The rebellion, an important marker:
The last days will come in an acceleration, when Christians apostate en masse, when they no longer consider the Christian way of life as the center of their lives.
Maybe in some parts of the world, such as Africa, there is still limited Christian growth, but this important marker of the Christian rebellion is, according to us, already passed. First in Europe and then in the rest of the world:
ASV (2 Thessalonians 2:3-9) 3 let no man beguile you in any wise: for it will not be, except the rebellion come first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition, 4 he that opposeth and exalteth himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped; so that he sitteth in the temple of God, setting himself forth as God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know that which restraineth, to the end that he may be revealed in his own season. 7 For the mystery of lawlessness doth already work: only there is one that restraineth now, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall be revealed the lawless one, whom the Lord Jesus shall slay with the breath of his mouth, and bring to nought by the manifestation of his coming; 9 even he, whose coming is according to the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
In verse 4 Paul speaks of a false prophet, the opponent, one who exalts himself against all that is called God or that is worshipped. In verse 6 Paul says, that they – the Christians of his time – now know what restrains him. First the rebellion has to come according to verse 3. The solid faith of the Christian communities, from the first disciples of Jesus until the appointed time, is the reason what restrains this false prophet. Who restrains him in verse 7, until ‘he’ be taken out of the way, that is not written. It is clear that the Christian communities throughout the centuries benefit divine protection:
WEB (Matthew 28:18-20) 18 Jesus came to them and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth. 19 Therefore go, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I commanded you. Behold, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”Amen.
WEB (1 Corinthians 10:13) 13 No temptation has taken you except what is common to man. God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted above what you are able, but will with the temptation also make the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
God will not allow His people to be tempted beyond what they can bear. Jesus also watches over the Christian communities.
Because the period of ‘restraining him’ spans nearly 2000 years, it is likely that Christians are protected (for this false prophet) by an angel, until the time has come of the massive rebellion.
Then, this angel will be relieved from his task.