I would recommend everyone do a word study of “Holy Ghost” and “Holy Spirit” to see exactly what the Rauch HaKodesh is doing when mentioned in scripture. The term “Holy Ghost” is only found in the New Testament while “Holy Spirit” is found in the Old and New Testaments. They both refer to the same Spirit of God. He is the presence of God Psalm 51:11, the fruits of which are seen in Galatians 5:22-26 and a gift from God. Luke 11:13 | 1 Thessalonians 4:8 | John 7:39 | Acts 2:33;38 | Acts 8:15-19 | Acts 10:45-47 What He does is:
- relays to us God’s Word 1 Thessalonians 1:5
- baptizes us Matthew 3:11 | Mark 1:8 | Luke 3:16 | John 1:33 | Acts 1:5 | Acts 10:38 | Acts 11:16
- seals us Ephesians 1:13 | Ephesians 4:30 | Romans 15:16
- comforts us John 14:26 | Acts 9:31
- renews us Titus 3:5
- shows God’s love in our hearts Romans 5:5
- brings us joy Romans 14:17 | 1 Thessalonians 1:6
- brings us hope Romans 15:13
- speak for/through us Mark 13:11 | Luke 12:12 | Acts 1:16 | Acts 21:11 | Acts 28:25 | 2 Peter 1:21 | Jude 1:20
- in other languages Acts 2:4
- speaks to us 2 Corinthians 13:14
- reveals to us Luke 2:26 | Acts 7:55 | 1 Corinthians 2:13 | 1 Corinthians 12:3 | Hebrews 3:7
- sends us Acts 13:4
- guides us Acts 16:6 | Acts 20:28 | 1 Peter 1:12
- gives us gifts Hebrews 2:4
- approves us as ministers of God 2 Corinthians 6:6
- witness with us Acts 5:32 | Romans 9:1 | Hebrews 10:15
And it was the Holy Ghost that implanted Christ into Mary’s womb. Matthew 1:18-20 | Luke 1:35 We are the temples with which that Spirit dwells when we accept Christ and are obedient to His ways of selfless love. 1 Corinthians 6:19 The closest thing to restraining comes in Acts 16 when the Holy Ghost forbids Paul to preach in Asia.
It seems to me that the Holy Spirit is not a restrainer of evil, but our conscience and comforter. We can still choose not to follow the Spirit of God revealed in His Word and then we will not be in relationship with Him. It seems that He doesn’t restrain evil, but rather warns of it and helps us through it with a joyful heart that speaks and reveals Truth to us so that we can use our free will and choose. Those that choose against God do not have His Spirit, He leaves unless they repent. Judgment is coming for the wickedness that is prophesied to take over the world in the end-times. Matthew 24:3-28
There’s also a logic problem presented with the argument that the Holy Spirit in the church is the restrainer. There are two separate presentations of timing in 2 Thessalonians 2 in relation to our gathering to Christ and the revealing of the antichrist. As we will see, they make a clear point as to who the restrainer is not.
The timing of our gathering to Christ in relation to the man of sin being revealed:
2 Thessalonians 2:1-5
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [our gathering unto Him] shall NOT come, except:
1) there come a falling away first, and
2) that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
Here scripture gives us this order:
1) Falling away (apostacia)
2) Man of sin revealed (antichrist: Takes place when he reveals himself at the abomination of desolation)
3) Our gathering to Christ (harpazo)
Notice too, that the “day of Christ” is directly connected to our gathering to Him. We see this differentiated from the day of the Lord in several passages that talk about the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is not a day of darkness, but for Christians a day of rejoicing. (1 Corinthians 5:5 | 2 Corinthians 1:12-14)
The timing of the revealing of the man of sin in relation to the restrainer being removed:
This order only applies IF we view the restrainer as the Holy Spirit/church, and therefore tying the unrestraining to our removal in the harpazo.
