Thursday, July 10, 2014

Oliver B. Greene on Pre-trib rapture

Oliver B. Greene published a wonderful verse-by-verse exposition of Daniel in 1964. I've enjoyed reading it, because the book of Daniel is so hard for me to interpret. I was struck by Mr Green's certainty and fervency regarding the pre-tribulation rapture.

A Pre-Trib rapture is biblically correct. The rapture itself has been in the bible all along, notwithstanding assertions that it was a made-up doctrine from the 1800s. And the rapture's timing happening prior to the Tribulation has always been biblically evident too. It was only lately that man began to shy away from the clear teaching of this and muddy the waters to the extent that people now are hesitant to be dogmatic about it- so much so that they think they are being pious to show uncertainty. Look at Mr Greene's statement on the subject (I kept his exact emphases):
The Great Tribulation has nothing to do with the church; the Church will not enter or go through any part of that terrible time. Any preacher or teacher who suggests that the bride of Christ will be subjected to any part of the reign of the Antichrist is definitely wrongly dividing the Word of Truth. God pity the preacher who will accuse Jesus of allowing the Antichrist to reign over His bride-and the Church IS the bride of Christ!

We have the blessed promise, "Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell on the earth." (Revelation 3:10).

In the writings of Paul we are promised. "For God hath not appointed us to WRATH, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thess. 5:9). The Great Tribulation has to do with the nation of Israel, not with the Church.

If the Church were to enter or go through any part of the tribulation, believers would be commanded to watch for Antichrist, not for THE CHRIST. We would be commanded to watch for the great tribulation, not to wait for God's Son from heaven. (1 Thess. 1:10).


23 comments:

  1. Also, be wary of those who write best-selling books on end-time prophecy and who seek to either hide or downplay their real views on the Rapture and its timing. For example, while I love and respect Joel Richardson as a brother in Christ and for his work and contributions, he made these statements:

    "While I do believe that pastorally speaking, the pre-trib view is potentially very very dangerous..."

    "I do believe that the rapture and the resurrection are one and the same. I also believe that the return of Jesus and the resurrection are one and the same."

    I could find more, but there's no point. He is one more popular author who insists on flopping around in the pre-wrath/post-trib milieu, and I want to emphasize that this in and of itself is *NOT* what gets under my skin. I refuse to pillory a brother in Christ for simply holding a sincere but differing view of the timing of the Rapture.

    But what *does* get under my skin is the attitude of not being forthright about it in order to sell books and build a ministry. How I wish that just once someone like him would just come out and be straight up: it's about the money. The simple, black-and-white reason is the green. They always say it's because they want people to focus solely on their theories or arguments without the added distraction of the Rapture, but to me it comes across as a rather flimsy smokescreen. (If the Rapture and its timing are a "distraction" from what you're teaching, then perhaps there are a few problems with what you're teaching, n'est ce pas?)

    And he's quite right. Good business acumen. If I find out an author is not pre-trib, then I am indeed less likely to buy that person's books, and the reason is simple:

    If he's got *that* wrong, then heaven only knows what else he's got wrong.

    Doctrinal errors never exist in a vacuum--they've got friends.

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    1. Yes, I'm disappointed from when I learned that Joel was pre-wrath/a-trib (a-trib is the word for if you don't believe the Church will escape the Tribulation in the rapture, right?) and continuationist. Thankfully, while those are errors, we know from careful study that many other theologians and Bible scholars can diverge from us on those doctrines but still be orthodox in their soteriology and other essentials. Which is simply to say, I think Richardson is someone discerning saints can learn from as a brother, they just need to be mindful not to absorb every thing he would say on those two subjects.

      Which I don't think is in disagreement with what you said; I'm just adding my opinion on to the pile.

      What I have gotten, and intend to use Richardson's research to get, is limited to his Scriptural studies as to the potential identity of nations and alliances mentioned in eschatological passages: who is the King of the North and the King of the South, is the Psalm 83 war distinct from that war and what is the timeline, etc. So because he's not my sole source for analysis of Biblical subjects across-the-board, I'm not afraid of letting myself be subject to error, presently.

