Why is the Tribulation Delayed?
(2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)
© 2004 Steve Lewis

Paul had just discussed the problem the Thessalonians were experiencing: being told that the Tribulation had already begun. He dealt with this issue by showing that there are two preconditions for the start of the Tribulation, and that these had not yet happened. There was to be a divinely appointed delay in the start of the Tribulation, and in this section Paul tells what is causing this delay.

What is restraining the revelation of the man of lawlessness and the coming of the Tribulation? (2 Thess. 2:6)

Why does the man of lawlessness need to be restrained? (2 Thess. 2:7)

What is the identity of the restrainer?

The Evidence:



1. The restrainer is referred to using both the neuter and masculine genders.

Biblical evidence must be sought for a single entity that is referred to using both genders in Scripture. Personhood is implied in the use of the masculine gender.

2. The restrainer existed and was actively restraining in Paul's day, as well as throughout subsequent human history (until a future time when he will be "taken out of the way").

The restrainer must have continuity of existence throughout this time period (if not actual eternality).

3. The restrainer has the authority to dictate, control, and direct the events of human history.

The restrainer must have the ability to decree and to sovereignly bring events to pass.

4. The restrainer is powerful enough to hold back mighty spiritual forces, including the most powerful created spirit being (Satan -- see 2 Th 2:9).

The restrainer must have supernatural strength and energy (if not actual omnipotence) in order to hold back powerful spirit beings.

5. The restrainer holds back lawlessness everywhere at once on a global scale.

A single personal restrainer would need to possess the attributes of omnipresence and omniscience to carry out this ministry.

6. The restrainer must maintain the highest standards of godliness and holiness in restraining the spirit of lawlessness during this time period.

The restrainer must have the attribute of absolute holiness in order to accomplish this task.

The Solution: God the Holy Spirit



1. Referred to using both the neuter and masculine genders.

John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14

2. Continuity of existence or eternality.

Heb 9:14

3. Ability to sovereignly bring events to pass.

Acts 8:29; 11:12; 13:2; 16:6-7; 1 Cor 12:11

4. Supernatural power or omnipotence.

Job 33:4; Rom 15:13, 19

5. Omnipresence and omniscience.

Ps 139:7-8; 1 Cor 2:10-11

6. Absolute holiness.

Ps 143:10; Isa 63:10; Rom 1:4

In what sense will the restrainer be taken out of the way?

Overview of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

Unchanging Characteristics:

Ministry in the Old Testament:

Ministry after the Day of Pentecost:

Ministry after the Rapture of the Church:

Summary of the ministry of the Holy Spirit:

Points of Application: