Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2 Thessalonians 2:7 Who Is The "Restrainer"?

Biblegems #95
Question: Will the Holy Spirit be taken out of the world during the Tribulation?

This question arises from a common misinterpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7, which reads:
         And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.

The one who “holds back” (“hinders” — KJV) or restrains the Antichrist is neither the Holy Spirit nor human government.  The restrainer is Michael the archangel, God’s appointed protector of His covenant people, Israel. Daniel is told:        
         Dan. 12:1 At that time Michael, the great prince who protects your people, will arise. There will be a time of distress such as has not happened from the beginning of nations until then. But at that time your people—everyone whose name is found written in the book—will be delivered.

This time of “great distress” is the Great Tribulation mentioned by Jesus, who uses almost exactly the same words:
         Matt. 24:21 For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

This unprecedented period of “great distress” (“great tribulation” — KJV) is also called the “time of Jacob’s trouble” by the prophet Jeremiah, a time when the Antichrist will seek to annihilate the Jewish people:
         Jer. 30:7 How awful that day will be! None will be like it. It will be a time of trouble for Jacob, but he will be saved out of it.

Daniel prophesied that this would occur at the time when the Antichrist establishes his capitol between the Dead Sea and the Mediterranean Sea in Jerusalem:
         Dan. 11:45 He will pitch his royal tents between the seas at the beautiful holy mountain. Yet he will come to his end, and no one will help him.  

According to Rev. 12:7-15, Michael and his angels permanently force Satan out of heaven in a great war in the spiritual realm. In response, Satan and his demonic horde persecute Israel, seeking to destroy her. This fierce persecution takes place during the 3 ½ years of the Great Tribulation (Rev. 12:13-15).

The biblical evidence is clear: the archangel Michael has been assigned by God as Israel’s angelic bodyguard (Dan. 10:13, 21; 12:1; Jude 9).

But Michael will be “taken out of the way” by God at the time of the Great Tribulation, when the Antichrist is headquartered at the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem. At that time, the Antichrist will set himself up to be worshiped as God (2 Thess. 2:4). The Jewish people who once trusted him and hailed him as a hero, will be disgusted and repulsed by this “abomination,” and will flee Jerusalem, leaving the temple and the city desolate (Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15). The Antichrist will be enraged and will seek to destroy Israel, and will nearly succeed (Jer. 30:7). But Israel will be rescued and the Antichrist will be overthrown at the glorious appearing of Jesus Christ (2 Thess 2:8). 

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