When the Restrainer Is Gone
4 After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.
2 And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne.
3 And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald.
4 And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold.
The Devil is under great restraint until the Rapture. But remember, he is restrained only for the Blood-washed saints. He has an unlimited right to attack, accuse, or take captive those whose lives are opened t him because of their wicked ways. If you are rebellious, disobedient, attacking good anointed people, the devil is free to attack you. I fear for my enemies, and the list is quite long, because Satan is free to destroy them. Spirit of uncleanness, sodomy, fornication, etc is taking multitudes captive.
The Bible speaks of evil spirits that take people captive at their will. This is serious. “In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” (II Timothy 2: 25-26) The liberty that the evil spirits have in dealing with unprotected souls is awesome. This kind of evil is mushrooming and will only get worse as we approach the Rapture.
The most heart rending idea to grip me recently has been a fresh revelation of this world completely without God. Can you imagine our present society suddenly free of all moral restraints? Everything that now represents purity and the high and holy things will be absolutely removed and non-existing, allowing unfettered evil to completely baptize the world. It will be a dark and filthy place. Satan will realize his long dream of world control and will turn this globe into hell on earth.
Before that can occur, God’s restraining powers must be removed. For the entire period of man’s earthly existence the Holy Spirit of God has been the “Restrainer.” For some unknown reason, the church has never developed the truth of this area of Holy Ghost activity or at least I have not seen it.
From the very dawn of creation as God the Father acted to call forth order and creative beauty, the Holy Ghost has been the agent of restraint. The nothingness out of which God created the worlds and all matter or creatures was a chasm of emptiness. Why that was true the Bible does not explain. The first act we see of the Holy Spirit was at this moment. “And the world was without form, and void and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the ‘Spirit of God’ moved upon the face of the waters, and God said, Let there be light and there was light.” (Genesis 1:2,3).
Out of nothing but a void and formless chasm, the Father called forth light and order while the Holy Spirit pushed back the darkness. The second person of the Triune Godhead was also actively present as the eternal Word of God and light of all creation. You see the Son of God in these words, “And God said,” and in the glory of light that followed His speech. It was a display of God’s entire personhood and reveals that our God is beyond all human explanation. The Holy Spirit’s unique place in the Godhead is as the Father’s and the Son’s right arm of power and authority. All hell is held at bay by the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Spirit Came Upon Men/First Testament
Many times you read in the First Testament where the Holy Ghost came upon men to give them powers above the human. “And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.” (Exodus 28:3). “And Balaam lifted up his eyes, and he saw Israel abiding in his tents according to their tribes; and the spirit of God came upon him.” (Numbers 24:2). “And the spirit of the LORD came upon him, and he judged Israel, and went out to war: and the LORD delivered Chushanrishathaim king of Mesopotamia into his hand; and his hand prevailed against Chushanrishathaim.” (Judges 3:10). “And the Spirit of God came upon Azariah the son of Oded.” (2 Chronicles 15:1). These men or women were then enabled to perform incredible things for God. No power was able to resist them. They could not be stopped until God was through with them.
It was said to King Saul that “…the spirit of the LORD will come upon thee, and thou shalt prophesy with them, and shalt be turned into another man.” (I Samuel 10:6). Literally, the Holy Spirit of God turned Saul into another man giving him abilities and powers for the calling of King of Israel that he did not have in himself. As long as this anointing was on King Saul he was invincible to the dark nations of evil that dwelt about Israel.
The Holy Ghost Is The Standard Bearer
Isaiah spoke of the “Restraining” action of the Holy Ghost with this marvelous statement: “When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19). The theology of this Biblical truth in incredible. The word “standard” means a force or power superior to the enemy. It suggests to “chase away,” “put to flight,” or to “vanish.” The believer or the church that dares to depend wholly on the Holy Spirit is destined to be a great power for God. The Holy Spirit alone is God’s restraining power to “vanish” all our enemies and we certainly need no other.
