Q. Re: The Restrainer = Holy Spirit resident in the Church. The question centered on who was being restrained. My small group leader didn’t feel that 2 Thess 2:7 was necessarily talking about the restraining of evil. He asked the question – How much restraining is the Church really doing anyway? – Not so much. Seems a bit egotistical to believe that we as the Church are having that much effect on Evil. His thought was that it was the Lord’s Wrath that was being restrained. That it couldn’t fall until the Church was taken out.
This seems to match scripturally. The event that allowed the Lord’s Wrath to fall in Sodom/Gomorrah and other “wrath” events in the Bible was a separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. The Lord’s Wrath is restrained until that separation occurs. How does this square with your thoughts?
A. It is true that historically God’s wrath has often followed the separation of the righteous from the unrighteous. But in the case of the Church, this is not a fulfillment of 2 Thes. 2:7. It is a fulfillment of Romans 5:9, 1 Thes. 1:10, 1 Thes 5:9, Rev. 3:10 and by the absence of any mention of the Church on Earth in Rev. 6-19, the time of those judgments.
2 Thes. 2:7 is not talking about the restraint of the Lord’s wrath, but the restraint of the secret power of lawlessness. And it’s not the Church who is restraining this power, but the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is sealed within each of us, but being omnipresent He is not confined to the Church. The verses I’ve quoted above offer a much stronger defense of our belief that the Church will escape all the end times judgments.
Finally, while things are getting progressively more wicked in the world, they don’t begin to approximate the full force of evil that will hold sway on Earth after we’re gone. I believe the increase of wickedness is a sign that the Holy Spirit is already beginning to relax His restraining power.