6

2:7  τὸ γὰρ μυστήριον ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας· μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως ἐκ μέσου γένηται

2 THESSALONIANS 2:7 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.

There is already a question asking ‘who’ the ’he’ is, and I am aware that there is much historical and current debate over this.

But, I’d like to take a step back and ask …. how do the translators get ‘he’?

1
  • ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως ἐκ μέσου γένηται. The first word is he, masculine article. Until He who holds (γενηται) happens out of the midst/way.
    – Michael16
    Commented Jul 1, 2022 at 2:59

7 Answers 7

4

το γαρ μυστηριον ηδη ενεργειται της ανομιας μονον ο κατεχων αρτι εως εκ μεσου γενηται [2 Thess 2:7 TR (undisputed) Beza, Stephanus, Elzevir and Scrivener all identical]

The literal reading of this (partly taken from the Englishman's Greek New Testament of 1870) gives :

For the mystery already is working the iniquity only who restrains at present until out of midst he be.

The mystery is already working.

But there is one who restrains (himself) at present.

Until, out of the midst, he becomes apparent.

Translators have misunderstood the concept. They have followed one another in thinking that there is outside restraint which, once it is exerted fully, results in the complete ejection of the party under consideration.

The literal Greek does not support that concept.

There is one in the midst who works iniquity anonymously, showing restraint.

But there will come a time when that iniquity will make itself, personally, known - and he will already be in the midst. (Not external.)

This agrees very precisely with what John sees in vision of the last times, regarding the sea-beast and the harlot and the earth-beast and the making of an image and the global acceptance of an entity which works within humanity yet remains unknown until the very end . . . .

. . . . . when it becomes horribly apparent just who it was who was gathering the nations into one 'glorious' unity to raise up a 'utopia' and all under the deception that God (supposedly) in Christ (supposedly returned to earth) was the instigator of the process.


Note added after comment :

The 'who' is genderless and on reflection I think that gives emphasis to the 'who' being identified as 'iniquity'. The iniquity works by an agency (which is a person) but the inquity itself is conspicuous - more so than the 'restrained' individual.

Once they cease to restrain and appear, already there - in the midst - the person will be apparent. But until then it is 'iniquity' that is manifested and the genderless 'who' is yet to come.

2
  • 2
    Nigel, thanks. +1 for your input - which actually reflects why I asked this Q. That is, the reasoning you outline - which this verse leaves room for such interpretations [only] because it does not have a pronoun. If we rely on the gender of the associated language, it allows speculation - and that has generated debate.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 17:48
  • 1
    That's an immensely significant note at the end of your answer, that "iniquity works by an agency (which is a person) but the iniquity itself is conspicuous". In light of Rev.16 (demonic spirits out of the dragon, the beast and the false prophet performing miracles to deceive the nations) and Rev.18, "By thy sorceries were all nations deceived", the church needs to alert to being deceived herself. She will be if she misunderstands this text. The 'he' should not be capitalized! (See vss. 9-10) @Dave
    – Anne
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 11:24
1

There is no personal pronoun in 2 Thessalonians 2:

7 τὸ γὰρ μυστήριον ἤδη ἐνεργεῖται τῆς ἀνομίας· μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως ἐκ μέσου γένηται

Let's look at the genders:

For the mystery [neuter] of lawlessness [feminine] is already at work; only He who now restrains

the [one who]
ὁ (ho)
Article - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's 3588: The, the definite article. Including the feminine he, and the neuter to in all their inflections; the definite article; the.

restrains [it]
κατέχων (katechōn)
Verb - Present Participle Active - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's 2722: From kata and echo; to hold down, in various applications.

Let X be the implied subject.

How do the translators get ‘he’ from X?

We know that X is not referring to the mystery [neuter] or to the lawlessness [feminine]. We also know that X is the masculine subject/actor for the verb restrains or holds down. It is reasonable to assume that X is not a thing or it. So 'he' is a reasonable translation here.

now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way.

he is taken
γένηται (genētai)
Verb - Aorist Subjunctive Middle - 3rd Person Singular
Strong's 1096: A prolongation and middle voice form of a primary verb; to cause to be, i.e. to become, used with great latitude.

This Greek word is only two Greek words away from the article. Due to referent proximity, it is probably referring to what the masculine article implies. That's why translators use 'he' here as well.

In any case, a more faithful and conservative rendering is the following:

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now restrains will do so until it is taken out of the way.

This way, I can avoid the gendered pronouns.

Why Paul didn’t use a pronoun?

