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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

The Restrainer

Updated: Jul 30, 2020

By Amir Tsarfati

I would like to conclude this conference with this 3rd and last message before we take another set of Q & A. The message is on a topic that is really, really untouched or, in many ways, unknown to so many Christians. There is a great, great misunderstanding of the whole portion from 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 regarding the gathering of all of us to be with the Lord. I would like to tell you that all of it has to do with the fact that people always stop reading.

They don't continue to where they should. The Bible says in the 2nd epistle that Paul wrote to the Thessalonians, he said the following thing. Please follow with me, "Now brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by Spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come."

Paul is telling the people of the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki: do not panic; do not rush to unnecessary conclusions. There is an order of things to happen before Jesus comes back and gathers his people to him. Now, many people continue one more verse, then stop, and they make the wrong conclusion. Watch this.

First of all, he says, "Let no one deceive you by any means for that day will not come unless the falling away comes first." He says the falling away comes first. He says, "Look, Jesus is not going to come back to take his church before there is going to be (in the Greek) apostasia". Say that "apostasia" and from that comes the word "apostasy".

Unfortunately, some say that the word "apostasy" is rapture. How can it be? The rapture cannot happen until the rapture happens first? It doesn't even make sense grammatically. What is apostasy? Apostasy is the false and wrong teachings from within the church, not from the outside. You're going to see wrong movements, putting the wrong emphasis, on the wrong things. The automatic thing is getting away, and away, and away from the Word of God.

I am not against signs and wonders; I believe it's important. But when you forget the Word and its only signs and wonders, you're in trouble. I'm also, not against healing. But if it's only healing, and it's not teaching the Word, because, think about it, it is the Word of God that sanctifies us. Jesus says that.

So, we have to be in the Word. We have to teach the Word. We have to study the Word and that is so that we are not going to be deceived. Because deception is always there when people are ignorant. When people don't know the Word, then somebody comes and teaches them something, and, they follow him. I mean, come on, if you really are in the Word, you can never follow the "appointed son" because you know it's not biblical. Because you know the New Jerusalem is only going to come at the very end because you know that there is no restored Garden of Eden anywhere because you know that the Father still exists, the Son still exists, and the Holy Spirit still exists. They are three, and they are in one. They are three and they are not in Mr. Quiboloy. I am very sorry.

Paul was a very diligent teacher of the Word. He is one of my favorite Bible characters because he was a man who studied so much throughout his life. Now, most of what he studied he counted as rubbish later on. But he was a man that studied. When he was in darkness, he was still full of zeal, in the wrong place, but he was a zealous person.

Paul was a very deductive person. Look at what he said, "First of all, I don't want you to be hysterical. I don't want you to have unnecessary hysteria. I don't want you to think that the Day of the Lord already came. Don't let anyone write to you, or tell you, or hint to you that it happened."

In other words, he's basically telling them, “Don't think that you were left behind. Don't think that the rapture took place.”

No, there has to be certain things. First of all, there has to be a great apostasy, and the apostasy will usher the coming of the Antichrist. The apostasy has to be first. The Antichrist is not going to come to a perfect world where the Word of God is being taught in a healthy manner all over the world. He's going to come when people will be deceived from the outside and from the inside.

Therefore he says, "There will be first a falling away and then the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." People stop reading right there and say, "There you go. That's why the rapture has to come at the end of the tribulation, because the Antichrist has to be revealed first."

Wait, why don't you keep reading? Why don't you just finish reading? Because Paul says, "Wait a minute. Yes, he has to be revealed. But let me explain to you what has to happen first, before he is revealed." Then he says this, "Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I told you these things? And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed (When?) in his own time." Then he said the following thing, "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work." He says, "Look, the Antichrist is going to be revealed, future tense, in his own time. But the one thing we can conclude for sure, one thing we know for sure, is that his spirit of lawlessness, his spirit of evil, of deception, is already at work. He says that's one thing for sure."

But then he says this, "The mystery of lawlessness is already at work, only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then" (Say, "And then"; And then, say, "And then") And then the lawless one will be revealed." So, you have to keep reading; You don't conclude.

You have to study the Word. He's telling you, "Yes, there's going to be apostasy. Yes, the Antichrist is going to rise. But I want you to know that he is going to be revealed in his own time. But there is one thing that is stopping him from being revealed, and that one thing has to be taken out of the way for him to then be revealed." Wow! I just love the Word of God, because the best way to study the Word of God is to let the Word of God explain the Word of God.

The questions that we are going to ask ourselves today are: First of all, who is the Restrainer? What is He restraining? When did the Restrainer start? Why does the Restrainer restrain? How does the Restrainer restrain? And all of that.

