THE RESTRAINER OF THE LAWLESS ONE

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. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one (Antichrist) is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.2 Thessalonians 7-12

Many interpreters understand the Restrainer mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–8 as the Holy Spirit, Satan, or the government. There are good reasons, however, to view the Restrainer as Michael, the Archangel.

1. Contemporary Jewish literature during Paul’s time viewed the characteristics of Michael having eschatological pre-eminence as the chief opponent of Satan and Restrainer of God’s people.

2. Michael is viewed as a celestial restrainer of God’s people in Daniel 10–12, the passage serving as the source for Paul’s exposition in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–8.

3. Daniel’s use of the Hebrew term ʿmd comports with the ceasing activity of the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7.

4. The Greek term parerchomai in Daniel 12:1 of the Septuagint (LXX) means, “to pass by,” which corresponds with the ceasing of restraint in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7.

5. Early Rabbinic interpretation of Daniel 12:1 perceived Michael as “passing aside” or “withdrawing” just after Antichrist’s establishment near or at the temple mount (Dan 11:45), and just before the eschatological unequaled tribulation against God’s people (Dan 12:1).

6. Revelation 12:7–17 supports viewing Michael as the Restrainer because it links the cessation of Michael’s war against the dragon with the unprecedented persecution of God’s people, which is consistent with 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7 and Daniel 11:45–12:1.

Given these reasons the only candidate which can explain the Restrainer being removed is Michael. Other proposals for the Restrainer are hard-pressed to comport with those roles. Thus, the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7 is very likely referring to Michael the archangel as the Restrainer, whose ministry ceases and causes the eschatological temple to be desolated by Antichrist, ensued by his great tribulation against God’s people.

The Michael interpretation is not a new, since there has been about a dozen theologians and scholars over the last hundred years who have taken this position, even Robert Van Kampen a pioneer of the pewrath position held to this view.

But it was not until the year 2000 that a young Thessalonian scholar by the name of Colin R. Nicholl who came along that would, for many scholars, put the nail in the coffin on the Restrainer debate.

In the April 2000 volume of The Journal of Theological Studies, Colin R. Nicholl published the seminal article, “Michael, The Restrainer Removed (2 Thess. 2:6-7),” arguing strongly that Michael is the Restrainer. After his journal article was published Nicholl published it as an appendix in his important monograph (which was his dissertation) From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica: Situating 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Alan Kurschner of Eschatos Ministries has just put up a new website devoted to this topic therestrainer.com. Alan is known for his defence of the PreWrath Rapture position which I support. This is his article on the identity of the Restrainer.

GOSPEL PREACHED TO ALL THE WORLD

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.Matthew 24:-14

How, when and by whom is this gospel of the kingdom preached in all the world as a witness to all nations just prior to the end?

Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgement has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” Revelation 14:6-7

It will be one of three angels that God sends out with messages for all peoples on earth just prior to the wrath of God being poured out on the unrepentant.

In Revelation, at the completion of his commentary on the opening of the sixth seal, John says, “For the great day of His wrath has come; and who is able to stand?”

The Rapture of the saints happens at the seventh seal just prior to the wrath of God being poured out with the trumpet and bowl judgements.

JOEL’S PROPHECY PROVIDES “BOOKENDS” FOR THE CHURCH AGE

CHURCH CONCEIVED AT PENTECOST

“After all of this I will pour out my Spirit on all kinds of people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy. Your elderly will have revelatory dreams; your young men will see prophetic visions. Even on male and female servants I will pour out my Spirit in those days.Joel 2:28-29

Pentecost, The Outpouring of Holy Spirit and The Feast of Harvest ...

CHURCH COMPLETED AT THE DAY OF THE LORD

I will produce portents both in the sky and on the earth– blood, fire, and columns of smoke. The sunlight will be turned to darkness and the moon to the colour of blood, before the day of the LORD comes—that great and terrible day! Joel 2:30–31

Peter’s understanding of Joel’s prophecy construes it as “bookends” of the church age. The first part with the pouring out the Spirit on all people at Pentecost is a sign that God is doing a new redemptive work as the church age is conceived.

When the second part of the prophecy happens, it is a sign that the church age is completedThe consistent message in Scripture concerning the celestial disturbance event is their function to signal the future two-fold event of the deliverance of the saints and the impending day of the Lord’s wrath (see Luke 21:25–28; Matt 24:22–31; Mark 13:20–27; Rev 6:12—8:5; Joel 2:31). Luke and Matthew are shown below but makes sure you check out Revelation 6:12 to 8:5.

And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.” Luke 21:25-28

Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” Matthew 24:29-31

STOCK MARKET MADNESS

Chart of the Large-cap US Technology Companies. Why is it up 36% in the last two months?

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Christian DeHaemer is the founder of Bull and Bust Report and an editor at Energy and Capital. Christian says he has no idea. As he explains, rational thoughts no longer apply. There was a time when creating money out of thin air was bad, much less creating $6 trillion or 25% of GDP.  

