Does the following phrase εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα refer to the will of God or the will of the devil?
2 Tim 2:26 (NA28)
καὶ ἀνανήψωσιν ἐκ τῆς τοῦ διαβόλου παγίδος, ἐζωγρημένοι ὑπʼ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὸ ἐκείνου θέλημα.
To put it another way, do the pronouns αὐτός and ἐκεῖνος have the SAME antecedent, who is the devil? If so would the idea here be that one escapes the clutches of the devil by whose will the sinner had been captive, which is the view of the most popular and widely-read English translations of the Bible. However, is the meaning instead to escape from the devil according to will of God?
First, my own literal translation of this verse appears as follows.
and having come to their senses from the trap of the devil, having been held captive by him unto his will.
As already noted, the most popular and widely-read English translations take the pronouns αὐτός and ἐκεῖνος to refer to the same antecedent, who is the devil. But are most English translations mistaken? Later in the same epistle we read the following:
2 Tim 3:9 (NA28)
9 ἀλλ’ οὐ προκόψουσιν ἐπὶ πλεῖον, ἡ γὰρ ἄνοια αὐτῶν ἔκδηλος ἔσται πᾶσιν, ὡς καὶ ἡ ἐκείνων ἐγένετο.
9 But they will not make further progress; for their (αὐτῶν) folly will be obvious to all, just their (ἐκείνων) folly was also.
Please note that in this verse that the αὐτός and ἐκεῖνος again appear in tandem and both refer to two different antecedents in context (and therefore avoid confusion). In other words, the appearance of both Greek pronouns in the same close context appears to have been to avoid confusion in the mind of the listener (or reader) in that two DIFFERENT antecedents are in mind.