2 THESSALONIANS 2:3 DEPARTURE
The Falling Away Conundrum
by Luis B. Vega
for PostScripts News (PSN) | www.PostScripts.org
‘Now we beseech you, Brethren, by the coming [Parousia] of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our assembling [Episunagoges] unto Him, That ye be not suddenly moved from your mind, nor troubled neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as it were from us, as though the Day of Christ were at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a Departing first, and that that Man of Sin be disclosed, even the Son of Perdition.’ -2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 1599 Geneva Bible (GNV) with emphasis.
The purpose of this study is to present a framework of why the Resurrection/Rapture event is pre-Tribulation, before the 70th Week of Years is to be completed per Daniel. The study will basically present factors that will look at several aspects, that for the most part is from a philosophical angle not covered in the research that has been available thus far. There is much confusion now in the Last Days as to the word ‘Apostasia’ in Greek that means to ‘Falling Away’. The context and question are found in the passage from 2 Thessalonians 2:3. One of the roots of the word ‘Apostasia’ is ‘Aphistemi’. It can mean to withdraw, depart, or remove, in addition to falling away. The issue is what is the subject? Is it the departure as in the Rapture of the Bride of Christ or of one’s Faith? To introduce the debate, this study suggests first of all, a historical translation argument.
One’s theology and doctrine, as in this case of the timing of the Rapture is based on historical precedence and on what version of the Bible was and is being used to translate this word, to ‘Fall Away’. Consider that up to the 19th century, the main translations of the Bible, at least in the West and in English were based primarily on the Textus Receptus. This is where the context determined the interpretation of the ‘Falling Away’ to infer that it was the ‘gathering’ unto Jesus, i.e., the Rapture. Then there was the introduction or rather the indoctrination of the liberal Westcott-Hort Sinaiticus and Alexandrian Texts in the 19th century. It introduced from there on out, the switch in the interpretation of the Greek word ‘Apostasia’ to mean a ‘Falling Away’ from the Faith, etc.
The point is that the majority within the Church Body now believes this interpretation but only since the mid-19th century. However, this was not the prevailing thought and interpretation beforehand. It came along with the newly found modern translations of the Greek New Testament of which most, if not all of the modern versions of the English Bible are based upon now. This is problematic as it has been shown that numerous passages have been altered, words are missing. And it has led to such discrepancies as in this case, what is the most appropriated rendering of the timing of the Rapture. Is it no coincidence that the patent and rights to most of these new translations such as the New International Version, the NIV for example are owned by the Nestle Corporation?
It is a Luciferian globalist corporation out of Switzerland, that in turn is owned by the Rothschilds. And such modern versions are based in Reformed Theology. And this has led to much division within the Body of Christ, as it was exactly planned to do. The true rendering of the interpretation is that the ‘Falling Away’ refers to the ‘Departure’ of the Bride of Christ from Earth. Why? It is because it can then only necessitate the revealing the coming AntiChrist. And it unfortunately is the minority opinion. To reiterate, the word ‘Apostasia’, in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2 was always understood to mean ‘The Departing’. The word contextually was alluding to the Rapture instead of the ‘Falling Away’ from an apostate spiritual condition. A detailed verse listing will be provided further in the study to support this assertion.
Thus, the point is that on the contrary, the post and mid-Tribulation theories have been a modern invention introduced by the apostates Westcott and Hort that translated the modern versions. The purpose of this study is to offer only some added factors and a philosophical approach to the perspectives of having studied this topic for over 40+ years. This is not to say that just by mere longevity, it is validating the arguments for a pre-Tribulation Rapture. Those that take the contrary positions also have ones with 40+ years of study defending it. And to say that one is in no way attempting to ‘convince’ others to this point of view. This study is only to encourage and strengthen the faith of all those that do hold to the pre-Tribulation Rapture sequence.
It is the Blessed Hope that is to come that is not contingent upon the ‘apostate’ spiritual condition of the Church Body which has been deteriorating since its beginning. Also, at the core is the phrase, ‘by our assembly unto Him’ implies the gathering of all the Body in 1 place at 1 time. One objection to the pre-Tribulation Rapture interpretation is that most that argue to the contrary, believe that the position is ‘escapism’. That it makes for a Believer of Jesus to become apathetic and absent-minded to not be fully effective in making change for the good on Earth with the Gospel. As to the first objection, guilty as charged. As to the second count, nothing could be further from the truth.
As least in one’s own Journey of Faith, the doctrine of the Rapture before the conclusion of Daniel’s 70th Week of Years has inspired one to redeem the time; to witness and warn with urgency. It has not been a longing or desire to ‘escape’ tribulation as that is what the Church Age Believers have all but known. It is a promise. It is the Blessed Hope that when the Tribulation of Israel and the world comes, the Bride of Christ will have been completed of the last Gentile. This is currently being done during this Pentecostal ‘intermission’ period of Grace called the Church Age and then to be called to gather. The pre-Tribulation position has been a cause to prioritize the limited energy and resources one has been given. The time has been utilized to the maximum capacity in light of the coming ominous ‘1 Hour of Trial’ upon the world.