There was a time when 30 million unemployed was bad. One might think a new cold war with your largest trading partner, China, might be bad for stocks. Not to mention, a hundred thousand new dead bodies packing the morgues. But no, it appears that these things are good for stocks. Our thinking has been all wrong. It seems we need more broken stuff and more money printing. Forgive all the student debt. Bailout the universities. Give $2,000 a month to all the folks. A trillion for the airlines –– billions for Ford, Hudson, and Studebaker –– more for Carnival Cruise Lines and Blackrock. Bailout Chicago, Detroit, and West Cucamonga. Heck, all those municipal employees are good hard-working people. People like money and the Fed can just print it! Let’s give the people what they want. It will be fine… 

Christian is right rational thought no longer applies and commonsense tells you the outcome can’t be good. More government control is certain and no longer is the prophesied end times, “Mark of the Beast” fanciful.

GREATEST BIBLE PROPHECY EVER

Seems like an outrageous claim, but it is hard to discount the case made by Nelson Walters, a friend and a man I greatly admire. I am confident you will agree this is another great video from Nelson. It’s on an amazing prophecy which reveals that we are living in Biblical end times with Jesus return less than 100 years distant. Nelson mentions the early church father, Barnabus, but I would include Justin Martyr, Irenaeus and Lactantius. They all held to the sexta-septamillennial construct which is that the days of creation are prophetically one thousand years (with the Lord one day is as a thousand years). Hence, six thousand years of earths history is followed by the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. At the end of which will be the destruction of this earth, the second resurrection and the White Throne Judgement. The new heaven and new earth will then herald the start of the eighth thousand year of man’s history and eternity with our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.

This Scripture from 2 Peter is such an important “end times” pointer.

“That you may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior, knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts, and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of creation.” For this they wilfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of water and in the water, by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for fire until the day of judgement and perdition of ungodly men.
But, beloved, do not forget this one thing, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” 2 Peter 3:2-8

 

LIVING ETERNAL NOW

When I first started this website four years ago now, it was because God wanted me to alert believers to live their lives with an eternal focus. Too many were living their lives with their total focus on the here and now. Today, I received a Holy Spirit download, it was like the pat on the back you would receive from your father when you have done something well. It was confirmation from Him that the website “Living Eternal Now” is right on target with what He is doing in the world right now. Now is the time for Christians to start living their life with an eternal focus. Hopefully, you already are. Covid 19 virus is just the start of the shaking God is initiating to refine His church and make the world realise that they and governments are not in control.

END TIMES SIGNS: The parable of the ten virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13), which Jesus told the disciples as part of his answer to their question about what will be the “end times” signs before Jesus establishes His Kingdom on earth, reveals the sad state of the church at that time. All ten virgins were asleep whilst waiting for the bridegroom (Jesus) to come, and worse still, half did not have oil (Holy Spirit) in their lamps (they were not saved even though they thought they were) so Jesus said to them, “depart from Me I don’t know you”. Think on that, half of the people in churches today are unsaved.

How many Christians do you know that are living their life as if Jesus return is imminent, and they want His acknowledgement of a job well done?

If you, or your friends, need help to transform their lives to be in the “acceptable and perfect will of God” then can I suggest you go to the website transformed working life where you will find great free resources made available by the International Christian Chamber of Commerce (ICCC).

ICCC has been raised up by God for such a time as this. For business men and women who want to connect with like minded, committed people of God please go to http://www.iccc.net.

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” Romans 12:2

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Go to the website http://www.transformedworkinglife.net for free resources for the people of God to come forth in their Calling and manifest the Kingdom of God in their working Life.

How would your workplace be changed if the presence and power of God was regularly manifest?
​What would your business or working life look like if you experienced God’s Kingdom breaking out around you?
How would your day be different if you had a greater sense of the leading of the Holy Spirit?

IS THIS THE BEGINNING OF BIRTH PANGS?

Maybe so, if it is, then it is exciting, because that means Jesus’s return may even be in my lifetime! But it is also sober because much of the church is utterly unprepared, ignorant, and distracted. Two relevant scriptures are:

“He said, ‘Watch out that you are not misled. For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am he,’ and, ‘The time is near.’ Do not follow them! And when you hear of wars and rebellions, do not be afraid. For these things must happen first, but the end will not come at once. Then he said to them, ‘Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues [loimoi]* in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.’” (Luke 21:8–11)

“You will hear of wars and rumours of wars. Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come. For nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these things are the beginning of birth pains.” (Matthew 24:6–8)

The following thoughts from Dr Alan Kurshner of Eschatos Ministries are worth considering:

“The recent locust storm causing some famine in Africa may meet Jesus prediction but it may suggest a broader geographical famine. If the recent global virus is identified with “plagues” (loimoi), it might qualify, but I think the biblical statement indicates an exponentially more devastating plague. There certainly is a spike of earthquakes but not frequent “great earthquakes.” If these are all part of the beginning of “the beginning of the birth pangs,” then we should expect two more events: a spate of wars and a spate of false christs emerging.

