The Celestial Dwelling: God’s End-time Clock
While it has long been purported that the time of Jesus’ coming is dependent on events that will occur on earth, such as the preaching of the Gospel (Matt 24:14), and the unveiling of signs in the temporal sphere (Matt 24:21-30). There is a concomitant importance played by the work of Christ in the heavenly sanctuary with regards to determining the timing and nature of the second coming. These two facets are invaribly connected in that the Gospel encapsulates the essence of the sanctuary message. In fact as one read the Scripture Daniel and Revelation there seems to be a greater thrust placed on the sanctuary and its ministry as the principal determiner of the Second Coming, though not mutually exclusive to the proclamation of the Gospel. A similar focus can be found in
This article will propose that the heavenly sanctuary motif forms the prism through which the Great Contorversy (GC) theme is enervated. This controvery which began in heaven between Michael and Satan (Rev 12:7; Ezek 28:12-17; Isa 14:4-21), was summarily shifted to the earth—involving human beings (Rev 12:9). In 2 Thess 2:1-12 one will find the heavenly sanctuary motif is indiscreetly weaved with the GC motif as the reader is made to understand the events that will precede and eventually usher in the Parousia of Christ.
It cannot be argued that the heavenly sanctuary motif in Scripture has enjoys widespread attesttion both from the Old Testament (Gen 11:1-9; 28:10-22; Exo 15:1-18; 24:9-11; 25:8-9, 40; 32-34, 37; Deut 26:15, and New Testament (Heb 6:19; 7:1-10:18; 8-9). Some has insinuated that the Epistles are bereft of solid heavenly sanctuary motifs. It would be surprising if someone of Paul’s caliber who was undoubtedly well indoctrinated in Jewish Literature folklore would be ignorant of the sanctuary motif which is well attested both in biblical, and extra biblical sources.
Sin began in the presence of God. As anomalous as it sounds it is true. More precisely it can said sin begin in the heavenly sanctuary (see Ezke 28:14, 16; Ps 48:1, [whether or not the sanctuary here as all of heaven or part of heaven]) .
Likewise, the conflict that moved to earth was played out in the first first Edenic Sanctuary (Gen 1-3). In the same way Adam and Eve were prototypes of humanity, in a similar manner Eden was representative of the prototypical sanctuary by which other sanctuaries would later emulate. Some of the features of the Edenic temple include: it stood as the architectural embodiment of the cosmic mountain (Ezek 28:11-19), it was associated with the waters of life (Gen 13:10; Joel 3:18; Ezek 47:1-12; Rev 22:1-4; Dan 7:9-11), as well as the tree of life (Gen 2:9; Rev 22:2), worshippers are clothed inside it (Gen 3:8, 21; Exod 28:4), place of sacrifice (Gen 3:21; cf. Exod 30:34; 29:18, 25, 25, 41; Lev 1:9, 13, 17; 2:9), associated with abundance (Gen 2:15; 3:24; Ps 65:9; Isa 51:3; Ezek 36:35; Joel 2:3), oriented towards the four cardinal directions (Gen 2:10-14; 13:14), seen as the realm of death, resurrection, and afterlife (Gen 2:17; 3:19), its loss is associated with disastrous consequences (Gen 3:16-19; 3:23-24; cf. Life of Adam and Eve 25:1-4), God’s word is revealed therein (Gen 2:16, 18; 3:8, 9, 11, 13; 3:16, 17, 22).
Multi-dimensional nature of the Heavenly Sanctuary
The heavenly sanctuary theme in scripture is dynamic. In examining the evidences several ideations of the sanctuary motif can be gleaned—patterns which find themselves replicated throughout Scripture. The sanctuary is generally seen as:
- A heavenly/earthly reality (Gen 28:10-22; Exod 25:8; 1 Kgs 6:38, 14-36; 8:31-53; 1 Chr 28:1-11; 2 Chr 28:2, 6; Ezek 43:10-11; Pss 11:1-7; 29:1-11; 33:1-22; 60:1-14; 68:1-36; 96:1-13; 102:20-21; 150:1-6; Dan 7:9-14; 8:9-14; 9:24; Heb 7:25; 8:6; 9:15; 12:24; Rev 3:12; 7:15; 11:1-2, 19; 14:15, 17; 15:5, 6, 8; 16:1, 17; 21:22)
- A metaphorical reality (Exod 25:10-22; 37:1-9; Deut 7:6; 14:2; 23:14; 26:19; 28:9; 33:3; Isa 14:12-15; John 2:19; 7:37; 1 Pet 2:4, 5, 9; 1 Cor 3:16, 17; 6:16; 1 Tim 3:15; 1 Pet 2:5, Eph 2:19, 20)
- An eschatological reality (Isa 2:2-4; 54:2; 56:6, 7; 60:1-13; 66:18-21; Mic 4:1-4; Mic 4:1-4; Isa 54:2; 56:6, 7; 60:1-13; 66:18-21; Ezek 36:35; 47:7-12; Mic 4:3-4; Rev 3:12; John 14:1-3; 2 Cor 5:1-4)
- A sphere of divine activities (Gen 11:1-9; Exod 14:10, 11, 18; 15:17; 23:23; 24:2-5, 12, 17; 29:43; 33:18-23; 40:32; 40:34, 35;1 Kgs 8:30-39; 22:19-22; Isa 6:1-8; Ezek 1:1-3:15; 2 Cor 5:10; Rev 7:4-15; 11:19; 14:15; 15:5-8; 16:1, 7)
- A center of cosmic conflict (Lev 16; Isa 14:12-15; Ezek 4:1-24:27; 28:14-18; Jer 7:1-34; 8:1-3; 26:1; Hag 1:9-10; 2:12-14; Zech 1:6; 7:8-14; 12:1-3; Mal 1:6-14; 2:1-17; Rev 12:7-9; 14:6-12; 13:12, 15).
