Who or what's holding back or keeping lawlessness and the lawless one back? God is keeping it back!
Have you ever considered why God describes lawlessness as a mystery?
Why is lawlessness a mystery and who keeps it back?
Lawlessness is kept back, by God, by design... but there is coming a specific day when it will be released to wreck havoc upon a world kept in the dark to its deception, delusion and demise.
Paul helps us with this in 2 Thessalonians. He says, "For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only God, who now keeps it back will do so until the Antichrist arises out of the midst of the sea (out of people, nations). And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume..." (2 Thessalonians 2:7-8)
Lawlessness has always been a work... but for those it is at work in, usually, have no clue how or why or when it's been at work in them. Let me explain...
Paul told the Ephesians that they (believers) have been made alive, were dead in trespasses and sins, in which they once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works (mystery of lawlessness) in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we ALL once conducted ourselves in the lust of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature products of the fall (children of wrath) as all the others. BUT GOD..." (Ephesians 2:1-8)
I had no clue of this, myself, but God opened my heart and mind to His light and exposed the darkness. For it was Jesus who said, "For if your light be darkness, how great is your darkness!"