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2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".

 
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2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Is the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3?
(By Dr. Thomas Ice of the Pre-Trib Research Foundation)


“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” (2nd Thessalonians 2:3).



I believe that there exists a strong possibility that 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 is speaking about the Rapture. What do I mean? Some pretribulationists, like myself believe that the Greek noun apostasia, usually translated “apostasy,” is a reference to the Rapture and should be translated “departure.” Thus, this passage would be saying that the day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place. If apostasia is a reference to a physical departure, then 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 supports strong evidence for pretribulationism.



THE MEANING OF APOSTASIA


The Greek noun apostasia is only used twice in the New Testament. In addition to 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, it occurs in Acts 21:21 where, speaking of Paul, it is said, “that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake (apostasia) Moses.” The word is a Greek compound of apo, or “from” and istemi, or “stand.” Thus, it has the core meaning of “away from” or “departure.”



Liddell and Scott’s “A Greek English Lexicon” defines apostasia first as “defection, revolt”; then secondly as “departure, or disappearance.” Gordon Lewis explains how the verb from which the noun apostasia is derived supports the basic meaning of departure in the following:



The verb may mean to remove spatially. There is little reason then to deny that the noun can mean such a spatial removal or departure. Since the noun is used only one other time in the New Testament of apostasy from Moses (Acts 21:21), we can hardly conclude that its biblical meaning is necessarily determined. The verb is used fifteen times in the New Testament. Of these fifteen, only three have anything to do with a departure from the faith (Luke 8:13; 1st Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:12).The word is used for departing from iniquity (2nd Timothy 2:19), from ungodly men (1st Timothy 6:5), from the Temple (Luke 2:27), from the body (2nd Corinthians 12:8), and from persons (Acts 12:10; Luke 4:13). “It is with full assurance of proper exegetical study and with complete confidence in the original languages,” concludes Daniel Davey, “that the word meaning of apostasia is defined as departure.” Paul Lee Tan adds the following:



What precisely does Paul mean when he says that “the falling away” (2:3) must come before the Tribulation? The definite article “the” denotes that this will be a definite event, an event distinct from the appearance of the Man of Sin. The Greek word for “falling away,” taken by itself, does not mean religious apostasy or defection. Neither does the word mean “to fall,” as the Greeks have another word for that [pipto, I fall; TDI]. The best translation of the word is “to depart.” The Apostle Paul refers here to a definite event which he calls “the departure,” and which will occur just before the start of the Tribulation. This is the Rapture of the Church. So the word has the core meaning of “departure” and it depends upon the context to determine whether it is used to mean physical departure or an abstract departure such as a departure from the faith.



TRANSLATION HISTORY



The first seven English translations of apostasia all rendered the noun as either departure” or “departing.” They are as follows: Wycliffe Bible (1384); Tyndale Bible (1526); Coverdale Bible (1535); Cranmer Bible (1539); Breeches Bible (1576); Beza Bible (1583); Geneva Bible (1608). This supports the notion that the word truly means “departure.” In fact, Jerome’s Latin translation known as the Vulgate from around the time of AD 400 renders apostasia with the word discessio, meaning “departure.” Why was the King James Version the first to depart from the established translation of “departure”? Theodore Beza, the Swiss reformer was the first to transliterate apostasia and create a new word rather than translate it as others had done. The translators of the King James Version were the first to introduce the new rendering of apostasia as “falling away.” Most English translators have followed the KJV and Beza in departing from translating apostasia as “departure.” No good reason was ever given.



THE USE OF THE ARTICLE


It is important to note that Paul used a definite article with the noun apostasia. What does this mean? Davey notes the following:



Since the Greek language does not need an article to make the noun definite, it becomes clear that with the usage of the article reference is being made to something in particular. In 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 the word apostasia is prefaced by the definite article which means that Paul is pointing to a particular type of departure clearly known to the Thessalonian church.”