These trends form the backdrop by which the sanctuary was conceived in Scriptures. Although the sanctuary was discussed from the perspective of various trends, it is imperative to bear in mind that these trends are not to be understood as isolated conceptions, or as mutually exclusive to the other. Rather, the varied aspects on the sanctuary are conceptualized and informed through their interrelation and interdependency on the heavenly reality. In fact it is the existence of the heavenly sanctuary that infuses life into its earthly, metaphorical, eschatological, and other dimensions. Thus, to speak of any dimension of the sanctuary by implications necessarily refers to its heavenly prototype, without negating the other dimensions or their correspondences.
2 Thess 2:1-12
2 Thessalonians is said to have generally been occasioned by an intensification of persecution, continued eschatological misunderstanding as it relates to the manner and timing of the Parousia, and an apparent spiritual lassitude incited by the imminent Parousia. The real concern addressed by the book pertained to the basis of the believer’s salvation. Since the Parousia had come and “left them behind,” the logical conclusion was that “they had lost their salvation” and the hope of deliverance from their persecutions, because they anticipated the Parousia as the ultimum finem of faith and trials—ushering in vindication from their persecutors.
There is a relative unanimity among scholars that Dan 7-11 provides the tacit theological and contextual background for 2 Thess 2:1-12. Based on the evidence it can be seen that the man of lawlessness and the anti-God power of Dan 7, 8, 11 shares a similar character, disposition, and function, and also follows a similar trajectory in their activities. Both exalts themselves above God, blasphemes God’s name and His sanctuary. Both are characterized by actions that target the heavenly realm, usurps divine prerogative, deceives through miraculous activities, and summarily destroyed at the Parousia. In this regard, the anti-God power of Daniel appears to be synonymous in character, disposition, function and trajectory of actions, to the man of lawlessness of 2 Thess 2:1-12.
The heavenly sanctuary motif in 2 Thessalonians is first introduced in 2 Thess 1:10. Commenting on the final reward of the wicked the apostle stated,“who will pay the penalty of everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from His glory and His power.” Of interest here is the phrase “from the presence of the Lord” which is used extensively throughout scripture, particularly in reference to the wrath emanating from God’s presence (Num 16:46), the earthly sanctuary (Num 17:8, 9), the heavenly sanctuary (Zech 2:17; 3:1), the ark (Josh 4:5, 7; 7:6), assemblage of the people (Josh 20:2), beseeching the Lord in prayer (1kgs 13:6; cf. 2 kgs 13:4; 22:19; 2 Chron 33:12; Dan 9:3,13), judgment (Psa 33: 16; Cf. Psa 20:10; 96: 5,13; 1 Pet 3:12), God’s directive (Jonah 1:3, 10), and forgiveness (Acts 3:20). The alternate renderingtw/| prosw,pw| tou/ qeou/is used in Gen 3:8 to depict the holiness of God, and in Heb 9:24 with reference to Christ entering the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary. The activities associated with the expression “from the presence of the lord”are evidently sanctuary related functions. It seems logical therefore to infer that the usage expressionpoints to an explicit allusion of the heavenly sanctuary and its functions that are deemed pertinent to the administration of the cosmos.
