On Divine Restraints and the Revelation of Antichrist


I want to talk to you about “divine restraints.”

To restrain means “to hold back from action; keep in check or under control; repress; to limit or hamper the activity, growth, or effect of” according to dictionary.com.

And there are numerous times where divine restraints came into play in the Bible.


There was a divine restraint that brought the Great Flood to an end so that Noah, his family and all the animals on the Ark could step out on dry land. (Genesis 8:2)


There was a divine restraint at the tower of Babel where the people had decided to build a skyscraper to Heaven and God came down and stopped it. (Genesis 11:6-8)


There was a divine restraint put on Sarai (Sarah), Abram’s (Abraham’s) wife so that she couldn’t bear a child until the timing of God was right for Isaac to be born. (Genesis 16:2)


There was divine restraint that overtook the Assyrian King Sennacherib who was to destroy Israel, but God declared, “I will put My hook in your nose, and My bridle in your lips, and I will turn you back by the way which you came.” (2 Kings 19:20-21, 28)


Probably the most popular (well known) divine restraint is written about by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament.

In 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 Paul mentions a man (Antichrist) that will appear at the end of the world and directly prior to the return of Jesus Christ to the earth.

This man will be so full of himself (arrogant) that he will ultimately take his place in the very temple of God while demanding to be worshiped as God. (2 Thessalonians 2:4)

But there’s a divine restraint (Paul tells us) holding him back from taking center stage.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-8a reads…

And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed.

Now there are those who believe that the divine restraint (“restraining force”) keeping Antichrist (2 Thessalonians 2:3; Revelation 13:1-8) from being revealed is the Holy Spirit.

And a large part of the Holy Spirit as the “restraining force” is believed to be the Church. (Matthew 5:13a, 5:14a)

When she is “taken out of the way” through Rapture, that’s when the Tribulation starts and Antichrist appears.


But what if the Church is not caught up (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) prior to the Tribulation as some believe?

What if she leaves prior to the pouring out of the wrath of God instead? (Revelation 16:1-8)

Won’t that mean that the divine restraint is just God alone (as we saw by the Old Testament examples) and that Antichrist is revealed while the Church is still on earth?

Is he here and operating already?

(Tower of Babel picture file in the public domain: click here.)

You might also be interested in:

About Pastor Mike

Pastor Mike is making the most of web technologies to encourage disciples. A self-proclaimed “twitterholic,” one twitter follower describes him as the “jogging, blogging, tweeting Pastor.” Visits to Pastor Mike’s blog (A Heart For God) number in the hundreds of thousands. His video blogs have been viewed over a half a million times.