Dr. Lewis provides a likely answer when he notes that the definite article serves to make a word distinct and draw attention to it. In this instance he believes that its purpose is “to denote a previous reference.” “The departure Paul previously referred to was ‘our being gathered to him’ (v. 1) and our being ‘caught up’ with the Lord and the raptured dead in the clouds (1st Thessalonians 4:17),” notes Dr. Lewis. 8 The “departure” was something that Paul and his readers clearly had a mutual understanding about. Paul said in verse 5, “Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? The use of the definite article would also support the notion that Paul spoke of a clear, discernable event. A physical departure like the Rapture would fit just such a notion. However, the New Testament teaches that apostasy had already arrived in the first century (cf. Acts 20:27–32; 1st Timothy 4:1–5; 2nd Timothy 3:1–9; 2nd Peter 2:1–3; Jude 3–4, 17–21) and thus, such a process would not denote a clear event as demanded by the language of this passage. Understanding departure as the Rapture would satisfy the nuance of this text.



E. Schuyler English explains as follows:

Again, how would the Thessalonians, or Christians in any century since, be qualified to recognize the apostasy when it should come, assuming, simply for the sake of this inquiry, that the Church might be on Earth when it does come? There has been apostasy from God, rebellion against Him, since time began.

Whatever Paul is referring to in his reference to “the departure” was something that both the Thessalonian believers and he had discussed in depth previously. When we examine Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he never mentioned the doctrine of apostasy; however, virtually every chapter in that epistle speaks of the Rapture (cf. 1:9–10; 2:19; probably 3:13; 4:13–17; 5:1–11). In these passages, Paul has used a variety of Greek terms to describe the Rapture. It should not be surprising that he used another term to reference the Rapture in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3. Dr. House tells us:



Remember, the Thessalonians had been led astray by the false teaching (2:2–3) that the “Day of the Lord” had already come. This was confusing because Paul offered great hope, in the first letter, of a departure to be with Christ and a rescue from God’s wrath. Now a letter purporting to be from Paul seems to say that they would first have to go through the “Day of the Lord.” Paul then clarified his prior teaching by emphasizing that they had no need to worry. They could again be comforted because the departure he had discussed in his first letter, and in his teaching while with them, was still the truth. The departure of Christians to be with Christ, and the subsequent revelation of the lawless one, Paul argues, is proof that the “Day of the Lord” had not begun as they had thought. This understanding of apostasia makes much more sense than the view that they are to be comforted (v. 2) because a defection from the faith must precede the “Day of the Lord.” The entire second chapter (as well as 1st Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11) serves to comfort (see vv. 2, 3, 17), supplied by a reassurance of Christ’s coming as taught in his first letter.



DEPARTURE AND THE RESTRAINER


Since pretribulationists believe that the restrainer mentioned in verses 6 and 7 is the Holy Spirit and teaches a pre-trib Rapture, then it should not be surprising to see that there is a similar progression of thought in the progression of verse 3. Allan MacRae, president of Faith Theological Seminary, in a letter to Schuyler English, has said the following concerning this matter:



I wonder if you have noticed the striking parallel between this verse and verses 7–8, a little further down.According to your suggestion verse 3 mentions the departure of the Church as coming first, and then tells of the revealing of the Man of Sin. In verses 7 and 8 we find the identical sequence. Verse 7 tells of the removal of the Church; verse 8 says: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed.” Thus close examination of the passage shows an inner unity and coherence, if we take the word apostasia in its general sense of “departure,” while a superficial examination would easily lead to an erroneous interpretation as “falling away” because of the proximity of the mention of the Man of Sin.



Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar from Moody Bible Institute, added the following contextual support to taking apostasia as a physical departure:



But then the apostasia of which Paul is speaking, precedes the revelation of Antichrist in his true identity, and is to katechon that which holds back his revelation (2:6). The hee apostasia, therefore, cannot be either a general apostasy in Christendom, which does precede the coming of Antichrist, nor can it be the particular apostasy, which is the result of his activities in making himself the alone object of worship. Furthermore, that which holds back his revelation (vs. 3) is vitally connected with hoo katechoon (vs. 7), He who holds back the same event.The latter is, in my opinion, the Holy Spirit and His activities in the Church. All of which means that I am driven to the inescapable conclusion that the hee apostasia (vs. 3) refers to the Rapture of the Church which precedes the “Day of the Lord,” and holds back the revelation of the Man of Sin who ushers in the world-aspect of that period.



