I have recently been thinking about Paul’s reference to The Restrainer in his letter to the Thessalonians. It’s been a matter of much speculation over the years as to who or what is restraining the evil that will bring forth the Man of Sin.
I am not much closer to an answer, although most people believe it is either the Holy Spirit, the Church, or the Government that restrains evil, so preventing the appearance of the one we call Antichrist.
In researching the passage, however, I came across some books and website studies that helped me translate more accurately the verse that suggests the Restrainer must be “taken out of the way” in the endtimes.
Oddly enough, the translators of the bible text decided to give a meaning to the word GINOMAI that is used nowhere else, either in the bible or in classical Greek, and to apply it to the Restrainer, rather than the Man of Sin. This has caused much dispute and argument over the years. As a result of this wording, many have construed it to mean the Pre-Trib Rapture of the Church must take place before the Antichrist comes.
The Word means Coming, not Going!
See Greek Lexicon: https://www.biblestudytools.com/lexicons/greek/nas/ginomai.html
In the interlinear passage above you will see that the word GENETAI is translated “he might be[gone]” in which the word ‘gone‘ has been added. But the meaning is to BE, not to be GONE! In fact, we ourselves recognise the word in English as Genesis (to come into being) and generate, gene, genetic. The phrase that the KJV has as “taken out of the midst” is actually properly translated as “appears [out of/in] the midst” : EK MISOU GENETAI.
◄ 1078. genesis ► Strong’s Concordance: genesis: – from ginomai: origin, birth
Usual bible translation: “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***.” In Greek: “to gar musthrion hdh energeitai (5731) thv anomiav; monon o katexwn (5723) arti ewv ek mesou genhtai. (5638) [2 Thess 2:7]
But, the correct translation should be: “He who restrains will do so until HE (the Man of Sin) appears out of the midst“. (And the “midst” could mean the world, society, government or even the FALLEN CHURCH – a very sobering thought in this day of false teachers and false prophets!)
The Greek Translation
Clicking on the Greek word in the interlinear translation online, we discover that everywhere else in the bible GENETAI is translated as “be accomplished, come to pass, become, be born, appear, take place, occur” and so on.
Please see these two pages that give the occurrence and meaning:
I was surprised (as no doubt you are) to discover that the root Greek word, which has been translated as “taken out” or removed, is NEVER translated that way anywhere else. It actually means “appears, is revealed, arrives…”. This can be demonstrated by reading the clip below, which has been made into an image in order to preserve the Greek text.
Nothing is taken out of the way in 2 Thessalonians 2:7
What does this scripture (2 Thessalonians 2:7) mean? Look at the context … all these pronouns refer to the “man of sin” (v3), also called “that Wicked” (v8). This is none other than the Antichrist. … the context really indicates that “he” refers to the Antichrist [not the Holy Spirit]. Some have argued that this refers to Jesus being revealed, not the Antichrist, but look at these three verses.
- 2 Thessalonians 2:
- 6-8 And now you know what restrains for him to be revealed in his time.
- 7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already working: only there is he who now restrains, until he comes into being out of the midst.
- 8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming.
Jesus will consume the one who is about to be revealed, so it can only be the Antichrist who is about to be revealed in those verses.
Therefore sin and lawlessness are being restrained at present, and will continue to be restrained until “transgressors have come to the full” (Daniel 8:23), then the Antichrist will be revealed. … This bible study proves that neither the church nor the Holy Spirit are taken out of the way in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 before the Antichrist appears. The idea that this verse refers to a pre-tribulation rapture of the church has been thoroughly refuted. [Source]
- “The Restrainer — Not Who You Think” interesting article at https://www.soothkeep.info/blog/knots/the-restrainer/
For anyone looking for the Rapture before the revealing of the Antichrist, this is bad news, because the idea cannot be sustained from the Greek text of Thessalonians (nor indeed anywhere else in the bible, but that is a different discussion.)
For some reason, false hope has been raised by the suggestion that the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit, and that he, along with the Church, will be entirely REMOVED before the Antichrist appears. That is a false doctrine.
Not only are we not sure that the Restrainer is the Holy Spirit, but even if he is, the Holy Spirit will not and cannot be entirely taken from the earth, with or without the Church. His work is still seen through the Book of Revelation, and it is impossible to fathom how people [including many Jews] could be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit.
However, as you see from the clips above, the passage no longer presents a stumbling block, since the bible does NOT say that the Restrainer will be “removed.” It merely says, a number of times, that at the right time the Man of Sin “will be revealed”.