The Restrainer of 2 Thessalonians 2
There are two lines of thought as to the identity of the restrainer. I believe scripture is pretty clear on the identity because one of them has scripture in opposition to itself. The two identities are the Holy Spirit in the church, and Michael the archangel. Before getting into their explanations, we need to cover some background information.
What is being restrained?
What is the restrainer restraining? “That he might be revealed in his time.” Who’s “he?” “that Wicked,” who is revealed when the restrainer is out of the way. 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 He’s not Satan because, his “coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”
So the restrainer is holding back the pre-dragon-powered human antichrist-to-be from revealing himself by, “opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.” This is at the abomination of desolation. 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 The dragon isn’t cast to earth until Michael and his angels defeat him in heaven. If Lucifer is cast out of heaven, then that’s where he is now. He sits before the throne accusing us. Revelation 12:10 Christ is our advocate. 1 John 2:1-5 He will be cast out of heaven soon. Revelation 12:7-13 This confirms that currently, the restrainer is not restraining Lucifer, but the soon-to-be antichrist.
I believe when the abomination of desolation happens, it will enrage some zealous Jews who will attempt to assassinate him and the world will see, “one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” The war will have been won in heaven and, “when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.” He will have his followers, having just seen “the dragon which gave power unto the beast:” resurrect the assassinated beast when “they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?”
I believe the indwelt beast will then go after the Jews that just “killed” him and the world, still amazed, will follow suit or allow it to happen because, “who is able to make war with him?” I believe the surrounding Muslims during the first 30 days in Jerusalem and Judea will especially join in the genocide, and later for another 1230 days throughout the rest of the world. For more on the exact day framework of the 70th week, see the exact day prophecies Bible study.
What is the mystery of iniquity that’s already at work?
The “mystery of iniquity” would seem to be, from the original Greek, speaking to the silent wickedness that is already prevalent. I personally believe this to be the spirit behind secret societies that have been working behind the scenes to set up all the things that we know must come to pass to bring about a one-world government and religious system under the control of the antichrist. A little history of the mystery of iniquity shows how ideas becoming prevalent through societal norms have caused a blindness regarding this wickedness by attacking and bringing doubt to God’s Word. And the restrainer is holding (lettingG2722) until taken out of the way. The restrainers act of holding is so that the antichrist is revealed in God’s timing. The silent iniquity is already at work in the world though. So who is the restrainer? Let’s examine the possibilities according to scripture and determine what the Bible says.
Holy Spirit dwelling in the church?
I would recommend everyone do a word study of “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” to see exactly what the Rauch HaKodesh is doing when mentioned in scripture. The term “Holy Ghost” is only found in the New Testament while “Holy Spirit” is found in the Old and New Testaments. They both refer to the same Spirit of God. He is the presence of God Psalm 51:11, the fruits of which are seen in Galatians 5:22-26 and a gift from God. Luke 11:13 | 1 Thessalonians 4:8 | John 7:39 | Acts 2:33;38 | Acts 8:15-19 | Acts 10:45-47 What He does is:
And it was the Holy Ghost that implanted Christ into Mary’s womb. Matthew 1:18-20 | Luke 1:35 We are the temples with which that Spirit dwells when we accept Christ and are obedient to His ways of selfless love. 1 Corinthians 6:19 The closest thing to restraining comes in Acts 16 when the Holy Ghost forbids Paul to preach in Asia.
It seems to me that the Holy Spirit is not a restrainer of evil, but our conscience and comforter. We can still choose not to follow the Spirit of God revealed in His Word and then we will not be in relationship with Him. It seems that He doesn’t restrain evil, but rather warns of it and helps us through it with a joyful heart that speaks and reveals Truth to us so that we can use our free will and choose. Those that choose against God do not have His Spirit, He leaves unless they repent. Judgment is coming for the wickedness that is prophesied to take over the world in the end-times. Matthew 24:3-28
There’s also a logic problem presented with the argument that the Holy Spirit in the church is the restrainer. In this study we will examine who the restrainer is and who it is not according to scripture. There are two separate presentations of timing in 2 Thessalonians 2 in relation to our gathering to Christ and the revealing of the antichrist. As we will see, they make a clear point as to who the restrainer is not.
The timing of our gathering to Christ in relation to the man of sin being revealed:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5
Here scripture gives us this order:
Notice too, that the “day of Christ” is directly connected to our gathering to Him. We see this differentiated from the day of the Lord in several passages that talk about the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is not a day of darkness, but for Christians a day of rejoicing. (1 Corinthians 5:5 | 2 Corinthians 1:12-14)
The timing of the revealing of the man of sin in relation to the restrainer being removed:
This color coding only applies IF we view the restrainer as the Holy Spirit/church, and therefore tying the unrestraining to our removal in the harpazo.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-10
Here, if the restrainer is the Holy Spirit which dwells in the church, we have this order:
There is a direct opposition when defining the restrainer as the Holy Spirit symbolizing the removal of the church before the revealing of the antichrist. By placing the Holy Spirit/church as the restrainer, a contradiction is set up by assuming our gathering to Christ is directly related to the restrainer being removed. I believe the Holy Spirit wrote it this way to remove confusion. This leads us to the clincher for me as to who the restrainer is.