The Holy Ghost And Pentecost
On the Day of Pentecost something happened in God’s economy to forever change His witnesses in the world. The epicenter of the Holy Spirit’s activity had always been the throne of God or the Heavenly Sanctuary. While the Spirit is absolutely omnipresent (There is nowhere where He is not.), the center of His presence and power was not within the First Testament church. He came upon men or women for special anointings and responsibilities. This illustration is probably crude and somewhat inadequate but let’s say it’s like being near a fire or being at a distance from a fire. You feel the heat in both cases, but there is an extreme difference. The First Testament church lived at a distance from the fire, but were certainly dependent upon its power and warmth. King David expressed that when he said, “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.” (Psalm 51:11).
On the Day of Pentecost the Holy Ghost moved His center of authority. Jesus had said, “It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” (John 16:7-14).
37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
Jesus had much to say about Himself and the Father sending back to the church or “His Earthly Body” the person of the Holy Spirit. This was a major truth that Jesus taught His disciples. He was emphatic in telling them not to leave Jerusalem until they had received this empowerment from Him. “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” (Luke 24:49).
The church without the power of the Holy Spirit becomes a joke. It is absolutely impossible to effect men spiritually and eternally if there is no anointing of the Spirit. Jesus said, “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8).
In the previous quote of Jesus about the purpose of the Holy Spirit Baptism, He said, “When He is come, He shall reprove the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.” The Holy Spirit alone can touch the spirit of man from which all spiritual life must flow. A person can be religious, dedicated to the church life and even moral and still have none of the true reality of Jesus Christ. Most of today’s church fits this category. The only way this can be different is when the “Restrainer” is allowed to do His work in Christ’s earthly body, the church. There is no power to push back the darkness until the Spirit of Holiness, Spirit of Truth, or Spirit of Grace acts upon the human spirit. Until this takes place, you may have the preaching of truth, but it will be a “dead letter”, not a “living epistle.”
The Holy Spirit Reveals Jesus Christ
The Son of God cannot be known by flesh. Flesh cannot understand Jesus Christ nor have communion with Him. The heart of man is desperately wicked. His heart is alienated from God and all spiritual reality until acted upon by the “Restrainer” of darkness. Paul said, “But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? Even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:10-12).
When The Restrainer Is Removed With The Bride
The picture is breathtaking. God the Father at the request of the Son sent the Holy Spirit to the church to choose a Bride for the Son. For 2,000 years He has wooed, convicted, and converted millions to this Brideship. Now the time has come to present that Bride to the Master’s Son. All Hell has marshalled its forces against the Bride, but the “Restrainer” has reserved Her from defilement. She is holy and undefiled, without spot or blemish and ready for Her crowning day. The Holy Ghost at the Word of the Father and the sound of the trumpet unleashes the most incredible power known to mankind. Resurrection life invades the graves of the dead in Christ and changes every living member of the Sanctified Bride.
“In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.” (I Corinthians 15:52-54).
All the Father needs to do when the Rapture occurs is to call His Spirit to the throne. The Holy Spirit cannot move His epicenter to the heavenly sanctuary without the Bride being removed with Him. There will be no search and find effort necessary for the Holy Spirit is the life of those ready for this day of victory and triumph. The Holy Spirit cannot leave without the Bride nor can the Bride leave without the Holy Spirit. “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” (Romans 8:11).
“Now, He That Letteth Will Let”
The mystery of iniquity or the spirit of Antichrist has been at work during the duration of the church, but always limited and held at bay. This evil design has been on a leash until the Bride was secure and safe. Apostle Paul explains these facts clearly. “And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6).
There can be no doubt but that Satan and all the powers of Hell are already at work. There is a growing spirit of wickedness, even a diabolical surge of an Antichrist spirit. Christianity is hated with a vengeance by an ever enlarging group of people. Satan is enlarging his kingdom and vying for the worship of the world. His present tactics are marvelously successful as men have become more humanistic and less discerning of the true realities of the spiritual world.
Even with this surge of evil and evil expressions there is still a clear sense that something or someone is holding back these wicked powers. The Bible calls Satan the “god of this world.” So, why does he not completely overrun all righteousness? He cannot, because the restrainer is greater in power and might and must be removed before this idiot god can at least try to fulfill his ugly will.
The word “letteth” as used in II Thessalonians, chapter 2 means “to hold fast in a spiritual sense or to detain or restrain.” It means to hold possession of so that another power or person cannot seige. The inspiration of these words to Apostle Paul was perfect in describing the activities of the Holy Spirit. Soon this Restrainer will be gone.
28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.