The sanctuary motif in 2 Thess 2:1-12 can be best elucidated by the following:
1. The Man of lawlessness, his nature and work (vv 3, 4)
2. Sitting in the Temple of God (v. 4)
3. The restraining thing/ restraining person
4. Removal out of Restraint
5. The Advent and judgment of God
2 Thess 2:3, 4
Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
The Man of Lawlessness—his nature and work
2 Thess 2:1 introduces the parousia as the central issue at stake. The noun parousia is used 19 times in reference to the coming of Jesus (Matt 24:3, 27, 37, 39; 1 Cor 15:23; 2 Pet 1:6; 3:4, 12; Jas 5:7, 8; 1 John 2:28), and 4 times to other persons (1 Cor 16:17; 2 Cor 7:6, 7; Phil 1:26; 2:12). Of the 14 occurrences in the Epistles, 7 can be found in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, thus attesting to the centrality of the motif for the writer. The events that are thereby mentioned in vv 1-12 must be understood within the framework of their relationship to the sanctuary construct.
According to 2 Thess 2:3 the events that will mark the proximity of the eschatological parousia are apostasia “the apostasy,” and the revelation of “the man of lawlessness.” The noun anomia “lawlessness” in its NT usages generally refers to a sinful character (1 John 3:4; Rom 4:7; 6:19; 1 Cor 9:21), and evil deeds (Matt 7:23; 13:41; 23:28; 24:12; Titus 2:14; Heb 10:17). It is thus evident to see that the man of lawlessness plays a pivotal role in the apostasy that will be promulgated. In fact power, signs, lies, deception are all associated with the revelation of the lawless one (2 Thess 2:9-10). The use of the article with apostasia and anomia is indicative of a peculiar reality possibly well-known both to the author and his audience.
There is an overwhelming consonance in scholarship that the man of lawlessness of 2 Thess 2:3; the little horn of Dan 7 and 8; the blasphemous king of Dan 11:36; and the sea beast of Rev 13:1-10 all refer to the same person. According to 2 Thess 2:4-9, the following are the characteristics of the man of lawlessness: it is a blasphemous being/entity, by endeavoring to usurp divine prerogatives in the temple of God and even proclaiming itself to be God (2:4), it is kept in checked by a supernatural restraint (2:6, 7), it will be destroyed by the coming of Jesus (2:8), its work is energized by Satan (2:9), and it deceives and leads others away from the truth resulting in their ultimate destruction (2:10-12). These characteristics of the man of lawlessness conjure the imagery of a hostile pseudo-Messiah.
While many suggestions have been posited with regards to the identification of the man of lawlessness, contextually it is a system exemplified through historical personages that stretched from the biblical world to the end of time. Also from a cosmic perspective, Satan can be attributed as the prototypical lawless figure from which all subsequent similar personages are emulated. This study further adduces that this figure must be understood within the broader context of the apocalyptic nature of the passage, as well as its relation to the other elements within this apocalypse, such as the evident judgment emanating from the presence of God, the temple of God, the restraining motif, and the Parousia.
The appositional phrase “son of rebellion” provides further clarity on the character and destiny of man of lawlessness. In the NT the noun apõleia “destruction” is used within the context of the ultimate destruction of the wicked (Matt 7:13; Acts 8:20; Rom 9:22; Phil 1:28; 3:19; 1 Tim 6:9; 2 Pet 2:1, 3; 3:7, 16; Heb 10:39; Rev 17:8, 11), and with God initiating or consenting to the destruction of the wicked (Num 20:3; Deut 4:26; 8:19; Job 11:20; 21:30; Prov 27:20; Obad 12, 13; Ezek 29:9; 25:7; Jer 26:21). In the case of 2 Thess 2:3 apõleia attested to the ultimate fate of the man of lawlessness (cf. John 17:12). Therefore the very name of the man of lawlessness attest to one upon whom judgment is pronounced.
The action of the man of lawlessness in opposing and exalting himself against God (v. 4a) targets sanctuary related prerogatives. The participle antikeimenos “opposing” can be correlated to sebasma “worship” because both denotes the idea of a horizontal trajectory of opposition whose ultimate aim is vertically oriented. The other participle huperairomenos “exalting” when correlated with the expression epi panta legomenon theon “over all that is called god” it carries the connotation of someone is vertical ascendancy against God with obvious horizontal implications. In the action of the man of lawlessness like the little horn power of Dan 7-8, 11 a vertical and horizontal interplay can be discerned where events that happen in one sphere instinctively affects the other.
The use of sebasma “worship” se,basma in 2 Thess 2:4 speaks of worship in its horizontal dimensions—worship and its appurtenances in the earthly sphere, while at the same time encompassing worship that is vertically oriented to God. In opposing and exalting himself over the divine order and vying for its worship, the man of lawlessness has basically set himself to supplant God in the heavenly domain. The only way this supplanting can take place is through the usurpation of divine prerogatives. The next question that follows is what are those prerogatives? How are they usurped? What is preventing them from being usurped? What is the result of this usurpation.