      And I also agree with your suspicion...if someone's continuationist and doesn't believe in a rapture, considering their otherwise careful study of passages, might this indicate a deep-seated flaw in their reasoning, affecting their interpretation of those other passages?

      I didn't buy The Islamic Antichrist, btw. I got it online for free, because Joel had made the first edition available to Answering-Islam.org. :)

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    2. Thanks for the term "a-trib," which I haven't seen before. I actually like it--it's simple, it's to the point, and it's accurate and descriptive. It's a bit like "anti-pre-trib," but not as clumsy. I promise to do my part in helping it catch on. =:)

      You know, Hakam, here's the thing. Maybe some of these guys *do* have some insight. Maybe they *have* seen some things others haven't seen in Scripture. I don't have a problem with that.

      The problem is that in order to write their bestselling books and develop their worldwide ministries (which is the holy grail for them), they have to develop their theories into full-blown prophetic scenarios and in the process they virtually *have* to go beyond what Scripture actually says, at least a little. They have to push the speculative envelope to sell books, which can become more important than bringing the Savior to a lost and dying world.

      And who's to blame? We are.

      It seems the Church will eagerly gobble up whatever is set before it as long as it's got the name of Christ slapped on it, and it purports to unlock the secrets of Scripture and develop them into a thrilling end-time scenario that we need to watch for.

      May we seek to do nothing but continually humble ourselves before our awesome God, and seek only to know Him and to glorify Him with our entire beings.

      Not much else matters at this point--it's too late in the game.

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  2. Hey Elizabeth, I found Oliver B. Greene's book on Daniel about 20 years ago! I'm going to get it out again.
    Pam

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  3. I so enjoy your very thoughtful blog. I always find these types of discussions interesting. We are called to suffer, but not to suffer the wrath of God I believe. In the end though, I have to remind myself that the timing of the rapture is a question most easily debated by we Christians in a relatively comfortable time and place. Our hope is that Jesus will return for us before great suffering is at hand. I cannot imagine that our North Korean, Chinese, Sudanese, Iranian or Eritrean Christian brothers and sisters, meeting in the dark of night, tortured in prison, or facing execution have discussions about whether the rapture will precede the Great Tribulation. They are facing their tribulation now. May we, no matter our eschatology, follow the example of so many of them, and be faithful to our Lord to the end, no matter what we suffer or when we suffer it.

    Keep up the good work!

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    1. "We are called to suffer, but not to suffer the wrath of God I believe."

      You're right, and let me help you not just believe it but be confident. All you need is two passages:

      1 Thess 5:9 For God has not appointed us to suffer wrath

      Rev 6:17 The great Day of His Wrath has come, and who can stand?

      Ba-bing and ba-boom (Frielian quirk) :)

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    2. actually the church is not heard of again after 4 in book of revelation when God tells John to come up hither. that is the theory of the pre tribulation rapture. also the rapture and tribulation goes along with the jewish feasts and you can find more info from perry stone who has spent over 30 yrs learning about prophecy and how everything in Bible is centered around jewish customs and jewish feasts.

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  4. Revelations 6:17 is about the sixth seal so presumably the tribulation has already started at that point. What you revealing is a "prewrath" point of view (meaning God's wrath which starts at the sixth seal and not Satan's wrath which starts at the first seal).

    Ba-bing and ba-boom.
    ~hopeful_watcher

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    1. Revelation 6 (singular, no 's') begins the Lamb's wrath. This is seen in Rev 6:1. Satan might get angry about stuff but the wrath delivered in this apocalyptic book is God's wrath from start to finish.

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    2. Yes, of course, Revelation as singular. Thank you for that correction.

      Just because the lamb opens the seal, does not mean its God's wrath that is being dispensed. It just means that God allows it to happen and will use it for His ultimate purpose. Job is a perfect example of this. God permitted Satan to sift Job, but this was in no way an action of God's wrath against Job.

      To believe seals one through four is done as an act of the will of God (rather than an act of Satan that God uses for His divine plan) we would have to believe that God desires for man to be killed by the sword as in the second seal. Never!!

