Who is the so-called "restrainer" who is holding back the "man of lawlessnes" and who will be "taken out of the way"?

Email Received:

I have heard that the so called "restrainer," spoken of in 2 Thessalonians ch. 2:6-8, is supposed to be the Holy Spirit or the body of Christ. Immediately after I read these verses, my quest was to find scriptural proof that this "restrainer" was in fact the body of Christ or the Holy Spirit. Unless we can find, beyond the shadow of a doubt, a factually clear scriptural passage to reinforce what we believe, it is nothing but an assumption that does not have enough basis to continue believing it, much less teaching it.

The bottom line is that I find no Scripture that tells us directly that the "restrainer" is the Holy Spirit or the Body of Christ, whether in the book of Revelation or anywhere else in the Bible. Who or what do you believe this "restrainer" is, and can you show me how you arrive at that conclusion?

Tedís Response:

Paul indicated that something or someone was restraining or holding back the "secret power of lawlessness," which will empower the man of lawlessness (Antichrist) when he ultimately is revealed (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8). Indeed, those who embrace the idea of a "Pre-tribulation" Rapture believe that the "restrainer" is the Holy Spirt, acting through Christian believers on the earth. Once these believers have been caught up at the Rapture, the thought is that the Holy Spirit will removed from the earth, enabling the Antichrist to rise quickly to power.

Jesus indicated that, following the "abomination that causes desolation" (at the midpoint of the 70th Week), "there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until nowóand never to be equaled again" (Matthew 24:21). The Old Testament prophet Daniel indicated that just prior to this same period of distress, the archangel Michael would "arise" (Daniel 12:1).

The archangel Michael always has been the special protective "prince" of Danielís people, Israel (Daniel 10:13,21). At the midpoint of the 70th Week, he is seen to "arise" or "stand up." The term used is the Hebrew word amad, which actually means to "stand aside," "stand still," "desist," or "be inactive." Other examples of the usage of amad are found in Job 32:16, Nehemiah 8:5, and 2 Samuel 18:30 (see Amad).

Michael, in the middle of the 70th Week, will oust Satan and his angels from heaven, hurling them down to the earth (Revelation 12:7-9). After this, the following will happen, in sequential order:

So after Michael, Israelís angelic protector, has been "taken out of the way" (by God), the Great Tribulation will begin.

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