CONCLUSION


The fact that apostasia most likely has the meaning of physical departure is a clear support for pretribulationism. If this is true, and I believe it is, then it means that a clear, prophetic sequence is laid out by Paul early in his apostolic ministry. Paul taught in 2nd Thessalonians 2 that the Rapture would occur before the “Day of the Lord” commences. It is not until after the beginning of the “Day of the Lord” that the Antichrist is released, resulting in the events described by him in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2. This is the only interpretation that provides hope for a discomforted people. Maranatha!
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
No.
ac
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
the rapture of the church is the blessed hope
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
"Goodbye, Las Vegas"

[link to tim-shey.blogspot.com]

"Wearing a Rough Garment"

[link to tim-shey.blogspot.com]
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Believers will be raptured. The wrath of GOD is for the ungodly that are destroying the earth. The LORD will keep us out of (snatched away) of the wrath to come. Unbelievers will still have a chance to accept the LORD as their SAVIOR if they trust HIM, during the 7 year tribulation. The 144,000 will be preaching as well as the 2 witnesses. Please ask the LORD into your hearts TODAY!

Last Edited by sandpiper on 04/24/2011 11:15 PM
If you break my wings, I will just find a cloud and learn to fly again. The Lord will catch you when you fall or teach you to fly! May the footprints I leave lead you to BELIEVE.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".



CRAPture


Anonymous Coward
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
That is a private interpretation of Scripture, and invalid.
Anonymous Coward
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Sorry, God protects His children in persecution, He doesn't take them out.

Jesus died, why do you think ou are better than Our Savior?

Escaping Tribulation, suffering and even death. abduct

Jesus said "follow me", "take up your cross."
Sword0fGideon

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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
there is a rapture, one like the son of man sits upon a cloud with a scicle and is told that the vine of the earth is ripe and to thrust his scicle into the earth and bring out the vine.

now for the nightmarish part, he threw the vine into the winepress of Gods wrath and it was tromped upon outside the city.



its called the harvest judgement rev. 14:14-20
Christians have had to face and realize their own sins, and feel compelled to try and help others as well.

This chant of Holier than thou is wrong and is taught by others making you think what is cool or acceptable to them.

The thought of "believe as i do" is strongly in an unbelievers life, because they feel they will be ridiculed by their friends.

Every falsehood a unbeliver weilds, is merely a reflection of the obstacles that unbeliever must face from his very own peers.

Unbelievers are the true followers, they are dedicated to fear of what other people think of them.

And because of this, they are ashamed of themselves, but wall themselves up to feel comfortable and safe, assuring themselves with rationality and laughter.

Which is insanity!
oxxxxx§:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+:+>
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Believers will be raptured. The wrath of GOD is for the ungodly that are destroying the earth. The LORD will keep us out of (snatched away) of the wrath to come. Unbelievers will still have a chance to accept the LORD as their SAVIOR if they trust HIM, during the 7 year tribulation. The 144,000 will be preaching as well as the 2 witnesses. Please ask the LORD into your hearts TODAY!
 Quoting: sandpiper


ohyeahangel4angel3horn2
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
That is a private interpretation of Scripture, and invalid.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1263536


another do
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
christians the make believe religion christians have nothing of thier own they just took aspects of hebrew and pegan beliefs and made them thiers stop the lies and realize that christ if anything was just a man who did good works he is not god and not to be worshipped and as far as the rapture goes its falsehood is monumental its made up just like everything else in christian belief [dont] believe me just look it upall christian beliefs are based it pegan and hebrew dogma and has no valid base
humans mother earths killer virus
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
No.
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1348496


Yes.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
CONCLUSION


The fact that apostasia most likely has the meaning of physical departure is a clear support for pretribulationism. If this is true, and I believe it is, then it means that a clear, prophetic sequence is laid out by Paul early in his apostolic ministry. Paul taught in 2nd Thessalonians 2 that the Rapture would occur before the “Day of the Lord” commences. It is not until after the beginning of the “Day of the Lord” that the Antichrist is released, resulting in the events described by him in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2. This is the only interpretation that provides hope for a discomforted people. Maranatha!
quoted text above


There is NO rapture the way you ones believe. why don't you ones that keep studying this and posting this stuff post etc about what you all should be doing about these wars, the chemtrails, the pollution, etc, etc, etc, I have never seen the word "rapture" anywhere in the bible. And not above, I got mine out and looked. No rapture there.

