THE RESTRAINER  


 

Just prior to the mid-point of the week, there will be a major confrontation in heaven between the angels of God under the leadership of Michael, and Satan's angels.
Rev. 12:7-9
The progress of the 70th week of Daniel as recorded in the book of The Revelation is chronological from chapters 6 through 11 and embraces -
1. The beginning of the week (seal #1)

2. The tribulation period (seals #2-5)

3. The arrival of the Day of The LORD (seal #6)

4. And the administration of God's wrath via the 7 trumpets.

5. Chapter 11 brings us to the end of the 70th week and the sounding of the 7th trumpet.

It is at this point that the book backs up in its focus and gives information dealing with the mid-point of the week forward.

Chapter 12 gives us a summary of the beast's oppression of the saints and national Israel.

Chapter 13 gives information concerning the "revealing" of the man of lawlessness (the beast) and the length of his "reign."

Chapter 14 Summarizes the Day of the LORD activity from the rapture until the final battle at Armageddon.

Chapter 15-16 picks up from 11:19 and relates the "final"
outpouring of God's wrath via the 7 bowls during the 30 day period after the 70th week ends.

Chapter 17-18 is parenthetical to deal with the history and
final disposition of Babylonian evil.

Chapter 19 picks up from 16:21 and presents the final bowl of God's wrath which is the final "physical" battle of the Armageddon campaign which began at bowl #6.

Chapter 20 begins and completes the 1000 year reign of the Messiah and presents the Last Judgment at the end of that reign.

Chapter 21-22 describes life in the New Jerusalem both during the 1000 year reign of Messiah and also afterwards throughout eternity when there will exist a new heaven and earth.


WAR IN HEAVEN

Rev. 12:7-9,

And there was war in heaven,
Michael and his angels waging war with the dragon.
And the dragon and his angels waged war,
and they were not strong enough,
and there was no longer a place found for them in heaven.
And the great dragon was thrown down,
the serpent of old who is called the devil and Satan,
who deceives the whole world;
he was thrown down to the earth,
and his angels were thrown down with him.


Michael prevails and kicks Satan and his angels physically out of heaven and down to the earth. This initiates the events that will bring about the Day of the LORD and the establishment of the Messianic kingdom on the earth.

Revelation 12:10-12

And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying,
Now the salvation, and the power,
and the kingdom of our God
and the authority of His Christ have come,


This victory was actually anticipated by Jesus as He commented on the success of the 70 disciples over all the power of the enemy.

Luke 10:18,
"I saw Satan falling from heaven ..."


It also fulfills the prophecy of Ezekiel 28:17b where a physical fall from heaven is mentioned concerning Satan (symbolized by the king of Tyre).

At this time Satan begins stage 6 of his plan to discredit God and destroy God's plan for the promotion of the Messiah and the people of Israel.

Stage 1 is Satan's attack on man in the garden.

Stage 2 is Satan's attack on the line of the Messiah between
Adam and Jacob.

Stage 3 includes all Satan's attacks on the Messianic promise
and the line of Messiah as it was narrowed down
to the nation of Israel. (represented at Rev. 12:2)

Stage 4 includes all Satan's attacks on the Messiah at the
1st advent and is represented at Rev. 12:4-5

Stage 5 includes Satan's attacks on the church from AD 30
until he is kicked out of heaven (1 Pet. 5:8).
This is represented at Rev. 12:10.

"for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down,
who accuses them before our God day and night."
(This is viewed as his present activity)

Stage 6 includes Satan's attacks during the great tribulation and will end with the Day of the LORD judgments which culminate in Satan being chained in the abyss for 1000 years.
(Rev.20:1-3) Rev. 12:12-13

Stage 7 is carried out when Satan is released from the abyss at the end of Messiah's 1000 year kingdom. Rev.20:7-10


So when Satan is kicked out, his primary concern is to attack the Messianic people whom God has chosen to inherit the earthly kingdom.

Rev. 12:13

And when the dragon saw
that he was thrown down to the earth,
he persecuted the woman
who gave birth to the child.


Prior to this, the "mystery of lawlessness" which is "already at work" in the world (2 Thes. 2:7), had been restrained from such intensity of oppressive action against Israel, by Michael, the guardian angel of Israel. But once this battle takes place and Satan is kicked down to the earth, Michael stands aside and now allows him to carry out his own agenda as a final "last ditch" attempt to defeat the plan and character of God.

Rev. 12:12
"knowing that he has only a short time."

THE RESTRAINER of 2 THES. 2:6-7

2 Thes. 2.5-7
Do you not remember that while I was with you,
I was telling you these things?
And you know what restrains him now,
so that in his time he may be revealed.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work;
only he who now restrains will do so
until he is taken out of the way.

The key in this passage is to recognize that the information regarding the man of lawlessness is viewed from a context concerning ISRAEL and the temple of God in Jerusalem.