Sitting in the Temple of God
The placement of the clause “so that in the temple of God he sits displaying himself that he is God” (2 Thess 2:4) is meant to highlight its centrality to verses 3-4. In some instances as is the case here ideas are ordered from the least to the most pertinent. The action of seating therefore is not incidental but rather constitutes the quintessential action of the lawless one which catapulted his ambitions. The centrality of sitting in the temple to the pericope is depicted by the chiasm:
A. coming of Jesus and gathering of the saints (2:1)
B. mental duress of the believers (2:2, 3a)
C. rebellion and revelation of lawless one (2:3b)
D. opposes and exalts over all called god or worship(2:4a)
D’ seat in the temple of God (2:4b)
C’ lawless one restrained by restrainer (2:6, 7b)
B’ mystery of lawlessness at work (2:7a)
A’ revealing the lawless one, his work and followers (2:8-12)
The primary words used in the NT to refer to the inner sanctum of the sanctuary either as a whole or partitively are naosand skÄnÄ.In the NT nao.j refers to the physical structure of the earthly temple (Matt 23:16-17, 21, 35; 26:61; 27:5, 40, 51; Luke 1:9, 21, 22; 23:45), the body of Jesus (John 2:19-21), dwelling place of earthly idols (Acts 17:24), the dwelling place of God (Acts 19:24) the heavenly sanctuary (Rev 3:12; 7:15; 11:1, 2, 19; 14:15, 17; 15:5, 6, 8; 16:1, 17; 21:22), and the community of believers/church (1 Cor 3:16).
Certain substantives are by nature definite whether or not they are articular, one such is naos, which is often used unarticular (1 Cor 3:16; 6:19; 2 Cor 6:19, Eph 2:21). The articular usage however denotes a definite reality that is unique in its own-self, and in this case, a prototypical reality. In 2 Thess 2 several such “one of kind” realities are referred to: tÄs parousias tou kuriou (v.1), hÄ hÄmera tou kuriou (v. 2), hÄapostasia(v. 3), ho anthrÅpos tÄs anomias /ho huios tÄs apÅleias is (v. 3), ton naon tou theou (v. 4), to katecon (v. 6), ho katechÅn (v. 7), and tÄ epiphaneia tÄs parousias (v. 8). These substantives are all monadic “one of a kind” entities, which denotes certitude and literality. In the same manner ton naon tou theou can be understood as the only one of its kind—hence pointing to the heavenly prototypical reality of the sanctuary (cf. Heb 8:1, 2).
The Restraining Motif
The work of man of lawlessness is restrained, and the neuter participle katechon and the masculine katechÅn denote this reality. While there is consensus on the identity of the masculine as a personal or supernatural being, the argument is far from over with the neuter. The neuter substantive in the Greek can encapsulate an abstract, concrete, and proper nouns denoting a personal being (Cf. Matt 15:11; 17:6; Luke 1:66;Eph 6:14; Rev 6:11; Acts 3:18; 7:45; 27:2, 15; John 10:39; 1 Cor 1:27, 28; 6:5; 11:5; Luke 1:35; 19:10; John 3:6; 5:4; 6:37; 17:2; Rom 11:32; Heb 7:7, 19; Col 1:20).
In the NT, the neuter participle features prominently. While the primary connotation pertains to a specific action, there are instances when it attests to a divine being, and as well as to human figures. For instances, in Matt 1:20 gennÄthen is used as a synonym for Jesus, in Luke 1:35 to gennÅmenonthen refers to Jesus, in John 3:6 gegennÄmenon refers those born after the flesh, or the Holy Spirit, Acts 2:29 exon refers to Peter, and in Rom 4:19 nenekrÅmenon refers to the body of Abraham (See also 1 John 5:4; 2 Tim 2:21). In the NT the use of the neuter substantive to denote personal entities is replete (see Matt 1:18; 2:8, 9, 11; 9:2, 25; Luke 2:16; 22:7; Rom 9:7; 1 Cor 4:9, 13; 1 Thess 2:17). Since the neuter can encapsulate both a function and a personal being it’s usage is intended to be more inclusive than the masculine by itself.
The neuter articular participle to katechon can be denoting a both a function and state being undertaken (cf. Rom 4:19; 5:5; 16:25, 26; 1 Cor 4:8; 10:25, 27; 12:11; 13:1; 14:7, 9; 2 Cor 3:13, 14; 10:5; 11:1; 12:4; Gal 1:11; 4:6; 5:12; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 11:13; 12:24; 15:37, 45; 16:6; 2 Cor 3:10, 11, 18; 4:3; Eph 1:19; 2:7; 3:9). Since however the masculine to katechÅn attest to personal being it seems congruent to limit the neuter to katechon to referring to the function of the personal being. Both participles thus allude to one reality/entity only in different aspects. In one instance the function is given while in the other one performing the function is identified (cf. Gal 5:17; Rev 2:17; 19:19; Matt 18:31; Acts 13:12; Heb 1:14).
