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"Yes, I am coming quickly." Amen.
Revelation 22:20

This is a Home Bible study. It exists to promote the Word of God as it's written, which means nothing added or taken away, and minus opinions.

The Bible is the only source of Divine Truth in the world today. Although it is helpful and informative in many ways, the Bible might not tell us everything we want to know but the Bible does tell us everything we need to know.

My role is to guide you through the Scriptures; to explain what this book says and in some cases what it does not say because this is just as important.

Ultimately, you have a decision to make concerning your salvation - no one can make it for you. The Lord Jesus Christ, the Creator God, has given everyone the ability to make choices - this is is called "Free Will." I pray you consider your choice wisely.

II Timothy 2:15

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.


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Friday, January 29, 2021

2 Thessalonians 2:4-12 (L 03)

 

Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net 

Established November 2008                                             Published: January 28, 2021 

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

***********************************************************************************************

Welcome back to HBS.

Please open your Bible at 2 Thessalonians 2:4-12 and I’ll meet y’all there.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come (the departure) a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;  Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”

The Man of Sin – The Son of Perdition

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come (the departure) a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (verses 2:3-4). 

For the sake of clarity I’ve included verse 2:3 from last week’s lesson because this is where we pick up these identifiers: “that man of sinthe son of perdition:” Elsewhere in the Bible this same person is referred to by the writer of Revelation as “the beast out of the sea” (Revelation 13:1-10), and the prophet Daniel called him “the little horn” (Daniel 7:7-8).  These Bible verses as well as those we’re studying presently are referencing the Antichrist, and this is the name most people are familiar with.  Having said that, please know I’ve also heard people refer to the Antichrist, as the Counterfeit-Christ, and I think this is because he is associated with the Counterfeit Trinity.  Satan, “the great dragon,” is the Counterfeit Father (Revelation 12.9), “the beast from the sea” is the Counterfeit Son of God (Revelation 13:1-10), and “the beast from the earth” is the Counterfeit Holy Spirit (Revelation 13:11-18).

Thus, “the man of sin… the son of perdition” Paul speaks of here is the Antichrist.  If more proof was required we need look no further than verse 2:4: “Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 

Opposeth” means: “to set against; to put in opposition, with a view to counterbalance or counteract, and thus to hinder, defeat, destroy, or prevent.  To act against; to resist, either by physical means, by arguments, or other means. This word is closely associated with the term “adversary” which means: “an opponent or foe; one whose goal is to overcome and destroy their enemy:” (1 Peter 5:8).

Paul stated, “the son of perdition” will “sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.”  This is in line with what the Bible says for the Antichrist, as he is called by Daniel and the Lord Jesus Christ, is “the abomination of desolation” (Daniel 9:27, 11:31, 12:11, Matthew 24:15).  Having made a seven-year peace treaty with Israel,

Antichrist will break it at the midpoint of the Tribulation (the 3.5 year mark).  He’ll exalt himself “as God” in the rebuilt Jewish temple in Jerusalem (Matthew 24:15).  This event triggers the “great tribulation” or the final 3.5 years of the Tribulation.  

Concerning this the Lord said, “When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:)… For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.  And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:15, 21-22).

One other person in Scripture is called “the son of perdition.”  He lived and worked with the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry to the nation of Israel (John 1:11; Romans 15:8).  He is the one that betrayed Him and sealed the wicked deed with a “kiss.” His name is Judas Iscariot, the one whom our Lord said, “Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil? (literally diabolos in the Greek or the devil; Judas was not a demon.  See John 6:70-71).  Furthermore, this is the same person whom the Lord said, “While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).

I mention this because some folks in the church believe and teach “the son of perdition” of verse 2:3 is Judas Iscariot.  He was indwelt by Satan and the same is true for the person Paul speaks of here but not for the first 3.5 years but the last 3.5 years.  They’re saying Judas will be brought back to the earth to fulfill his role as our Lord’s traitor.  But you won’t find that information in your KJV Bible.  Instead of speculating about what might or might not happen in the future, I prefer to point out what the Scriptures do say.  Thus, we have these truths to work with: the coming “man of sin, the son of perdition” will exalt himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, he’ll permit no worship to any god or man, but only to himself, even sitting in the rebuilt and functioning temple of God pretending to be God in the flesh.  Paul had told the Thessalonians about these things when he was with them (2:5), hence the words “yourselves know perfectly” in 1 Thessalonians 5:2.

