QUESTION: Who is “the one who is acting as a restraint?” –and why does God “let” anyone be fooled by a lie? God of love, really?
The question is based upon Paul’s prophecy regarding the presence of a man of lawlessness, wherein the apostle revealed: “And now you know what is acting as a restraint, so that he will be revealed in his own due time. True, the mystery of this lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who is right now acting as a restraint is out of the way. Then, indeed, the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will do away with by the spirit of his mouth and bring to nothing by the manifestation of his presence.” —2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
According to Paul the influence of the man of lawlessness was at work in the first century —if only in a figurative way. As the context shows, Paul —and we can assume the other apostles too —was acting as a restraint against the operation of Satan by warning the brothers not to be taken in by authoritative proclamations declaring the presence has begun and the day of Jehovah is here.
Paul also exposed the presence of the disguised ministers of righteousness, the superfine apostles, who were presiding over the unsuspecting Corinthian congregation. Obviously, as regards those who would issue seemingly inspired messages and write letters passed off as coming from the apostles, like the superfine apostles, they would also have to be respected members of the various congregations in order to have any credibility. They could not be outsiders. And that is why Paul referred to the man of lawlessness as the son of destruction —a designation Jesus gave to Judas, who, of course, was one of the original 12 apostles –an ultimate insider.
But there is no evidence in the biblical record that false Christians in the first century were declaring that the presence had begun. There were, however, two apostates, namely, Hymenaeus and Philetus, who were claiming that the resurrection had begun.
But Paul indicated that the man of lawlessness will be on hand when the actual presence of Christ begins and it is Christ himself who will expose and destroy the son of destruction. So, it is evident that the false parousia is put into operation immediately prior to the actual coming of Christ. And that is what we have in the Watchtower.
What day is drawing near? Not the general “day of Jehovah,” for it is here, having begun in 1914. Rather, it is the special day of Jehovah for his vindication…
As I have pointed out numerous times, at no time in its existence has the Watchtower ever pointed forward to the coming of Christ and the parousia as a future event. For over half a century the WT hailed 1874 as the beginning of the glorious parousia; that is, up until around 1930 when it unceremoniously flipped it to 1914. And not only that, Bethel taught that the day of Jehovah began in 1914 too, up until around 1970, when that notion was discreetly trashed. But that is the calling card of the man of lawlessness —the false declaration that the presence and day of Jehovah are here. Not coincidently, the Watchtower also proclaims that the resurrection has begun —just like Hymenaeus and Philetus.
Since Paul and his fellow apostles are no longer able to act as a restraint, who is? It must be the ones who will ultimately be distinguished as the faithful and discreet slave. After all, faithful anointed persons living now have the same spirit as did Paul and the apostles.
How will those acting as a restraint be taken out of the way?
For may years there has been a process at work to reduce the influence of anointed men within the Watchtower. Back in the early 90’s all of the business operations of the Society were turned over to a board of directors —none of whom were on the Governing Body or even had to be anointed. And gradually the number of Governing Body members has been steadily reduced through attrition and non-anointed “helpers” have taken on more and more responsibility, which is reflected in the watered-down milk the Watchtower has been serving lately. From all appearances the Watchtower is now run by lawyers and accountants. It is basically a publishing corporation.
With the weakening influence of stalwart men there has been an increasing of lawlessness, which, obviously originates with a man of lawlessness —the evil slave. With the tumult associated with the coming of Christ we may expect the genuine sons to be pushed out completely and the apostasy to come to full bloom. As Jesus said of the faithful, you will be beaten and thrown from the synagogues; at which point the evil one will come to the fore —sitting down in the figurative temple of God proclaiming himself to be a god. He will stand in total opposition to Christ —being the antiChrist who is coming.
Why does God allow Satan to wield a deluding influence and foment apostasy? To serve as a test. God requires us to exercise faith. It is easy to follow the leader —a human leader that is, which, basically is what Jehovah’s Witnesses do. They follow the Watchtower. But when events unfold that will unequivocally prove the Watchtower has misled Jehovah’s Witnesses on the crucial matter of the return of Christ and the establishment of the Kingdom, they will be faced with a choice —either stick with the antiChrist or walk on in faith into the new reality that will present itself then. Each one’s choice will determine their eternal destiny.