And Paul terribly misunderstood God. He tried to serve, but he did not know a whole lot. He has caused many a problem in the early days with his stuff which has been further modified and misinterpreted.

The Day of the Lord that is coming is the WAVE. Thread: THE WAVE/Face of God/The ONE

There is no necessary "rapture" before then. In the case of a planet that must be evacuated because of axis shift or other destruction, the ones of light (truth) are lifted first, then the children, then if there is time and space, others. Evil is never removed to other planets from these lower worlds. There is an energy of God coming, and many who think they will receive of it will not. And many who some of you think should not receive this energy will. That energy is the one you all refer to, as that which will change you in a twinkling of an eye. Many followers will not. It depends on your HEART, not your memorized goo. I advise you ones to find your hearts
CHRISTian
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
christians the make believe religion christians have nothing of thier own they just took aspects of hebrew and pegan beliefs and made them thiers stop the lies and realize that christ if anything was just a man who did good works he is not god and not to be worshipped and as far as the rapture goes its falsehood is monumental its made up just like everything else in christian belief [dont] believe me just look it upall christian beliefs are based it pegan and hebrew dogma and has no valid base
 Quoting: SMOKY MCPOT


devil6dead3
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
"No grace", the vanity of heretics.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
RAPTURE,

...so, is that like some kinda gangsta scripture?
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Believers will be raptured. The wrath of GOD is for the ungodly that are destroying the earth. The LORD will keep us out of (snatched away) of the wrath to come. Unbelievers will still have a chance to accept the LORD as their SAVIOR if they trust HIM, during the 7 year tribulation. The 144,000 will be preaching as well as the 2 witnesses. Please ask the LORD into your hearts TODAY!
 Quoting: sandpiper


I continue to ask, why are you believers destroying the earth? You are allowing all sorts of pollution, all sorts of terrible wars, there are 20 million dead of these wars you 'believers" support in the Middle East. How many folks have you allowed YOUR COUNTRY to kill? It's called genocide. YOU DID IT. Many of your who claim to be of God are in fact very destroying individuals. You may be amongst those gnashing of your teeth. We have no 7 years tribulation yet to come. haven't you had enough already? What 2 witnesses????? What 144,000? These ones have long been active. You don't even know who and what they are. You have been so mind controlled you have been supporting the antichrist.

Those with HEART will see God. In all faiths, and no faiths.
Anonymous Coward
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
If you wish to prove with scripture you must find at least 2 examples in scripture. Any bible scholar worth their salt knows this.

Thread over.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Attention Attention Attention

It is well known among scholars that 2 Thessalonians is a forgery to cover for what Paul said in the 1st letter! RESEARCH THIS!

Paul of Tarsus is a false prophet, AND YOU ARE NOT GETTING OUT OF HERE! This entire thing is predicated on you being a brain dead drooling religious idiot who is ignorant of what the Tanakh says and what Y'shua taught!

THE WICKED ARE REMOVED FROM THE EARTH AND THE RIGHTEOUS INHERIT IT! BUT YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS BECAUSE MOST OF YOU ARE LAZY AND IGNORANT AND HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE!
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Attention Attention Attention

It is well known among scholars that 2 Thessalonians is a forgery to cover for what Paul said in the 1st letter! RESEARCH THIS!

Paul of Tarsus is a false prophet, AND YOU ARE NOT GETTING OUT OF HERE! This entire thing is predicated on you being a brain dead drooling religious idiot who is ignorant of what the Tanakh says and what Y'shua taught!

THE WICKED ARE REMOVED FROM THE EARTH AND THE RIGHTEOUS INHERIT IT! BUT YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS BECAUSE MOST OF YOU ARE LAZY AND IGNORANT AND HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1052634


awhoreyawn
OutofHer

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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Isa 28:15 Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves:

Christians who say "when the overflowing scourge shall pass, it shall note come to us" are making lies thier refuge.