Verses 2:6-7.

And now ye know what withholdeth (restrains the Antichrist) that he might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until (this is a time-related word. It’s telling us something will happen out future and that is) he be taken out of the way.  This begs the question, “What’s restraining the Antichrist back?

What is Restraining the Appearance of the Antichrist

When I consider verse 2:4, I picture a dam which is constructed to hold back lots of water.  So the dam could be called the restraining force.  The next thing I consider is this restraining force is not a thing it’s a person, “…only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.”   Then, said Paul, the Thessalonian saints knew “what withholdeth” or what the restraining force is that is keeping the Antichrist from being revealed before “his time” (verse 2:6). 

We’ll get back to that in short order.  Right now we’re going to look at the verse 2:7 because I think it will help you understand what Paul’s saying in verse 2:6. 

Verse 2:7.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

The “mystery of iniquity” Paul spoke of stands in stark contrast to the “mystery of godliness” he referred to in 1 Timothy 3:16, so let’s look at that verse: “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).

I read an article or two on this subject and they are pretty much in agreement saying, “the mystery of godliness” is about Christ.  He certainly was “God… manifest in the flesh,” but here’s the thing; Paul’s talking about “the mystery of godliness,” not the mystery of God.  Godly is short for God-like, and the Lord wasn’t like God, He is God.  We’re the ones who are supposed to be godly or God-like, so this verse is referring to us, i.e., every member of the Body of Christ.

It was no mystery that Christ would be God manifest in the flesh (Isaiah 7:14), but it was a mystery that we’d manifest God in our flesh (Ephesians 5:32).  Bear in mind the context here isn’t about Christ’s earthly ministry, as some believe, it is about God’s true Church (verses 1-15).  When the Lord was here, He was “the pillar and ground of the truth” (verse 15).  Now that He’s ascended and seated at the right hand of the Father in glory (Psalm 110:1), we are the pillars of God’s truths; or we ought to be.

It’s true that God was manifest in the Lord’s flesh: “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John1:14).  

But that word “dwelt” here is the Greek word for tabernacle.  The tabernacle of the O.T. was a portable tent ordained by the LORD God to be used for His purpose.  When Christ was here on the earth, He was a tabernacle, i.e., a tent made of skin with “the glory” of God inside, to fulfill His Father’s will (John 6:38).  Now that he’s not physically here, we Believers are a tent of skin (2 Corinthians 5:1) with God’s glory inside (2 Corinthians 4:8-11).  So then, when we walk (live as Paul has described), we manifest God in our flesh to the world around us, as the Lord “the pillar and ground of the truth” did during His three-year ministry.

Hang on to that thought as we consider again Paul’s statement in verse 2:7.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: - think this through, how did the Thessalonian saints come to know and love the Lord Jesus Christ?  Answer: this was accomplished, not in some emotional or dramatic outward way, but by the quiet working of the Holy Spirit, as they heard the Word of Truth and believed (Romans 10:17).  But here’s the thing, most people are unaware that Satan works in the same way, albeit with sinister motives.   In Ephesians 2:2 Paul wrote: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:”

Take note of the fact that Paul referred to Satan in this verse as, “the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience.”  And as “the mystery of godliness” quietly does its work in the believing saints, so too “the mystery of iniquity (lawlessness) doth already work” in the children of disobedience behind the scenes, but effectively, for “the prince of the power of the air” is the driving force that propels it. 

To be sure Satan was revealed in Judas Iscariot, but he has not been revealed in the Antichrist as yet.  Presently the devil is permitted to scheme and influence humanity, negatively, but behind the scenes; he is restrained from promoting lawlessness unchecked on a global scale.  That day is coming. 