      Moreover, the tribulation saints in seal five are pleading with God to bring retribution against the perpatraitors of those responsible for seal one through four. This makes no sense if God is the one responsible in dispensing wrath. Shall God smite himself?

      No, God's wrath starts at the sixth seal and not before. It says so right in the text.
      Rev 6:17 The great day of His Wrath has come
      -hopeful_watcher

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    3. I'm sorry but the pre-wrath, "Satan's wrath" interpretation is deeply flawed. God is the deliverer of His wrath throughout the Tribulation. I tried to explain above, and that didn't work so here is GotQuestion's explanation of the flaws in your "Satan's wrath" view. I'm being form on this because it is blasphemous to reduce God in His wrath as much as it is to reduce His holiness. The Tribulation is a time of wrath, God's wrath. The Revelation 6:17 indicates that the wrath HAD BEGUN at the opening of the first seal, one which the Lamb had opened. I'll offer the following below from GotQuestions and Lamb/Lion ministries, as resources and then I'll not take any more debate on this.

      The pre-wrath rapture theory views the trumpet and the bowl judgments (Revelation 7–16) as the wrath of God, from which the church is exempted (1 Thessalonians 5:9). However, the first six seal judgments (Revelation 6) are not considered the wrath of God; rather, they are viewed as “the wrath of Satan” or “the wrath of the antichrist.” This is because there is no direct mention of God’s wrath until after the sixth seal is broken (Revelation 6:17). According to the pre-wrath rapture theory, the church will be present to experience the first six seals.

      Comparing Revelation 6 with Matthew 24, the pre-wrath rapture theorists identify the first seal judgments with Jesus’ description of the end times in Matthew 24:4-7. Jesus then refers to these events as “the beginning of birth pains” (verse 8). In verses 29 and 30, “the sign of the Son of Man” appears in the sky, and it is at this time, according to the pre-wrath rapture theory, that the rapture of the church occurs.

      One weakness of the pre-wrath rapture position is its presumption that the “elect” mentioned in Matthew 24:22, 31 are church-age saints. These saints could just as easily be individuals saved during the seven-year tribulation; in fact, Jesus tells those who flee the antichrist’s persecution to pray that their flight does not occur “on the Sabbath” (verse 20). Since the church is not under the Mosaic law and does not keep the Sabbath, Jesus’ words cannot be directed to the church.

      Another flaw in the pre-wrath rapture theory is its teaching that the first seal judgments are not the wrath of God. Scripture shows that it is the Lamb who opens the seals (Revelation 5:5; 6:1). No other man is found worthy to open them (5:3-4). It would seem, then, these are not man’s judgments, but God’s. The tribulation begins when Jesus opens the first seal, and from that point on, the wrath of God is meted out on a sinful world.

      Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/pre-wrath-rapture.html#ixzz37LqIVgRp
      -----------------------------

      Lamb & Lion Ministries,

      This [pre-wrath] concept raises a serious theological problem because it questions the sovereignty of God. It assumes that Man and Satan can act apart from God's will, when the fact of the matter is that neither can do anything God is not willing to permit. The Bible often portrays God carrying out His will through evil persons or nations. One of the classic examples is when He allowed the evil nation of Babylon to discipline Israel by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple and by carrying the surviving Jews away into captivity. It was an action that prompted the prophet Habakkuk to ask why God would punish those who are evil with those who are more evil (Habakkuk 1:13).

      Any carnage wrought by Man or Satan during the Tribulation will still constitute the wrath of God.

      http://www.lamblion.us/2009/08/revelation-infers-pre-wrath-rapture.html

      -----------------------------

      Because these judgments are initiated by Jesus Himself at the beginning of the Tribulation, the whole Tribulation must be God's wrath, which the Church is exempt from.

      http://www.lamblion.us/2008/10/why-i-believe-in-pre-tribulation_16.html

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  5. pre trib thats what i believe too

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  6. I agree with Pre tribulation as well remove the spirit of God so lawlessness can abound

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  7. It is my fear that the falling away from the church mentioned by Paul might in part be a by product of this belief in the “Rapture”. How many western Christians will become disillusioned when it becomes apparent that their lives will be adversely affected during some near future calamity. Why is it that so many Americans believe that they are the only ones worthy to be spared from this trial? Tell a Chaldean Christian in Iraq not to worry because they will be “raptured” before any tribulation.
    Many blessings to you all.

