Do you think it is possible that the restraining power is already weakening as a lead up to the rapture? I ask this because of the overwhelming and ever growing sense of evil in the world.
A. Typically scholars see the restrainer as being the Holy Spirit, residing in the Church. According to John 14:16-17 and John 15:26-27 His role is that of a counselor or adviser, rather than being a direct force. This means His effectiveness in the world is governed by the Church’s willingness to listen to His voice and act on His counsel.
2 Thes. 2:7 simply says the restrainer will keep restraining until He’s taken out of the way. There’s no indication of a gradual withdrawal. However, in past generations the Church was a much more powerful influence for traditional morality than it is today. Therefore I think the rise in evil is more due to the church’s increasing unwillingness to stand against it than to any weakening of the Holy Spirit’s power.
Today, many parts of the church embrace behavior that would have been impossible to accept even one generation ago. I don’t believe this is a sign that the Holy Spirit’s power is weakening, I believe it’s because in these parts of the church people have stopped listening to Him and showing His love to the unsaved.
But 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 (John 14:26).