The verse 2 Thess. 2:7,
τὸ γὰρ μυστήριον ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας· μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως
ἐκ μέσου γένηται(Textus Receptus Stephanus 1550)
"The indeed mystery already is working of lawlessness, only(there is)
the(one) restraining(it) at present until out of (the)midst he might
is translated the same from the NA27 to the TR, therefore we may conclude that at least the sources are in singular agreement at to what the words say. But as to what they mean we must examine the entire context of this chapter, and indeed the entire bible.
Mystery of Iniquity(Lawlessness)
In order to identify the "restrainer" we must first identify the mystery. "Mysterion" as defined by Thayer's Lexicon is "a hidden or secret thing, not obvious to the understanding", or "a hidden purpose or counsel; secret will". Therefore, if it were plainly obvious it wouldn't be considered a 'mystery'.
So, if it's a "mystery", how do we know with any certainty what the true meaning is?
The answer can be found throughout Scripture; but it is contained in one word-"revelation".
But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets,(Dan. 2:28)
He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know
the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.(Matt. 13:11)
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have
entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for
them that love him.10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his
Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of
God.(1 Cor. 2:9-10)
Since Paul doesn't spell out exactly what the "Mystery of Iniquity" is, what other clues does he give us that might help us determine what he is talking about?
In vs 7, he states that "it is already working". And further on in the verse the "restrainer" is "already restraining". Is there another "mystery" Paul references that we might reference the "Mystery of Iniquity"?
In 2 Tim. 3:16, Paul talks about the "Mystery of Godliness",
And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was
manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels,
preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into
What is important is that this "mysterion" is spelled out: Christ is the "Mystery of Godliness". And if we understand that Christ was a "Mystery" from the beginning, we can see how both mysteries are presented, then revealed, each in their proper order and time.
The Garden of Eden
Both Christ(The Mystery of Godliness) and the Antichrist(Mystery of Iniquity) were 1st revealed in the Garden of Eden. In Gen. 3:15, God says to the Serpent(Satan),
And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed
and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his
Two "Seeds" were revealed by God: and what is important is that neither the devil or the woman can bear seed! Adam bore the "seed", and if we believe Jesus's words to the Saducees (Matt. 22:30) when they asked who's husband will the woman in the Resurrection be, who had 7 husbands, He said,
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage,
but are as the angels of God in heaven. If the angels can't "procreate", then Satan must rely on another source for his "seed"-Adam. The "woman's seed" singular is Christ, who came through Mary's womb apart from man. Satan's 'seed' however is plural(for a further explanation, see Jack Collins " A Syntactical Note(Gen. 3:15) Is the Woman's Seed Singular or Plural" ). However, these 2 "seeds" are also Trees; Christ is the Tree of Life(Gen. 2:9), and the "Antichrist" which was never "born"(there are no 'incarnation' passages for the Antichrist-he arises out of hell,(Rev. 11:7)
And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that
ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and
shall overcome them, and kill them.
It's important to understand that these 2 mysteries(Christ-the Mystery of Godliness, and the Antichrist-Mystery of Iniquity) become kingdoms. The Kingdom of God, of whom Jesus is the Righteous King, begins with the Covenant Promise to Abraham, fulfilled physically through Israel, and then spiritually through the church.
The Antichrist's Kingdom is found in the Statue of Nebuchnezzar(Dan. 2:31-49); his 'kingdom' started with Babylon, and is "spiritually fulfilled" today through those who embrace "man as God", the same way Satan got Eve(and Adam) to fall.
As previously mentioned, both Christ and Antichrist were from the beginning, they both are kingdoms, and furthermore, they are at war with each other over the souls of men.
But the Mystery of Iniquity gets restrained; the 1st time we see this is in Gen. 11:4,
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top
may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name(for ourselves), lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.
God's command was to (Gen. 9:1) **Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.**Instead, they wanted to make 'a name for themselves'. In vs 6 God says,
And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one
language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be
restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.
Therefore, He "restrained" man by dividing his language(vs 7), so that men could not understand each other and were forced to separate. Though the "Antichrist" has been existant from Adam, during the Time of John he "was not",
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of
the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the
earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life
from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was,
and is not, and yet is.
Answer is incomplete-will finish at 1st opportunity.