29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
The Holy Spirit Around The Throne
In the First Testament the Holy Spirit is seen as God’s anointing imparted to individuals for specific ministries. When we moved to the Second Testament period, the Lord Jesus was given the Spirit without measure for his messianic and redemptive role. The Church of Jesus Christ was then baptized with the Holy Ghost as He descended to dwell in the Body of Christ. In Revelation, beginning with chapter four, John saw the future events that were clearly described as after the church period. In this version we see the Holy Spirit around the Throne of God in the Heavenlies.
John describes this scene, “And immediately I was in the spirit; and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald. And round about the throne were four and twenty seats: and upon the seats I saw four and twenty elders sitting, clothed in white raiment; and they had on their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.” (Revelation 4:2-6).
It is clear that this picture is of events to occur immediately after the rapture and before the Marriage Supper of the Bride and the Bridegroom. The Bride has just arrived around the throne. The Heavenly participants are preparing for the actions of judgment against the wickedness of the enemies of God and for the cleansing of all evil that has defiled the Father’s creation. Before judgment can occur, there must be worship, praise, and judicial preparation. The Judge of eternal holiness does not act until all His kingdom has celebrated.
God, the Father is on His throne. The sanctified bride of the First and Second Testament church (24 elders) are gathered from the grave and the world and are present around the throne in resurrection glory. This glorious company is clothed in white raiment (righteousness) and have on their heads crowns of gold. This is not a mixed multitude of “sinning saints,” but a company of overcomers who have followed Jesus by way of the cross.
The angelic host are present, represented as four living creatures (beasts). There are apparently four orders of angels: archangels, cherubims, seraphims, and servant angels, and they are all present for this celebration.
Most importantly to this article is now seen the very essence of the awesome person of the omnipresent Spirit. His restraining powers and indescribable greatness is here seen as “seven lamps of fire burning before the Throne which are the seven Spirits of God.” (Revelation 14:5b). Nowhere in the Bible but Revelation is the Holy Ghost pictured in this fashion. His ministry has always been to give all glory to God (First Testament) and the Lord Jesus Christ (Second Testament). With His greatest work of all eternity accomplished, He is now described in the glory of His divine person. He is truly one with the Father and with the Son.
The complete number of seven is used because it pictures the Spirit in His perfect work. There is no weakness or limitation. He is God the Holy Spirit and the breadth and length of His powers are revealed as seven lamps of fire. This not only suggests his omnipresence, but His omnipotence and omniscience. He is truly one with Almighty God. With His restraining powers now removed from the earth, Satan has a clear field to do His darkest deeds.
A World Without Restraint
When we speak of this world being without God we are not suggesting that God has forsaken it, but rather given it over for a very brief period for the final acts of evil and then His judgment. The Revelator John stated it clearly, “Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. “Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! For the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.” (Revelation 12:12). Satan will have his last effort to show himself to humankind. It will be his last hooray. He will make the most of it.
The Book of Revelation reveals a little bit of the diabolical events that will follow. I do not believe it is possible to realize the extent of this horrible hour. The bowels of hell will be opened upon the earth. Dark demon spirits will ascend from the bottomless pit after fettering in their wickedness for centuries or millenniums.
“And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit. And there came out of the smoke locusts upon the earth: and unto them was given power, as the scorpions of the earth have power. And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, neither any green thing, neither any tree; but only those men which have not the seal of God in their foreheads. And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man. And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them. And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men. And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle. And they had tails like unto scorpions, and there were stings in their tails: and their power was to hurt men five months. And they had a king over them, which is the angel of the bottomless pit, whose name in the Hebrew tongue is Abaddon, but in the Greek tongue hath his name Apollyon. One woe is past; and, behold, there come two woes more hereafter.” (Revelation 9:1-12).
What a picture! The bottomless pit is the darkest regions of Hell. It suggests that these demon spirits and/or condemned men have been judged and reserved in the deepest regions of judgment. They represent Hell’s vilest inhabitants. Their fallen natures are corrupt to the worst degree.
This horde of wild creatures (beast in nature) will be turned loose on mankind. They cannot kill and the men and women tormented cannot die. Though men seek death, it will be out of their reach. These creatures are called locusts, but appear as horses prepared to battle. Notice that their hair is as the hair of women and their teeth as that of lions. Their king is called Agaddon in Hebrew, but Apollyn in Greek. He is clearly a unique angel of Lucifer and probably notorious in his evil nature. The second woe is even darker as the fury of hell gets stronger.