We just read in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, let's read it again, "For the mystery of lawlessness is already." Look, I marked the times: ALREADY; He who NOW; (say that) restrains; WILL do so UNTIL he is taken out of the way; AND THEN. Do you see? He says this, "There is something that is already going on; it will continue until it will be taken out; and then the Antichrist will be revealed."

The one thing we can conclude already is that the only thing, we see with the very eyes and we feel in our spirit is, the mystery of lawlessness. What's going to be the end of that man? "...whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming." He's already talking about the 2nd coming. He's telling you: the rapture will be taking place; then the Antichrist will reveal himself; and then in the 2nd coming, Christ will destroy him.

All of that treasure is within those 2 verses. Just to put things in the right perspective, 1 John chapter 4:1-3, "Beloved, do not believe every spirit but test the spirits, whether they are of God: because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world."

This spirit of the Antichrist is already in the world. 1 John 4:4-6, "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them because (What? Say, "because He", say, "He") He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore, they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. But we are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us."

By the way, this tells you that large churches are not necessarily teaching the Word of God. This tells you that being a believer does not necessarily mean that I need to belong to a huge crowd. Because let me tell you something, folks, we will always be the minority, always. We were not even designed to be the majority. We are designed to be only, at the end, the only ones.

But until he will make all things new: new heavens, new earth, new Jerusalem where we are the only dwellers. We will always be the minority. Don't seek to be the majority because you will not be. Wide is the path to destruction; narrow is the path to salvation. Do you understand? To begin with, we are not of this world; we are citizens of the heavenlies. We are not...

If you want to be like the world, look at what's going to happen. "Because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world; therefore, they speak as of the world and the world hears them." The world will hear you when you speak to the world what the world wants to hear. The world will not hear you if you speak the truth.

Now let me teach you Greek. Look at the word in the Greek, "Ho". Say Ho. Ho is He, and in Hebrew, He is a "Hu". Hu in Hebrew is He in English. He in English is Ho in Greek. He, Ho, Hu. Ho means, "The one". Romans 8:31-32, "What then shall I say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son." How do we say in the Greek "He"? Ho. How do we say in Hebrew "He"? Hu. "He who did not spare His own Son but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He..." How do we say "He" in Greek? Ho. Ho in Greek; Hu is in Hebrew. "...shall not with Him freely give us all things?" But then in the Greek "He who", can you do the He, Hu? He, Hu; Hu, He. Let's go to the He, Hu. Can I get the He, Hu? There is a... have I lost you somewhere over there? Because there is "He", which is "Ho" but then "He who is", the "He who" is actually "Hos". I am going to show you something very interesting. Okay, I guess we lost it.

Let me take you now from Adam to Jesus and all the way to the Antichrist. There are 3 steps: step 1, step 2, and step 3. First of all, ever since sin entered the world, judgment was required. Do we understand that? Judgment was required. It is what it is. Today when you commit a crime, judgment is required. That's why we have lawyers; that's why we have the law. It's very simple.

Genesis 6:5-8, one of the most terrible portions of the Bible, "When the Lord saw..." The sin began small in the Garden of Eden: only one fruit, one bite, that's it. Before you know it, in verse 5 and 6 of chapter 6, "Then the Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually."

God is looking at mankind. He just created them 4 to 5 chapters ago. They started just with one little sin, one bite of the wrong thing. Look, before you know it, by chapter 6, everything they do all day long, continually, even just their thoughts let alone their deeds are evil, continually.

"And the Lord was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and the Lord was grieved in his heart. So, the Lord said, 'I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth, both man and beast, creeping things, and birds of the air for I am sorry that I have made them.'" Judgment had to come. But thank God that he said, "BUT NOAH found grace in the eyes of the Lord."

You see, our God is not looking for an excuse to destroy us. He's looking for an excuse to preserve and to bless, and he found one man. By the way, if you read all the story of Noah, he wasn't that great, certainly not towards the end of his life. But it was good enough for God to say, "I'm not going to wipe out all men. I'm going to start all over again. I'm going to give it another shot." But Noah, thank God, because of that we are still alive.

We're alive today because God had mercies. If God would have acted according to his own laws, we would not be in existence. People don't understand. God said to Adam and Eve, "If you eat from that fruit (What?) you will (What?) surely die." And the fact that even they were left alive was the mercies of God. Satan, by the way, and I know a lot of people think that the Restrainer is the one that restrains Satan. Satan never restrains himself, never. Satan is Satan.