2 Thessalonians 2:6-10
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
Here, if the restrainer is the Holy Spirit which dwells in the church, we have this order:
1) Our gathering to Christ must take place (The restrainer [Holy Spirit/church] has to be taken out of the way)
2) Then the man of sin can be revealed
There is a direct opposition when defining the restrainer as the Holy Spirit symbolizing the removal of the church before the revealing of the antichrist. By placing the Holy Spirit/church as the restrainer, a contradiction is set up by assuming our gathering to Christ is directly related to the restrainer being removed. I believe the Holy Spirit wrote it this way to remove confusion. This leads us to the clincher for me as to who the restrainer is.
The answer to the question of who the restrainer is lies in the Old Testament in a parallel verse to the revealing of the man of sin. Matthew 24:15-22 This event is unparalleled in all of history, so we can define it that way. What is the event in which the removal of the restrainer causes? The abomination of desolation, the revealing of the antichrist. This is the beginning of the great tribulation, “such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.”
And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.
The time of Jacob’s trouble, great tribulation, starts when Michael stands up. This is the abomination of desolation, the revealing of the man of sin. This is also the time in which the redemption of the children of Daniel’s people, the Israelites, takes place.
So Michael stands up to head to the war in heaven. At that time, the antichrist is able to reveal himself at the abomination of desolation. This fits the order of 2 Thessalonians 2:6-10 of the restrainer being lifted before the revealing of the man of sin at the abomination of desolation. Then, after the antichrist is revealed, we can be gathered to Christ in the clouds. What’s even more interesting is that Daniel 12 is connected to Revelation 12 around this same subject, Michael, and same time-frame.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
It is the dragon which gives the beast his power. It would seem that Michael is currently holding back the revealing of the antichrist, but at some point in the future will be called to heaven to battle Lucifer. He will prevail over Satan and the dragon will be cast to the earth. He then goes after the woman through the beast whom he gives power to. This is the beginning of the time of great tribulation, the time of Jacob’s trouble of Matthew 24:15-22.
And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time. And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
I don’t think it’s coincidence that Michael is specifically mentioned as standing up right before the antichrist is revealed and we’re told in the New Testament that the restrainer must stop before the antichrist can be revealed. The restrainer is not the Holy Spirit, but Michael the archangel, the prince that stands for Israel. He is restraining the antichrist now until God’s timing. Then the antichrist will be allowed to reveal himself.
I should also point out that Michael is not restraining evil... well, if he is, it’s beginning to overwhelm him according to my nightly news. The love of many is growing colder and colder just as prophesied. Matthew 24:12 Michael is specifically restraining the revealing of the man of sin. It naturally happens that way because he can’t be revealed until Michael stands, and Satan isn’t on earth till Michael’s in heaven throwing Satan out. The transition is at the abomination of desolation.
Michael has restrained before...
And, behold, an hand touched me, which set me upon my knees and upon the palms of my hands. And he said unto me, O Daniel, a man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak unto thee, and stand upright: for unto thee am I now sent. And when he had spoken this word unto me, I stood trembling. Then said he unto me, Fear not, Daniel: for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me one and twenty days: but, lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me; and I remained there with the kings of Persia. Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days.
But I will tell thee that which is inscribed in the writing of truth: and there is none that holdeth with me against these, but Michael your prince.
This is the same “withholding” in 2 Thessalonians 2:6 speaking about the restrainer, who I believe is Michael the archangel.
At God’s command, Michael will stand up and go to fight Lucifer in heaven. Lucifer will be cast down, giving his power and great authority to the man of sin and Michael will no longer be restraining the revealing of the antichrist so all hell will break loose on earth, literally, as Lucifer deceives the whole earth with signs and lying wonders whose names are not written in the Lamb’s book of life. Revelation 13:7-8
I am currently of the opinion that heaven is outside of time. So Michael could leave to heaven and we would simultaneously see Lucifer cast out. It’s all in God’s timing and that’s what is so wonderful about Bible prophecy. We can always trust exactly what the Word says, and He wants us to know the details. Amos 3:7