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    1. You asked why Christians are looking forward to the blessed event of the rapture? Becuase the bible tells us to. 1 Thess 4:18.

      You asked why Christians feel "are the only ones worthy to be spared from this trial?" because the bible tells us we will. Revelation 3:10.

      You are mixing up two events. There is the regular Christian life, which Jesus told us will be full of trials and tribulations, such as persecution. (John 16:33, Acts 14:22).

      And then there is the singular and unique event of the rapture, which is different from regular trials. The unique event of the rapture is to remove His bride from the world before He sends His wrath upon it. The wrath is for the unique and singular purpose of punishing the wicked. The Bride is not appointed to wrath (1 Thess 5:9) , therefore we will be removed. We're not talking regular tribulation AKA troubles.

      We're talking THE tribulation, a specific event. Maybe the word 'tribulation' is mixing you up. The time period His bride will be removed from is also known as The Time of Jacob's Trouble, The Day of the Lord, The Great Day of God Almighty, The Day of Wrath.

      I would love to "Tell a Chaldean Christian in Iraq not to worry because they will be “raptured” before any tribulation," because I'm sure they will appreciate knowing that though they are suffering trials, Jesus is going to bring them home before He pours out His anger on the unbelieving world. If they are martyred before that time, as many millions already have I know they are in heaven looking forward to a resurrection of their broken body and glorious eternity with Jesus. The rapture is EXACTLY the kind of encouragement Paul was talking about when he spoke those words (1 Thess 5:11) to the Chaldean Christians of the first century, soon to be burned at the stake for their faith.
      "Worthy" is actually a good word to use in this case. After Jesus regenerates us at the moment of justification, we are imputed with HIS worthiness. His worthy Bride will escape the wrath.

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  8. Pre-tribulation rapture is not a biblical doctrine. You offer no evidence to back up your assertion that it is not a doctrine that was made up fairly recently in church history. Most scholars recognize that the doctrine was popularized in the 1800s by people like Nelson Darby. George Ladd stated that the idea of a future tribulation and a personal Antichrist did not take root in Protestantism until the early 19th century. But more importantly, let's look at the Biblical texts you base your theory on. First of all, Rev. 3:10 is addressed to the church of Philadelphia, in other words, to a select group of faithful Christians. There is no valid reason that that promise can be generalized to the whole church, most of which does not even approach the devotion (such as keeping the word of patience) of the original Philadelphians.
    Second, 1 Thess. 5:9 states that "For God hath not appointed us to WRATH, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ." How can you assume that “wrath” is to be equated with the tribulation? The wrath of God is against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men as we see in Romans 1:18, not just against the ungodliness of those who live in the end times.
    Finally, just because Paul in 1 Thess 1:10 encourages us to wait for Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come, does not mean that we can rest assured that the Antichrist can not come first. Even if the bride of Christ is present when the Antichrist arrives, he will never rule over her. The true bride of Christ would rather die than submit to him.
    Since none of your Bible citations support the doctrine of the pre-trib rapture, it cannot be considered a biblical doctrine. Sorry. I wish it were true because I sure don't want to have to deal with the Antichrist.

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  9. Hi Martin,

    You asked some good questions and did so respectfully. For that I thank you! I'd like to address your concerns.

    1. "You offer no evidence to back up your assertion that it is not a doctrine that was made up fairly recently in church history."

    Offering evidence to eschatological skeptics was not the point of the essay. I have, however, written about the pre-tribulation rapture, with scriptures, many times on this blog. Here are a few:

    https://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2013/05/another-reason-rapture-is-pre-trib.html

    https://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2009/11/why-pre-tribulation-rapture-is.html

    https://the-end-time.blogspot.com/2010/06/why-rapture-is-biblically-pre.html

    2. George Ladd stated that the idea of a future tribulation and a personal Antichrist did not take root in Protestantism until the early 19th century.

