2 Thes. 2:3, Falling Away Or Departure?

Q.  The other night I was listening to (a well known teacher)  concerning the rapture. He brought up 2nd Thess. 2:3 where in a lot of translations it’s called the falling away or the “apostate Church! He said that the Greek word  seemed to also mean “departing” which would be more evidence for the pre – tribulation rapture. I have the Geneva translation and they use “the departing” instead of “the falling away”!  I’m sure that  others have written to you concerning this! I do think that as the days progress with time closing in that not only is this great news but we will have more understanding concering the times (as long as it’s fitting in the scriptures).

A. One of the roots of the Greek word apostasia in 2 Thes. 2:3 is aphistemi.  It can mean to withdraw, depart, or remove, in addition to falling away.  Before the King James was published, departure was the accepted translation for apostasia.  Another related word is apostasion.  It’s the masculine form of apostasia, and is the Greek word for divorce.  Since all three of these words convey the idea of a change of mind, it appears that falling away is the more appropriate translation.

As tempting as it is to use the pre-King James understanding of 2 Thes. 2:3, you don’t need it to show that Paul taught the Thessalonians a pre-trib rapture.  Paul said that before the Day of the Lord can come, there has to be a falling away and the anti-Christ has to be revealed. Then in verse 7 he said that before the anti- Christ can be revealed the restrainer has to be taken out of the way (literally taken from among).  This restrainer is widely accepted to be the Holy Spirit resident in the Church. If so Paul was telling them that the church will have to be gone before the anti-Christ can be revealed.

In 1 Thes. 1:10 he promised that the Lord will rescue us from the time of His wrath. In 1 Thes. 2:19 He said we will be with Jesus when He comes, and in 1 Thes. 3:13 he said we’d be in the Presence of God when the time comes for the 2nd Coming. In 1 Thes. 4:16-17 he described how the Lord will take us to be with Him, and in 1 Thes. 5:9 he repeated that we’re not appointed to suffer wrath.  Since the time of wrath will have already come by the end of Rev. 6, and since the Church is in view in Heaven in Rev. 5, that puts the rapture in Rev. 4 taking us away from the time, the place and any relation to God’s Wrath.

When you read the two letters together, you can see that  the second letter would have been unnecessary unless he had taught them that the rapture would precede the End Times judgments.

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