Can anyone explain to me why all the major translators render this "until He is taken out of the way", upper case He, implying God.

"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." [NKJV]

"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but only until the one who now restrains it is removed." [NRSV]

"For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way." [NIV]

"For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way." [ESV]

It seems like an unnecessary addition. The "he" is the man of lawlessness, isn't it? Why not something like: "only he is holding back now, until it comes out from amoung them" or "he is restrained until it is made manifest"?

Because isn't "ginomai" about something happening/becoming/manifesting, rather than anything being removed?

  • You forgot to include the verse in the title. Sep 4, 2017 at 22:08

3 Answers 3


The Simple Answer is only the NKJV uses "He" rather than "he". They also allow "he" in their footnote, though they seem predisposed to "He".

In response to your question: the NKJV is the brainchild of Dr. Arthur Farstad of the Dallas Theological Seminary, which is noted for it's Literal interpretation of the text(called Complete Equivalence as opposed to Dynamic Equivalence) which other translations relied upon. He is also Dispensational in his eschatology, having also authored the New Scofield Study Bible.

Dispensationalists take the view that the "He" is the Holy Spirit. In an commentary on 2 Thess. 2:7, Dr. Dwight Pentecost, also of Dallas Theological Seminary says,

"The Restrainer is referred to both in the neuter (what) and masculine (he) gender. This mix of gender appears in relation to the Holy Spirit Who is a person, but also described using a Greek term which is neuter in gender (πνευμα [pneuma] ). It is also said that the Restrainer “now restrains” and will continue to do so until “He is taken out of the way.” Since the man of sin has yet to be revealed,1 we can infer that the Restrainer, whoever or whatever he is, has been effectively suppressing the revelation of the man of sin for over 2000 years. When we collect the pieces of evidence concerning the identity of the Restrainer, we find: The Restrainer is referred to as both neuter (τὸ κατέχον [to katechon] , “what is restraining”) and masculine (ὁ κατέχων [ho katechōn] , “He who now restrains”). The Restrainer existed in Paul’s day. The Restrainer has been continually and effectively restraining for nearly 2,000 years so far. The Restrainer is powerful enough to suppress the spiritual powers of darkness seeking to promote the man of sin. The restraint is global. Numerous suggestions have been made concerning the identity of the Restrainer: Several of these views do not necessarily involve a supernatural force. These include the Jewish state and James, Paul and the preaching of the gospel, the Roman Empire, and human government. Other views may be grouped as hostile supernatural views, which include Satan, a hostile false prophet, a general hostile force in the form of the mystery of lawlessness and human government, and the preincarnate state of the man of lawlessness. In several views ὁ κατέχων [ho katechōn] is seen as a benevolent supernatural figure rather than a hostile one. Usually an angel, such as Michael, or another type of heavenly being, such as Elijah, or a mythological being, is suggested. The most common supernatural figure suggested, though, is God Himself.

I don't know of Dr. Pentecost's input into the NKJV, but Dr. Farstad's influence would clearly suggest a Dispensational reading of 2 Thess. 2:7. Dr. Pentecost's seminal work, "Things to Come", which is required reading for all Dallas Theological Seminary students, would be the dominant understanding of the text, therefore "He"(The Holy Spirit) would be understood as the Restrainer.

To suggest "he" as the Man of Lawlessness would be out of context; the "he" restrainer has to be removed before "that Wicked" in verse 8 can be revealed.

I believe the translation supports "he" over "He"-even the NKJV allows for it. But a staunch Dispensational view apparently prevailed in the NKJV.


'o katechwn arti ews ek mesou genetai. [Stephens 1550 Text}

who now restrains, out of the midst be. [EGNT]

My understanding of this is that one is in the midst and this is a restraint. Once that situation changes, the restraint will be gone.

One possibility - and this is my present understanding - is that one who influences, presently, as part of humanity, that is as a force within all of humanity, will come out of the midst (and be elevated in another way).

Once elevated above the rest (in a single individual ?) the restraint will be gone and this manner of influence will result in something far more forceful.

In a trivial example, Hitler was a powerful force whilst holding forth in cafes with Brown shirts doing his bidding and whilst writing his book in prison; but once out of the midst and exalted above the people . . . . .



It is clear that who 'is now exercising a restraining influence' [Weymouth NT (1912)] was a positive being.

John Gill (Exposition of the Entire Bible [ad locum]) believed the 'who' ('ho', Greek) was referring to "the Roman Empire and Romans emperors" (similar ideas we may find in Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible; Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible; and John Wesley's Explanatory Notes [all of them ad locum]).

Differently, the footnote in the Traduction Oecuménique de la Bible mentions a better possibility: the 'restrainer' was formed by "the missionary preaching, and Paul himself". In fact, we may find a similar concept in Acts 20:29. Moreover, the last surviving apostle, John, warned about the dangerous influence of apostate philosophies, like 'the sect of Nikolaus', along with other pseudo-Christian sects (Rev 2:6, 14, 15, 20).

And the history of post-apostolic era, expecially evident in to the medieval Dark Ages ('darkness' opposite related to the spiritual evangelic 'light') seems to proving this argument.

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