What does the Bible say about the future?
A key to understanding end-times is the “Restrainer”.
2 Thessalonians 2:6 Now you know what the Restrainer is, so that he’ll be revealed at the proper time. 7The hidden power of lawlessness is already at work. The one who restrains will continue to do so until he is taken out of the way. 8Then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the glory of his coming.
Some believe that the Restrainer is a spiritual entity. Some say it’s the Holy Spirit – or the general outpouring of the Holy Spirit e.g. https://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/revelation/related-topics/who-is-the-restrainer.html. Others think the Restrainer is an angel who keeps 9/10 of the demons restrained since the flood.
Jubilees 10:11 And we did according to all His words: all the malignant evil ones we bound in the place of condemnation, and a tenth part of them we left that they might be subject before Satan on the Earth.
I believe the "Restrainer" (the King James word used instead of “holding him back”) is the Church (from my Pre-Tribulation bias). Christians are the salt of the Earth, the city on the hill, the light in the darkness. We certainly are a restraining force against the spread of evil. Whatever the Restrainer is, its removal allows the Antichrist to be revealed. Until then we’ll have no idea who he’ll be. The removal of the Restrainer will have a catastrophic geopolitical effect, the ensuing chaos will suddenly change the world.
Ephesians 6:12 Our battle’s not against natural enemies, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and spiritual wickedness in high places.
As the Restrainer, Jesus has given us all of his authority to restrain all kinds of evil around us. We are called to do spiritual warfare. We are not to get caught up in the ways of the world, but keep ourselves focused on the race, so that we might endure to reach that finishing line to hear those words “Well done my good and faithful servant.”
When we pray, we empower authorities to act in righteousness, we bring healing and justice. When the Church acts for social reform, evil is restrained.
Matthew 18:18 I tell you the truth, whatever you bind in the natural will be bound in the spiritual, and whatever you release in the natural will be released in the spiritual. 19Again, I tell you, that if two of you agree on Earth about anything that they ask, it’ll be done for them by my Father in Heaven. 20Because where two or three get together in my name, I’m there among them.
It’s clear that evil’s being restrained. At some time, the Restrainer will be removed, allowing the "lawless one" (the Antichrist) to be revealed. At this time, the evils prophesied in Revelation will be unleashed on the Earth as God's judgement. Until then, during this Age of Grace, the world is being spared as the gospel is preached - just as Noah preached for 120 years before the great flood with his dad Lamech and grandad Methuselah.
Consider what it would be like when all those Christians are removed from the world – those who fight for social justice, and those who pull down spiritual powers through their spiritual warfare - praying and decreeing over powers and principalities over cities, regions, countries, and the world.
Brent’s parable of the birth
Often before babies are born, the mother experiences Braxton Hicks contractions and the over-eager parents-to-be believe the birth is happening. They grab all their gear together and speed off to the hospital, only to be sent home because the time is not yet come. These contractions are just the womb exercising towards the big day.
When my wife was pregnant, the midwives always predicted that the baby would come a week before the due date, but they all came over a week later. When our oldest was born, my wife woke me up to tell me that her waters had broken. There was no doubt that the birth was happening. It took several hours before the contractions started, but 14 hours later our son was born.
This is what the Tribulation is like. Many “experts” rush around touting their presumptions or claiming that the Tribulation is already happening. But it’ll be as obvious as when a mother’s water breaks. The breaking of the waters is like the Restrainer being removed. Even then, the contractions don’t start immediately, but the process has begun.