(Update: I have no earthly clue why, but the thread at the prewrath rapture view facebook group seems to have been deleted. Evidently, interacting with someone who objects to the Michael-Restrainer interpretation is not acceptable. So my comments below are responding to someone without a source since it has been deleted. Another reason I don’t do facebook!)
I want to comment on a post from the Prewrath Rapture View facebook group (a group I do not belong to since I do not use facebook, but I recommend this group since there are some helpful threads).
Someone said there are “major problems if Michael [is] the restrainer.”
I read these so-called major problems, but he does not show any awareness for the arguments that supports that Michael is the Restrainer. I come across so many of these so-called responses but they do not take the time to actually engage the arguments. Here is a source to get started if someone desires to learn about them. I will give him the benefit of the doubt that he has never come across these arguments (although, I noticed that in the thread someone posted my article, so he may not have taken the time to read the other side).
“First, how could Paul have expected us to know he was referring to Michael as the restrainer if in all his writings he never once mentioned Michael in any context at all? In fact Paul never spoke of him at all.”
This statement makes no sense. Mentioning a participant in a text is not a criterion for identifying a referent. This is called exophoric reference, where an author mentions a referent that is only known outside of a text. Conversely, Paul could had mentioned Michael a thousand times but that does not mean Michael is the Restrainer. We know that Paul has Michael in mind because the Old Testament source that Paul is alluding from in 2 Thessalonians 2:3–8 is Daniel 10–12, which is about Michael as the celestial restrainer of God’s people. In addition, the Greek and Hebrew in Dan 12:1 support this. Daniel’s use of the Hebrew term ʿmd comports with the ceasing activity of the restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6–7. 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.
Next, he writes:
If Paul had told the Thessalonians that Michael is the restrainer would he have failed to mention it in any of his letters?
Actually, Paul gave the explicit reason why he failed to mention the Restrainer: “Surely you recall that I used to tell you these things while I was still with you. And so you know what holds him back, so that he will be revealed in his own time” (2 Thess 2:5–6). This indicates that Paul felt no need to mention the Restrainer by name because his Thessalonian audience already knew who he was. It is absurd to assume that Paul must mention everything he ever knew. By this logic, a person does not know anything that he or she has not written down on paper or type on a keyboard in their lifetime.
Next he writes:
And second, how could Michael stand aside to permit Satan’s power to be unleashed without restraint while at the same time standing up to protect Israel from the very thing he has just enabled Satan to let loose upon them.
I have no idea what he means by this, since he does he explain himself, so I cannot respond to him. Michael restrains and protects Israel until he ceases his restraining ministry, at which time Israel will be persecuted by the Antichrist starting at the midpoint.
Next he writes:
According to Daniel 12:1 Michael will arise to protect the believing remnant of Israel at the same time. That means having just expelled Satan from heaven, Michael would have to rush to defend the remnant of Israel against him as Satan unleashes his full fury against God’s people on Earth (Rev. 12:13-17). That doesn’t make sense.
This statement reveals that he simply does not understand the issue or the Michael proposal. Michael does not “rush to defend the remnant of Israel” when Michael stops his restraining ministry. That makes no sense and no one actually believes this. Daniel 12:1 teaches just the contrary to what he states. When Michael “arises” (see the Hebrew and Greek), he is ceasing his ministry, at which time brings about the great persecution against God’s people. There is a cause and effect action.
I recommend that anyone who genuinely desires to learn about this issue must contend with the actual scholarly arguments. See for example, Colin R. Nicholl, “Michael, The Restrainer Removed (2 Thess. 2:6-7), In The Journal of Theological Studies, ” April 2000. Also this is found in an appendix in Nicholl’s From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica: Situating 1 and 2 Thessalonians, Cambridge University Press, 2004.