Any interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-10 which suggests that the man of sin is represented by a supernatural being such as Satan requires that “the restrainer” holding him back must be a supernatural power, namely, God Himself. However, such a view overlooks the inherent description of the man of sin. First, he is a “man,” (anthropos) of human origin. Nowhere in scripture is Satan referred to as a man (anthropos or aner in Greek and adam, enosh, geber or met in Hebrew). Satan is a supernatural, angelic being of heavenly origin in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Second, the man of sin is described as the “son of perdition.” This descriptive phrase is used in only one other instance in scripture in John 17:12 referring to Judas who allowed himself to be actuated by Satan. Finally, the phrase, “the son of perdition” implies a “father of perdition.” In fact Satan is referred to as the “father” of those who refuse to listen to the words of Jesus. “You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do” (Jn. 8:44). It seems clear from this preliminary internal exegetical evidence that Satan is not the “man of sin,” a phrase which historically has been associated with the papacy, a religious system with human (anthropos), organizational characteristics.
If the man of sin is an earthly religious system with human leadership, this precludes the necessity of a supernatural restrainer. The view that the restrainer exhibits evil characteristics and is symbolic of Rome receives support from the following internal linguistic considerations of 2 Thess. 2:6-7.
|<= Previous||Return to Main Menu||Next =>|