While it is reasonable to see to katechon as referring to a power which prevents the manifestation of the lawless one, restricting that power to a purely earthly horizontal power falls short of addressing the vertical dimensions of the work of the man of lawlessness. The context favors seeing to katechon as denoting a supernatural function, especially in light of the fact that the focus of the author in 2 Thess 2:4 is on the vertical ascent of the lawless figure within the temple of God. Whatever is restraining therefore must be a sanctuary related being and his functions.
Removal out of Restraint
Having the restraint as divine, the logical question that ensues is, in what sense can a divine restraint be removed? The expression ek mesou genÄtai “out of the midst to be” (2 Thess 2:7) can either be understood in active or passive sense. In Col 2:14 an idiomatic/functional nuance is implied with regard to the ordinances Jesus nailed to the cross (cf. 1 Kgs 6:8; Isa 57:2; Ezek 10:6; 41:7). The truncated form evk me,sou often denotes a physical departure (Acts 17:33; 23:10), a separation warranted by judgment (Matt 13:49; 1 Cor 5:2), salvific activity (Col 2:14), and the act of setting apart (2 Cor 6:17). The middle genÄtai suggest that the restrainers removal is dependent is his own initiative on not enforced by another. Further, according to BAGD, one of the nuances of the copulative gi,nomai pertains to entering a new condition or changing position or state. When applied to 2 Thess 2:7 the restrainers’ removal can be understood as merely changing his state or function. To infer the sanctuary motif the sanctuary as the place where this occurs is congruent with the related expression en mesÅ which is used in the NT in relation to sanctuary related functions (Rev 1:13; 2:1; 4:6; 5:6; 6:6; 22:2). Therefore the removal of restraint within the context of 2 Thess 2:7 pertains to cessation of events performed in the sanctuary by the restrainer, which opens the avenue for lawlessness to be apparent. It is interesting to note that after the lawless one is revealed his works also becomes apparent aimed at bringing deception (2 Thess 2:9-12). Such activities as will become evident upon the earth are only the manifestations of a vertical ascent by the man of lawlessness on the heavenly sanctuary.
The Return of the Restrainer
In 2 Thess 2:8 the restrainer is transformed into a warrior/judge. He is described as “annihilating [the man of lawlessness] by the breath of His mouth and destroying [Him] by the brightness of His coming” (my emphasis added). This tacit allusion of Isa 11:4 (cf. Isa 66:15, 16; Mal 4:1) depicts a picture of God that is reminiscent of the warrior motif in the OT (Isa 42:13, 25; 59:15b-19; 63:1-6), and also the NT (Rev 19:11-21; cf. 12:7-9). Thus 2 Thess 2:1-12 is essentially a divine war fought between Christ and Satan through his emissary—the man of lawlessness.
The author gives much emphasis to the revelation of the lawless one as he does to the parousia. It appears that the revealing of this anti-God personage is an integral aspect to the fruition of God’s judgment especially in light of the staunch threat posed against the sanctuary. The fact that the parousia of Christ destroys the lawless figure suggests that the events surrounding his blasphemous actions in the sanctuary (v. 4), and the divine restraint imposed (vv. 6, 7) must be understood from the perspective of their significance to the parousia. The fate of the lawless one and his adherents is settled in the sanctuary the very place of defilement.
The heavenly sanctuary in 2 Thess 2 serves as the place where God’s sovereignty and domain is attacked, and thus where the cosmic conflict ensues over the legitimate owner of the sanctuary and this world by implication. Additionally it serves as the sphere of divine functions where the work of mediation and judgment are carried out. 2 Thess 2 provides an apocalyptic timeline of the closing scenes of history. It posits the sanctuary as central place of activity where presently Christ through his mediation also restrains lawlessness from its most replete manifestation. It is also the place from where will be determined the time of the advent of Christ, the vindication of the saints, and the judgment and destruction of Satan, and all his associations.
Richard M. Davidson, “The Heavenly Sanctuary in the Old Testament,” TMs, 1981, Adventist Heritage Center, Berrien Springs, 1-29; Frank Holbrook, “The Israelite Sanctuary,” in The Sanctuary and the Atonement: Biblical Theological and Historical Studies, ed., Frank Holbrook (Silver Springs, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 1989), 3-36; William G. Johnsson, “Day of Atonement Allusions,” in Issues in the Book of Hebrews, ed. Frank B. Holbrook (Silver Spring, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 1989), 105-120. For a treatment of the sanctuary motif in Revelation, see Richard M. Davidson, “Sancturay Typology,” in Symposium on the Revelation I, ed. Frank B. Holbrook (Silver Springs, MD: Biblical Research Institute, 1992), 99-130.
James Sweeney, “Jesus, Paul, and the Temple: An Exploration of Some Patterns of Continuity,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS) 46 (2003): 608; James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1998), 721.
