By: David Montaigne
Author: Endtimes and 2019 and Antichrist 2016-2019
Nelson: One of our readers asked a question why the restrainer could not be the Church or the Holy Spirit. This is a common misconception of those who follow the pretribulation rapture theory. I promised a post to explain this fallacy. Another reader, fellow author David Montaigne, provided me with this quote from his recent book which did most of my work for me! So I am posting it as a guest blog. After David’s fine teaching on who is the restrainer, I add a few thoughts of my own.
IS THE RESTRAINER A WHO OR A WHAT?
David: “In 2 Thessalonians 2:7 the Bible refers to the restrainer as “he” not “it” or some organization or set of beliefs. This rules out the United Nations or U.S. Congress or government in general as the restraining influence. The personal pronoun “he” also rules out the idea that the saints (a multitude of people) hold back the restrainer until a pre-tribulation or mid-tribulation rapture removes their restraining influence. It rules out the idea that the church is thereby removed at the rapture as a restrainer.
The King James Bible in particular helps portray the restrainer… as the Holy Spirit. At least this suggestion is both singular and supernatural. But the idea that we will be abandoned by the Holy Spirit at the time of our greatest need is a false doctrine. Let’s consider a few verses . . .
John 14:16-17 previously clarified “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth.” This is the Holy Spirit, sometimes thought of as God’s active force (as “sunshine” here gives us light and warmth while the “sun” it comes from is too intense to have right here with us) or as an integral part of the godhead/trinity. More importantly, these verses portray the Helper as the Holy Spirit and the “He” who will “be with you forever.” Does this sound like “he” will leave us when we need him most? Note also that the Holy Spirit always has a capitalized letter H in “He” (being part of the divine godhead/trinity) but the restrainer, who is not, has a lowercase letter h in “he” and must be a separate individual.
In Joel 2:28-32 God tells us after we start to see the signs of the Last Day “It will come about after this that I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind…. I will pour out My Spirit in those days. I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth, blood, fire and columns of smoke. The sun will be turned into darkness and the moon into blood before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes. And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be delivered.” This does not sound like the Holy Spirit has been taken away in the end times; it sounds like the time when the greatest outpouring of Holy Spirit occurs….
Revelation 7:13-14 says “’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.’” These are the “tribulation saints” who were saved after the wrath of the Antichrist is underway. How were they saved? 1 Corinthians 12:3 tells us “no one can say, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ except by the Holy Spirit.” NO ONE is saved except through the Holy Spirit. Therefore the Holy Spirit – “the Renewer of the Face of the Earth” – cannot have abandoned us during the tribulation, when these saints are saved.
But if this popular view that the Holy Spirit is the “he” who is “the restrainer” is wrong; then who is the removed restrainer that allows the Antichrist to reveal himself? Since the Antichrist is a supernatural being of great power, the restrainer must be at least his equal….
The Antichrist’s restrainer must be a powerful spirit being capable of chaining demonic spirits in the abyss. The great angel of Revelation 20:1-3 fits the bill: “Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him.” This is a future event, but whoever “he” is, if he can handle Satan himself, and chain him in the abyss, he could be the restrainer of the Antichrist.”
The only thing being removed at the mid-point of the tribulation is the restraining action of the Archangel Michael – not all Christian believers in the rapture.” – David Montaigne
A FEW EXTRA THOUGHTS FROM NELSON
Nelson: The Greek word “restrains” means to “hold down” or “to hold fast.” Because this word does not appear in the Septuagint OT, scholars have had to make assumptions as to the identity of the “restrainer” just as David does above. We can’t have a definitive reference without use of the same word. We must prove the restrainer’s identity by context.
There is some linguistic proof, however. In Daniel 10, we observe Michael “standing firm” against demonic forces:
But I (the messenger angel) shall now return to fight against the prince (archon) of Persia; so I am going forth, and behold, the prince (archon) of Greece is about to come. However, I will tell you what is inscribed in the writing of truth. Yet there is no one who stands firmly with me against these forces except Michael your (Jewish) prince (archon). (Dan. 10: 20-21 NASB, clarification and emphasis mine)
Although the Greek word translated “stands firm” is not identical to the Greek word found in 2 Thessalonians translated as “restains”, it has an identical meaning! It means “to hold fast to.” So Michael is pictured as “holding fast to” or restraining demonic powers. These forces listed are two of the seven heads or kings of the Beast of Rev. 17. It makes logical sense that when the final king is about to arise, he will also be restained (held fast to) by Michael.
The Greek term parerchomai is found in Daniel 12:1 of the Septuagint (LXX) and means, “to pass by” or “to withdraw” which shows Michael withdrawing (from his restraint of the Antichrist). Immediately after this we see the Great Tribulation beginning. This corresponds perfectly with Thessalonians 2:6–7 and the revealing of the Antichrist.
Revelation 12:7–17 links Michael’s war against the dragon with the great tribulation as well. This war with Satan is the reason that Michael withdraws from his restraint. This war with Satan also silences critics who claim only the Holy Spirit is Satan’s equal and capable of restraint. Please note that Michael wins the war with Satan.
I also highly suggest you review this post DID SATAN FEAR THIS PROPHECY AND TRY TO KEEP IT SECRET? that details what an “archon” is (an angelic ruler) and the spiritual battle that is depicted in Daniel Chapter 10.
TAKEN OUT OF THE WAY
Another interesting phrase occurs in 2 Thessalonians and is often mistranslated.
until he be (taken) out of the midst.
heos genetai ek mesou
This is the phrase traditionally translated “until he is taken out of the way.” But that is not what the phrase says. The Greek word genetai actually means “becomes” or “is revealed” just as the “Word became flesh and dwelt among us.” Also notice the word “taken” doesn’t appear anywhere in the passage. It was inserted by some translators.
The passage actually says “until he is revealed out of the midst.” It is speaking of the Antichrist not the restrainer, and means that the restrainer will restrain the Antichrist until he (the Antichrist) arises. No one is “taken out of the way.” Michael “withdraws” as we learned in Daniel 12:1. He withdraws to fight against Satan and his fallen angels as we learn in Revelation 12. It is at this point he no longer “holds fast” and restrains the lawless one.
Thanks to David for his assistance on this post. Hopefully all this scriptural evidence has been helpful to you in your quest to identify the “Restrainer.”