Q. Thank you for your insight! I glean your site 7 days a week. I was watching a well known Bible teacher on tv today, and he referred to 2 Thes. 2:3, and said that the “falling away” was the rapture of the Church. However, I looked up “falling away” in my Strong’s concordance, and # 646 says “Apostasia.” Am I missing something here?
A. Prior to the King James Translation of 1611, the Greek word “apostasia” was translated as departure, not falling away, and was thought to refer to the Rapture of the Church. This view was apparently taken from the root word “aphestemi” which can mean departure as well as falling away. Even though falling away has been the preferred translation for over 500 years now, some still cling to the earlier interpretation to show evidence that Paul taught the Thessalonians a pre-trib Rapture.
But you don’t need to make that stretch to demonstrate Paul’s pre-trib position. The whole 2nd Thessalonians letter only makes sense if Paul had taught them a pre-trib Rapture. Think about it. They were horrified at being told that the Day of the Lord had come. Why? If they were post trib they would have concluded that the 2nd Coming was only seven years away. But if they were pre-trib such news would mean that they has missed the Rapture, and that would mean that they weren’t saved. Now that would be cause for the kind of alarm their letter to Paul conveyed. (2 Thes. 2:2) Paul explained that the Day of the Lord couldn’t come until three things take place. The falling away, or apostasy, the removal of the restraining power holding the anti-Christ back, and finally the anti-Christ’s official introduction.
The first of these three is underway with the Emergent Church movement and the splitting up of the Evangelical Church over environmental issues. The second is the soon coming Rapture of the Church, and the third is the Abomination of Desolation that Jesus also spoke of in Matt. 24:15.