In his second letter to the church at Thessaloniki, Saul describes two figures: 1) the man of lawlessness; and 2) the one who restrains him. If you prefer, the KJV renders this as “the son of perdition” and “the one who now letteth.”
Saul tells his readers that “the day of the Lord” (KJV: “the day of Christ”) is not at hand, and indeed, will not be at hand until the man of lawlessness (“son of perdition”) be revealed.
Clearly, the text’s meaning has not only a literal, but an anagogical sense.
First, the anagogical sense: Saul seems to indicate that, at some day within history, the Lord, Yeshua the Christos/Messiah, will return in his resurrected body to visit his people. This is the anagogical meaning of “the day of the Lord.” No one knows precisely when this day will occur, yet Saul gives us one basic interpretive rule: the day will not happen until the “man of lawlessness is revealed.” Now, what must needs happen to bring about this revelation, and thus the return of the Lord? The answer is simple: “the one who restrains” must cease his restraining. Then, the day of the Lord will take place, and the Lord will kill the man of lawlessness with his very “breath” (Read: his “Spirit,” his Holy Ghost, that Dove).
Let the wise reader allow the holy Spirit to interpret her reading of this. Let her carefully discern who is the man of lawlessness, and thus who his restrainer might be.
Now, onto the literal sense.
What is especially pertinent from a Lupine perspective on theological anthropology is this pair: man of lawlessness/one who restrains. Saul indicates that the man of lawlessness remains hidden within until the day of the Lord. And what keeps the man of lawlessness hidden, covered, protected in the darkest depths of subjectivity? Who indeed, but the very one who restrains?
Who is the “Man of Lawlessness”? Who is more lawless than that most wicked of our ancestors, Cain, that Wolf which skulks within? After all, the KJV calls him “the Son of Perdition,” and who more accurately stands for “Perdition” but the Cain’s Father? The (First) Adam!
Who, then, is the “One Who Restrains” but the inner Christ, the Second Adam, who, by the mediation of his Holy Ghost, that Dove worketh a work of regeneration in Adamic humanity, attaching it to his very own humanity, in hypostatic union with the divine Word?
What, then, is the literal meaning of Saul’s mysterious ruminations?
Just as Saul provides one anagogical rule for speaking about the future return of Christ, so he provides one literal rule for speaking about the inner man.
The Lord has not yet conquered Lupus-Cain, that principle of unredeemed humanity. He will–at the end of history, on the day of the Lord–finally slay Lupus-Cain with his very breath. But in the meantime, Lupus-Cain–being protected by a mark on his forehead, by a sacred covenant within the Godhead itself–is not to be molested, let alone slain. Rather, Lupus-Cain is to be (returning to the KJV) “let” alone, to do what wolves will do. Christ sanctifies the inner Adam, for Adamic humanity has been redeemed. But Christ “letteth” Lupus-Cain do what he will, for Cainite humanity remains untouched until the “day of the Lord.”
Saul rebukes the Thessalonians who think the day of the Lord has already come, i.e. those who foolishly think that Lupus-Cain can be mastered, tamed, made to obey.
Rather, in this “time between the times,” we must pray for Lupus-Cain, and give him a long leash, as we wait for the return of our LORD and Savior, Yeshua, the Christos/Messiah. May we take Saul’s rebuke to heart. Amen.