THE BOOK OF 2 THESSALONIANS
J. Deering, AncientPath.net
2:6-7, Relation of the Day of the Lord to The Restrainer
D. Relation of the Day of the Lord to The Restrainer, 2:6-7
6 And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.
"When the restrainer is taken out of the way then the Man of Sin will be revealed. We have already been told that the day of the Lord cannot begin until the Man of Sin is revealed, and since the Man of Sin cannot be revealed until the restrainer is removed, it follows that the Day of The Lord cannot begin wither until the restrainer is removed."
The restrainer holds back the full manifestation of evil in the person of the Man of sin. The work of evil is already at work in the world (v. 7).
There are three things that will help us with the identification of "the restrainer."
1. In verse 6 the participle "what withholdeth" is neuter in gender, however in verse 7 it is masculine "he who withholds."
2. In verse 6, Paul says that the Thessalonians were acquainted with what it is that restrains.
3. The restrainer must be more powerful than Satan in order to hold this evil one back.
In the past, some have identified the restrainer as the Roman Empire of Paul's day - however, it is all to apparent that the Man of Sin did not make his appearance at the end of the Roman Empire. Some indicate that this means that government in general is the restrainer, however no government is stronger than Satan.
Our answer must be that it is God Himself who is the restrainer. Most biblical scholars further identify the restrainer as the Holy Spirit. Whether Paul is specifically referring to the Holy Spirit is debatable, however there should be no doubt that it is God.
Review Study Questions:
1. What is being restrained now (even in Paul's time)?
2. Who is the restrainer?
3. What are the three reasons He is the restrainer?
 Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, First and Second Thessalonians, Everyman's Bible Commentary, Moody Press, Chicago.