Q. Re: 2 Thessalonians 2:3 “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” I have heard this interpreted in 2 ways: 1) This is the Rapture 2) This is Apostasy.
I personally lean toward Apostasy because there is so much of it right now. What are your thoughts?
A. Until the time of the King James translation in 1611 the Greek word “apostasia” (now translated falling away) had been translated “departure” and was thought to be a prophecy of the rapture. I think the justification for this was the root word from which it comes, “aphistemi”, which means to withdraw or remove.
Since the advent of the King James version 2 Thes. 2:3 has been interpreted as Paul’s prophecy of a great apostasy in the end times. It means before the anti-Christ is revealed we should expect to see large numbers of people thought to be in the Church actually abandon traditional evangelical doctrine for something else. The idea is that in order to fall away from something you first have to be part of it.
I think we saw the initial fulfillment of this prophecy when most of the main line denominations eliminated the requirement for a personal born-again relationship with Jesus to be saved and replaced it with church membership. We are now witnessing the continuation of this apostasy in the growth of the emerging church movement.
Don’t get me wrong. People are not relinquishing their salvation in this great apostasy. Those who fall away were never really saved, but only appeared to be part of the Church. Speaking 1st Century apostates, 1 John 2:19 says, “They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.”
In John 6:39-40 Jesus said, “And this is the will of him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that he has given me, but raise them up at the last day. For my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.” This is His promise that true believers will never fall away, confirmed in John 10:27-30, 2 Cor. 1:21-22, and other places.