Question: I am writing in response to your article about the “Spirit of Antichrist.” There are two statements that I find patently wrong....The first...justifying your argument that God is the one preventing antichrist from appearing...you say, “Only God is more powerful than satan....” This is comic book theology. ...Sola Scriptura...! [A] solitary angel takes satan and binds him...and throws him into the bottomless pit (Rv 20:1ff), something that would hardly be possible if satan were as powerful as you allude. In addition, when there is war in heaven Michael and his angels physically [sic] remove satan and his allies. ...The way I see it, “he that hinders” is representative of angelic powers....Jesus gave the church authority over the devil, in Christ we are more powerful than he....
Secondly, you state the unscriptural but common misconception that the Holy Spirit only came upon Old Testament saints, but never indwelt them. 1 Pt 1:10- 11...the Spirit of Christ which was in them [Old Testament prophets]...Is 63:1 ...put his holy spirit within him...Ex 31:3...filled him with the spirit of God...Lk 1:15...filled with the Holy Ghost, etc. ....Overall I appreciate receiving The Berean Call and find its observations to be on the mark.
Response: The verses you present do not prove that Satan is not the most powerful being, next to God. That, in Christ, Christians have power over Satan, that Michael and his angels will one day cast Satan from heaven, that an angel will throw Satan into the bottomless pit does not prove that Christians or angels are more powerful than Satan. As God’s agents, yes, but not in their own power. That “Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil...durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee” (Jude 9), shows that Michael in and of himself has no authority over Satan.
Yes, no single verse declares that Satan is second in power only to God. But surely this is implied by the role he plays as God’s adversary: that he still has access before the throne of God where he accuses believers “day and night” (Rv 12:10); by the power he displayed in bringing Job to ruin; by his temptation of Christ in the wilderness, taking him onto a high mountain, etc., and that Christ did not dispute Satan’s claim that all the kingdoms of the world are his (Lk 4:5-6); by the fact that Satan gives authority over this world to Antichrist (Rv 13:2); that he is the “god of this world” (2 Cor:4:4); that even the LORD (apparently Christ in the pre-incarnate state) says, “The LORD (apparently referring to the Father) rebuke thee, O Satan” (Zec:3:2), etc., etc. This is hardly “comic book theology.”
I don’t see how you can say that he in “he [singular] that hinders” could mean “angelic powers [plural].” Nor do you give any explanation as to how or why this one who hinders is “taken out of the way” or the significance thereof. My explanation seems to be coherent and to provide answers which your critique does not.
Unfortunately, my language was careless in saying the Holy Spirit “did not indwell” Old Testament believers. But that I meant permanently was clarified by references to Psalm:51:11; John:7:38-39, 14:16-17, and Acts:2:33, which clearly show that the Holy Spirit could depart from Old Testament believers and that a new and permanent indwelling began at Pentecost. Your critique, however, gives no explanation for “the Holy Ghost was not yet given” (Jn:7:39). My interpretation gives a consistent rendering of all of these passages together, passages which you seemingly do not take into account. “He who now hinders” (i.e., prevents Antichrist from being revealed) can only be God himself who, after all, is in charge of the universe and “worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Eph:1:11). God cannot be “taken out of the way” because He is omnipresent, but the Holy Spirit permanently indwelling believers since Pentecost could be removed by the Rapture of the church—and I see no other consistent interpretation of what Paul says. Furthermore, we are told that Antichrist will have power and authority “to make war with the saints, and to overcome them” (Rv 13:7). Surely the saints referred to could not be the church but those who come to Christ during the Tribulation after the Rapture; otherwise Antichrist would destroy the church of which Christ said “the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Mt 16:18). All on earth shall worship him (Rv 13:3-4, 8), and those who refuse to bow down to worship his image will be killed (v 15). Surely no one in the church would worship him, and thus all in the church would be killed, if the church were present. So we have further reason to say that the presence of the church hinders the Antichrist from being revealed and that he cannot take power until the church is raptured.