Re: final clause in 2 thess 2:6

Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church (
Thu, 22 Aug 1996 10:00:08 -0700 (PDT)

David et al:
You asked 3 questions. First, what do I mean by saying the eis
to clause in 2 Thess 2:6b relates back to oidate? Answer: my point hear
is that the nearest antecedent of the eis to clause is the immediately
preceding oidate and that we should expect to relate the clause back to
that rather than the way it is normally taken back to the more remote to
katechon. The meaning, then, changes radically and I contend fits in
well with Paul's argument. To paraphrase: and you know what now
restrains (explained in v. 7 as the mystery of lawlessness [to katechon
... to musterion]; you know this so that he (the man of lawlessness) may
be revealed to you in his time.
I know this probably blows you away at first reading. It is so
foreign to out locked in intepretation of v. 6 where we assume what is
being restrained is the man of lawlessness. That is the problem. The
connective kai at the beginning of v. 6 indicates the perspective begun
in v. 4 (where the man of lawlessness is the one opposing [similar to
restraining] all that is called God) is continued and not switched (as
most intepretations suggest).
Anyhow, the argument then is a fortiori which leads to your
second question. A fortiori is a Latin term for argument by force, or
"conclusion that follows from even greater logical necessity than another
already accepted in the argument" (Webster). This type of argumentation
is common in Paul's literature. Anyhow, the meaning is this: they had
been led to believe that the day of the Lord was at hand (or, had come).
Paul allays their fears by saying not so. Two necessary events must
precede such, namely, the apostasy and the revelation of the man of
lawlessness. But, how can they be sure that when he is revealed they
will recognize him? They already knew and understood the lesser, the
mystery of lawlessness already at work. They know who was behind it. If
they already discerned the more difficult mystery, then when the epitome
of lawlessness was revealed, then they would certainly recognize and know
him, a fortiori.
Your third question: how could the man of lawlessness restrain
himself? This question, of course, reflects the usual erroneous
assumptin made, i.e., that what is being restrained in v. 6a is the man
of lawlessness. I have already dealt with this, but simply, what is
being restrained is not the man of lawlessness, but "all that is called
God" (v. 4).
Hope this helps. You might want to read my paper, "The Evil
Restraint in 2 Thess. 2:6" (Journal of the Evangelical Theological
Society, Dec. 1990).

Paul S. Dixon, Pastor Check out my doctoral product:
Ladd Hill Bible Church "The Evangelism of Christ: a Model for
Wilsonville, OR 97070 Evangelism Today"

On Thu, 22 Aug 1996, David Wilens wrote:

> Dear EGW EIMI mailing list,
> I have a question that's a little off the subject - is that all
> right?
> Paul Dixon wrote:
> > The typical interpretation of the telic or final clause in 2 Thess 2:6
> > (eis to ...) relates the clause back to the more distant to katechon
> > (what restrains). The subsequent meaning becomes something like this:
> > you know what now restrains him so that he may be revealed in his own
> > time, that is, you know what is restraining the man of lawlessness from
> > being revealed before his time.
> >
> > This interpretation ignores the fact that normally a telic or final
> > clause refers back to its nearest antecedent, which in this case is not
> > to katechon, but oidate (you know). If we relate it to its nearest
> > antecedent, then the meaning changes drastically: and what restrains (or
> > holds sway) you know so that he may be revealed in his time. The idea
> > then becomes a fortiori, i.e., their present knowledge of what was
> > restraining - that is, the mystery of lawlessness (v. 7) - was the
> > guarantee that when the epitome of lawlessness was revealed (the man of
> > lawlessness) then they would certainly know him.
> No one responded to this so I assume that everyone is in agreement.
> Paul,
> 1. What do you mean by EIS TO relating back to OIDATE - you know that he will
> be revealed?
> 2. What does fortiori mean? I couldn't find it in any dictionary.
> 3. Are you saying that this verse says that the man of lawlessness restrains
> himself until the time of his choosing?
> In Moshiach,
> David