    That's interesting, because Paul revealed it for the first time in 1 Thessalonians. Early church fathers taught it too.

    3. Is Revelation 3:10 addressed to a specific church or to a symbolic Philadelphia? Yes. LOL, yes to both. GotQuestions sums it up:

    "Though they were literal churches in that time, there is also spiritual significance for churches and believers today. The first purpose of the letters was to communicate with the literal churches and meet their needs at that time. The second purpose is to reveal seven different types of individuals/churches throughout history and instruct them in God's truth."

    4. How can you assume that “wrath” is to be equated with the tribulation?
    It's not an assumption. It's a fact. Revelation 6 depicts the opening of the 6 seals, then when they all had been opened, declared that the wrath had begun.

    Rev 6:16, "calling to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of him who is seated on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, 17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”

    There are different kids of wrath. The wrath you mentioned that is already present on earth against all who suppress in unrighteousness is one kind of wrath, the wrath of abandonment (Romans 1). Here is a summary--

    "Now there are a number of different aspects to the wrath of God. There is what we could call eternal wrath because it is the punishment that God brings upon unbelieving sinners forever in hell...that's eternal wrath. And the Bible speaks often of that. There is also eschatological wrath, that is the wrath of God that is released at the end of the world described by some of the Old Testament prophets, described by Jesus Christ Himself in the Olivet Discourse and clearly laid out for us in the book of Revelation. Eschatological wrath, that aspect of God's wrath that is released at the end of the world."

    "There is also what we could call cataclysmic wrath, like a tsunami, a volcano, a hurricane, an earthquake, a plane flying in to the Twin Towers resulting in thousands of death...cataclysms happen in this world. And they are a reflection of the judgment of God. There is also what you could call consequential wrath. Consequential wrath is the sowing and reaping wrath, you live a certain kind of life and you set in motion certain forces that will produce judgment."

    "But there is one other kind of wrath and that is the wrath that is presented in this passage and it is the wrath of abandonment."
    http://www.gty.org/resources/sermons/80-314/when-god-abandons-a-nation

    Hope this helps alleviate your concerns! I agree with you Martin, I don't want to deal with the antichrist either. Fortunately, there is plenty of biblical evidence to show true believers won't have to. :)

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  10. I am unsure who sent me the link to this website but it landed unexpectedly in my inbox recently! I read the blog and comments with interest hoping it may give me hope as I have observed the church evermore fracturing by differing belief systems, polarising then solidifying with likeminded people congratulating themselves they alone have the truth yet exhibiting so many of the failings we read about in the Revelation churches.
    The Bible exhorts us to remain teachable, ‘Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who CORRECTLY handles the Word of Truth’ 2 Timothy 2:15. Yet many rather than testing their beliefs by examining scripture from all angles, expanding their knowledge and allowing iron to sharpen iron dogmatically and arrogantly adhere to their view point as if God’s Kingdom desires this rather than the admirable quality of remaining teachable.
    The arguments for pre tribulation rapture have all been well documented and debated so I will ask questions and make a few points instead of entering into the mêlée.
    It is extremely important to allow our position to be scrutinized by both those who agree, as well as those who advocate something different to equip ourselves with truth, and to open our hearts and prayerfully ask the Holy Spirit to highlight what is truth and what is error. That is, teach us truth!

    In regard to your website I would like to point out a comment that was accepted as fact to support your unquestionable belief that a pre tribulation rapture is biblically correct. I understand adherents to this view agree foundational to the pre tribulation argument the Church cannot stay on the earth when the Holy Spirit is no longer present. However, this creates a problem with the first premise.

    1. “Therefore the restrainer must be the Holy Spirit.”

    However, by claiming the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, and He will have been taken out of the way when the pretribulation rapture occurs, isn't supported by scripture.

    For 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 says after the restrainer is taken out of the way THEN the lawless one will be revealed.

    However, 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 has already told us that we won't be 'gathered to Him' UNTIL the man of lawlessness is revealed!