Last Edited by OutofHer on 04/25/2011 09:49 PM
OutofHer

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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
The purpose of the Tribulation is to purify the fallen church. The church that makes up false doctrine like a pre tribulation rapture.

Apostasy means falling away and it's talking about falling away from sound doctrine.

2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

Last Edited by OutofHer on 04/25/2011 09:52 PM
rb
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
I'm all for the imminent harpazo event but I have a lot of trouble with apostasy meaning harpazo (rapture)

I believe the church of Philadelphia will be removed from the earth at any moment :-)

love peace and joy

rb
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
I am an avid student of NT Greek, and your interpretation is one of several valid ones. The problem of course is which interpretation was the one intended? The context indicates a definite possibility that a real apostasy is meant, for the man of lawlessness to be revealed. But departure is an equally valid rendering that the rapture (departure) must occur first, then the lawless one is revealed. Greek is a very context sensitive language, and before you decide on a final exegesis, let me recommend : First, look at the sentences (in Greek) immediately preceding and succeeding this verse. What is their textual context? Secondly, parse the sentences (you have parsed all of the words, haven't you?) as to their tense, mood, and aspect. This is where Greek exegesis gets complicated. The verse is either discussing an event (rapture) or a state (apostasy). What is the tone or theme of the entire book? First Thessalonians is clearly talking about events accompanying the second advent of christ. This is one of the most difficult verses in the book, so first you need to understand the whole book and its message. I have great respect for anyone who delves into the textual meaning of scripture, and you may find little sympathy on this website, but there are resources on the web to discuss your conclusions. I hesitate saying that your conclusion is "right" or "wrong." We are only fallen humans, after all. What I want to say is, do you feel strongly that your interpretation is correct, and can you justify it? This is the heart of biblical criticism. Peace.
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
lolatu
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Attention Attention Attention

It is well known among scholars that 2 Thessalonians is a forgery to cover for what Paul said in the 1st letter! RESEARCH THIS!

Paul of Tarsus is a false prophet, AND YOU ARE NOT GETTING OUT OF HERE! This entire thing is predicated on you being a brain dead drooling religious idiot who is ignorant of what the Tanakh says and what Y'shua taught!

THE WICKED ARE REMOVED FROM THE EARTH AND THE RIGHTEOUS INHERIT IT! BUT YOU DO NOT KNOW THIS BECAUSE MOST OF YOU ARE LAZY AND IGNORANT AND HAVE NEVER ACTUALLY READ THE BIBLE!
 Quoting: Anonymous Coward 1052634


Absolutely it is in matthew 24..they will all go through the tribulation and at the eand he will gather the faithful on the earth and renew things
1 But these took this counsel among themselves, that they would leave the multitude of the heathen, and go forth into a further country, where never mankind dwelt,
42 That they might there keep their statutes, which they never kept in their own land.
43 And they entered into Euphrates by the narrow places of the river.
44 For the most High then shewed signs for them, and held still the flood, till they were passed over.
45 For through that country there was a great way to go, namely, of a year and a half: and the same region is called Arsareth.
46 Then dwelt they there until the latter time; and now when they shall begin to come,
:knoup:
embu
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Jesus said that the meek would inherit the earth
ibis

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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
I dont want it. i hate the earth. whats an apostasy, sounds like a made up church word. did jesus ever use it?
ibis

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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Why so worried?
Anonymous Coward
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04/25/2011 10:38 PM
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Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Rapture NOT Apostasy: "The day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place".
Is the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3?
(By Dr. Thomas Ice of the Pre-Trib Research Foundation)


“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” (2nd Thessalonians 2:3).



I believe that there exists a strong possibility that 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 is speaking about the Rapture. What do I mean? Some pretribulationists, like myself believe that the Greek noun apostasia, usually translated “apostasy,” is a reference to the Rapture and should be translated “departure.” Thus, this passage would be saying that the day of the Lord will not come until the Rapture first takes place. If apostasia is a reference to a physical departure, then 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 supports strong evidence for pretribulationism.



