The Main Event – The Mystery Of Lawlessness

I have been purposing to write this opinion for more than a month, as my personal study culminated in a memorable albeit split-second spiritual vision and revelation. It has been a blessed experience for me to better understand what I think is a clearer perspective of these scriptures. Having been arrested by the Spirit to stop and press into this matter, I had no clue as to the outcome of the press-in. I do now. It is in me now.

Besides having gained some understanding as to what was/is being told us, I was blessed to personally experience a precious moment of enlightenment – something that can mark our path along the way. Thank You, Lord.

Please bear with me as I lay this out both for you and also for myself. I appreciate it is a little complicated, but through this the Lord spoke clearly to me by vision, so I honor the fact that He was pleased with my pressing-in. I further believe He is intent upon us responding to the moments of scripture-revelation we receive from Him. They are all for all of us:

2 Peter 1:19-21
19 And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts;
20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation,
21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Disclaimers: I am not vaguely close to being knowledgeable of Greek, and am most weakly familiar with Hebrew. I’m OK reading and writing English (my first and only language), but even there my knowledge of grammar-mechanics ought to be better. Still, God is good and His word is accurate and fortunately others know more than us, and we can learn from them. And in this instance of study, the Lord showed up for me and I do want to share that with you.

2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you,
2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come.
3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,
4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

(I’ve added some space to highlight these two topical verses)
6 And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.
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.

8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
9 The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,
10 and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11 And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,
12 that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The chapter is clearly pointing to the primary, critical and timely topic of the return of Jesus, an event about which Paul assures us in earlier verses in the very same letter. This letter is about Jesus, it is not about our adversary.

Paul in chapter 1 is telling us about why he’s writing (to dispel deceptive myths and to encourage and enlighten the saints who await deliverance by the victorious One, who will render violence to the adversary). Paul had written earlier:
2 Thessalonians 1:6-10
6 since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you,
7 and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels,
8 in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
10 when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed.

Again and lest we forget: This entire letter to the church in Thessalonica is about the return and appearance of our Lord Jesus, to redeem and rescue His people. The appearance of the man of sin is an important factor, but it is secondary, as it ought to be. That understood, already the verses in chapter 2 begin coming to light.

Most of the verses in the whole book, including chapter 2, are reasonably straightforward. The challenging, semi-cloudy ones, appear to be 2:6 and 2:7. But in that cloud is glory.

BTW, although I am looking more frequently into other translations, I personally gravitate to the New King James version of scripture. I appreciate its modernization of the original King James version, the one I was first introduced to after my salvation experience. For the particular passage in 2 Thess, however, I think the NKJV unfortunately confuses things us by making some “He” and “he” assumptions, and by having selected some acceptable definitions of Greek words that might be somewhat lesser candidates to anglicize what was intended by the author Paul.

First, Paul makes the point that there are deceivers already in his days (and – as he told Timothy – with more to be expected as the conclusion of this age approaches its climax). Paul tells his readers that until a falling away occurs, and a particular man of sin is revealed, the Day of the appearance of our Lord will not happen. And he further tells us the man of sin is already lost – “son of perdition”.

We are clearly living in times where there is increasing evidence of a “falling away” from all things righteous. As in the days of Noah. I digress.

3 Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, (that’s pretty clear)

Verse 4 reveals to us that the man of sin is all about ego and will wickedly strive to the point of craving and demanding to be acknowledged (even to the level of being worshiped) as if he were God. He will go so far as to set himself up right in the temple of God, demonstrating his counterfeit and demonic power via lying signs and wonders (Rev 13:14) – signs and wonders that will seem credible to the deceived, since they have at that point willingly rejected the truth, they will become so blinded as to ignorantly assume signs and wonders always equal God:

4 who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.

Paul reminds his readers that this matter, being so important, is something he’d already spoken to them before, when he was with them. The return of our Lord is important to Paul. He recognized its topical priority. It’s a good point for the church of our day to note.
5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

He then goes on to tell his audience that something/someone is “holding back” something/someone – and here’s where (especially NKJV) wording gets a little tweaky:

6 And now you know what is restraining (or causing delay, or holding back, circumstantially), that he (he who? Small “h” he the evil one, or big “H” He the Lord? Or is it any H/h at all?) may be revealed in his (again, the question as to translation) own time.

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He (big H or little h? Or?) who now restrains will do so until He (again: which H/h? Or?) is taken out of the way.

Verse 6 points to the original recipients of Paul’s letter as having some knowledge of the “mystery of lawlessness” – that much is conclusive. There was already demonic activity occurring on earth, activity the new church could perceive) But here’s where this and the following verse get interesting. One interpretation of verse 6 is that the man of sin is being held back. OR it can be read that our great Savior Jesus is being held back, all depending upon the big H or little H opinion.

Before I offer my opinion, based upon my modest research into some well-written other opinions, and what I believe was a vision from the Lord for me, let’s also look at and include verse 7:

7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who (remember: translators decided which HE to capitalize and which HE to not capitalize – in this case making the assumption it is even either “he” or “He”. So it could be “he” who…. Furthermore GR: “katechon”” – is neuter in gender – therefore it is not even necessarily MALE – it could accurately be translated into “that which withholds”). For reference: the original King James bible says “what is”. The New American Standard says “what restrains”) now restrains will do so until He (or “he” or “it”) is taken out of the way (Another note: the “taken out of the way” wording is also something inviting investigation).