    Therefore to claim the restrainer IS the Holy Spirit would mean the Holy Spirit would leave before the church is raptured!!! Can you see this makes no sense?

    I note some translations are printing ‘he’ with a capital ‘H’ now because of the widespread belief the restrainer is the Holy Spirit. (Alarmingly recent translations of the Bible are making changes aligning with wrong, popular teaching.) But it is a very dangerous practice to translate or change the Bible just because of popular acceptance of a theology which under scrutiny is not watertight.

    Perhaps, if we looked at the possibility the restrainer is an angel (and we can explore this idea as there are examples of angels in scripture 'holding things back until an appointed time) then 2 Thessalonians 2:2-8 makes sense!

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    1. Hi Georgie,

      I agree that it's good to be cautious about interpreting the Bible. However, after prayer and study, coming to a settled conclusion is not being arrogant nor unteachable. It's being diligent. I'm settled about what I believe because I studied it. If I was insistent on others to believe it, then yes, that would be dogmatism.

      The Author of the Bible had ONE interpretation in mind when He inspired it. It's up to us to search the scriptures daily to see what that interpretation might be. Though some verses are admittedly difficult, others are not so hard to interpret. As for the doctrine of Last Things, AKA the study of Eschatology, some say for example, the restrainer is the Holy Spirit, others say an Angel. Both cannot be right. Only one of them is.

      It isn't too hard to come to the logical conclusion that the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit. The HS will of necessity because He is IN believers and believers with the Spirit in them will be removed from the earth. The Holy Spirit will still draw people to faith during the Tribulation though, because myriad of people will come to faith during that time.

      Of course it makes sense that the Holy Spirit withdraws from the earth during the time of global judgment. He did so before and we are warned He will do so again. Genesis 6:3, "My Spirit will not always strive with man forever". Here, the word strive means "to keep down, rule, judge, or strive with a man by moral force." This is in the context of warnings about the coming global judgment of the flood. As Barnes' notes says of that period,

      "after giving ample warning, instruction, and invitation, he will, as a just judgment on the unbelieving and the impenitent, withdraw his Spirit and let them alone. The antediluvian world was fast approaching to this point of final perversity and abandonment".

      We see this happening again as the Tribulation begins.

      Here is the first part of GotQuestions on why the Restrainer is logically & scripturally the Holy Spirit-

      2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 mentions a “restrainer” that is holding back sin and lawlessness. What or who that restraining force is, Paul does not say specifically in this letter. Many have speculated as to the identity of the restrainer, naming the restraining force as 1) human government; 2) gospel preaching; 3) the binding of Satan; 4) the providence of God; 5) the Jewish state; 6) the church; 7) the Holy Spirit; and 8) Michael. Whatever now restrains the Antichrist of vv. 3, 4, 8–10 from being revealed in the fullness of his apostasy and evil must be more than human or even angelic power. The power that holds back Satan from bringing the final apostasy and unveiling of his Satan-possessed false Christ (the Antichrist) must be supernatural. It must be God’s power in operation that holds back Satan, so that the “man of sin,” “the son of destruction” (v. 3) won’t be able to come until God permits it by removing the restraining power. The reason for the restraint was so that the Antichrist would be revealed at God’s appointed time and no sooner, just as was Christ (Gal. 4:4), because God controls Satan."

      "The Holy Spirit of God is the only Person with sufficient (supernatural) power to do this restraining"
      end GotQuestions.

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  11. Thank you Elizabeth for your response.
    I understand you have made up your mind and given reasons why you believe what you do. However,you but did not address the scriptures I quoted that contradict your stance.
    In the paragraph where you said "It isn't too hard to come to the logical conclusion that the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit." The following sentence where you emphasised 'of course the Holy Spirit will be removed from the earth as He is IN every believer and believers with the Spirit in them will be removed from the earth.'
    But 2 Thessalonians 2:2-8 if read correctly is telling us the restrainer is TAKEN AWAY BEFORE the lawless one is revealed, and believers WILL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY UNTIL THE LAWLESS ONE IS REVEALED. So those who insist the restrainer IS the Holy Spirit would HAVE to accept He will go before (and without)the believers! That is my point! So if scripture is plainly telling us one thing for us to ignore that and quote from other sources does not make common sense.
    We do agree on one thing...God didn't mean there are two possible scenarios here...only one BUT it MUST by necessity align and not oppose scripture.
    It is one thing to sincerely believe we are right but when we publish our beliefs we put ourselves in the position of 'teaching' so we need to continuously check our stance and correct anything we later realise is in error.