THE MEANING OF APOSTASIA


The Greek noun apostasia is only used twice in the New Testament. In addition to 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, it occurs in Acts 21:21 where, speaking of Paul, it is said, “that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake (apostasia) Moses.” The word is a Greek compound of apo, or “from” and istemi, or “stand.” Thus, it has the core meaning of “away from” or “departure.”



Liddell and Scott’s “A Greek English Lexicon” defines apostasia first as “defection, revolt”; then secondly as “departure, or disappearance.” Gordon Lewis explains how the verb from which the noun apostasia is derived supports the basic meaning of departure in the following:



The verb may mean to remove spatially. There is little reason then to deny that the noun can mean such a spatial removal or departure. Since the noun is used only one other time in the New Testament of apostasy from Moses (Acts 21:21), we can hardly conclude that its biblical meaning is necessarily determined. The verb is used fifteen times in the New Testament. Of these fifteen, only three have anything to do with a departure from the faith (Luke 8:13; 1st Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:12).The word is used for departing from iniquity (2nd Timothy 2:19), from ungodly men (1st Timothy 6:5), from the Temple (Luke 2:27), from the body (2nd Corinthians 12:8), and from persons (Acts 12:10; Luke 4:13). “It is with full assurance of proper exegetical study and with complete confidence in the original languages,” concludes Daniel Davey, “that the word meaning of apostasia is defined as departure.” Paul Lee Tan adds the following:



What precisely does Paul mean when he says that “the falling away” (2:3) must come before the Tribulation? The definite article “the” denotes that this will be a definite event, an event distinct from the appearance of the Man of Sin. The Greek word for “falling away,” taken by itself, does not mean religious apostasy or defection. Neither does the word mean “to fall,” as the Greeks have another word for that [pipto, I fall; TDI]. The best translation of the word is “to depart.” The Apostle Paul refers here to a definite event which he calls “the departure,” and which will occur just before the start of the Tribulation. This is the Rapture of the Church. So the word has the core meaning of “departure” and it depends upon the context to determine whether it is used to mean physical departure or an abstract departure such as a departure from the faith.



TRANSLATION HISTORY



The first seven English translations of apostasia all rendered the noun as either departure” or “departing.” They are as follows: Wycliffe Bible (1384); Tyndale Bible (1526); Coverdale Bible (1535); Cranmer Bible (1539); Breeches Bible (1576); Beza Bible (1583); Geneva Bible (1608). This supports the notion that the word truly means “departure.” In fact, Jerome’s Latin translation known as the Vulgate from around the time of AD 400 renders apostasia with the word discessio, meaning “departure.” Why was the King James Version the first to depart from the established translation of “departure”? Theodore Beza, the Swiss reformer was the first to transliterate apostasia and create a new word rather than translate it as others had done. The translators of the King James Version were the first to introduce the new rendering of apostasia as “falling away.” Most English translators have followed the KJV and Beza in departing from translating apostasia as “departure.” No good reason was ever given.



THE USE OF THE ARTICLE


It is important to note that Paul used a definite article with the noun apostasia. What does this mean? Davey notes the following:



Since the Greek language does not need an article to make the noun definite, it becomes clear that with the usage of the article reference is being made to something in particular. In 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 the word apostasia is prefaced by the definite article which means that Paul is pointing to a particular type of departure clearly known to the Thessalonian church.”



Dr. Lewis provides a likely answer when he notes that the definite article serves to make a word distinct and draw attention to it. In this instance he believes that its purpose is “to denote a previous reference.” “The departure Paul previously referred to was ‘our being gathered to him’ (v. 1) and our being ‘caught up’ with the Lord and the raptured dead in the clouds (1st Thessalonians 4:17),” notes Dr. Lewis. 8 The “departure” was something that Paul and his readers clearly had a mutual understanding about. Paul said in verse 5, “Do you not remember that while I was still with you, I was telling you these things? The use of the definite article would also support the notion that Paul spoke of a clear, discernable event. A physical departure like the Rapture would fit just such a notion. However, the New Testament teaches that apostasy had already arrived in the first century (cf. Acts 20:27–32; 1st Timothy 4:1–5; 2nd Timothy 3:1–9; 2nd Peter 2:1–3; Jude 3–4, 17–21) and thus, such a process would not denote a clear event as demanded by the language of this passage. Understanding departure as the Rapture would satisfy the nuance of this text.



