The Antichrist – His Persona (v4)
We see his His Pride, “exalteth Himself,” and His Presumption, “sitteth in the temple”(naos) “the inner shrine.”
“Who opposeth” – He is “The adversary.” This again ties the man of sin to the devil, who is God’s adversary or opponent.
“And exalteth himself above all that is called God.” How like Satan who is presented to us in Isaiah 14: “I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will be like the most High.” Again, in Ezekiel 28, we read “Thine heart is lifted up and thou hast said, I am a god, I sit in the seat of God.”
His pride sets him “above” or “against” all that claims to be God or receives worship from men. His resemblance to Satan is uncanny. In the wilderness temptation, Satan wanted Christ to worship him but was forcibly reminded, “Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God” (Matt 4:10). Now, his henchman wants to be worshiped, and he usurps the position of God Who dwells between the cherubim above the mercy seat in the temple.
The man of sin’s behavior is described by Daniel: “And he shall exalt himself, and magnify [imagine] himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished … Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all” (Dan 11:36, 37). Daniel 9:27 and Matthew 24:15 remind us of the abomination of desolation that defiles the temple. The worship of the beast is enforced from the mid-point of Daniel’s seventieth week, half way through the Tribulation. All, on pain of death, must worship the antichrist or his image for the remaining 42 months. The passage clearly identifies Paul’s man of sin and John’s antichrist as one and the same person.
This verse also reinforces the belief in a rebuilt temple at Jerusalem that will be in use, or subject to abuse, during the seven year period of the Tribulation. “Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein. But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles ; and the holy city shall they tread under foot forty and two months” (Rev 11:1, 2).
The Admonition – Paul (v5)
“Don’t you remember my stay?” Paul’s presence with them. “Don’t you recall what I say?” Paul’s preaching to them
The Day Of The Lord And The Christian’s Explanation (2Thes 2:6 -12).
The Principles of Restraint and Revelation (v6)
Notice the Appointed Tool: “And now ye know what withholdeth,” is neuter gender, implying something. In the next verse, the something has become a Someone! There is both a power and a Person responsible for restraining the revelation of the man of sin in our present time.
Several views have been put forward, including a revived Roman Empire and its emperor, the Jewish state and its leader, human government imposing law and order, the Holy Spirit, God Himself, and the Holy Spirit in conjunction with Church-age believers.
What or who will be able to restrain the man of sin who has all the power and authority of Satan supporting him? Even Michael the Archangel, when in dispute with the devil regarding Moses’ body, was not able to accuse the devil but said, “The Lord rebuke thee” (Zech 3:2). It would be a reasonable conclusion that God has to be involved in restraining the revelation of Satan’s power. The member of the Godhead officially linked with earth at present is the Holy Spirit. He was sent into this world following the ascension of Christ and will be leaving officially when He presents the Church to her heavenly Bridegroom.
So we conclude that God in the Person of the Holy Spirit is the Someone. The something would appear to follow quite naturally, and would seem to us to be the believers of the Church era who are alive on earth at this pivotal time.
The Holy Spirit is linked with the restraint of evil as early as Noah’s day (Gen 6.3). The believer as a means of holding back judgment can be illustrated from Noah and Lot. Until Noah was safe in the Ark and Lot was safely out of Sodom, God withheld judgment. The church is the salt of the earth (Matt 5:13), a preservative and preventative against decay and corruption in this world.
The church as a restrainer may be illustrated, not only scripturally, but historically. The French Revolution led to the attempted destruction of all things that reminded the peasantry of God. Great Britain was ripe for revolution, like tinder, and a spark would have been enough to cause the revolution to jump the Channel. The historian, Lecky, attributes the Methodist revival with the prevention of the French revolution taking hold in Britain. The Wesleys, the itinerant preacher and his hymn-writing brother, with other Spirit-empowered believers were used under God’s hand to stem the flow of discontent and anarchy.
God’s Holy Spirit in the believers will constitute the Someone and something that will control the timing of the public revelation of Satan’s henchman.
Notice the Appointed Time: “that he might be revealed in his time.” Literally, “That he, the man of sin, might be revealed (apocalypse) in his own appointed time.”
Our God is sovereign. He not only selects and empowers the Church in its “holding back” role, but has also set the boundaries on the man of sin’s introduction to the stage of this world’s history. It is not determined by Satan, nor by the man of sin himself, but by God.
Just as antichrist has imitated Christ’s parousia, now he apes Christ’s apocalypse or public revelation. The appointed season will be broadly parallel to the seven years of the Tribulation.