The pre-Tribulation Rapture will make way for this coming transformation to occur of that ‘1 Hour of Trial’ upon ALL the inhabitants on Earth. And only then can it occur as the inhabitants of the Earth will then go through with the advent of the AntiChrist and Lucifer’s New World Order, etc. The quandary occurs when if the initial Rapture is to take place anytime within the Tribulation Period, then what is the Restrainer doing? He must not be doing a good job. It has been promised by Jesus that the Gates of Hell would not prevail over the Church Body. Yet, during the Tribulation Period, power is given to the AntiChrist to wear-out the Saints and overcome them. This would be contradictory to what Christ promised in so many passages. To continue, the backdrop of this study for defending the pre-Tribulation Rapture interpretation of the Bible is historical. Why?
As an objection from those that argue to the contrary, a recurring pattern is observed. Many have not really delved into the issue by doing their own research and have only relied on the arguments espoused by the teaching of others, doctrines of men, etc. One example has to do with the confusion over the ‘Rapture’ as there are many of them that have occurred and will. This is due to the multiple series of Raptures or translations that have occurred and will, especially in the book of Revelation during which time, there will be multiple ‘Raptures’ throughout the 7-year Tribulation Period.
Based on one’s research or the book of Revelation, there are actually 7 ‘Raptures’ or translations that will occur. This will be further developed later in the study. Then there are those that tend to not have read the entirety nor understand the whole of the Old Testament typologies that are fulfilled in the New Testament. Why is this an issue? The Old Testament provides the rationale for the context and for the purpose of the Rapture(s) or ‘translation(s)’. The point being is that the divine pattern of YHVH given to His People has always been, ‘warning and rescue’ of the pending judgments of YHVH.
This pattern is prophetically seen as in the case of the Flood of Noah and the judgement of the 5 cities of Sodom and Gomorrah as types of a ‘Falling away’ as in a ‘Departing’ and thereafter a ‘new beginning’ ensues. This pattern is what will precisely occur, the Rapture first then the New World Order, etc. If one takes only the isolated passages of the New Testament without interpreting the context in direct reference to the Old Testament, as it was delivered to the 1st audience and time, it thus surely leads to the current erroneous interpretations. Case in point is the Olivet Discourse in how many modern denominations have doctrinally replaced the ‘Church’ with Israel. So, is it any wonder? If the Church had replaced Israel, then it would make sense and one would be a post-Tribulationists and/or pre-Wrath-er. In fact, many of the Scandinavian Protestant churches have now totally removed the word ‘Israel’ from the entire Old and New Testament citations.
The Military Call Factor
It is rather amazing that in the small passage of 2 Thessalonians 2 that would seem inconspicuous is packed with rich prophecy. It delineates from the start the difference between the 2nd coming of Jesus, the ‘Parousia’ that will be visible, literally, and physically. It is contrasted to the gathering or ‘Epiphaneia’ unto Jesus, or the ‘Episunagoges’. This gathering will be invisible at the Resurrection/Rapture event. From the outset, this is arguably the most important part of the debate or should be as this establishes the context of what the ‘Falling Away’ is directly inferring to, a falling back.
The context can be seen through the lens of a military ‘retreat’ of a Company that is to ‘fall back’ for inspection after a war campaign. This is the gathering that will take place in the air with Jesus, etc. It then necessitates a ‘Departure’ or ‘falling-out’ of the ranks of those in position of being stationed currently in the world as to guarding of a specific time and place. It is a post of one being a ‘Testimony’ and a ‘Witness’; of being the ‘Salt and the Light of the World’, etc. This is exactly what will take place as Christ has commissioned the Church Body and every individual within to be as a ‘soldier’, stationed and positioned for a post while on Earth.
In the military, of which one has briefly been privileged to be part of, the U.S. Army and the Israeli Defense Force, the rank of Lieutenant is exemplary of this argument. In what way? The word Lieutenant comes from a combination of ‘Tenant’, to guard, as in a Sentinel. The other word is ‘Lieu’, as in a place, to stand in place from a commission or post, etc. Thus, for those in the military, it is not beyond the realm of logic that the ‘falling away’ in essence, is a calling to ‘retreat’ as in to ‘fall back’ and not pertinent to the spiritual state of one’s Faith.