It is not necessary or grammatically accurate to dogmatically assume:
A. Some evil strongman is himself being held back (by some other work on earth – which some commentators in the past have ascribed to the Roman Catholic Church impacting separate third party evil plans); OR
B. Some evil man would be able to hold back our all-powerful Lord.
Both the above interpretations are assumptions and are not supported by the Greek, let alone by history. Importantly, neither appears supported by the rest of scripture.

Regarding the critical phrase until he/He is “taken out of the way” – one of several websites I read in this back-study offers us this:
“The word ginomai (ginomai), which is here translated “taken,” is a very common word in the Greek language. This word can take on a wide variety of nuances, but its primary root meaning is “to become.” The United Bible Societies Greek Dictionary lists a number of possible English translations of this word, among which are:

become, be; happen, take place, arise…; come into being, be born or created; be done (of things), become something (of persons); come, go…; appear. (A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament, London: United Bible Societies, 1971, p.37)

All of these renderings imply the arrival or appearance of the subject, rather than its removal, as is implied in the term ‘taken’.” (end of David M. Roger’s commentary quote)

In other words, translating “ginomai” to “taken” or “taken away” can be the exact opposite of the intent of Paul. Paul may well have purposed to say “until its appearing” or “arising from our midst”.

I personally cannot render an opinion as to the other writings and opinions of the author (David Rogers) of the website, but I clearly admire and applaud his thorough study into this challenging portion of verse, including his understanding of Greek and the rules of both English and Greek grammar, as well as his respect for scripture. Here’s his website:

VERSES 6 and 7: David Roger’s conclusion, based upon his exhaustive word and text study, and (in my opinion) in sober alignment with clear principles for determining and interpreting scripture, would have the verses read this way:

THE WEBSITE WRITER’S INTERPRETATION (apology: with my notes in parentheses):
And now you know what is delaying the day of Yahuwah, so that He (Yahuwah – or Y’Shua) might be revealed in His time.
For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. He (this “He” capitalized only because it begins a sentence – and referring to “the man of sin” who has himself yet to appear) who delays the day of Yahuwah does so only now, until he (the man of sin) arrives from our midst, and then he (the same evil guy) will be revealed for who he is – “the Lawless One” (sitting in the temple, deceiving many with lying signs and wonders which God will allow) whom Yahuwah will slay with the breath of His (Yahuwah’s) mouth, and destroy by the splendor of His coming.

NOW LET’S READ THE ABOVE VERSES ONE MORE TIME – without my notes, for clarity. I am, however, taking the liberty to replace all of the He/he’s with names/titles. There are some obvious who’s-being-spoken-about pronouns that I am also replacing, by names, only to press the point:

6 And now you know what is delaying the day of Y’Shua, so that Y’Shua might be revealed in Y’Shua’s time.
7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. The man of sin who delays the day of Y’Shua does so only now, until the man of sin arrives from our midst, and then the man of sin will be revealed for who he is – “the Lawless One” – whom Y’Shua will slay with the breath of Y’Shua’s mouth, and destroy by the splendor of Y’Shua’s coming.

Wow. That seems to fit the revealed Bible-plan for the man of sin, as told to us elsewhere in scripture. The genderless “katechon” matter as to whether “it” (the timing and circumstance of the man of sin’s activity), or the appearance of the man of sin himself from our midst (per Daniel) is open for discussion. Both fit. Either way, it does not impact the general biblical accuracy of the translation, above.

And now for my personal revelation:
After pondering, praying into, and reading and re-reading both the scriptures and website opinions (the one above being most clear and logical to me) I closed my ipad and shut my eyes, to immediately receive a confirming flash-vision from the Lord – clearly confirming what I was believing.

The example presented to me was a “main-event” kind of boxing arena. Or MMA. Or UFC fighting event. The principle remains the same.

The crowd gathers. They are anticipatory. It is time for the main event (thank you, Bruce Buffer).
The atmosphere is charged with expectation. There’s undercard events. There’s violent build-up.
It’s tough and exciting, but the crowd has gathered for the main event.

In fact both opponent and champion have campaigned to fill the arena with followers. For our purposes, One invites to a divine and exciting event. One enslaves, promising his supporters liberty, and they’ve shown up to even root for him.

The night will not culminate until the main event concludes.

The first one into the ring is never the champion.
The first one into the ring is the challenger. Always.
Until he appears, the champion will not step into the ring. In essence, the appearance of the champion, although he is the champion, is “restrained” or held back or delayed by his lesser-honored and in fact weaker rival.
It is not for lack of power or authority that the champion enters second. He enters second by choice, he will not appear until the challenger comes out – who will enjoy his fleeting moments of glory but for a moment.
And once that rival is in the ring, it is now time for the champion.
Our Champion.

King of kings and Lord of lords.


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About ez3728

I am a believer in Jesus - that He is the One and Only Messiah of the world. I believe the Bible is the perfect and complete Word of God, and that God is absolutely competent and capable of keeping His Word perfect, undefiled, and uncorrupted. Jesus was born Jewish. So was I. He lived a perfect life, and is worshiped. I live an imperfect life, and I worship Him.
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