In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 says: “For the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) is already at work: only “He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.” Is the Holy Spirit removed from earth when this happens?
At the time Paul wrote this epistle something was and still is preventing the mystery of iniquity from coming into full power and completely being revealed.
There are various opinions on who the restrainer is, some say human government, others say the church. These all have a part to play in restraining evil. From my studying the Scripture my conclusion is that this restrainer is a person (“He”) that is preventing the mystery from being revealed then and still does so today, over 1900 years later: There is only one who can restrain the mystery of lawlessness from the beginning- the Holy Spirit. Once he removes the holding back “then the lawless one will be revealed” (2 Thess.2:8)
2 Thess. 2:7 “He Who Now Letteth Will Let, Until He Be Taken Out Of The Way” (KJV)
In Paul's letter to the Thessalonians he brought to their remembrance some of the things that he had taught them in the previously.
2 Thessalonians 2:5-9 “Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? 6 And now you know what is restraining (Witholdeth), that he may be revealed in his own time. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness (iniquity) is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.’
The word "let" in verse 7 means to "withhold" as in verse 6 is the Greek word "katecho." In verse 6 is "withholdeth". To refrain, hinder or withhold is the basic meaning of this word. There is a power of some sort holding back the mystery of iniquity. In verse 7 Paul said that the mystery of iniquity was already working. As long as the restrainer continues to work in the world this false Christ cannot come to his position of power.
Romans 13:1-5 explains to us that the authority to govern are put in the world to restrain evil and are from God (not governments that oppose justice or God). V.3 “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. …V 4 For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.”
So in a certain sense they are part of restrains the evil, but in the end it is lawlessness run by the man of lawlessness (sin) who runs the governments of the world. However no government fully restrains evil.
(Genesis 6:5). Everything man did was with an evil purpose and all became corrupted. V.13: “Then God said unto Noah, “The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.” As God’s ways were abandoned it gave way to a spreading growth of iniquity and violence. There was no government in the antediluvian world to control this widespread lawlessness, yet God’s Spirit was there to restrain evil and uphold morality. But God said he would not strive with man but for 120 years.
The mystery of iniquity was already in the world from the time man sinned and it has been growing, the only one who can restrain its activity through time is the Holy Spirit.The Holy Spirit that is present on earth, through in individual believers, and the Church. He does not need people or the church body to restrain the mystery of iniquity, however, both are being used in restraining (hinders, prevents) the lawless one from revealing himself (we are salt and light in the world). As long as the restrainer continues to do his restraining work in the world and through the church the false Christ cannot come to his position of power. Once the Holy Spirit’s power to restrain is removed, the Antichrist is able to move unhindered to his appointed short time. It is at this certain time He, the Holy Spirit, will no longer prevent this mystery and “he” ( the mystery of Lawlessness, iniquity) will be revealed.V.8: “And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth”
Things will go from bad to much worse without the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit.
This “he” (2 Thessalonians 2:6) is the son of
perdition. The mystery of iniquity will be revealed in the one
known as the False Christ who will deceive the world.
The answer is that during the Tribulation the Holy Spirit is not removed from the earth, otherwise no one else can be saved. The Bible tells us He will continue His salvation work by initially sealing the 144,000 Jews to be evangelists (firstfruits-Revelation 7 and 14:4). From these 144,000 Jewish believers, an angel flying in the sky and later two witnesses to Israel an enormous revival occurs. At the same time the revival takes place a persecution of the saints also takes place. A great multitude of people no one could number is saved in the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-14) and at the end all of Israel that survives (Zech.13:8-9) is saved (Romans 11:26-27).