Unlike Greek, English articles and verbs do not have gender declensions, so we have to articulate the gender in the form of its pronoun explicitly. However, implied pronouns by the Greek article and verbs were standard practices by the NT writers. They didn't have to write out the pronoun. Paul probably thought that he was obviously talking about a 'he' when he wrote this verse. This bears out among the sentiments in https://biblehub.com/2_thessalonians/2-7.htm; 20 out of 27 versions use the pronoun 'he'.

4
  • Thanks Tony. +1. I knew there was no personal pronoun - but Greek does have them, and uses them. But not here. You say “inclusive he”, but I say ‘inferred he’ - because of exactly what you do (well!), that is, reason it out. Now I’m not saying that reasoning is wrong, but am curious as to why Paul didn’t use a pronoun. Reasoning leads to debate, which is has in this verse.
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 17:48
  • Good question. I added :)
    – user35953
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 18:13
  • Appreciate the further clarification - I will consider this. And yes, I concur with your exposition regarding pronouns, but here many (translators) are assuming a personal pronoun - but the issue is disagreement over who/what that [person etc] pronoun should be referencing (example, Nigels response.). So the translators are ‘adding’ a personal pronoun that isn’t there, based on their interpretation of ‘who/what’ that is. And all the time the verse can actually make ‘sense’ without that addition - so why add it? (My Q).
    – Dave
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 19:39
  • Good follow-up. Nigel's answer is conservative. I added more detail. Basically, the 2nd 'he' refers to the 1st 'he' because of referent proximity. The 1st 'he' is 'he' because it is the subject of the verb to 'hold down'.
    – user35953
    Commented Oct 8, 2021 at 21:08
1

I just wrote on this subject, then got the idea to see if there was anyone else commenting on this very question, and I found you all. Here is how I see it from what I just finished writing:

Going back to 2 Thes. 2:6-7, reviewing the original Greek to the King James Version translation, there arises a problem with the pronoun “He” as used between the two different versions. The verses are first given as found as written, then I will add a modifier clearly stating who the pronoun is referring to. The object of verses 3b-4, which is the revealing of the “Son of Perdition” is the him and he is referring to in the verses below.

Greek Transliteration to English from: https://biblehub.com/interlinear/2_thessalonians/2-7.htm

6 And now that which is restraining you know, for to be revealed him in his time. 7 The for mystery already is working of lawlessness; only [there is] the [one] restraining [it] at present, until out of [the] midst he might be [gone]

KJV:

6 And now ye know what withholdeth, that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

There is NO pronoun used for the Restrainer in verse 7 of the Greek, so the pronoun “he” at the end of verse 7 still is referring to the “son of perdition’s” revealing – “until out of [the] midst HE might be [gone]” in Greek. Then there was translated in the KJV where the HE was added before “who now letteth will let”, which now makes the next HE read as if the HE is now the Restrainer also, in “he be taken out of the way”. The original HE still stands in the meaning given in God’s word and a faulty translation cannot change any interpretation of what God said through Paul.

So to clarify the meaning as written in the KJV I will state who is meant after each pronoun his or he.

6 And now ye know what witholdeth, that he [the Son of Perdition] might be revealed in his [son of perdition] time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he [restrainer] who now letteth will let, until he [son of perdition] be taken out of the way. “Or a better reading might be “until removed from of the midst” that he [son of perdition] might be gone” or [cast down].

“Cast down” comes from my view that Satan is the ‘son of perdition’ of verses 3 and 4 and refers back to the battle in the heavens found in Rev. 12:7-13 between 'Michael the archangel as the Restrainer' and Satan. Also refers to Daniel 11:45 – 12:1-2 & 11 because 2Thes. 2:4 describes the Abomination of Desolation, which is also the Time of Jacobs Trouble.

1

The little pronoun that solved the mystery of the "He" in verses 4-7.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 KJV

1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. 3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he [man of sin] as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he [man of sin] is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? 6 And now ye know what withholdeth [holds back coming of Jesus] that he [man of sin] might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he [man of sin] who now letteth will let, until he [man of sin] be taken out of the way. (notice that it is Jesus who takes the man of sin out of the way which proves that the "HE" of verse 7 is the man of sin.) 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy [taken out of the way] with the brightness of his coming: [to gather up the church].

The pronoun he refers back to the last noun. The last noun was the man of sin. Paul told them that the coming of Jesus to gather up the church will not happen until the falling away and the man of sin is revealed. Nobody is holding back the revealing but the man of sin himself, or until God's appointed time. Why would Paul answer one worry, and then give them another mystery to worry about?