See Mario Phillip, “The Heavenly Sanctuary in the Thessalonians Apocalypse (2 Thess 2:1-12): Its Innertextuality and Intertextuality within the Pauline Corpus” (PhD diss., Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, 2013), 82-129. See also Kim Sanglae, “The Heavenly Sanctuary/Temple in the Hebrew Bible” (PhD diss., University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK, 2002); Elias Brasil De Souza, “The Heavenly Sanctuary/Temple Motif in the Hebrew Bible: Function and Relationship to the Earthly Counterparts” (PhD diss., Andrews University, Berrien Springs, MI, 2005).
 For accounts of temple building stories in the ANE, see Victor Hurowitz, I Have Built You an Exalted House: Temple Building in the Bible in the Light of Mesopotamian and Northwest Semitic Writings (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic, 1992), 32-105. In Victor Hurowitz’ analysis of over 20 extra-biblical temple narratives, he found substantial accordance in structure to the biblical accounts of temple construction. Ibid. Harriet E. W. Crawford, Sumer and the Sumerians (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 89-112.
For more on Eden as prototypical sanctuary, see Donald W. Parry “Garden of Eden: Prototype Sanctuary,” in Temples of the Ancient World: Ritual and Symbolism (Salt Lake City, UT: Deseret Book, 1994), xi-xxiv
For more on these dimensions see Mario Phillip, “The Heavenly Sanctuary in the Thessalonian Apocalpyse (2 Thess 2:1-12)—Its Innertextuality and Intertextuality Within the Pauline Corpus” PhD diss., (Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Silang Cavite, Philippines, 2013).
For more on how the varied dimensions of the sanctuary suffuse the Scripture see Phillip, “The Heavenly Sanctuary in the Thessalonians,” 79-229.
Warren Woolsey, 1 & 2 Thessalonians: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (Indianapolis, IN: Wesleyan, 1997), 16-19.
Charles E. Powell, “The Identity of the Restrainer in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7,” BSac 154 (1997): 325.
Desmond Ford, The Abomination of Desolation in Biblical Eschatology (Washington, DC:University Press of America, 1979), 240-241. Desmond Ford sees implicit allusions to Isa 14:15; Ezek 28:2, 8; and Deut 13:1-3. Ibid. Thomas, “2 Thessalonians,” 321-322. Thomas suggest an eclectic background drawn from Dan 9:26, 27; 11:31, 36, 37; 12:11; Matt 24:5-24; Mark 13:3-23; and Luke 8:13. Ibid. Bruce, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 167-168. Bruce considers Dan 11:36, 37 and Jub 23:14-23 as the best antecedents. Ibid. Donald G. Barnhouse supports Dan 9:27 and Matt 24. Ibid. Barnhouse, Thessalonians, 99. Grayston, Philippiansand Thessalonians, 99-100. Kenneth Grayston sees Isa 14 and Ezek 28 as possible referents. Ibid. LaRondelle, “Paul’s Prophetic Outline,” 6. LaRondelle, on the other hand posits Dan 7, 8, 11; Ezek 28:2, and Isa 11:4 as possible antecedents. Ibid. Aus, “God’s Plan and God’s Power,” 544, 546, 552. Roger D. Aus sees many parallels with Isa 66, for example he compares yTir>c:ß['w>, “shut up” in Isa 66:7-9 with kate,cwn, “restrainer” 2 Thess 2:7. Ibid., 544-547. Frame, Thessalonians, 253-255. Frame advocates that while Paul uses Dan 11:36 he is also relying on Ezek 28:2; Isa 14:12-14; and Ps 88:23. Ibid. See also Richard, First and Second Thessalonians, 328-329; William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, Exposition of Thessalonians, Baker New Testament Commentary 7(Grand Rapid, MI: Baker, 1955), 176; Carl A. Auberlen and C. J. Riggenbach, The Two Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians, trans. John Lillie (Edinburgh, UK: T. & T. Clark, 1871), 127-128. Finally, it is purported that there is a concomitant relationship between 2 Thess 2:3, 4; Dan 7-11; and Rev 13. See “shewing himself,” [2 Thess 2:4] SDABC, rev. ed., ed. Francis D. Nichol (Washington, DC: Review & Herald, 1976-1980), 7:270-271.
For a comparison of Dan 7-11 see Phillip, “The Heavenly Sanctuary in the Thessalonians,” 249-250; see also Carlos E. Mora, Dios Defiende A Su Pueblo: Commentario Exégetico de Daniel 10 al 12 (Universidad de Montemorelos, Mexico: Adventus, 2012), 11-16.
All the texts used in this paperare take from the NASB unless otherwise stated.
Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, trans. and adapted by William F. Arndt and F. Wilbur Gingrich, 2d ed., rev. and augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker (2000), s.v. “avnomi,a.” In 2 Thess 2:3, BAGD posits that both meanings can be inferred from the context, that is, this figure must be understood to be one who exists in a state of lawlessness while concurrently producing acts of lawlessness. The question is how does identifying this figure helps in knowing which “temple” is being referred to in 2 Thess 2:4.
The use of the construction article + noun + avnomi,aj is found only once in the NT—2 Thess 2:3. However, in the LXX it is found in 1 Esd 8:67, oi` megista/nej th/j avnomi,aj,“great men of iniquity”; 1 Macc. 3:6, oi` evrga,tai th/j avnomi,aj,“workers of iniquity”; Ezek 7:23, h` po,lij plh,rhj avnomi,aj,“the city full of iniquity”; and Ezek 16:36, ta. evnqumh,mata tw/n avnomiw/n,“inventions of lawlessness.” The articular usage of the noun makes a conspicuous and definitive entity the focus.
See Wilhelm Bousset, The Antichrist Legend: A Chapter in Christian and Jewish Folklore (London, UK: Hutchinson, 1896), 143.
The most widely attributed historical figure to the “man of lawlessness” is Antiochus Epiphanies IV (2 Macc 5:11-17; 9:7-8). Others of secondary importance include Pompey (Pss. Sol. 2:2-3; cf. 1:7-8; Ant. 14.72; Legat. 1.188) and Caligula (Ant. 18:257-261). For a more detailed summary of these views, see Thiselton,1 & 2 Thessalonians, 213-217. The Early Fathers spoke of the antichrist as an end-time deceiver, see Didachê 16:3-4; as a parody of Christ, Hippolytus On Christ and the Antichrist 2.6; also Tertullian On the Resurrection of the Flesh 24; Chrysostom Homilies on Second Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians 3 (trans. Broadus, NPNF I, 13.386); a man and also a corporate power, Iranaeus Against Heresies 5.25.2-3 (ANF, 1:553-554);
Some exceptions include Exod 22:8; Lev 5:22, 23; Prov 6:15, 32; 10:11, 24; and Esth 8:6. In Isa 57:4, the phrase te,kna avpwlei,aj spe,rma a;nomon, “children of destruction seeds of lawlessnss” is paradigmatic of the o` a;nqrwpoj th/j avnomi,aj, o` ui`o.j th/j avpwlei,aj. In both, lawlessness is associated with destruction thus attesting to their synonymity.
The participle avntikei,menoj (avnti, + kei,mai) is used 23 times in the Scripture. The semantic range it covers include: to oppose (Exod 23:22; Esth 9:2; Luke 13:17; 1 Cor 16:9; Gal 5:17; Phil 1:28; 1 Tim 1:10; 5:14), to wage war (2 Sam 8:10), to assault or attack (Esth 8:11), to accuse (Zech 3:1), to resist (Luke 21:15; 1 Macc 14:7; 2 Macc 10:26; 3 Macc 7:9), and to be an adversary (Isa 66:6).
The participle u`perairo,menoj (u`per + ai,rw) occurs nine times in the Scripture. It primarily carries the sense of exalting oneself above another (2 Chr 32:23), going beyond (Ps 37:5 [38:4]), reaching the pinnacle (Ps 71:16 [72:16]), to surpass/excel (Prov 31:29), overcoming (Sir 48:13), and exercising an authoritative hand (2 Macc 5:23).
See William H. Shea, “Unity of Daniel,” in Symposium on Daniel, ed. Frank B. Holbrook (Washington, DC: Biblical Research Institute, 1986), 178-179, 199.
Johann A. Bengel, New Testament Word Studies, vol. 2 (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel, 1971), 497.
Bruce E. Hollenbach, “Two Constraints on Subordination in New Testament Greek,” in Selected Technical Articles Related to Translation, ed. Bruce Moore (Dallas, TX: Summer Institute of Linguistics, 1985), 1-2.
Bauer, BAGD, s.v. “nao.j.” H. Preisker, “nao.j,” TDNT, 4:882-883. In the LXX nao.j carries a similar connotation, except in some cases where it used in relation to the Jerusalem temple, and in other instances with reference pagan cultic sites (Ezek 27:6; 28:18). In other works such as Philo, nao.j is often used to refer to the temple in general, the wilderness temple, blasphemous temples, and the Jerusalem temple (Ebr. 1:85; Somn. 2:246; Mos. 2:72, 89, 138, 178, 276; Decal. 1:7; Spec. 1:21, 66, 71, 268; Legat. 1:139, 151, 191, 278, 292, 295, 319), or the metaphysical reality of the temple (Somn. 2:232; Spec. 1:66) In Josephus, the appellation nao.j is used mostly in relation to the general temple precincts, see Ant. 8:131; 9:5, 161, 254; 10:37; 11:6; 15:380; 18:8; 20:49), and a few possible instances to the inner sanctum (Ant. 16:261; J.W. 4:388). Another word that is used to denote the idea of the temple is i`ero.n, used 67 times in the NT to refer to the general precincts of the temple excluding the inner sanctuary.