TRANSLATION and Commentary:
At 2 Thes. 2:6-7, there are two places where we must add some "helping" words in order to smooth out what the Greek says.

1. In the first clause: And now you know -

A. What do they know? The Greek just says, "the (thing) restraining".

1. This is because we have a present active participle plus a NEUTER definite article, so that it must be either as above or as, "the restraining."

2. Is Paul suggesting that they actually KNOW the restrainer? The Greek seems to indicate that, as well as the NASB translation, "what restrains him now."

3. What they know is based on v.5 where Paul reminds them that he was telling them about these things while he was present with them.

4. The point being, that they know of the reality of this restraining activity.

5. The word, "now" goes with the restraining. There is nothing in the context that suggests their knowledge is something that is "now" acquired, but rather knowledge about something that is NOW or presently going on. Thus, what is restraining at the present time. This is further confirmed by the contrast with the next clause, "that he may be revealed IN HIS TIME." The idea of NOW is contrasted with a FUTURE, "in his time."

B. Let me suggest the addition of either: "there is" or even "that there is," or as the NASB renders it, "what." Thus, "And (what is, or that there is) now the restraining, you know."

C. The neuter suggests that the focus is on the "function" of restraining rather than the one who actually does it. Especially since the next time the "idea" of restraint is mentioned (v.7) , the masculine form is used. This sets up a contrast to indicate an amplification beyond the "activity" of restraining to the "agent" of restraint. Thus, the translation, "the restraining" is best.

D. The translation continues, "so that he can be revealed in his time." This refers to the beast AT the point of his revealing, which is the midpoint of the week when he takes his seat in the temple.

2. The last clause also requires an addition of words.

A. What seems to fit best is "there is."

B. But this time we have a present active participle, Masculine singular WITH the masculine singular definite article (the) which requires it to be translated as "the one restraining" or "the restrainer," as long as we make it a "person" and a "he" at that.

C. That is why the pronoun in the verb (becomes) must be rendered as "he" because it corresponds with the masculine form of the restrainer.

D. This then goes beyond the "function" of restraining in v. 6 and speaks of the actual "person" who is doing the restraining.

E. The idea that the pronoun of the verb, "becomes (or comes)," refers to a different subject than "restrainer" does not agree with the context.

1. First, the nearest subject is what is in view UNLESS the context indicates CLEARLY otherwise.

2. But the whole idea of "restraint" is EXPLAINED by the clause, "comes out of the middle." It is that "coming out" that constitutes the removal of the restraint and allows the revealing of the man of lawlessness.

3. Notice the parallels:

a. V. 6, restrains - revealed
b. V. 7-8, restrains, comes out, revealed.

Once we establish that the restrainer IS indeed a "person" we then need to determine "WHO" exactly he is and from what "middle" he comes. Our choices are God (in general), The Spirit (specifically), Michael the archangel, and anyone else who might "fit the bill."

The use of the masculine for restrainer, rules out the idea that it refers to the church for the church is never spoken of as a "he."

OUT OF THE MIDDLE

Literally: Until HE (necessary now) becomes (or comes) out from the middle.
The middle of what?

1. The middle of the activity which is described as "the mystery of lawlessness" presently working in the world. This mystery of lawlessness is Satan's plan to discredit and usurp God's character and plan.

2. IN other words, the restrainer is in the middle of the advance of lawlessness, placing a restraint on the activities of Satan who is seeking to destroy God's chosen people, Israel, and Christ's ambassadors, the church. So far, he has been "limited" in that endeavor, although both groups have been severely oppressed since 30 AD.

3. But there will come a time in the plan of God when the restraint will be removed, and the restrained one, knowing that his time is short will endeavor to "pull no punches" as he tries to establish himself as the fulfillment of the Messianic promises made to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

4. In the meantime then, there is a very real and powerful restraint and restrainer preventing the man of lawlessness from beginning his oppressive reign which starts as an attack against God's chosen nation of Israel and extends world-wide as this man seeks to establish his own Messianic kingdom separate and independent from God.

It makes perfect sense that the restrainer comes out of the middle of the advance of lawlessness in the world. Not because he is a "part" of that lawlessness, but because he is actively engaged in "holding it in check" until the perfect timing within the plan of God.

God is not the restrainer, directly, for he is not going to come out of the progress of those "lawless" events here on the earth.

And the Spirit is not coming out of those events nor out of the world.

Who of all that we find in scripture is actively involved in the spiritual conflict between God and Satan who is shown to have a direct bearing on "when" this oppression by the man of lawlessness begins?

There must be a reason why John tells us about the war in heaven and the fact that Michael kicks Satan to the earth - which is what actually precipitates the "revealing" of the man of lawlessness (Rev. 12:7-17).