Michael the Archangel?
The answer to the question of who the restrainer is lies in the Old Testament in a parallel verse to the revealing of the man of sin. Matthew 24:15-22 This event is unparalleled in all of history, so we can define it that way. What is the event in which the removal of the restrainer causes? The abomination of desolation, the revealing of the antichrist. This is the beginning of the great tribulation, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
The time of Jacob’s trouble, great tribulation, starts when Michael stands up. This is the abomination of desolation, the revealing of the man of sin. This is also the time in which the redemption of the children of Daniel’s people, the Israelites, takes place.
So Michael stands up to head to the war in heaven. At that time, the antichrist is able to reveal himself at the abomination of desolation. This fits the order of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 of the restrainer being lifted before the revealing of the man of sin at the abomination of desolation. Then, after the antichrist is revealed, we can be gathered to Christ in the clouds. What’s even more interesting is that Daniel 12 is connected to Revelation 12 around this same subject, Michael, and same time-frame.
It is the dragon which gives the beast his power. It would seem that Michael is currently holding back the revealing of the antichrist, but at some point in the future will be called to heaven to battle Lucifer. He will prevail over Satan and he will be cast to the earth. He then goes after the woman through the beast whom he gives power to. This is the beginning of the great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble of Matthew 24:15-22.
I don’t think it’s coincidence that Michael is specifically mentioned as standing up right before the antichrist is revealed and we’re told in the New Testament that the restrainer must stop before the antichrist can be revealed. The restrainer is not the Holy Spirit, but Michael the archangel, the prince that stands for Israel. He is restraining the antichrist now until God’s timing. Then the antichrist will be allowed to reveal himself.
I should also point out that Michael is not restraining evil... well, if he is, it’s beginning to overwhelm him according to my nightly news. The love of many is growing colder and colder just as prophesied. Matthew 24:12 Michael is specifically restraining the revealing of the man of sin. It naturally happens that way because he can’t be revealed until Michael stands, and Satan isn’t on earth till Michael’s in heaven throwing Satan out. The transition is at the abomination of desolation.
Michael has restrained before...
This is the same “withholding” in 2 Thessalonians 2:6 speaking about the restrainer, who I believe is Michael the archangel.
At God’s command, Michael will stand up and go to fight Lucifer in heaven. Lucifer will be cast down and Michael will no longer be restraining the revealing of the antichrist so all hell will break loose on earth, literally, as Lucifer deceives the whole earth whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 13:7-8
I also believe heaven is outside of time. So Michael could leave to heaven and we would simultaneously see Lucifer cast out. It’s all in God’s timing and that’s what is so wonderful about Bible prophecy. We can always trust exactly what the Word says, and He wants us to know the details. Amos 3:7
How long is it from the time Michael stands up and the time of Jacob’s trouble starts?
So 3½ years is how long the great tribulation lasts. This would also match with this being the time during which power is given unto the beast because that ends at Christ’s return when Christ throws him and the false prophet into the lake of fire in Revelation 19:20. How long is the beast given power for?
So is this the same time that Michael stands up?
I believe that the Magog attack will occur before the abomination of desolation. I believe the reason scripture lays events out as they are is that the antichrist will declare himself God in the rebuilt temple on the Temple Mount. Because Israel will be following God after the protection from Iran, Turkey, Russia, Libya and others someone will react to this blasphemy with an assassination and he will be wounded to death. Revelation 13:3 It is at this time that Lucifer is cast from heaven to the earth. Knowing he has but a short time, he goes after Israel in Judea first, the time of Jacob’s trouble and the beginning of the great tribulation. This is why Christ warned those in Judea to run to the mountains when they saw the abomination of desolation.
So the study of the identity of the restrainer has connected to many other events of end time prophecy. It revolves around a very central time and spiritual shift when Lucifer is cast from heaven to the earth where he takes out his wrath on God’s people, the Jews first, then her remnant and believers in Yeshua worldwide. I believe the tools for the implementation of this war against the saints is already coming into existence politically with the Alliance of Civilizations. However, the final 3½ years of Satan’s wrath all revolves around Michael the archangel both releasing the antichrist to be identified and casting his master down to be with him so God’s wrath will be poured out on them in the following years. This just goes to show us how sheltered we actually live now because it isn’t until Michael is told to cast out Lucifer that Satan’s full wrath is allowed to be loosed on the earth. Then you will be killed for believing in Yeshua. Fortunately, we have been promised to escape God’s wrath, and unless we’re in Judea we probably won’t see the brunt of his wrath. However much can change in the world between now and then...and probably will. Get in your prayer closet and into God’s Word, build your relationship with Him.
Be not overcome
of evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21
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