(d) The Restrainer
Let me start from simple things first; the identity of the restrainer. The restrainer has been identified variously by pretribs as the Holy Spirit, the Church, human government, etc. None of these is the restrainer. The concept of the restrainer did not originate in the NT. The restrainer is an OT concept. The restrainer is a person, not an institution like the Church or human government. His identity has been known in antiquity for hundreds of years amongst Jewish scholars before the First advent of Christ. So, he cannot be the Church. He is clearly identified in Dan.12:1 as archangel Michael, the warrior angel of God who standeth for the people of God, Israel in the OT, and Israel and the Church in the NT. He is the one that casts down Satan and his hordes of fallen evil angels to the Earth from the Dark Void and starry heavens at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel(Rev.12:7-9), wrestled with Satan over the body of Moses(Jude 9). His identity was pretty well known to Paul’s immediate audience in 2 Thess.2:6-8, some of whom were Jewish. That was the major reason why our brother Apostle Paul did not bother to identify him to his immediate audience. He probably did so in his previous oral instructions while he was with them. Jewish scholars like Rashi also identified him as archangel Michael that will “amad” before the Great Tribulation begins. Further elucidation, see my article, “The Middle Of The 70th Week.” Link:https://mtzionheritageministries.com/2019/08/29/the-middle-of-the-70th-seven/
(e) That Day: The Rapture And The Parousia
It is general amongst all pretribs, some of whom were my teachers in the Bible School in the US, whom I reverence till today, to separate the rapture from the second coming of Christ. Most pretribs do not understand the biblical concept of THAT DAY. That day is the day in which Jesus appears in the heavens, raptures the saints, and the wrath of God begins. There are other substitute phrases that are used synonymously with it, such as the day of Christ, His day, the day of the Lord, the day of His wrath, etc, which are descriptive of some of its aspects. You can search these out for yourselves in the Scriptures. It begins with the rapture and ends at Armageddon. The saints are under siege here on Earth during the Great Tribulation. The saints are being killed(fourth and fifth seals). God is angry with the unrighteousness wicked who murder the saints. He swoops in from the heavens to pour out His wrath on the unrighteous wicked earth-dwellers who worship the Dragon-Beast and murder the saints of the Most High who refuse to bow to the image of the Beast. He is on a revenge mission to repay with tribulation those who trouble the saints(2 Thess.1:6-10). He rescues the saints first before He pours out His wrath on the unrighteousness wicked. The same day the Church is raptured, the seventh seal is broken, and the wrath of God begins.
It is therefore a reference to the second COMING of Christ. The Greek word is “PAROUSIA.” It is a compound Greek word made of “para”(arrival) and “ousia”(presence). It means arrival and subsequent presence with. It is used to describe the state visit by a king to a particular region of his domain. When he arrives, he stays to accomplish certain purposes. It is not just one day, a period of 24 hours. In the case of Christ Second Coming, it is heralded by the sixth seal, the cosmic and celestial disturbance. Then He appaeras in the heavens, the Shekhinah Glory(Matt.24.29-31; 1 Thess.4:14-18; 1 Cor.15:50-52), the appearance of the coming of the Son of Man. The first thing He does is to dispatch His angels to gather His elect from the four winds(corners) of the Earth after He seals the 144, 000 to be God’s representative on Earth. Why? Because He is about to punish the world for their evil, and the Church is exempt from His wrath(1 Thess.1:10, 5:9), and the 144,000 who are God’s representatives on Earth must be protected and shielded from His wrath(Rev.7:1-8). This is why the rapture occurs immediately after the sealing of the 144,000(Rev.7:9-17). And the rapture is followed by the commencement of the wrath of God in the day of the Lord in Rev.8:1 which is the breaking of the seventh seal. But the Pretribs have denied that the innumerable multitude from all tribes, tongues, peoples, nations were raptured saints, but rather have labeled them “Tribulation Saints.” Read that passage very well. There is no evidence they were all martyrs. Certainly they include the fifth seal martyrs(Rev.6:9-11), but they were not all martyred.
The rapture is the soul of the Second coming. You cannot separate the soul from the spirit. What follows the rapture is the wrath of God. Even Pretribs teach that after the rapture is the wrath of God, but they fail to concede that it is preceded by the cosmic and celestial disturbances, which is an obvious contradiction of Scriptures and gross inconsistency, simply because it destroys their pet doctrine of imminence, and sudden, secret, and silent rapture. Is the rapture sudden when the true believers who are of the day and light are not supposed to be taken unawares? The suddenness of His coming as a thief in the night references the unbelievers who are not in expectation of His coming, are of the night and darkness, are drunken and are fallen asleep(1 Thess.5:1-11; Luk.17:26-30). We, the saints, are not in ignorance; we are children of the day, not of the night, we are of light, not of darkness that “That Day” should oevertake us or come upon us unawares. Time and space will fail me to go into details. Let us search the scriptures ourselves to understand these things in order that we might have a handle on the End Times, rather than defend blindly wrongly conceived notions of the End Times which have been past down to us by our pretribs mentors and forebears. I was a Pretrib myself, and zealously defended it, until I understood from the teachings of Marvin J. Rosenthal and Robert Van Kampen, it was an unbiblically founded view and therefore scripturally contradictory and indefensible.