“He who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.” Who is he?

2 Thessalonians 2

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

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;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

16 Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,

17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.

Who is he who restrains the Wicked one—he who will be taken out of the way, and after, the Wicked one is revealed?

In one sense, this was Jesus Himself. In another sense, I believe Jesus is talking about the Holy Spirit.

I could be wrong, but there are reasons why I think this is the case.

For one, I relate. I relate to Jesus when He perceived virtue or strength leaving Him. I feel it too. There are days like today when this life and my Christian service so sufficiently drains me of any good thing that His Spirit has worked, that the only thing that remains in me is that Wicked One, and “that which I would not do, I do.”

I am thankful that Jesus provides in us “a well of living water.” I can slow down for a while, go to Him, focus more intently on prayer and less intently on this world, and I can be revied in His Spirit. Without that, I would be helplessly bound to the sin nature—which is my natural state and is the natural state of all mankind.

I also relate because some of the things that drain me and grieve me are the same things that drain and grieve the Holy Spirit. I know because He told me. He is the Comforter, and when I poured out my complaints to the Lord, I knew that my complaints were His too.

We have so grieved the Holy Spirit.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit by replacing Him with legalism.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit by claiming His inactiveness on one hand and falsely manifesting Him on the other.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit by denying Him, turning Him into a mere force of the universe or the so-called power of the mind of man.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit with our petty disputes, divisions, envies, and power-grabbing attempts among many authoritative entities within the Christian faith.

 We have grieved the Holy Spirit with callous, clumsy, and self-indulgent use of the word of God.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit with our fornication with the spirits of this world as we justify sin, corrupt righteous judgment, slander, accuse, and destroy our fellow man.

We have grieved the Holy Spirit—the Spirit of Truth—with our lying ways and love of them.

The Holy Spirit came to this world in a new way after Jesus ascended into heaven, and He is always there. “If any man hears my voice, I will come into him and will sup with him and he with me.” Yet, He comes to those who want to keep the commandments of God.

Jesus said that if we keep His commandments, He will petition the Father to send us the Holy Spirit. These commandments are hinged on loving God with all you have and loving your neighbor. See John 14-16.

The more we “fall away” from this as we deny the teaching of Jesus and the gospel of the kingdom of Jesus Christ in truth, the more we grieve the Holy Sprit also. Will He continue with us?

How have our churches and Christianity at large grieved the Holy Spirit? God is patient, merciful, and understanding. However, I do not expect the Holy Spirit of Truth to continue dwelling amid the lying, perverse, murderous ways of those who carry the name of Jesus. There is mercy for honest struggle. That is not the same thing as all out neglect of the Lord and abuse of the covenant bought with His blood.

He will continue with some, and these receive power from Him to speak the truth of the good news of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, among other deeds. Perhaps that is why the rain must stop at that time. The world rejected the living water, so they must do without water. It makes sense to me, though I do not feel gladness about it.

Let us not continue to grieve the Holy Spirit. When He is taken out of the way, all that remains is the Wicked One—and he will come.

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