This brings us back to the question, “What is restraining the Antichrist from being revealed before his time and hinders the wicked world-at-large from going “all in” for sin?  There are a couple of different views on this subject.  I think we need to look at those before answering the question.  Some people say the restraining force is Satan himself, “until he is taken out of the way” (Revelation 12:9).  But I find it difficult to believe Satan restrains the very evil he promotes, for a house divided cannot stand (Matthew 12:22-27). 

Others say the restraining force is the Holy Spirit.  This appears to be an acceptable solution were it not for the fact that the Holy Spirit is Omnipresent (the divine ability to be present anywhere and everywhere) and will continue His work on the earth during the Tribulation (Revelation 7:4, 14:4).  People will be saved during the Tribulation but after they are saved, they will become witnesses of Jesus Christ to the remainder of lost humanity.  In order to become believers, the Holy Spirit must work with them. 

The Bible says that an innumerable multitude will be converted out of the Great Tribulation: “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb” (Revelation 7:9-10). 

Some folks believe it’s impossible to be saved during the Tribulation, but the Bible clearly says that many people will be saved, and again, this is the work of the Holy Spirit.  In addition, there are many instances of the Holy Spirit being present in the beginning, during the O.T. period, which includes the Lord’s ministry on earth, and “he” will be present during the Tribulation as well. 

The Question Answered

“Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” (2:4-6). 

When Paul said “ye know what withholdeth…” (2:7), he’s saying the Thessalonians understood “he that withholdeth” is referencing the Holy Spirit working in and through the believing Church, i.e., the members of Christ’s body.  Said differently, it is “he” (the Holy Spirit) that “worketh” (or is influencing) the members of Christ’s body that “restraineth” or keeps the forces of evil in check. 

Paul had taught these saints although “the mystery of iniquity or lawlessness” was already at work in the world, but the full force of satanic evil would not be permitted to run free, as it were, until the Church was removed, and then unrestrained evil would be poured out upon the earth. But in the interim God would use the persecution of His saints to refine our faith and cause us to mature spiritually, as we trust in Him and hold fast to His Word.

As in the days of Noah and during the times of the judges, evil will be permitted, by God, to a certain degree (see the book of Job).  But as in times past, evil will continue to be restrained until lawlessness reaches its saturation point.  God restrained evil in the days of Noah, until His  judgement fell, but we note that Noah and his immediate family were removed from God's wrath.  God also restrained evil in the days of Lot, until judgement was sent, but Lot and his remaining family were saved from the wrath that rained down on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Paul had already told the Thessalonians who the restraining evil is, and he reminded them saying, " And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.”  Although Paul did not reiterate the identity of the restrainer, Scripture teaches it is the Holy Spirit that indwells the true Believer for they are “the temple of the Holy Ghost (Spirit): “What?  know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). 

In closing, we now know for certain it is not the police forces of this world, the governments, or its well-equipped armies that “withholdeth” evil.  It is God’s true Church.  This is in line with Paul has already taught the Thessalonians for when the Church is “caught up” and away from the earth, the Spirit’s ministry through its members will no longer function on earth as the restraining force.  This is the only consistent solution to the identity of the restrainer and is another strong piece of evidence that the Rapture will precede the appearance of the Antichrist, first as a political leader and then as the great blasphemer. 

(To be continued)

© Copyright 2011

GJ Heitzman’s Ministry

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Friday, January 22, 2021

2 Thessalonians 1:11-13 - 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 - (L 02)

 

Home Bible Study©

Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth (2 Timothy 2:15)

WWW. 2Tim215.Net 

Established November 2008                                             Published: January 22, 2021

For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:3-4).

*********************************************************************************************************

Welcome to Home Bible Study©.

Please open your Bible to 2 Thessalonians 1:11-13, but before we get started with that let’s  review the Bible verses we recently studied to refresh our memory. 

In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (See Romans 2:16, 16:25-27; and 1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day. (1:8-10).

Clearly, Paul addressed this passage of Scripture to the unbeliever for the Body of Christ has no connection to the Tribulation. 

Verses 1:11-13.

