For the mystery of lawlessness (that hidden principle of rebellion against constituted authority) is already at work in the world, [but it is] restrained only until [a]he who restrains is taken out of the way.
[a] Many believe this One Who restrains the antichrist to be the Holy Spirit, Who lives in all believers and will be removed with them at Christ’s coming; yet a majority thinks it refers to the Roman Empire.
I first read this in the NIV and then read the Amplified version (quoted above) to answer my question: Who is holding back the "secret power of lawlessness"? The footnote here implies (as I have heard before) that this is The Holy Spirit. So my questions are:
- Is this indeed referring to The Holy Spirit? If not, who?
- If this is The Holy Spirit, is this interpreted (by pre-premillenialists) as a reference to The Rapture (since The Holy Spirit dwells in believers)?
- Can anyone shed light on the strange ending to the footnote: "yet a majority thinks it refers to the Roman Empire"?