The Force that Restrains Evil - The Warrior's Journey®

The Force that Restrains Evil

Author: Chaplain, COL Scott McChrystal, USA (Ret.)

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“And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work.  Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, ESV) 

There is a force in our world that restrains evil. Sometimes we forget that. Too often we’re convinced that Satan is on the loose and that He does whatever He pleases. But, according to the Bible, God keeps Satan on a very short leash. Even in the Old Testament, Satan wasn’t permitted to tempt or afflict Job without God’s permission (Job 1:8-12; 2:3-6). In the New Testament, the legion of demons weren’t even allowed to enter a herd of swine without Jesus’ permission (Matthew 8:28-34). In fact, even when God allows Satan or his demons to tempt us, it’s not only with divine permission but also under strict specifications and restrictions. And at all times the temptation will never be more than we can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

But is that what Paul is speaking of here? For there cannot be a time when God will be “taken out of the way.” God fills the universe (1 Kings 8:27; Psalm 139:7-12; Ephesians 1:23). And He sent His Holy Spirit to earth to abide forever (John 14:16). For the Holy Spirit is one of the blessings of the New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 36:26-27). Since the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit always accompanies salvation. He seals us for the day of redemption (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30) and is God’s mark of ownership upon us.  In Revelation 7:1-8, we find God sealing 144,000 of Israelite descent during the period when the “son of lawlessness” is revealed. Therefore, neither God nor His Holy Spirit will ever be “taken out of the way.” 

But the Church, the body of believers, will be taken away as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The Lord Jesus will come as a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3).  Some, believers in Jesus Christ, will be taken to be with the Lord forever and others (unbelievers) will be left behind (Matthew 24:36-42; Luke 17:34-35). Then the great “day of the Lord” (the day of God’s judgment) will come upon those who dwell on the earth. Then, without the church and its continual intercession to God, Satan and his “beast” (i.e. the anti-Christ, the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction), will have no one on earth to oppose or frustrate their efforts. The church of God has been the pillar and support of truth (1 Timothy 3:15). Christ’s church has been a force for righteousness and has virtually ruled the world through its ceaseless intercession (James 5:13-18). Yes, if only believers in Jesus would realize the power they can exercise through their prayers to the Almighty. Through their prayers they suppress the activity of Satan and his demons, overthrow the schemes of the wicked, and evangelize the world with Christ’s Gospel. Through their prayers they rule the world (Matthew 6:10). 


  • What specifically should you be praying for, other than for family and friends? For revival and evangelism in America? For the conversion of the Muslim world? 
  • Should we pray for God to raise up men and women of faith to lead our nation? 

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