Furthermore the "frame of reference" of these people would know about Daniel 12. It would be included in what Paul taught (2 Thes. 2:5, "I was telling you these things).

At Daniel 12:1, "And at that time (the time of the end) Michael, the great prince (guardian angel of Israel) who stands over (present function) the sons of your people, will stand up (and away - implied, because of what happens). And there will be a time of distress (the oppression by the man of lawlessness) . . ."

This "standing up" perfectly corresponds with what Michael does at Rev. 12 when he kicks Satan out to the earth at the mid point of the week.

Daniel 12:1,

"And at that time (the time of the end) Michael,
the great prince (guardian angel of Israel)
who stands over (present function) the sons of your people,
will stand up (and away, implied, because of what happens).
And there will be a time of distress
(the oppression by the man of lawlessness) . "

 

THE RESTRAINER STEPS ASIDE

Daniel 12:1

1. "Now at that time . . ."
That time refers to the general time of the end mentioned at Dan. 11:35, which is the 70th week of Daniel. It does not refer to the specific event mentioned in the previous verse but to the over-all general period of time introduced at v. 11:35 as the "end time."

2. "Michael, the great prince who stands (as guardian) over the sons of your people, will stand up (or ASIDE) . . ."


Michael is the guardian angel of Israel as demonstrated from Dan. 10:13 and 21 as well as the first part of Dan. 12:1. But the 2nd part of this verse indicates that something different takes place. The rendering in most translations for "stand aside" is stand up. The Hebrew word for stand (Amadh) occurs two times in this verse, but with a different focus the second time. The idea presented is that, Michael, who clearly "stands over" Israel in a protective capacity, will cease that protective activity so that the result will be a time of distress for Israel that is unparalleled in history. The best way to summarize the significance here is to quote from Marvin Rosenthal's, The PreWrath Rapture of the Church, page 258.

"But what does the Hebrew word for 'stand up' (Amadh) mean?
Rashi, one of Israel's greatest scholars and one who had no
concern regarding the issue of the timing of the rapture
under discussion in this book, understood 'stand up' to
literally mean 'stand still.' The meaning, according to one
of Israel's greatest scholars, would be to 'stand aside' or
'be inactive.' Michael, the guardian of Israel, had earlier
fought for her (Dan. 10:13,21), but now this one 'who
standeth for the children of thy [Daniel's] people' would
stand still or stand aside. He would not restrain; he would
not hold down. The Midrash, commenting on this verse, says, "The Holy One, Blessed be He, said to Michael, 'you are silent? You do not defend my children?'"


Continuing at Dan. 12:1,

3. "And there will be a time of distress such as never
occurred since there was a nation until that time;. . ."


The cause of the time of distress is Satan, who "having great wrath," uses the man of lawlessness to oppress both Israel and the church.

Rev. 12:12,
"Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come
down to you, having great wrath . . ."


Notice at 2 Thes. 2, what results when this "restrainer" is removed.

V.4, "who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God."

V. 9-10, "the one whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders and with all the deception of wickedness . . ."

And this is what happens at Mat. 24:15 and 21,

"Therefore when you see the abomination of desolation
which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet,
standing in the Holy Place . . .
for then there will be a great tribulation. . ."

4. ". . and at that time your people, everyone who
is found written in the book, will be rescued."

Again, we have the phrase, "at that time," and it still refers to the general time period began at verse 11:35. However, several things take place within this over-all time period and there is a chronological progression in Daniel 12:1-3.

A. First is the standing aside of Michael

B. Then, the time of distress

C. Then the rescue which is the protection of the "woman" at Rev. 12.

D. Then the resurrection in two general categories.

1. The just at the day of the Lord return of Jesus

2. The unjust after the millennial reign of Jesus.

E. Then the believers who are alive after the beast is conquered "will shine brightly" in the kingdom (v. 3).


This rescue is in reference to faithful Israel who will be delivered from the oppressive reign of the beast when Jesus returns at the Day of the LORD. The nation will then undergo the final stage of God's purifying process to prepare them to inherit the physical kingdom over which Jesus will reign for 1000 years.

The church also will be delivered at this time, but through removal from the earth by rapture. However, the deliverance of the church is not in view at Daniel 12:1. Only the nation of Israel can be viewed as "your (Daniel's) people." The church would not qualify under that designation.

So once he finds himself kicked out of heaven and limited now to the earth, he feels the time of his demise approaching fast upon his heels and must take major steps to escape his assigned destiny, the lake of fire (Mat. 25:32).

Rev. 12:12

"Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has
come down to you, having great wrath,
knowing that he has a short time."

 
 
 

Questions and comments are always welcome

Return to BIBLE FRAGRANCES index

 

 

İRon Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,
but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's consent.

 

Home | Recent Additions | Studies | Commentary

 

Prophecy | Articles | Topical | About Us