This is what will precisely occur at the time of the Resurrection and Rapture event. It will first be the invisible appearing of Jesus Christ in the clouds with the Trumpet Call that the Israelites used to summon the camp in the wilderness with. Israel at that time was configured by rank and file, divisions, and standards as YHVH saw them as a ‘church’ and an army marching to the Promised Land and led by Joshua. This of course is the typology of what Jesus is doing now in leading ‘many sons to glory’, etc. This means that likewise, at the sound of the Trump of GOD, the dead in Christ will rise first and then those that remain at their station, their post as ‘Lieutenants’ will be gathered-up together.
Thus, the passage of 2 Thessalonians 2 starts out with the end gathering of the physical and visible appearing of Jesus Christ that will be the 2nd coming with the Saints. But that later, the complimentary component of such a similar ‘appearance’ is further disclosed to be the time that Jesus comes invisibly for the Saints, etc. What is noticeable in this passage is that one sees that this day, the day of the Resurrection/Rapture is called or referred to as the Day of Christ, versus the Day of the LORD that is often referred to Jesus’ 2nd coming. It is also a euphemism for the time that is coming to test the inhabitants on the Earth for that ‘1 Hour’, etc. Is this key? Yes. This is in the context of the ‘Day of Christ’, that is the Rapture event of the ‘Epiphaneia’. By contrast, the Day of the LORD is accomplished at the ‘Parousia’.
Thus, the Day of Christ cannot be the Day of the LORD, meaning that the Rapture cannot be mid-wrath nor post-Tribulation just before His 2nd coming. The ‘Departing’, in this case, first has to necessitate the revealing of the Man of Sin, the AntiChrist, not the 2nd coming of Christ Jesus. The revealing of the AntiChrist is currently being impeded by the Restrainer, corporately of the Holy Spirit indwelling each individual Believer of Jesus that makes up the Body of Christ on Earth presently. This is why the ‘Apostasia’ cannot be inferring to Faith that many have lost, are losing and will lose up to the Tribulation Period. Why? This factor alone or spiritual state does not usher in the AntiChrist.
The Context of Comfort Factor
The subsequent argument, in terms of the context of the Rapture being pre-Tribulation is the notion of how it was presented and understood by the Saints originally. Paul with such passages that specifically delivered the doctrine of the Rapture as in 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and 1 Corinthians 15 were always in the context of encouragement and comfort. The Rapture is called the Blessed Hope in Titus that also echoes the understanding that there first must be an invisible appearance of the ‘Epiphaneia’ of ‘the Great GOD and Savior’, Jesus. By contrast, whenever true apostasy was addressed in the churches, it was in terms of only rebukes and a call for repentance.
And never to such a degree of apostasy in the Church to warrant and necessitate the advent of the AntiChrist as the verse in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is thus misinterpreted. The escape from the coming Tribulation Period is to be viewed as a promise being kept since John 14. This cannot be said nor seen in Scripture if the interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 suggests the ‘Falling Away’ is pertinent to the apostate spiritual condition of the Church. If such is the case, such a condition had occurred since the beginning. So, why would this degenerate spiritual state be singled out?
This is why then, the ‘Falling Away’ to mean an apostate state of faith cannot be logically singular in nature nor occurrence as it is not anything that has always occurred throughout the life of the Church Age. This thought will be further developed in the study. Understand that there is also a confusion of the word ‘tribulation’. The context of the Rapture was always taught in light of the severe tribulation. Tribulation has been occurring in tandem with apostasy, then as it is still occurring now for the Church Age Saints and will until the end of its harvest. The point is that there is no double-jeopardy of having such Saints then be subject to the 7-Seal Judgments of the Lamb of GOD, that are all inclusive of the ‘Wrath of GOD’. Why? The Tribulation Period involves different fruit and different harvest types.
It includes the perceived ‘Wrath of the Lamb’, ‘Wrath of Satan’, and ‘Wrath of GOD’, etc. Tribulation has occurred since the time of the Apostles. They warned, as well as Jesus in the book of Revelation to the 7 Churches of Asia that there would be tribulation to endure. By contrast, the Tribulation Saints after the pre-Tribulation Rapture will be of a different fruit to harvest. Meaning that now is the time of the Church Age Saint’s tribulation, not the worlds. It is a time of a coming ‘Wheat Harvest’. There has not been a time when the whole inhabitants of the Earth have had their tribulation of that ‘1 Hour of Testing’ come yet. Such inhabitants though will have their turn in going through their tribulation, i.e., the 7-Year Tribulation Period or Daniel’s 70th Week of Years.