E. Schuyler English explains as follows:

Again, how would the Thessalonians, or Christians in any century since, be qualified to recognize the apostasy when it should come, assuming, simply for the sake of this inquiry, that the Church might be on Earth when it does come? There has been apostasy from God, rebellion against Him, since time began.

Whatever Paul is referring to in his reference to “the departure” was something that both the Thessalonian believers and he had discussed in depth previously. When we examine Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, he never mentioned the doctrine of apostasy; however, virtually every chapter in that epistle speaks of the Rapture (cf. 1:9–10; 2:19; probably 3:13; 4:13–17; 5:1–11). In these passages, Paul has used a variety of Greek terms to describe the Rapture. It should not be surprising that he used another term to reference the Rapture in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3. Dr. House tells us:



Remember, the Thessalonians had been led astray by the false teaching (2:2–3) that the “Day of the Lord” had already come. This was confusing because Paul offered great hope, in the first letter, of a departure to be with Christ and a rescue from God’s wrath. Now a letter purporting to be from Paul seems to say that they would first have to go through the “Day of the Lord.” Paul then clarified his prior teaching by emphasizing that they had no need to worry. They could again be comforted because the departure he had discussed in his first letter, and in his teaching while with them, was still the truth. The departure of Christians to be with Christ, and the subsequent revelation of the lawless one, Paul argues, is proof that the “Day of the Lord” had not begun as they had thought. This understanding of apostasia makes much more sense than the view that they are to be comforted (v. 2) because a defection from the faith must precede the “Day of the Lord.” The entire second chapter (as well as 1st Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11) serves to comfort (see vv. 2, 3, 17), supplied by a reassurance of Christ’s coming as taught in his first letter.



DEPARTURE AND THE RESTRAINER


Since pretribulationists believe that the restrainer mentioned in verses 6 and 7 is the Holy Spirit and teaches a pre-trib Rapture, then it should not be surprising to see that there is a similar progression of thought in the progression of verse 3. Allan MacRae, president of Faith Theological Seminary, in a letter to Schuyler English, has said the following concerning this matter:



I wonder if you have noticed the striking parallel between this verse and verses 7–8, a little further down.According to your suggestion verse 3 mentions the departure of the Church as coming first, and then tells of the revealing of the Man of Sin. In verses 7 and 8 we find the identical sequence. Verse 7 tells of the removal of the Church; verse 8 says: “And then shall that Wicked be revealed.” Thus close examination of the passage shows an inner unity and coherence, if we take the word apostasia in its general sense of “departure,” while a superficial examination would easily lead to an erroneous interpretation as “falling away” because of the proximity of the mention of the Man of Sin.



Kenneth Wuest, a Greek scholar from Moody Bible Institute, added the following contextual support to taking apostasia as a physical departure:



But then the apostasia of which Paul is speaking, precedes the revelation of Antichrist in his true identity, and is to katechon that which holds back his revelation (2:6). The hee apostasia, therefore, cannot be either a general apostasy in Christendom, which does precede the coming of Antichrist, nor can it be the particular apostasy, which is the result of his activities in making himself the alone object of worship. Furthermore, that which holds back his revelation (vs. 3) is vitally connected with hoo katechoon (vs. 7), He who holds back the same event.The latter is, in my opinion, the Holy Spirit and His activities in the Church. All of which means that I am driven to the inescapable conclusion that the hee apostasia (vs. 3) refers to the Rapture of the Church which precedes the “Day of the Lord,” and holds back the revelation of the Man of Sin who ushers in the world-aspect of that period.



CONCLUSION


The fact that apostasia most likely has the meaning of physical departure is a clear support for pretribulationism. If this is true, and I believe it is, then it means that a clear, prophetic sequence is laid out by Paul early in his apostolic ministry. Paul taught in 2nd Thessalonians 2 that the Rapture would occur before the “Day of the Lord” commences. It is not until after the beginning of the “Day of the Lord” that the Antichrist is released, resulting in the events described by him in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2. This is the only interpretation that provides hope for a discomforted people. Maranatha!
 Quoting: jacobs74


TRUTH





GLP