From Genesis 3 all the way to Revelation 20, he is the same. 1 Peter 5:8 gives us a vivid picture of Satan, "Be sober, be vigilant because your adversary the devil (look what he says) he walks about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour." This is Satan. Satan is not resting. Satan is not looking at you, "Oh, I will wait. He looks terrible today." No! He is always on his mission to seek whom he may devour. This is Satan.

2 Thessalonians 2:9-12, "The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan." When the Antichrist will come, it's "according to the working of Satan (There is no restraining here.) with all power, and signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved." Only because they did not receive the love of the truth, only because they actively rejected the only chance for them to be saved, that's when God sends them strong delusions.

"That they should believe the lie and that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth." But not only that they did not believe in the truth. Look at this world today. Not only that they don't want to believe in God, but they take pleasure in unrighteousness. Don't tell me I cannot do this; I want to do it. This is my pleasure. Don't stand in my way. I want to do things this way and you, primitive Christian, get out of here. I will determine if I'm a male or a female, not you. I will determine what family is, not you. I will even determine if God is a female or a male, not you. I will do what brings me pleasure. That's what they do.

John 3:17, everybody loves to quote John 3:16, but John 3:17 says, "For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; however, he who does not believe in Him is condemned already." Because from day one, from Genesis 3, we are condemned. We are automatically, already, condemned unless we believe.

That's when we are no longer condemned. We can escape judgment by believing in Christ Jesus and his finished work on the cross. But if we don't, if we reject it, we are already condemned. "Because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." You see, with Satan, business is as usual.

2 Corinthians 11, he says, "But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things which they boast. For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light." He's always deceiving; he's always on the go. He is always there to look whom he can devour. Satan does not restrain himself. We are not restraining Satan. The Restrainer is not about him.

I will tell you what the Restrainer is. Genesis 18 can show you that, no doubt, Abraham is the Father of the Jewish people because the first negotiation, business negotiation, between man and God was right there. "The Lord said, 'If I find in Sodom 50 righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.' (and Abraham is lowering him) Then he said, 'Let not the Lord be angry, and I will speak but once more: Suppose 10 should be found there?'"

Do you know what? I want to tell you something, God loves that. You are not negotiating with God over bad things. You are negotiating with God over good things. You want him to spare a place. You want him not to exercise judgment because you want people to be saved.

So, you're saying, "just what if there's only 10?" And the Lord said, "I will not destroy it for even the sake of 10." God says, "You know what, Abraham? Fine, I'll restrain my judgment." Guess who is restrained here?

The judgment of God is being restrained. It's not Satan. As far as Satan is concerned, every day, all day long, I want to deceive. Every day, all day long, I want to devour. I want to kill. I want to bring them to death. God, on the other hand, restrains his judgment, more than once, by the way. Even in the story of Job, when we think that Satan is about to be restrained, all that Satan was up to was killing, destroying, stealing, and lying.

By the way, Job, who was even there before Abraham, Job himself, ladies and gentlemen, knew one thing. I am not to worry about Satan. I am not to worry about the schemes of the devil. I am not to worry about those things. If there is one thing, I need to worry about, look, "Oh, that my words were written! Oh, that they were inscribed in a book! That they were engraved on a rock with an iron pen and a lead, forever! For I know that my Redeemer lives and He shall stand at last on the earth; And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God. Be afraid of the sword for yourselves; for wrath brings the punishment of the sword that you may know there is a judgment."

That is what men should be afraid of and that's what men should know that is awaiting. This is what was restrained and is restrained as long as we are here. As long as we are here... Look, when Jesus says, "You are the salt of the earth." What do you think He meant? Do you know what salt is? Salt is that which slows down the decomposing, the decay, of the flesh.

We are the only reason that God is not already judging the world. We are the Restrainer. Do you understand? Ever since Jesus came to this world, the solution already was provided for judgment. Hebrews 9 says, "He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment, so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation."

What he says is this, "Christ already came once to bring solution for sin and deliver you from judgment. However, He will appear again, apart from sin, for the salvation of your body." Romans 8 tells us, "redemption of our body." Wow! Awaiting the judgment was replaced with awaiting His return. That's for the believers.

The Restrainer is God's presence in his people who are in this world. They are the ambassadors. They are the watchmen. They are the businessmen. The believers are the salt of the earth. "You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." They are the face of God here on earth.

John 14, "'If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; and from now on you know Him and have seen Him.' And Philip said to Him, 'Lord show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.' Jesus said to him, 'Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, 'Show us the Father?' Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me?'" You don't have to be the Father to show the people the Father.

God is not in temples made by men. God is in men made to be His temple! The Bible says in Acts 17, "God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of Heaven and Earth does not dwell in temples made with hands. Nor is He worshipped with men's hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things." And then he continued, "for in Him we live and we move and we have our being." We are...when we are in this world, we are the representatives of God on earth.

