Jesus V. Paul 9 – The Lawless One?

For the introduction to this series, see here. (You can find Wb’s solid contribution to this dialogue here.)

The post originates here.

(9) Jesus–“all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Matt. 28:19) versus Paul–“The coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders….” (2 Thess. 2:9 RSV). Who, then has all power, Jesus or the lawless one?

First, the passages,

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Mat 28:18-20 NLT)

And,

This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. (2Th 2:9 NLT)

Our dear friends seem to pick and choose (and they might say the same as us) their support. We examine the Greek (they used the RSV),

οὗ ἐστιν ἡ παρουσία κατ᾽ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ σατανᾶ ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους (2Th 2:9)

And other translations,

The arrival of the lawless one will be by Satan’s working with all kinds of miracles and signs and false wonders, (2Th 2:9 NET)

The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, (2Th 2:9 NIV)

We know that Christ Himself stated that this lawless one would come with a power to deceive.

For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect-if that were possible. (Mat 24:24 NIV)

But, beyond that, we move to the actual analysis of the text. First, Matthew 28.18 in the Greek,

καὶ προσελθὼν ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν αὐτοῖς λέγων· ἐδόθη μοι πᾶσα ἐξουσία ἐν οὐρανῷ καὶ ἐπὶ γῆς. (Mat 28:18 BGT)

And again,

οὗ ἐστιν ἡ παρουσία κατ᾽ ἐνέργειαν τοῦ σατανᾶ ἐν πάσῃ δυνάμει καὶ σημείοις καὶ τέρασιν ψεύδους (2Th 2:9)

In Matthew 28.18, the word translated as power/authority is ἐξουσία, which is defined as (Liddell-Scott Lexicon,

ἐξουσία, ἡ, (ἔξεστι) power or authority to do a thing, c. inf., Thuc., Xen.; c. gen. power over, licence in a thing, Thuc., Plat.
II. absol. power, authority, might, as opp. to right, Thuc.: also licence, Dem.
2. an office, magistracy, Lat. potestas, Plat.
3. as concrete, also like Lat. potestas, the body of the magistrates, in pl., the authorities, N.T.
III. abundance of means, resources, Thuc.
IV. pomp, Plut.

In 2nd Thessalonians 2.9, the word translated as power is δυνάμει, defined as,

δύνα±μις , ἡ, gen. εως, Ion. ιος, Ion. dat. δυνάμι, power, might, strength, Hom.: then, generally, strength, power, ability to do a thing, Id.; παρὰ δύναμιν beyond one’s strength, Thuc.; ὑπὲρ δ. Dem.; κατὰ δ. as far as lies in one, Lat. pro virili, Hdt.
2. power, might, authority, Aesch., etc.
3. a force for war, forces, Xen.
4. a quantity, tLat. vis, χρημάτων δ. Hdt., etc.
II. a power, faculty, capacity, αἱ τοῦ σώματος δυνάμεις Plat., etc.; also of plants, etc., Xen.
III. the force or meaning of a word, Plat., etc.
2. the worth or value of money, Thuc. Hence δυναμόω

First, translators can assigned the ‘false’ to all three, preferable, or to the wonders, but in the end, the authority of Christ still surmounts the power of the lawless one.

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