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Saturday, 12 August 2017

PRE-TRIB ABSURDITY AND THE RESTRAINER OF LAWLESSNESS

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7) KJV 

William J Rowlands (author and missionary), wrote some extraordinary papers regarding the unscriptural position of the "any moment" rapture. These papers were published by the editors of the magazine Watching and Waiting in 1929. The following year, Rowlands issued them in the book "The Lord Cometh". Rowlands became an advocate of the "one-only second coming of the Lord" and was influenced by Darby's adversary BW Newton. {1} 

Writing about the absurdity of the pre-trib rapture, William J Rowlands wrote:

"Truly, the Restrainer of lawlessness is God. But the words under discussion are, 'until he be taken out of the way..' In vain does anyone read into this verse the removal of the church, for the church is not even mentioned. Neither can we plead for the words, 'taken' and 'way,' for there is nothing equivalent to them in the Greek of the text." {1}

We find "
until he be taken out of the way" in most bible translations. The offending word "taken" tacked on to genetai is from ginomai = I come into being, am born, become, come about, happen. {2} 


WJ Rowlands: "..the word 'taken' upon which their own theory leans for support, really represents no Greek word in the text at all, but is simply an addition to the words of Holy Scripture. {1}

The Greek text reads:

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let,
until           he be          out of      the midst
heos           genetai       ek            mesou


The previous verse indicates that the man of lawlessness will be "revealed in his time". (2 Thessalonians 2:6). I think this gives an important clue what is actually meant by the Greek text in verse 7. The two verses in question are more accurately translated:

And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he comes out of the midst. (2 Thessalonians 2:6-7).

Further clues to the meaning of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 are found in the book of Daniel, where the Archangel Michael is identified as the protector of Israel:

At that time shall arise (amad) Michael, the great prince who has charge of your people. And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never has been since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, everyone whose name shall be found written in the book. (Daniel 12:1).

The Hebrew word is
amad = stand. At the right time (in God's timing), Michael, the protector of Israel, will stop restraining the mystery of lawlessness i.e. he will stand aside in order to allow the embodiment of sin, the man of lawlessness (the Antichrist) to be revealed. (2 Thessalonians 2:3). This event will facilitate the great tribulation, when unrestrained evil will be unleashed upon the earth. (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14).

Michael's defeat of Satan in Revelation 12 sheds further light on the events that will cause the onset of the great tribulation. Michael and his angels defeat the dragon (Satan) in Revelation 12:7–17, resulting in him and his fallen angels being thrown down to earth. Satan comes down to the earth in great wrath knowing his time is short. (Revelation 12:12). For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (Matthew 24:21 cf. Daniel 12:1). Initially Satan directs his wrath against the woman (Israel), but being thwarted, he turns his attention towards believers. (Revelation 12:13-17). Clearly, the rapid escalation of unrestrained evil will come as a terrible shock to Christians duped into the false hope of a pre-trib rapture. One can only imagine the fear, shock and unbelief that will kick in at that point, when the falsely predicted and highly anticipated "imminent" rapture comes to nothing, and severe persecution and martyrdom becomes an imminent reality. The result will be apostasy, backpedalling and betrayal. At that time, false teachers will literally crawl out of the woodwork with a "different gospel", that will be specifically tailored to avoid the Antichrist's persecution. (Matthew 24:10-11 cf. 2 Corinthians 11:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:11). 


Those who argue the case for the Holy Spirit as the Restrainer are, by and large, false pre-trib rapture teachers such as Thomas Ice (PTRC), the Assemblies of God, the PWMI and the Berean Call. There are a number of valid reasons that preclude the Holy Spirit from the role of Restrainer however. The Holy Spirit is the Comforter who will be with believers forever. (John 14:16, 26; 15:26). The Holy Spirit is omnipresent, being simultaneously present in the throne room of God and on the earth. (Revelation 1:4, 3:1, 4:5, 5:6). {4} True believers will be given words to speak from the Holy Spirit in order to bear witness during the great tribulation: ..for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.. (Luke 12:11; 21:13). Since it is impossible for anyone to be saved without the ministry of the Holy Spirit, how will anyone be saved during the 70th week of Daniel in His supposed absence? (Revelation 7:4; 11:3; 14:6-7). The Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin and righteousness and judgement. (John 16:8-9). Evidence that the Holy Spirit will be on the earth throughout the 70th week is therefore compelling. 

In addition to the biblical evidence for Michael, according to the rabbinic Jewish tradition, Michael acts as the advocate and protector of Israel. {3}

I do not think it is critical to identify the Restrainer definitively. Having said that however, the pre-trib rapture view sets believers up for a terrible fall, since it has them being "taken" along with the Holy Spirit seven years prior to the Parousia. (Matthew 24:10).

Jacob Prasch's Intra-Seal notion is even more bizarre than the pre-trib view, if that is possible! Prasch has become a master eisegete with his
"Reversal of Pentecost" theory. {5} Intra-Seal 
is an unoriginal pick and mix offering, with material plagiarised from both the pre-trib and pre-wrath views. I cannot account for Prasch's motives in promoting such falsehoods, apart from my suspicion that he wishes to create further confusion to an already highly charged debate!

4 comments:

Irving S. said...

Thanks for the excellent, readable, and totally scriptural statement which you have just given to all of us, Treena. You are much needed in this trying hour!

Treena Gisborn said...

Thank you Irv. God bless.

colin said...

Rowlands book "Our Lord Cometh" is a most excellent refutation of the two-stage Second Coming of the Lord Jesus.

I did read this work some years ago, and am currently reading/studying it again. I would rather say that it was Darby who was Newton's adversary; I don't believe that I have read from a more gracious pen!
I believe Rowlands exegesis on the verse in question can stand the closest scriptural scrutiny. It gives great clarity to the eschatological climax of the age.

You would think by now that pre-tribulationism would have collapsed under the weight of its many and manifest errors, but sadly not!

God bless.

Treena Gisborn said...

The verse in question is quite an eye opener as you say Colin. It is amazing how one word can make such a difference to the meaning of the scriptures.
God bless.