Sigve Tonstad

Abstract

While many of the apocalyptic images in 2 Thessalonians have puzzled readers, it is question of the identities of "the lawless one" in 2:8 and "the retrainer" in 2:6 that has occasioned the most debate. The author of the letter is apparently building upon and assuming earlier discussions that the modern reader cannot re-create. However, this article argues that by placing these terms in the context of biblical prophecy, esp. Isa. 14:12-20 and Hab. 2:3, it becomes likely that "the lawless one" is Satan or a representative thereof and that "the restrainer" is God. This reading further suggests that a complex apocalyptic narrative underlies these texts.