At this point in my writings, it’s time to discuss some end-times biblical characters including the Holy Spirit to whom we can look in these last days for light and truth in anticipation of Christ’s glorious return. These figures also provide a counterbalance and restraint to the growing darkness and deception that will usher in the Anti-Christ’s rule here on earth for a short time prior to the return of Christ and the establishment of his eternal heavenly Kingdom.
Now that more and more believers are becoming convinced that we are indeed living in the last days, we are witnessing increased chatter and reference to key end-times players who will come onto the scene. Of course, believers are rightly anticipating Jesus Christ’s return. At the same time, many are also attempting to guess as to what figure will burst onto the international scene as the Anti-Christ to rule in the interim.
Surprisingly, however, there is very little talk about some other key biblical figures mentioned in scripture who must necessarily be present prior to the revealing of the Anti-Christ, and prior to Christ’s return. While there is some indication that this individual(s) may actually be kept hidden in the last days, they should still be addressed given the highly significant and important work that God does through them.
In this passage, I will discuss two of the most well-known end-times figures presented in the New Testament, who could possibly even be the same individual/spirit: 1) The Comforter, and; 2) The Restrainer.
1) The Comforter– First, the Comforter is the Holy Spirit, according to Jesus (John 14:26). Jesus also refers to this figure a few times as the Spirit of truth (John 15:26). The Comforter is obviously an extremely important end-times figure because he will be sent directly by Jesus himself (and the Father) (John 15:26). Equally important is the work that Jesus and God the Father will do through the Comforter in these end times. The following will be accomplished by his Holy Spirit who will:
- Testify of and glorify Jesus Christ as the one and only true God (John 15:26, 16:14)
- Serve as a teacher and reminder of the words of Jesus Christ (John 14:26)
- Demonstrate the sin of the world (and unbelief in Christ) in contrast with true righteousness (John 16:8)
- Bring judgement on evil and the evil prince of the world (John 16:11)
- Take from what is of Jesus (and the Father) and make it known (John 16:14-15)
- Dwell in (believers) (John 14:17)
- Abide with believers forever (John 14:16)
There are some who believe that the Comforter will manifest as an actual individual- in person, just as Jesus did. (After all, in John 14:16, Jesus did say, “I will send you another Comforter,” possibly implying one who lives in the natural just like Jesus did). Certainly, some of the duties described above are ones that might be accomplished by a person in the flesh, even if he is to be kept behind the scenes or hidden. If the Comforter does manifest as a person in the last days, it is logical to believe that he would be established on earth given the context in which he is described by Jesus in the book of John.
2) The Restrainer– In 2nd Thessalonians (Ch. 2) it is clear that, prior to the Anti-Christ being revealed, there will be one who “lets,” “holds back,” or restrains. And scripture in this chapter states that he or the one who “lets”- i.e the Restrainer, must first be “taken out of the way,” and then the man of lawlessness/sin can be introduced.
Once again, just like the Comforter discussed above, the Restrainer is commonly seen as the Holy Spirit. And this appears to fit accurately since Paul mentions that he who now lets will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way, thereby implying the same spirit existing in Paul’s time continues through the end times until being taken. And so here nearly all bible prophecy experts describe the Christ-believing church as representing the Holy Spirit or Restrainer, and that it is the Church that will be raptured and removed (from earth) before the unveiling of the Anti-Christ. This means simply that the same Church and Holy Spirit set up here on earth at Pentacost would be removed prior to the Anti-Christ being revealed. Here, I pose the following questions:
- But if the Restrainer is the Church/Holy Spirit, then is it the Church that accomplishes the work of the Holy Spirit/Comforter (in #1) above? It could be in a loose sense, but it doesn’t quite seem to fit, especially considering the level of apostasy that we see in the church today.
- And if the Holy Spirit/Restrainer is indeed the same Holy Spirit as the Comforter (in #1 above), can the Comforter accomplish all of those things listed above if he is removed from the earth, and removed “prior” to the unveiling of the Anti-Christ?
I would just interject the possibility, again, of (A) the Holy Spirit existing in the last days as a physical person. In the case of the Restrainer, scripture does refer to “he” or “the one.” And the Restrainer could (emphasis on “could”) possibly be a person who is one-in-the-same with the Comforter described (in #1) above.
I would also add (B) that in my scan of the meaning for the Restrainer being “taken out of the way” in the context as used (2 Thess 2:7), I found a meaning that is similar to one who is “taken out of or from the midst.” As a very simple hypothetical example, I took this as the same meaning such as one who gets taken out of a waiting area to go into an appointment in another area/room. In other words, this meaning for “taken out of the way” here appears to be different from the meaning of being “caught up” (meaning a forceful and violent snatching in a Greek translation) when the apostle Paul talks about believers being raptured and meeting Jesus when he comes in the clouds accompanied by a trumpet blast in the scenario described in 1 Thessalonians 4.
- So, my rhetorical question back to the bible prophecy experts and you interested readers is whether taking the Restrainer out of the way (in 2 Thess 2:7) is actually a different event than the “catching up” of believers in 1 Thessalonians 4?
I tend to believe so.
In conclusion, it seems an understatement that both the Comforter and Restrainer are highly important end-times figures. Especially, given that both could represent the same Holy Spirit, and that either or both could be an actual person living among us in these last days.
With the important scripture that we are given in God’s Word about these end-times figures, who precede or coexist during Christ’s return, it is shocking how little they are discussed, especially among those who claim bible prophecy expertise.
I mentioned in my last passage how Zechariah prophesied that many or even all prophets in the last days will be ashamed. I believe topics such as discussed in the current passage, as well as in my next passage on an end-times ‘Jacob’ figure, along with more to come, are representative examples of content that, for some reason, bible and prophecy teachers do not want to touch or consider. My own opinion is that there is a glaring omission and gaping hole in prophecy discussion that cannot be chalked up purely to mistaken oversight. If someone like myself who is not a formally trained theologian or bible prophecy expert can understand the importance of these topics, then surely those who have spent a career in this area should be able to at least openly discuss and provide analysis for these issues-especially in the current times in which we live.
Grace and Peace,
Lion’s Lair (LL)