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power: That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

In verse 1:11a Paul prayed God will “count these saints “worthy of this calling,” i.e., being spared the judgement (wrath) that is to come upon the unbelieving world.  We find similar language in Paul’s first letter to these saints.  He “exhorted an comforted and charged every one of the Thessalonians to walk worthy of God, who hath called (them) unto his kingdom and glory (verse 2:11-12), which is what grace is all about. 

We also find this appeal in Paul’s letter to the church at Colosse.  Paul prayed that they “might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding:” and exhorted them to “walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened will all might, according to his glorious power…” (Colossians 1:9-11).

So, here’s the thing the Thessalonians had the “hope” of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18), God had promised it, so Paul prayed they’d “walk worthy” of it.  But in his second letter to this same assembly he prayed God would “count them “worthy” of it by rapturing them before God’s judgment begins.  But if the Pre-Tribulation Rapture was a sure thing, why did Paul pray for it?  Does this indicate there are irregularities in these two writings?  Not so much.  I believe Paul was praying “according to the will of God,” as he did in 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24.  Hezekiah did this when he reminded the LORD God of His promise in 1 Kings 2:4, specifically, that he would not die childless since he’d been good (2 Kings 20:1-5).  The LORD doesn’t forget His promises; He wanted to see if Hezekiah would remember it and pray for it.  From this we learn God delights when we pray “according to His will,” and that’s what Paul is doing in praying that “God will count these saints worthy” of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture (1 Thessalonian 5:16-18).

This faithful act will “fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness,” (1:11a).  God’s “good pleasure” for the nation of Israel concerned Jerusalem (Psalm 51:18) in the coming kingdom on the earth (Luke 12:32).  The LORD God (Jehovah) taught the Jews to pray for this (See Matthew 6:10).  Many church goers unknowingly pray for the very same thing when they recite this prayer.  His “good pleasure” for the Thessalonians (and us) is the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and Paul prayed for it.  He also prayed God would fulfill “the work of faith with power,” i.e., the work of His faithfulness (Colossians 2:12) in rapturing us “with power.”

Verse 1:12.

That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.”

When the Lord keeps His promise to Rapture all the saints before the Tribulation starts, He will be “glorified” in us (2 Thessalonians 1:12).  God is always “glorified” when He fulfills His promises.  He will be glorified in Israel when He keeps His promises to her, and He’ll be “glorified in us,” His Church, when He keeps His promises to us.

Before I let this verse go I remind the group these people were once pagan idolators, so they didn’t deserve God’s grace any more than we do.  But the Grace of God was poured out on the Thessalonians because they accepted and believed the gospel of Jesus Christ (Paul’s gospel) and were “transformed” by it.  We know this, of course, because Paul acknowledged their “work of faith, and labour of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…” And “ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: so that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia.  For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing” (1 Thessalonians 1:2-8).  In short, these Believers not only talked the talk, but they also walked the walk, and this too “glorifies” the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Now we’re going to go into chapter 2, and immediately the apostle Paul introduces something that I think he’s been leading up to for some time, namely, an appeal to those Believers whose faith was “faltering,” i.e., those people whose faith in the Rapture and what God had said regarding it was wavering.   What caused this?  The same thing that necessitated Paul writing this second letter to the Thessalonians only a few months after the first.  False teaching most likely from the Jews who confused the Lord’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation with the Rapture of every true Believer in Christ Jesus before the onset of the Tribulation.  People are still doing this today. 

Case in point, while researching this week’s Bible lesson I came across an article from a gentleman who held a church office of leadership that said the Bible does not say anything about the Church being Raptured.  I bring this to your attention for the following reason.  It demonstrates Satan (mainly) and all those who oppose Paul’s apostolic authority, and his writings, continue to attack God’s Truths.  So, let’s be clear the “everlasting destruction” Paul writes about here has no connection to God’s true Church.  Every member of the Body of Christ will be “caught up” (Raptured) before the Tribulation by the Lord.  Thus those dire warnings we reviewed at the beginning of this Bible lesson are meant for the unbeliever, which includes the fence-sitter who can’t seem to make up their mind while “the day of your salvation” is still in effect. 

Verses 2:1-3.

