Michael the Archangel is the Restrainer

This article is based on Robert Van Kampen’s information from his book “The Sign”.    This is a central key to interpreting who the restrainer of 2 Thes. 2:6-7 is.

2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 (KJV)
6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

Antichrist Revealed – chapter 11

pps 231-233


1. See Strong’s, #5975 which, along with the

KJV, gives the definition of ‘amad as “stand up.”

On the other hand, Rashi, one of Israel’s greatest

scholars, understood “stand up” to literally mean

“stand still” (Judah J. Slotki, Daniel, Ezra,

Nehemiah [London: Soncino, 1978], p. 101). For

this reason, 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'” (Ruth Rabbah I). See other NASB

texts where the same Hebrew word is used: 1

Sam. 9:27 (“remain standing”); 2 Sam. 2:28

(“halted”); 2 Kings 4:6 (“stopped”); Judg. 7:21

(“stood in his place”). See also Theological

Wordbook of the Old Testament, ‘amad (#1637),

“stand, remain, endure”; and Hebrew and English

Lexicon of the Old Testament, 764a.2a. Cf.

“stand still, stop, cease moving” (Josh. 10:13;

Hab. 3:11; 1 Sam. 9:27; 2 Sam. 2:28; Nah. 2:9);

“stop flowing” (2 Kings 4:6), p. 764a, 2d “stop,

cease doing” (Gen. 26:35; 30:9; 2 Kings 13:18;

Jonah 1:15), p. 764c, 6a.

The verb ‘amad in Daniel 12:1 is ordinarily

rendered as “will arise,” “will stand up,” or the

like. But such a rendering makes little sense in

the context of what immediately follows in that

verse: “And there will be a time of distress such

as never occurred since there was a nation until

that time; and at that time your people,

everyone who is found written in the book, will

be rescued.”

In the grammatical order of the Hebrew text,

as reflected in most English versions, “the time

of distress” (Dan. 12:lb) occurs between

Michael’s “arising”(v. la) and the rescue of the

people from this great time of distress (v. 2a). In

other words, first Michael arises or stands still,

next comes an unparalleled time of distress for

God’s people (in this case, Israel, because of its

Old Testament setting), and then His people are

rescued. But why, one wonders, would the “great

prince who stands guard over” Israel arise

before his people are about to be persecuted,

not raising a hand to help them until much later?

The angel who speaks to Daniel in this vision

has already told the prophet, “There is no one

who stands firmly with me against these forces

[the demonic “prince” who empowered Persia]

except Michael your prince” (Dan. 10:21; cf. v.

13). In the New Testament we are told that

“there was war in heaven, Michael and his

angels waging war with the dragon” (Rev. 12:7).

These passages describe the ministry of Michael

as a ministry, in part, of restraint. The Hebrew

phrase translated “stands firmly . . . against” has

the basic meaning of being strong, holding fast,

and restraining. In other words, it is Michael

who restrains the demonic forces in their

unrelenting attacks against Israel. What, then,

would be the point of calling attention to

Michael’s arising if all he did was to look down

on God’s people being tormented?

As demonstrated at the beginning of this note,

what most translators translate “will arise” for

this particular passage can equally be

translated “stand still.” In Joshua 10:13 that

same root term is twice translated “stopped” in

both the New American Standard Bible and the

New International Version—”So the sun stood

still, and the moon stopped, until the nation

avenged themselves of their enemies. Is it not

written in the book of Jashar? And the sun

stopped in the middle of the sky, and did not

hasten to go down for about a whole day” (NASB,

emphasis added).

In complete agreement with the noted

Jewish rabbi Rashi, this writer takes the

position that “stand still” is the correct

translation instead of “stand up,” as it seems

to be the most appropriate translation for

Daniel 12:1. In other words, Michael will not

stand up, or arise, in order to defend Israel

during the terrible time of persecution that

follows immediately, but rather he will “stand

still” or “stop” doing what he normally does,

which is to stop his activity of restraining the

demonic forces of Satan, thereby allowing

Antichrist to reveal his true identity to the

world and to vent his full fury on God’s people.

As soon as Michael stops his work of restraint,

the “time of distress such as never occurred

since there was a nation” will begin. This is

why this precise period of time is called the

wrath of Satan (Rev. 12:12).

In light of that translation and interpretation

of Daniel 12:1, Paul’s meaning in a remarkably

similar passage in 2 Thessalonians becomes

much clearer: “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” (2:6, 7).

From the context, we know that the “him”

referred to in verse 6 refers back to

Antichrist, “the man of lawlessness . .. the son

of destruction” (v. 3). Thus, the restrainer in 2

Thessalonians 2:7 (“he who restrains”) must

certainly be Michael, the same restrainer

Daniel refers to in 10:21 and 12:1.

Daniel’s reference to a “time of distress

such as never occurred since there was a

nation until that time” is almost identical to

Jesus’ description of the “great tribulation,

such as has not occurred since the beginning

of the world until now, nor ever shall” (Matt.

24:21), placing the timing of both of these

passages at the midpoint of the seventieth

week. The Old Testament passage is written

for “the woman,” faithful Israel, the New

Testament passage, the church, the “rest of

her offspring who keep the commandments of

God and to the testimony of Jesus.”

Thus, the restrainer will be removed just prior

to the revealing of Antichrist, when he “exalts

himself above every so-called god or object of

worship, so that he takes his seat in the

temple of God . . .” (2 Thess. 2:4), something

he could never do on his own unless the restrainer

is first removed.



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