In him, we are to live and move and have our being. When they see us, they see Jesus; When they see Jesus, they see the Father. Do you understand? Our very existence here is the restraining power here in this world for judgment, not yet, to come. 1 Corinthians 6:19, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?"

2 Peter 3:8-9, "But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is a thousand years and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slack concerning His promise as some count slackness, but is long-suffering towards us". This is why we're still here. "But He's not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." He is keeping us here. He is not removing us from this world, as of yet, because he's long-suffering. He's not willing that any should perish. Because the minute we are removed, judgment comes, and people will perish.

1 Timothy 2:1-4, "Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." By the way, he desires all men, but he gave us free will, and unfortunately, most of them will not.

I say that because there is a terrible heresy around the church now of Universalism: speaking and teaching that all men are saved. No, God wants them to be saved, but he left it to them to decide. Because after all, God did not create robots. He wanted people to worship him in Spirit and in truth. Hebrews 7:24-25, "But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore, He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them."

It's not that God doesn't want men to choose God. God offered; He's interceding. He is leaving us here so people will see, and so people will come to the knowledge. The moment will come, and when we are out of here, the Bible says, "That because they rejected the love of the truth that they might be saved, God will send them strong delusion."

In other words, if you choose to reject him today, there is a great probability you'll never receive him, because you will be completely deceived. You will be deluded. You will be completely in a different mind and way of thinking. How will the Restrainer be removed? If we are the Restrainer, if the Holy Spirit in us restrains God from judging the world, how will the Restrainer be removed? 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with a voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be," what? Caught up! Say that, "caught up"! In other words, we will leave earth and we will be caught up. "We will be caught up," the Bible says, "together with those dead in Christ in the clouds to meet the Lord." Where? You see, we are no longer going to stay here.

The removal of the Restrainer is going to be physical. It is physical removal. We will be taken. "We will be caught up together with those who are dead in Christ, and we will meet the Lord in the air. And thus, we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." You cannot comfort one another with the words of, "Let's stay here". You should comfort one another with, "We're soon out of here!" That's what we need to comfort one another with.

Why will the Restrainer be removed? Because judgment time is coming. Tribulations, trials, and testing will usher in the judgment. Remember, the tribulation will come upon the world, but the tribulation is also for Israel's salvation. Remember, God is not done with Israel. God says in his Word, in Hosea "I will return again to My place until they acknowledge their offense. Then they will seek My face; and in their affliction they will earnestly seek Me."

When will the Restrainer be removed? The Bible just said, "just before the Antichrist is revealed." Do you understand? If the spirit of the Antichrist is already here; and if the world is already moving; The fig tree is already, ready. The generation that shall not pass away is alive already.

Europe is ready to give birth to that leader to lead them out of chaos. Did you know that there is so much despair, so much chaos right now in Western Europe? Did you know that they're looking for a deliverer? Every time someone new is showing up, all the newspapers are asking, "Is he Europe's deliverer?" Even Macron, when he became President of France, Time Magazine had him walking on water, and the question was, "Is this Europe's Savior?"

All that we see today, the whole crisis of immigration is just to expediate the longing of the people. Later on, they will come to that point where they will receive him. Because that is going to be the only way for them to see the light at the end of the tunnel. He is going to come. He is around the corner. The world is ready; We know that. They push for globalism.

The new trick, which, by the way, even the Pope is taking a very big part in, is now global warming. Its climate changing. They say that climate change is now the biggest thing. The Pope, by the way, said that for the sake of climate change, a global government is required.

Ladies and gentlemen, they have tried everything and the last push is now underway. The world is ready: Europe is ready; Israel is back in the land. The Word has been preached all over the world. The spirit of the Antichrist; Apostasy is all over. The lawlessness is everywhere. Everything is ready.

The question is: Are you ready? It's not for nothing that Jesus gave them this parable of the ten virgins. Because there were ten, they were all virgins, they were all dressed in white, they were all holding a lampstand, and they were all waiting. Yet only five were ready with oil in their lamps.

Do you have oil in your lamp? Do you have the Holy Spirit? Are you born again? Are you Spirit-filled? Do you know that your Redeemer lives? Do you know that judgment is around the corner? Do you know that you're exempt from judgment because you believe in the One, "and he who believes in Him is not condemned? But he who does not believe in Him, already is condemned."

I want you to remember, we are the Restrainer with the presence of the Holy Spirit in us. We are the light of the world. We are the salt of the earth. We are the ambassadors of Christ. We are the businessmen. We are the watchmen. We are the restraining power that stops God from judging the world. And once we are taken out of here, judgment is going to come.


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