The restrainer continues to restrain “until he comes into existence out from the midst” (2:7). The verb, ginomai, has the basic sense of meaning of “to become” with respect to origin (to come into existence, to begin to be, to receive being, be made).(153)
In the NT when ginomai is used with reference to God, God is always the source of the action. For example in Jn. 1:3, “all things came into being (ginomai) through Him.” God is never the receiver of the action in connection with ginomai. In 2 Thess. 2:7 the restrainer is the receiver of the action associated with ginomai and the restrainer begins to have a new existence distinct and separate from his previous existence in which he functioned as a restraining force. “The restrainer’s” identity becomes increasingly clear from both the linguistic evidence and the historical record when it is recognized that pagan Rome, the impersonal system (to katechon), and the emperor of Rome, a personal being (ho katechon), restrained the rise of the man of sin until the emperor of Rome voluntarily moved his capitol from Rome to Constantinople in AD 330 thereby relinquishing his restraining function. No longer the restrainer, the emperor received (began to have) a new existence out from the city of Rome (the midst of 2:7). The papacy was free to take on the full manifestation of the mystery of lawlessness and function in a religio-political manner in the Roman emperor’s former capitol.
From the evidence of linkage by concurrent time with “the mystery of iniquity” and the receipt of a new existence outside of Rome, “the restrainer” may be identified as the impersonal system of pagan Rome (to katechon) and its personal emperor (ho katechon). “The restrainer” is equivalent to the horn from littleness in its pagan phase (masculine) in Daniel 8:9 & 11.
153) J. H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, Grand Rapids: Baker, p. 115 (1977).
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