Who Or What is The Restrainer?

Q. I just read an article which gave a view of 2 Thessalonians 2 that I have never heard before. The author said in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul called the Temple “the Temple of God’, which could not be the case if the Church was still here, for we are the “Temple of God”(1 Cor. 3:16). I never thought of that before. And with the following verses speaking of the restrainer being taken out of the midst it fits the context perfectly. I believe there are both grammatical and contextual reasons to identify the Holy Spirit as the restrainer. What are the other views concerning the identity of the restrainer?

A. First let me say I think the author makes a good point. God has never had multiple Temples following conflicting doctrine simultaneously, as would be the case if Old and New Covenant worship systems functioned side by side. The second temple wasn’t destroyed until 70 AD but Jesus proclaimed it to be desolate (unfit for worship) a few days before His crucifixion (Matt. 23:38).

Down through the years there have been many different views on the identity of the restrainer of 2 Thes. 2:7. Some of the most popular have been the State of Israel, the Roman Empire, the general principle of law and government, the Archangel Michael, the Holy Spirit, and the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit embodied in the Church.

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