In the NT skhnh. occurs particularly in Hebrews and Revelation. In Hebrews it speaks of an earthly replica of a heavenly sanctuary, as well as the heavenly sanctuary (Heb 8:2, 5; 9:2, 3, 6, 8, 11, 21; 11:9; 13:10). In Revelation it refers to the heavenly temple (see Rev 13:6; 15:6; 21:3). In other instances skhnh. attests to earthly tabernacles (see Acts 7:43, 44; 15:16).
R. Gundry, The Church and the Tribulation, 117-118. R. Gundry agrees that the article here delineates a special or well-known apostasy, which is led by the antichrist against God. Ibid., 117.
Giblin, The Threat to Faith, 70. Giblin sees o` a;nqrwpoj th/j avnomi,aj as denoting an anti-God figure par excellence. Ibid.
Otto Betz, “Der Katechon,” NTS 9 (1962): 284-286; Andersen, “The Restrainer,” 8-21; also Floyd A. Sheppard, “The Man of Sin and the Restrainer: II Thessalonians 2:1-12” (BTh thesis, St. Paul Bible Institute, New York, NY, 1953), 33-36.
James H. Moulton and Nigel Turner, A Grammar of New Testament Greek, Vol. 3, Syntax (Edinburgh, UK: T. & T. Clark, 1963), 150-151; C. F. D. Moule, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1959), 104.
There are 333 neuter singular and 207 neuter plural participles. Also in the LXX, it occurs 722 and 769 times respectively. Most of which are associated with the nominative and accusative cases. This implies that the participles are primarily concern either with identifying an explicit or implicit subject, in the case of the nominative, or limiting the action of the verb with respect to the direction or purpose in the case of the accusative.
Cf. Gen 1:6, 11, 12, 20, 26, 28; 7:14, 16; 8:3, 5, 17, 19; 9:2; 41:36; 42:29; 43:23; Exod 2:4, 10; 9:24, 31; 10:5; 12:6, 9, 10; 14:28; 20:18; 21:30; 23:5; 26:13, 21, 30, 31, 36; Lev 2:14; 3:3; Deut 20:16; 22:1; 23:6; 32:28; Josh 10:30, 35, 37, 39; 21:13-25; Judg 6:20, 24, 28; 1 Sam 21:4, 5, 6; 25:18; 1 Kgs 6:34; 2 Chr 7:3; 10:8; Ezra 2:63; Matt 1:22; Mark 1:26; 4:8; 7:20; 14:24; Luke 6:43; 7:32; 8:6; 15:4, 6; John 4:10, 11, 14; 15:2; 18:4; 19:11; Rom 1:20; 4:19; 1 Cor 10:25, 27; Col 1:23, 26; 2:17.
For more examples, see Matt 7:22; 14:11; 18:5; 22:25; 24:7; 27:59; Mark 5:39; 5:40; 9:36; Luke 1:15; 18:17; Rom 10:19; 2 Cor 5:4; 11:22; Rev 17:6. Example of the neuter plural noun denoting a personal figure can be seen in Matt 2:18; 3:7, 10; 7:11; 10:5, 18, 21; 11:16; 12:18, 21, 34; 15:26, 38; 19:14, 29; Mark 7:7; 10:29; 11:17; 13:10; Luke 1:17; 2:22; 3:7, 8; 7:35; 11:13; 12:30; 18:15, 32; John 13:33; Acts 2:39; 7:19, 45; 13:47; 14:5; 15:3, 7, 12, 14, 17; Rom 1:13; 2:14, 24; 4:18; 8:17, 21; 9:8; 1 Cor 6:15; 15:40; 2 Cor 1:11; 4:4, 7; 11:26; 12:14; Gal 2:2; Eph 3:8; 5:1; Rev 41:1. Cf. Gen 3:15, 16, 24; 6:3; 12:2, 7; 13:15, 16; 17:12, 16; 21:7, 8, 17, 18; 22:7; 24:60; Exod 13:2, 12, 13, 15; 22:18; 23:11; 1 Kgs 3:25; 2 Kgs 4:29-32, 35, 38; 17:26.
Chrys C. Caragounis, The Development of Greek and the New Testament: Morphology, Syntax, Phonology, and Textual Transmission (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2007), 237.
Charles A. Wanamaker, The Epistles to the Thessalonians: A Commentary on the Greek Text(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1990), 256.
Bauer, BAGD, s.v. “gi,nomai.”
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