0

The "he" in 2.Thess 2:7 is a masculine article, that refers to a person previously mentioned. It can be only the Antichrist, who hinders the coming of the Lord (verses 1-5). Verse 6 Paul said, "now you know" how do they know, that the coming (parousia) and the Rapture is not at hand, imminent. Because there is an Hindrance, the falling away AND the revealing of the Antichrist has to come first ean me.. protos is a fixed structure, that cannot be changed (Mark 3:27). Now we know hopefully, what hinders the coming of the Lord, the subject of verse 1, that the AC has to come first, before the Lord can come. If the AC is what hinders the coming of the Lord in verse 3, he is also the one who hinders now, because he is in prison in the midst of the earth in the bottomless pit (Rev 17:8) and will be released in his time by God. It is all about the AC, if we know, when he is revealed, we know also the time of the Rapture. He will continue to hinder(it=coming of the Lord), until he comes or goes out of the midst(his prison) and than he will be revealed.

1
  • 1
    Your answer could be improved with additional supporting information. Please edit to add further details, such as citations or documentation, so that others can confirm that your answer is correct. You can find more information on how to write good answers in the help center.
    – Community Bot
    Commented May 6, 2023 at 17:06
0

All this confusion has been generated by the New King James translation putting Capital "He" in place of just "he" as the original King James did. This has caused great confusion so that people think "He" is referring to the Holy Spirit. Notice in the context that the Holy Spirit has nowhere been mentioned. Verse 3 first tells us that the man of sin is the one to be revealed. Verse 6 further emphasizes the same and says what withholdeth. Verse 8 removes all doubt about who is revealed and destroyed or taken out of the way. When the only true Jesus comes as lightening shining from east to west (verse 8 the brightness of his coming or glorious appearing as in Titus 2:13) the false or wicked son of perdition is revealed or exposed. Note that withholdeth, letteth, and let are all the same Greek word katecho. Satin has always been the adversary since the Garden of Eden and will continue to deceive! To properly understand (katecho) one has to realize what is meant to impede or hinder in the Old English of the 17th century. Today in our English it means to give permission or permit. Much more later.

1
0

Through studying the greek concerning this passage, it has come to my attention that a part of the passage in particular vs7 of the line: until he be " taken" out of the "way"is mistranslated using uncommon usages of two greek words altering the text, confusing greatly the meaning of 2 thess2:1-8 causing a plethora of false interpretations. Although I would say for many out of ignorance because every english version i have come across has universally used the mistranslation either deliberately out of there own presuppositional agenda and or in lacking wisdom ,copy and pasted the previous work of others without investigating in the greek of what best fits Paul's intent grammatically and contextually.

Everything we need to know of what and who the restrainer is and who is being restrained by the neuter and masculine katechon(#2722) , is found in 2 thess 2:1-8 within the greek.

the fallen away which is understood by most is of the Faith, must occur first before the antichrist comes out and reveals himself. so the climax of the fallen away of the faith is what keeps the antichrist from revealing himself. but the focus of Paul is not who or what is restraining the antichrist but what and specifically who is restraining the 2nd return of Messiah Yeshua. sense the letter concerns the Day of the Lord as the parousia of Yeshua and our gathering to Him while reminding the thessalonians of that appointed time because many were sending false reports that the Day of the Lord had already occurred.

A.T. Robertson explains that an idiomatic use of the neuter singular may appear when an abstract expression is used to sum up a whole mass of ideas or expressions. (A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, Nashville: Broadman, 1934, p.409

So i believe Paul in utilizing such a idiom was reminding them what restrains(neuter) as a whole concerning both awaiting events and who restrains(masculine) in particular Yeshua's 2nd final and climactic return. the mystery of lawlessness is already at work in those two awaiting events and will not come to its climax until(Heos#2193), the masculine restrainer out of(Ek#2193) [the] "midst"(Mesou #3319) " comes into being"(Genetai#1096) [of where he is] to then reveal himself. then Yeshua is no longer restrained to return to then destroy the antichrist.

Which will be as a Thief in the Night during the 6th vial to catch the unforgiven off guard.

(Vs 7 is not to be understood by Paul's intent of the reminder to the thessalonians of Yeshua's return as the Day of the Lord through the uncommon word usages of Mesou "way"and Genetai "taken")

But as the common word usages of Mesou(midst) and Genetai(comes into being)

So we have the rendering of heos(until),ek(out of) mesou(midst) genetai(comes into being)

How 2 thess 2:1-8 should be interpreted with the correct translation is:

1.Now we beseech you, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, and by our gathering together unto him,

2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the Day of the Lord is at hand.

3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called god, or that is worshipped; so that he as god sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

6 And now ye know what restrains(neuter vs.3) that He(Messiah Yeshua) might be revealed in His time.

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he(the antichrist) who now restrains(masculine) will do so until he out of the midst comes into being.

8 And then shall he be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.