Until then, I don’t believe we are experiencing “the beginning of birth pangs”. Keep in mind that the beginning of birth-pang events will not unfold piecemeal but rather will be a cluster of these events that will occur at the same time, which only makes sense of Jesus’s admonition: “Make sure that you are not alarmed, for this must happen, but the end is still to come.” In addition, I am inclined to believe the beginning of birth pangs (which I identify as the first three seals) will occur during the first half of the seventieth week of Daniel after the Beast will confirm a covenant for seven years (Dan 9:27). However, I have never been dogmatic on this, since the beginning of birth pangs may begin before the seven year period.”

In the meantime, as saints of the Most High, we live with holy expectation of our Lord’s return. This should inspire us to make sure that we daily seek God’s will and wisdom in all things. To be about our Father’s business to warn the lost that they need to repent of their sins. To recognise they have rejected their Creator, our Heavenly Father and the sacrifice of His son, Jesus, so they may have eternal life.

“Remember, I have told you ahead of time” (Matt 24:25).

GOD AT WORK 2

More and more Christians are realising the need to warn the church of the coming increased persecution of Jews and Christians as we approach the prophesied “end times” tribulation and then great tribulation prior to Jesus return.

My brother in Christ, Futon Sheen in his recent Newsletter, Coronavirus Reality v Perception & World Markets said the following:

“These are all shakings which scripture has clearly articulated would happen as the time of Christ’s return draws near. As Christians grounded in scripture, we should understand and expect this and not be anxious or fearful.  That is not the case for unbelievers and governments which follow their own hearts and put their faith in themselves and the external world which surrounds them, they have much to fear. Hosea 4:6 says, My people are destroyed for lack of understanding, and people fear what they don’t understand. Over 350 times scripture says “do not fear,” as fear is the opposite of faith, but it is the automatic default of the flesh when something suddenly interrupts our expectations of what we think should be happening. This is why social media, news media, governments, markets and individuals tend to overreact to whatever is going on around them.

The times described in Matthew 24, Luke 21 and Mark 13, which Jesus said would come, are upon us and God is shaking everything that can be shaken. We need to do what these passages tell us, which is to be watchful and prepared, so that we won’t be caught off guard, fearful, confused, or manipulated by the circumstances and situations swirling around us. We need to pray for eyes that see, ears that hear and a mind that comprehends what’s going on in the spiritual realm, so we can wisely, peacefully and methodically walk out what Jesus tells us to do.

AMERICA WAS NEVER GREAT!

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The US educational system has replaced the teaching of American history with anti-American propaganda, a trend in the universities that has trickled down into high schools and elementary schools. Some schools ignore history and civics altogether, leaving students ignorant of their Christian heritage and thus susceptible to the propagandists. In addition, the teaching of evolution and not creation/intelligent design has resulted in this generation turning away from God and His values. He is no longer relevant. However, Satan’s original deception of Eve is still relevant :

“Then the serpent said to the woman, “You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” Genesis 3:4-5

The first statement was certainly a lie and the second equally disastrous; believing she can be like God.

The VOC poll (Voice of the Customer Survey). . . found that only 57 percent of millennial’s believe the Declaration of Independence “better guarantees freedom and equality” than the Communist Manifesto. . . .

It is the reason Bernie Sanders with his socialist agenda is so popular with this generation.

Executive editor of the Federalist (and LCMS member) Joy Pullman suggests that as this generation that loved their country through World War II and the Baby Boomers who lived through the Cold War die out, the proportion of Americans who disapprove of their own country and what it stands for will increase.  At some point, the nation might become so delegitimatised in the eyes of its citizens that it dissolves.  This is what happened to the Soviet Union.  A new nation would be established in its place, with the Constitution being repealed and a different kind of government devised to replace it.  Since free, democratic republics are rare in human history, the new American order would probably be a reversion to some kind of authoritarianism or totalitarianism.

For Christians Jesus end times prophecies are beginning to unfold:

“Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.” Matthew 24:9-13

END TIMES PROPHECY

I don’t often recommend books but this one is a must read for those interested in knowing what the Bible says about the end times. It will be a particularly valuable read for those that have been disappointed by end times authors that have proven to be misleading, if not totally wrong. Travis Snow covers a lot of ground in his book which will give you a solid eschatological foundation and encourage you to personally delve further yourself into the Scriptures, which is always profitable.

  • Why the concept of an End-Times Exodus is such a prominent theme in the Bible.
  • The truth about the Antichrist (the End-Times Pharaoh) and where he will come from.
  • Key events that will take place in Israel and the Middle East in the days ahead.
  • How the theology of the book of Revelation is linked to the End-Times Passover.
  • A straightforward chronology that explains Revelation and the timing of the Rapture.
  • How Passover is related to the famous Battle of Gog of Magog in Ezekiel 38-39.
  • The forgotten story of what Jesus is really going to do when He returns, including how He will act as a Miracle-Working New Moses on behalf of His people.
  • The prophecies that prove Jesus will go down into Egypt before He establishes His kingdom.
  • The steps the Lord’s people can take today to prepare for the end times and the Tribulation.