But FIRST, before we get into 2 Thessalonians, let's take a look at the passage from Revelation 12 which sheds great light on what the Holy Spirit is telling us in 2 Thessalonians.
Revelation 12:7, "And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred and his angels."
The initiative here will be taken by Michael, and NOT by the Dragon: a very important point in the interpretation. The time has come in the Divine counsels for this great event of the ages. Satan, who has up until now had access to the heavens is at length to be cast out.
Now, pay attention here, we are NOT to think of Heaven as consisting of one place. The word is so often used in the plural, that, though we can not adopt the teachings of Jewish tradition, yet we are to think of many (it may be) different spheres or dimensions. As the heavens are "higher than the earth," so we may look on them as being larger than the earth. And as the earth is divided into various countries and states, so may heaven have its various divisions. In one of them these mighty spiritual forces set themselves in battle array.
On the one side we have Michael, who is elsewhere described as "one of the chief princes" (Daniel 10:13); "your prince," that is, of Israel (Daniel 10:21); "the great prince which standeth for thy (Daniel's) people" (Daniel 12:1); "the archangel" (Jude 9). He, it is, with his heavenly hosts, who makes war against the dragon, and it is NOT the dragon who makes war against the man-child (as is so often taught). What the dragon DOES do is make war against the woman, as we see in Revelation 12:13; and THAT war is made on earth and NOT in heaven. Now mind you...The Body of Christ, the Church of God in this current Dispensation of the Mystery, will be removed LONG BEFORE these judgment scenes commence; and is therefore not to be looked for in any place in these events.
OK, back on point, now, on the other side we have the Beast of Revelation 13 and Revelation 17. In Daniel 2 we have these powers in their earthly, human, mortal, successive and historical form. But in Daniel 7, and in the Book of Revelation, we have the superhuman revival and the existing, or occurring in the same period of time, concentration of them in the Beast.
Take note, the Dragon's dominion covers all the powers and governments of the world, which are here seen included in and controlled by one being, THE DRAGON. The sovereignty of the world is about to become the sovereignty of our LORD and of His Christ, as we have just heard it announced "in heaven" (Revelation 11:15). We are here shown the source and the embodiment of his sovereignty. This is why the prophecy is suspended just at this point (Revelation 11:15). It is in order to explain to us (in Revelation 12 thru Revelation 15:8 ) what this sovereignty is, whence it comes, and whither it goes. All is here gathered up into one head.
In 2 Thessalonians 2 we find further information as to the rise of this final embodiment of Satanic power. There we are clearly told that the revelation of that awful being has an appointed season. HE CANNOT ARISE BEFORE HIS TIME. We are told why and how this is. In Revelation 12 we have the events which lead up to that revelation, and in Revelation 13 we have the actual manifestation of the Beast himself.
2 Thessalonians 2 therefore forms a very important link when studied in connection with Revelation 12:7 thru Revelation 13. There we learn that the Beast could not be manifested on earth as long as he ("he" here is in the masculine) now holdeth fast (to his place in the heavenlies, Revelation 12:7). This is the meaning of the word "letteth" or "holdeth fast", as is clear from its use in the other epistle 1 Thessalonians 5:21 ("prove all things, hold fast that which is good"). (Here are all the occurrences of the word, so that you and all members of the Lion and Lamb Ministry may judge for yourselves: Matthew 21:38; Luke 4:42; Luke 13:15; Luke 14:9; John 5:4; Acts 27:40; Romans 1:18; Romans 7:6. 1 Corinthians 7:30; 1 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Corinthians 15:2; 2 Cor. 6;10; 1 Thessalonians 6:21; Philemon 13; Hebrews 3:6; Hebrews 3:14; Hebrews 10:23.)
This casting out is described in Revelation 12, and we are here told exactly how it will take place, and what will be its causes and consequences. When the Apostle Paul wrote, worldly power was then being used, and has all along been used by Satan for the accomplishment of his secret purposes; and it is still working today, but here (in Revelation 12) we see it come to a head, and Satan is about to openly manifest it.
In the Meantime, "Ye know WHAT (neuter, or neutral, gender) holdeth HIM (the lawless one, the antichrist) fast, that he (the lawless one, the antichrist) may be revealed in his time."
The Apostle Paul could write this, and in this way, to the church of the Thessalonians, because he had previously told them and THEY KNEW; but WE DO NOT KNOW. All WE know is that it CANNOT be a person who holds the lawless one fast, BECAUSE the word is in the neuter, or neutral, gender. THEREFORE, it can only be a PLACE, and we suggest that it is the pit of the Abyss, (NOW go read Revelation 9:1-2, and Revelation 9:11), out of which he (the lawless one) is to ascend.
In any case, the popular view cannot be correct. The popular view which makes it of the Holy Spirit. So, now we have to ask, what does the Holy Spirit "hold fast" (1 Thessalonians 5:21) in order that the lawless one may be revealed in his appointed time? This idea arose from a wrong translation of the verb "katecho", which means to hold something fast. Above you have all of the occurrences of this word.
That wrong translation of both the AV. and RV. arises from ignoring the fact that the verb is TRANSITIVE, and MUST have an object. SOMETHING must be held fast. Then, further confusion is also introduced by not preserving the important difference between the genders, which is NEUTER in 2 Thessalonians 2:6 ("THAT which holds him fast"), that is, the Pit of the Abyss; and MASCULINE in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 ("HE who holds something fast," that is, his position in the heavenlies.
At the first advent the announcement was made "on earth, PEACE." But now, at the time of the Second Advent, it is "in heaven, WAR"; because the Dispensations have changed. At the return of the remnant from Babylon, Satan was present to resist the restoration of the Nation (Zechariah 3:2), and was rebuked. So it will be again when the great restoration is about to take place: but this time war will be declared against him.
So, to review, 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, "And now ye know what (The Abyss) withholdeth that he (the lawless one, the Antichrist) might be revealed in his (the lawless one, the Antichrist) time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he (the Dragon, Satan) who now letteth (katecho: holdeth fast) will let (continue to katecho: hold fast), until he (The Dragon, Satan) be taken out of the way (cast out Revelation 12:7-9) . And then shall that Wicked (the lawless one, the Antichrist) be revealed, whom the LORD shall consume with the Spirit of His Mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming"
The mystery connected with this conflict is easy understand by the Faith, yet very difficult for us to reason through. However, a little insight is given into these spiritual realities in such passages as Job 1; Job 2; 1 Kings 22:19-22; Daniel 10:9-13; Ephesians 6:11-12; and Jude 6.
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20)