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.  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;”

Let No Man Deceive You By Any Means

Paul’s strong appeal to these saints not to be “shaken in mind,” or “troubled,” or “deceived… by any means,” is based upon the Truth of the Rapture.  It was “by” or on the basis of the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and our gathering unto Him, that he pleaded for them not to falter.   We note the fact that Paul used the word “by” twice in verse 2:1, but we also note the second “by” is italicized, which means it was added by the translators.  But be aware Paul’s not referring to two events just one. 

This, again, was these Believers “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13), and he “besought” them not to let “any man” (2:3) take it away from them either “by spirit,” i.e., the supposed gift of prophecy, or “by word,” that is, argument in opposition to it, or “by letter as (though) from us,” i.e. fraudulent means.  I say this because based on the knowledge at our disposal it seems that a letter, or letters, had been forged to make it appear that Paul believed the Rapture would follow the Tribulation, which is 180 degrees out from the Truth.  This then shows us why Paul exhorted these folks “to prove all things; hold fast that which is good” in verse 1:21.

Of all the strong evidence that we’ve reviewed to date in the Thessalonian letters that the Rapture of every Believer to be with Christ Jesus will precede the Tribulation the opening verses of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 are most certainly the strongest.  This takes us back to my earlier comment about the individual who said the Bible does not mention the Rapture of God’s Church.  To which I now reply, “Why need there be?”  Please consider the fact that there isn’t one verse of Scripture which explicitly affirms that our Lord was baptized before His temptation by Satan in the wilderness, or that He was crowned with thorns before He was crucified, or that baptism with water is no longer included in God’s program for Believers in the Age of Grace, or that God is actually a Triune being.  Yet there is abundant Scriptural proof for all these examples, and the gentleman previously mentioned accepts them all as the Truth of God’s Word, but finds fault with the Rapture of God’s saints.  (See Henry T. Hudson, Re-Examination of Pretribulationism, page 2). 

With all this in mind let’s take a good look at these three things re: the Rapture of every Believer that is eternally positioned in Christ:

Paul, in speaking of the Rapture, never said one word to prepare the saints for the horrors of the coming Tribulation.  We may be certain that he would have done so if they were called to endure its terrors before being “caught up” and away to be with the Lord Jesus Christ in the air. 

On the other hand, the Lord Jesus Christ, in speaking to His “kingdom” followers had much to say to them about the coming Tribulation, but you’ll not find one word about their being “caught up” to meet Him in the air.

Therefore, the Rapture of Believers to be with the Lord, is distinctively “the blessed hope” of the Body of Christ, for which Paul repeatedly urges us to be “looking,” “waiting,” and “comforting” one another in the anticipation of this glorious event.

If Mr. Hudson were within earshot, I’d tell him he’s mistaken about his wayward belief in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of God’s saints because there is a passage of Scripture that explicitly affirms the Rapture will precede the Tribulation – not follow after it.  It’s found in 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’ve heard more than one sermon on the subject of “falling away” over the years and they all said the same thing pretty much.  They’re convinced this phrase means the defection or a withdrawal from the truth or the faith caused either by persecution, false teaching, temptation, inadequate knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ, etc.  In saying this, they believe and teach that the Tribulation will not begin until “the apostasy.”   This is the way it reads in the NASB translation as well as more than a few of the modern Bible versions.  The NIV Bible uses the word “rebellion.”

So then, who has the correct translation?   If you’re using the KJV Bible then you are on the right track because it stands head and shoulders above all other English translations and that goes for all other translations in any language.  A Grace church pastor told me that the KJV Bible is a faithful translation in the truest sense, i.e., you can rely on its  accuracy.  All this is true, yet in verse 2:3 we have a case where the KJV translators deviated from the Textus Receptus or the Received Text of the N.T. (abbreviated TR), called the Majority Text.  This is the text upon which the KJV Bible is based.

