” And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7)
The Restrainer is controlling sin and lawlessness, but Paul does not specifically identify the restraining force, though whatever now restrains the Antichrist must be supernatural and have God’s power in operation to control Satan. The Antichrist won’t debut until the Almighty Father permits it by removing the restraining power at God’s appointed time.
“Then that lawless one will be revealed whom the Lord will slay with the breath of His mouth and bring to an end by the appearance of His coming; that is, the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders.” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-9)
The passage says the Restrainer will no longer restrain the growth of evil, but that does not mean He will have no ministry whatsoever. The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, since He is everywhere at all times; hence He must be in the world during the tribulation. If the Spirit were not present during the tribulation, no one could be saved, but a multitude that no one can number is saved during the tribulation. Give glory to God for the provision, because tribulation saints will need the guidance and direction of the Spirit particularly during The Great Tribulation.
“After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could count, from every nation and all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, and palm branches were in their hands; and they cry out with a loud voice, saying,
‘Salvation to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb.’ And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures; and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying,
‘Amen, blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might, be to our God forever and ever. Amen.’
Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?” I said to him, ‘My lord, you know.’ And he said to me, ‘These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.’” (Revelation 7:9-14)
At some point — only God knows it — the restraining influence will be removed, the Antichrist will be revealed to an unsuspecting world, and the tribulation period will begin per the 7 YEAR TREATY article.