"...So they weighed for my price 30 pieces of silver. And the LORD said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them!" Zechariah 11:12-13
[Just in case some of you thought I'd lost my mind when I said God is sometimes sarcastic in the Bible.]
Anyway, back to the topic. In 2 Thessalonians 2:6, Paul tells us something restrains the Anti-Christ from being revealed until the appointed time, and states casually the Thessalonicans know what that something is.
Now there's been debate over what the you-know-what is over the years, and some speculate Paul meant either the Holy Spirit, or the Church itself, was preventing the AntiChrist's rise to power. Some see this as proof of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, reasoning that AntiChrist can't come on the scene until the Church (or the Holy Spirit, Whose temple we are) is removed.
First, I really doubt Paul would disrespect the Holy Spirit by calling Him "you know what". The Holy Spirit isn't a what; he's a Who. Secondly, how can the Two Witnesses perform the miracles of Moses & Elijah without the Holy Ghost's anointing? Or how could believers stand up to the Devil's pressure to worship the image of the Beast and take the mark, unless the Holy Spirit girds them up with strength? The Holy Spirit ain't going away folks: He's with us until the end of the age!
Now what of the theory that it's the Church that is preventing the AntiChrist from doing his thing? In the very next verse we're told, " For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way." Even in the times of the Apostles, Satan was laying the foundations for what is happening today. John writes, "...as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now there are many antichrists..." (1 John 2:18) Surely Nero was an antichrist, as was Caligula; the presence of the Church in the world didn't hinder their dictatorships.
Nor did the Church in Germany in the 1930's & 40's do much to trouble Hitler. The story goes, that when they heard the cries of the Jews bound for the death camps, they just sang louder to drown it out! Nor has the Church in our generation been much of a nuisance to Satan's initiatives worldwide. He's pretty much doing whatever he wants. : (
"And if Satan rise up against himself, and be divided, he cannot stand, but hath an end." Jesus tells us in Mark 3:26. One thing hindering the AntiChrist's kingdom is all their in-fighting: everyone wants to be numero uno. Another problem was our lack of technology to fulfill his ambitions.
But the Holy Ghost ain't leaving folks; neither is the true Church!