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.
8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:
9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you.
“And the sixth angel sounded, and I heard a voice from the four horns of the golden altar which is before God, Saying to the sixth angel which had the trumpet, Loose the four angels which are bound in the great river Euphrates. And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men. And the number of the army of the horsemen were two hundred thousand thousand: and I heard the number of them. And thus I saw the horses in the vision, and them that sat on them, having breastplates of fire, and of jacinth, and brimstone: and the heads of the horses were as the heads of lions; and out of their mouths issued fire and smoke and brimstone. By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths. For their power is in their mouth, and in their tails: for their tails were like unto serpents, and had heads, and with them they do hurt. And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: Neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts.” (Revelation 9:13-21).
Please note that these 200,000,000 spirits descend out of the regions of Babylon and the Euphrates River. Their geographic location is where Nimrod built his tower of Babel and all pagan and evil religions had their beginnings. Satan turned Babylon into his unholy city just as the Father chose Jerusalem for the Holy City. These cities are the antithesis of each other. Jerusalem is protected and kept by an innumerable host of angels. Babylon is the dwelling place of the greatest and best of Satan’s wicked spirits.
Now, they are unrestrained and turned loose on mankind. They are led by four generals from hell who have been restrained for centuries, maybe millenniums. Their anger is indescribable. They ultimately kill one-third of mankind. That’s close to two billion souls (2,000,000,000). Their evil abilities are terrible. These awesome creatures have breastplates of fire, jacinth and brimstone (creatures of fire) and heads like horses and they were also as lions. Out of their mouth issues fire, smoke and brimstone.
The earth inhabitants by this time have become so evil that even this display of hell’s destruction does not turn them back to the true God. They are shown to be so committed to the worship of Satan that nothing will change their mind. “And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.” (Revelation 16:20-21).
Evil continues to grow and spread during the entire seven years of Tribulation. Men become so animated in their wickedness that restraint is impossible. Remember, there is now no power to hold back wickedness. Even the conscience of men inspired by the Holy Spirit has been released of all sense of right or wrong. The world is void of the spiritual values that Biblical faith had previously created. The Holy Spirit did not describe the third woe, but simply said, “The second woe is past; and, behold, the third woe cometh quickly.” (Revelation 11:14).
One can only imagine the extent of this final expression of evil. Satan will finally be seen in all his naked and evil nature.
The Unholy Trinity
Nothing reveals the design of Satan more than his unholy trinity that develops in Revelation twelve and thirteen. After he is cast to the earth and begins his rampage, he then reveals his unholy messiah and false religion leader. They are clearly his version of the triune godhead.
He is determined to sit as God and rule the universe. His false messiah arrives as a beast out of the Great Sea (The Middle East) and immediately receives his power and authority from the dragon. A death and resurrection of this beast is simulated to represent Satan’s version of a messianic sacrifice. (Revelation 13:3-4). The world literally receives this beastly character as the true Messianic promise and celebrate the coming of their Savior.
To aid in the final deception of all mankind there appears a second beast who is religious in nature and completes the unholy trinity. He has two horns like a lamb, but speaks as a dragon (Revelation 13:11-12). This is a picture of pious authority. The main purpose of this beast is to lead the world in worshipping the first beast (exactly as the Holy Spirit now leads us to worship Jesus Christ).
This unholy trinity is given to deception. “And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live. And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed. And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads: And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name. Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.” (Revelation 13:14-18).
The Restrainer Will Soon Be Gone
The most important conclusion of this article is to beg of you to prepare for this hour. The Holy Spirit is God restraining evil and wickedness. When He is removed to the throne our world will become a wilderness. You do not want to be here.
Your greatest need is to give your all to Jesus Christ. Confess every sin and rebellion against the Lord Jesus and His Holy Word. When you confess your sin or sins, He will forgive and cleanse you. Get into the Bible with great delight. Read and obey the Word.
Do not allow any influence in your life, but that of the Word of God and the Holy Spirit. Both the Word and the Holy Spirit will lead you to Jesus Christ that He might be all in all.