2 Thessalonians 2:7  •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 7
Beloved brother—-,
Now for your reasoning on 2 Thess. 2:77For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. (2 Thessalonians 2:7). I see we have the same thought as to the truth, so that I am not very anxious on the subject of the Greek. I suppose that you think that from the midst of the mystery the wicked one will arise, who will embody iniquity, so to speak, in his person—the Antichrist who will be destroyed. I believe it; only if I have rightly understood you think that the beast will exist no longer. But it seems to me that whether it be Daniel or the Apocalypse, they require that the beast shall be there until the judgment that will destroy it. The question remains, whether Antichrist is the beast embodied in its last head, as France in Napoleon (the 1St emperor); or if he is the false prophet who accompanies him.
Now as to the translation; the usage of the language is the way to understand it. Now ἐκ μέσου is an expression which hardly leaves room for discussion with regard to a particular interpretation. A thing is ἐν μέσω when it is placed before every one, as a prize for which they strive; for example, in a word, when a thing is there before (the object, or able to be the object of) the thoughts and pre-occupation of those who are there. Thus the adulterous woman, when all her accusers were gone away, was ἐν μέσω, still there. On the other hand, ὲκ μέσου γένεσθαι, or εἰναι, is an ordinary well-known phrase for being no longer there. It is not a question of being in the midst or from the midst of something; but in such a way as to be the object of the feelings and thoughts of the spectators. Take Pape if you have it: he will certainly give you proofs of it. I furnish you three from Wetstein, as you may not have access to it. νῦν ἐκ τοῦ μέσου ἡμῖν ἐσεσθέ. (Herod. 8:22.) μικρὸν ἡτεθνήκα ἡ παντὰ ἐκ μέσον, I have Anton. 8:12. ἔγνω ξῆν καθ ἑαυτὸν ἐκ μέσου γενόμενος. (Plut. Timol., p. 238, 3.)
I believe that the aim of the apostle is not to designate him who hinders, but that there will be something that hinders, and that consequently the wicked one will not be revealed until that shall be gone—μόνον ὁ κατέχων ἄρτι ἕως, etc. The wicked one would have been revealed before his time by the movement of the principles and will of man, if there had not been something which arrested, bridled. The exterior form may vary, I believe it has varied. God now restrains it until the moment known to Him arrives. Then it is ἐκ μέσου, and the wicked one is manifested. Be assured, beloved brother, of the sincere affection of your brother in Jesus.