Apostasy or that of leaving the Faith of Jesus has occurred since the beginning and would through the 1988+ years since the Church of Jesus was birthed at Pentecost. Apostasy has happened at the corporate and individual level and still does and will right up to the end of this Church Age. The argument that the ‘apostasy’ to mean the leaving of one’s faith in Jesus would be the singular or prominent prerequisite and determining factor to reveal the coming AntiChrist is not consistent contextually. In the Greek, the article before ‘Departure’ is ‘the’ to mean a monumental and singular event. As noted, at no time in the Church Body history has an ‘apostate’ condition been to such a degree that it specifically is then associated with ‘the gathering’ and the unveiling of the AntiChrist -all in the same passage. It is true that the Apostle Paul warned of increasing degrees of apostasy and that in the Last Days, the prevailing condition the Church Body would be one of rampant apostasy. So, how could Paul single out then this one in particular of 2 Thessalonian 2:3?
He does not because he is contextually inferring to ‘The Departure’, i.e., the Rapture of the Bride of Christ from the Earth instead. To reiterate, by contrast, when the Apostles spoke and/or addressed real apostasy in the Church Body or as with Jesus in the 7 Churches of Asia, it was always in the context of admonition and rebuke. Paul warned the Elders of Ephesus that the Church Body would always be plagued by ‘wolves in sheep clothing’. Paul warned Timothy of those that would ‘shipwreck’ their faith and/or those that would trample the Blood of Christ underfoot. Paul admonished the Galatians for being bewitched or having been cast a spell upon them to return to legalism, etc.
And then there have always been the abandonment of the faith that such individuals like Mark and Demas could attest to. Even Jesus warned of the Tares to be allowed to grow alongside the Wheat until the time of the harvest of souls. The point being is that the ‘apostasy’ as interpreted to mean a departure from the Faith of Jesus, to first occur before the Rapture is inconsistent and misinterpreted based on the contextuality delivered to and understanding by the Saints. There has never been a direct link to such ‘apostasy’ as a prerequisite to usher in the Man of Lawlessness.
The Apostate Factor
The following section will compare the context that ‘Falling Away’ as interpreted in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 cannot be inferred to an apostate spiritual state of the Church Body. Primarily that the context of the ‘Apostasia’ is alluding to a ‘withdrawal from a standing position’ as mentioned prior. This is seen exclusively in 1 Timothy 4:1 in how precisely it will be in tandem with the coming Rapture event, a ‘withdrawal’ from the Faith is to occur also. One would contend that it is actually a conspiracy to confuse the meaning.
To reiterate, there has been a change in the interpretation of this passage as the new modern Bible translations introduced by Westcott-Hort who were essentially New Age Deists. They introduced the switch to the ‘Falling Away’ to infer to a falling away from the Faith of Jesus, etc. The following are key passages in Scripture that clearly portray the condition of a ‘Falling Away’ that was present from the very beginning of the Church Age. But it had never been associated with the unveiling, revealing or advent of the coming AntiChrist. The description is more akin to a swerving, deviation, or wrecking effect. The ‘Departure’ of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that infers a ‘falling-back’ as in a military retreat of the Bride of Christ is the prerequisite for the unmasking of the AntiChrist.
1 Timothy 6:21 Estochesan G795 (to swerve)
‘Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid irreverent, empty chatter and the opposing arguments of so-called ‘knowledge’, which some have professed and thus swerved away from the faith. Grace be with you all.’
2 Timothy 2:17-19 Estochesan G795 (to swerve)
‘And the talk of such men will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have deviated from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already occurred, and they undermine the faith of some. Nevertheless, God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: The Lord knows those who are His, and Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord must turn away from iniquity.’
1 Timothy 4:1-5 Postesontai G868 (a withdrawing from a standing)
‘The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods, which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth.’
1 Timothy 1:18-20 Enauagesan G3489 (to wreck)
‘Timothy, my child, I entrust you with this command in keeping with the previous prophecies about you, so that by them you may fight the good fight, holding on to faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and thereby shipwrecked their faith. Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.’
By contrast, the following are a list of Bible translations that did also have the correct rendering as understood to mean a ‘Departure’ as in an abandoning of a post. The early English translations used the interpretation of the ‘Departure’, instead of ‘Falling Away’.
Tyndale - 1534 Apostasia G646
Let no man deceave you by eny meanes, for the lorde commeth not, except ther come a departynge fyrst, and that that synfull man be opened, the sonne of perdicion.
Miles Coverdale Bible - 1535 Apostasia G646
Let no man disceaue you by eny meanes. For the LORDE commeth not, excepte the departynge come first, and that that Man of synne be opened, euen the sonne of perdicion,
Cranmer - 1539 Apostasia G646
Let no man deceaue you by eny meanes, for the Lord shall not come except ther come a departynge first, and that synfull man be opened, the sonne of perdicyon.
Great Bible - 1540 Apostasia G646
For the Lorde shall not come excepte ther come a departynge fyrst and that sinfull man be opened, the sonne of perdicyon.
The Door of Escape Factor
The next argument comes from Revelation 2:10 where Jesus promises the Church of Philadelphia a ