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one of the end-time characteristics of the Acts period which we have before sought to
show. It certainly did not fulfil II Thess. 2: 4. In his great discourse on the mount of
Olives as recorded in Matt. 24:, one of the events described by the Lord Jesus as a
forerunner to His Second Advent, is the `abomination of desolation' (Matt. 24: 15).
This marks the beginning of the great time of persecution, known as the Great
Tribulation, and the faithful Jewish remnant are warned to escape to the mountains as
quickly as possible.
Certain it is that the Satan inspired world dictator of the end of this age will seek
Divine honours and will receive them from the majority of the world's inhabitants
(Rev. 13: 3, 4, 8), the book of the Revelation making it clear that it is Satan who finally
receives this worship which he has been scheming for since his fall.
2: 6 - 12.
pp. 175 - 179
We now approach a section of the second chapter of II Thessalonian which bristles
with difficulties in interpretation. We give it in the R.V. (2: 6-9):
"And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his
own season. For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that
restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall be revealed the lawless
one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breadth of his mouth, and bring to nought
by the manifestation of His Coming; even he, whose coming is according to the working
of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders."
It is obvious from this passage that someone or something is restraining or keeping in
check the revelation of the man of sin. There have been varying explanations of this,
The Roman Empire,
The Holy Spirit,
The Jewish State.
Regarding (1) there is an element of truth in it. Early in the Apostle's experience, the
imperial power had protected him rather than hindered his message. As we have seen, it
was his own nation, Israel that continually opposed and persecuted him. On more than
one occasion, Paul had reason to be grateful to the Roman authorities who restrained the
forces which opposed the truth as proclaimed by him. But very soon Rome was to
produce that monster Nero, who many of the early Christians identified with the Beast.
Nero came on the scene before the Apostle Paul finished his witness, exhibiting the very
traits of the godless dictator of the end-time, and so Rome could hardly be the fulfillment
of this passage which deals with the restraining of the man of lawlessness and his fearful
deeds. In any case the Roman Empire has long since passed away and the lawless one
has not been revealed.