Most English versions of the New Testament have set 2. Thess. 2:8 in opposition to Rev. 19:20 and 20:10, by stating in these two latter verses that the wild beast and false prophet will be cast into the lake of fire alive, whereas in 2. Thess. 2:8 many versions say they will be killed, slain, or destroyed at the presence of the Lord.
This mischief has been caused by careless attention to two Greek verbs in 2. Thess. 2:8. One of them (anaireO) means to take up, take away, bear off or away, remove, overturn, abrogate, annul. Later it came to stand for putting one to death, destroying. The other verb (katargeO) simply means to render useless, to undo, to annul, to bring to naught.
Some of the versions go by a different verb, instead of anaireO, namely analO or analiskO, meaning to consume. However, we shall prove that this verb is wrong, as these two evil beings could not be living in the lake of fire, and in torment, if they had been consumed at an earlier stage.
Out of over twenty-five translations I am obliged to state that Weymouth gives the most reasonable rendering, "will sweep away. . . . and utterly overwhelm." Neither death, killing nor destruction does he mention. Perhaps he is a bit paraphrastic, but he is not opposing the facts of Rev. 19 and 20. On the other hand, the Revised Standard Version uses "slay. . . . and destroy," so it contradicts these verses in Revelation. Plainly, the R.S.V. is addicted to great brevity and to short cuts. Bishop Wand reads "destroy. . . and will reduce him to impotence." Had these terms been reversed they might have made some sense. Being destroyed implies death, but being reduced only to impotence does not necessarily imply death. Goodspeed is satisfied with "destroy. . . and annihilate," which are both wrong, and do not tell the real facts. The New World reads "annihilate. . . and bring to nothing," terms which mean the same thing, and both quite erroneous. Rotherham has "slay. . . and paralyse," but why both terms, and in this order too? Joynson reads "shall kill . . . and shall destroy," while the Lutterworth has "shall slay. . . and shall destroy." Way has "blast. . . and annihilate," while Hayman has "blast. . . and shatter," both quite wrong. While Young reads "consume. . and shall destroy," in his Concise Critical Comments he has "shall take away. . . and make thoroughly useless," terms which are both thoroughly correct.
The Concordant Version in 1914 (?) and in 1944 read "despatch. . . and will discard," but the 1925 and 1930 editions read "despatch. . . and will abolish." Despatch seems to imply death and so does abolish, so we must discard them. Discard, on the other hand, is not a good term to use for the Greek katargeO.
In the Concordant Version Concordance (page 205) we find the word despatch (anaireO) as "put out of the way or kill." . The correct sense is merely to put out of the way, or to make away with. This of course could be a polite way of saying to kill or assassinate. But one of the occurrences of this word is found at Heb. 10:9, where we read, "He takes away (C.V. is despatching) the first, that He should be establishing the second." But there is here no thought of killing.
This idea of taking away, or making away with, is fully in harmony with Rev. 19:20, King James version, "And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet." The C. Version is more picturesque, "And the wild beast is arrested." This is the true sense found in 2. Thess. 2:8.
We find this same sense of making away with anyone in Isaiah 53:8, where the Revised Standard Version reads "By oppression and judgment he was taken away; and as for his generation, who considered?" Rotherham reads "By constraint and by sentence (or, By tyranny and law) was he taken away, and of his age, who considered?" Leeser's text says, "Through oppression and through judicial punish ment was he taken away; but his generation—who could tell?" Whither was He taken? To His death. Nearly 800 times is the Hebrew verb (laqach) rendered as "take," and of these, it is rendered "take away" 56 times, of which only a very few refer to death.
If, in Rev. 13:3, "one of its heads" refers to the wild beast (anti-christ), all we are told is "And (I perceived) one of its heads as having been slain unto death, and its death blow was cured." This might merely mean that this head appeared to have been slain. It does not say that the wild beast was brought back to life.
The facts also stated in Rev. 17:8, 11; 19:20; and 20:10, about the wild beast and the false prophet, clearly prove that their "going away into destruction" only means going into lostness, as they are still alive after one thousand years, and their death is never recorded anywhere. Thus lostness must ever be only temporary.
I am greatly indebted to Mr. W. H. Raine of Ross Road, Haney, British Columbia, for pointing out the discordance I have attempted to clear up.
A.T. Last updated 29.3.2006