PART 2: The "What" Of 2 Thessalonians 2:6
The following quote is taken from the First Catechetical Lecture Of Our Holy Father Cyril, Archbishop Of Jerusalem, Lecture Xv., On The Clause, And Shall Come In Glory To Judge The Quick And The Dead; Of Whose Kingdom There Shall Be No End, c. 384 AD:
"Thus wrote Paul, and now is the falling away. For men have fallen away from the right faith; and some preach the identity of the Son with the Father, and others dare to say that Christ was brought into being out of nothing. And formerly the heretics were manifest; but now the Church is filled with heretics in disguise. For men have fallen away from the truth, and have itching ears. Is it a plausible discourse? all listen to it gladly. Is it a word of correction? all turn away from it. Most have departed from right words, and rather choose the evil, than desire the good. This therefore is the falling away, and the enemy is soon to be looked for: and meanwhile he has in part begun to send forth his own forerunners, that he may then come prepared upon the prey. Look therefore to thyself, O man, and make safe thy soul. The Church now charges thee before the Living God; she declares to thee the things concerning Antichrist before they arrive. Whether they will happen in thy time we know not, or whether they will happen after thee we know not; but it is well that, knowing these things, thou shouldest make thyself secure beforehand."
The restrainer here is spoken of as a "what" and this "what" prevents it being time for the Antichrist to be revealed. Paul said, "And NOW YE KNOW WHAT WITHHOLDETH that he might be revealed in his time." This article points out what they now knew.
2 Th 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
APOSTASY 646. apostasia, ap-os-tas-ee'-ah; fem. of the same as G647; defection from truth (prop. the state) ["apostasy"]:--falling away, forsake.
Apostasy then is defection from the truth that tells us of the true God, and such a defection will be brought about by evil forces opposing "all that is called God, or that is worshipped." I believe the word "all" makes this verse to mean that not only will the truth of who the true God is be attacked, but the gods of all the false religions as well. Why? Because the way must be cleared by Antichrist spirits for Antichrist alone to worshipped as God. There are indications of that in the Maitreya doctrines, where he is made to be the god of all religions. In "The Secret Doctrine," Helena Blavatsky says this concerning spiritual symbols in the modern world:
"But it is perhaps desirable to state unequivocally that the teachings, however fragmentary and incomplete, contained in these volumes, belong neither to the Hindu, the Zoroastrian, the Chaldean, nor the Egyptian religion, neither to Buddhism, Islam, Judaism nor Christianity exclusively. The Secret Doctrine is the essence of all these. Sprung from it in their origins, the various religious schemes are now made to merge back into their original element, out of which every mystery and dogma has grown, developed, and become materialised." (THE SECRET DOCTRINE: THE SYNTHESIS OF SCIENCE, RELIGION, AND PHILOSOPHY by H. P. BLAVATSKY, Volume 1, Preface, pp. 7-8).There is a strong sense that all of the non-Christian religions are being seen as having one piece of the entire puzzle and when put together will bring forth a doctrine that will bring forth one "Christ" to be accepted by all.
Having said all of that, we are left with Christianity and its truth. The Antichrist spirits are finding it easy to turn the heads of the non-Christian religions to look for the same Christ without forsaking their "truths." Apostasy is not a concern with these. But, apostasy is a major concern in Christianity because it has the truth that cannot be compromised nor easily formed to point to a new age Christ. It takes deceptions in the form of "new" revelations and false "signs and wonders" to accomplish apostasy in Christianity. The result in the endtimes will be false prophets and heretics causing a defection from the truth about the true God as PREPARATION FOR a great following of the Antichrist when he comes. One of the purposes of apostasy is to lessen the numbers of those who follow the truth so "that he may then come prepared upon the prey" (Cyril, see above). Therefore, Paul told the Thessalonians,
"3 Let no man deceive you by any means."
Look at these two things in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 that the Antichrist opposes and exalts himself over:
4 . . . all that is called God, or that is worshipped
Now look AT WHAT HE WANTS: to be called God and worshipped as God:
Revelation 13:4 And they WORSHIPPED the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? . . .
2 Th 2:3 . . . the son of perdition;
For this to happen, the knowledge of God and ALL "other" gods must either be lessened or gotten rid of. The truth of Christianity restrains the Antichrist from coming forth because it tells us he is not God and is not to be worshipped. The mystery of lawlessness works against that truth even now as there are Antichrist spirits in the world working the mystery of lawlessness to pave the way for the coming Antichrist:
1 John 2:18 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.
Notice in these verses that it is the truth as given by the Holy Spirit in the believer that keeps a person from from apostasy.
The goal of iniquity's working is to bring forth the thing that it hides. It works to a particular end. The working of the mystery of lawlessness is to minimize as much as possible all that is called God and worshipped as God BECAUSE THOSE THINGS ARE IN THE WAY FROM HIM HAVING THEM FOR HIMSELF AND THEREFORE RESTRAIN THE TIME HE IS TO BE REVEALED. Therefore, the mystery of lawlessness wars against Christianity to usurp both of these things. The one thing, then, that hinders, restrains, or detains the revelation of Antichrist, when he will sit in the temple and declare himself to be God, is this:
4 . . . all that is called God, or that is worshipped
The truth about God is WHAT HOLDS DOWN the mystery of lawlessness which works to bring in the Antichrist, so that he might be revealed in his time. "All that is called God, or that is worshipped" is what the Thessalonians "now knew" restrained the Antichrist. The TRUTH in Christianity is what tells humanity of our God and the worship due our God. Therefore, the TRUTH hinders the apostasy which in turn hinders the revealing of Antichrist as "God." Therefore,
2 Th 2:3 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;
We know that the Church standing in truth and holding fast to the truth holds back the snowballing of apostasy which leads to the revealing of the Antichrist. We also know that the Church is under attack through "new" revelations and "gospels" that propose establishing the Kingdom before Christ returns so He can come and just sit down to rule. There are many such examples, but each year over the past 30 years, the apostasy has gained strength, and though it has a way to go, it will result in the coming forth of Antichrist. How many times have you heard someone say that those who are holding to the truth are becoming less and less in number? An example of this are message boards on the internet where doctrines are twisted and turned and any number of doctrines can have any number of variations that are sometimes unbelievable.
In other words, the Church perseveres in the truth while others fall to deception. The slow, but sure, but persevering working of the mystery of lawlessness to bring about a full-fledged apostasy may have as much as 10 to 12 years before the Antichrist comes forward, maybe more, maybe less, but one thing seems sure: the numbers in the Church standing fast in the truth will become less and less while the apostasy grows in strength through the workings of the mystery of iniquity.
The "what" that is restraining the revelation of Antichrist in verse 6, then, is the Church maintaining itself in truth by the Holy Spirit and it is this that Satan must tremendously diminish so it can become a prey to these spirits and the Antichrist can come on to the scene as "God" to receive the world's worship.
In one sense, what restrains the anitchrist is all that is called and worshipped as God. In Christianity, it is the truth as given by the Holy Spirit and resident in the Church and its mission that restrains him.
Part 1: The Less Truth There Is, The More Apostasy Is Present