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    1. Hi Georgie,

      You're so right, we must look at scripture. So let's do that.

      Part of rightly interpreting scripture is looking at verses in context. We also look at parallel verses. We thirdly look at the human author's stated purpose. We also look at the historical context.

      The purpose of Paul's letter to the Thessalonians was to reassure them they were not enduring the Day of the Lord, AKA Tribulation. This, by the way, is another confirmation that the Church Age believers will not endure that time of wrath, but will be taken out before, along with the Restrainer. At that time, persecutions had begun and the saints were worried it was already the Day of the Lord. (2 Thess 1:4). Paul said don't worry, calm down, you won't be here. This isn't the start of it.

      Chapter 1 opens with greetings, and a re-statement of what will happen to the ungodly and the judgments to come. Chapter 2 opens with a chronology, what will happen when, during the Tribulation.

      1Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,a 2not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

      Do not be alarmed, we will not go thru the Tribulation.

      3Let no one deceive you in any way.

      They were being deceived that the present trials were the Tribulation and they thought they had missed the rapture, They were also concerned for the saints who had fallen asleep, if they had missed the rapture also.

      For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

      1. Rebellion (against God via widespread apostasy). By the way, this can only happen if the Restrainer is not present.
      2. Antichrist revealed
      3. Proclaims himself God (sparking the Abomination of Desolation (Daniel 9:24-27)

      5Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

      Eschatology win! Paul was with the Thessalonians a brief time, perhaps only weeks, but among the first things he taught them was last things. :) In any case, Paul had taught them they would be delivered from the wrath to come. (see 1 Thess 1:10; 5:9)

      6And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. 7For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. 8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

      Here is commentary on the salient verses taken in total context, CONTINUED NEXT COMMENT

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    2. "Who or what is this restrainer? Paul told the Thessalonicans when he was teaching them personally, but he did not put this information in either of his letters. This restrainer is now at work in the world and will continue to work till it (or he) is “taken out of the midst” (literal translation of 2 Thes. 2:7b).

      Notice that in 2 Thessalonians 2:6 Paul referred to this restrainer in the neuter gender (“what restraineth”), while in 2 Thessalonians 2:7, he used the masculine gender (“he who now hindereth”). The restrainer is a person who is today “in the midst,” but will one day be “taken out of the midst.”

      Many Bible students identify this restrainer as the Holy Spirit of God. Certainly, He is “in the midst” of God’s program today, working through the church to accomplish God’s purposes. When the church is raptured, the Holy Spirit will not be taken out of the world (otherwise nobody could be saved during the Tribulation), but He will be taken out of the midst to allow Satan and his forces to go to work. The Holy Spirit will certainly be present on the earth during the Day of the Lord, but He will not be restraining the forces of evil as He is today.

      Wiersbe, W. W. (1996). The Bible exposition commentary (Vol. 2, pp. 196–197). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.

      Now back tot he verses-

      9The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

      So the chronology goes as follows, to sum up Pauls teaching in 1 and 2 Thess and 1 Cor 15,

      1. Christians in the church age will not be present on earth when the Day of the Lord begins.
      2. We are raptured.
      3. The Restrainer departs from the midst
      4. Apostasy begins
      5. Antichrist revealed, declares himself God
      6. Satan allowed to perpetuate his evil in full force
      7. Great delusion deceives many

      Blessings to you and thank you for your concern and interest. This will conclude our conversation. Please always consult scripture rightly, in context, and through prayer. :)

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17 minutes of continual sin

We need a savior. We are evil, evil continually rising from a corrupted heart. Our human nature is depraved, polluted, and thoroughly iniqui...