The TR contains the translation base for the first Greek translation of the N.T, into English by William Tyndale and is the textual base for the Bishops Bible, the Geneva

Bible, and the King James Bible.  But here’s the thing, the Tyndale Bible doesn’t contain the phrase, “a falling away.”  Instead we find these words, “…ther come a departynge first…” (apostasia in the Greek).  Thus, verse 2:3 reads, “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except the departure come first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Apostasia and Apostasy

Just so y’all know I’m not a walking Bible Encyclopedia.  I have to chase some of these things down, i.e., diligently search them out, which is what Bible study is all about.  Thus, according to my efforts, the first thing to mention is our English word “apostasy” is not an exact equivalent of the Greek term apostasia.  Apostasy means: rebellion or revolt against a faith once embraced, but the Greek word apostasia means: “a departure,” and nothing more.  Apostasia (a noun) appears only once more in the N.T., namely, in Acts 21:21, where Paul is informed of the false report that “(he) teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake (i.e., depart from the teaching of) Moses…

But even here the word “depart” is a closer synonym to the word “forsake” than the term “apostatize.”  To “forsake” something does not necessarily mean to rebel or to revolt against it, and this is what our English word apostasy means.  For instance, my doctor placed me on a cardiac diet because of my medical condition, which means a lot of the things I once enjoyed eating are no longer on the menu.  I’m forsaking them but this doesn’t mean I’m in rebellion.  What’s more, in the case of Acts 21:21, it was reported that Paul urged these Jews to “forsake,” or “depart from” the teachings of Moses, and let’s be clear Paul did no such thing.  He did not teach them “to depart” from Moses and his teachings.  But he did point out that now, in the dispensation of God’s grace, they were free from the Law, that is, that the Law had been “fulfilled” for them by the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 5:17; Galatians 3:13; Colossians 2:14).

Here’s another thing that I want to point out.  At no time did Paul mention “a falling away” or apostasy in either of the letters to the Thessalonians.  In both of them up to this point his theme has been the Rapture of the members of the Body of Christ.  Thus, in verse 2:3 he must be referring to “the departure” of the Church to be with Christ.  Think this through.  This meaning falls right into place with the entire context, for why should our Apostle Paul exhort these saints not to be “shaken” or “troubled,” merely because the apostasy must precede the Tribulation?  Where is the “comfort” in this?  The other thing is how could they recognize the apostasy, much less “a falling away” when it came?   To the observant eye apostasy is raging right now; it has been throughout the Church’s history.  This helps to explain why there are more than 5,000 so-called Christian churches in existence today does it not.  There is ample evidence in the Scriptures that shows us it was occurring in Paul’s day for we find him writing to Timothy instructing him what to do about it (1 Timothy 4:1-5).  Therefore, “a falling away” could not be a definite marker to the Thessalonian Believers.  But if, as I have contended, the beginning of the Tribulation awaits “the departure” or the Rapture of the Body of Christ in its entirety, then the very fact that these saints were still living on the earth was in itself proof positive that “the day of the Lord” had not yet come. 

In conclusion, the word apostasies and its root verb aphisteemi do not, when used by themselves, mean apostasy and apostatize.  2 Thessalonians 2:3 states, in the Greek, that “the day of the Lord” will not come “except the departure come first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition. 

Paul had written to these Believers in his previous letter about “the departure” of the Body of Christ from this earth (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17) and even disassociated this event from the prophesied “day of the Lord” with the use of the word “But” (5:1).  Furthermore, he had referred to this “departure” in the phrase “our gathering together unto him,” in 2 Thessalonians 2:1.  Indeed, this was the basis for his appeal to these Believers not to be “shaken” or “troubled” by those who would have them believe that “the day of the Lord” had already begun.  The other thing worth mentioning is Paul was still with them when he wrote about these things (2 Thessalonians 2:5). 

The other significant thing Mr. Hudson and others fail to recognize is this guidepost “the man of sin” must be on the scene, i.e., recognized before “the day of the Lord” can come (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4), and he cannot be revealed until “the departure” occurs “first.” 

Thus, in addition to many other clear proofs that the Rapture will precede the Tribulation we also have these Scripture passages which explicitly affirm this Truth. 

Wherefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:18).

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand” (2 Thessalonians 2:2).

Let no man deceive you by any means:” (2 Thessalonians 2:3a).

(To be continued)

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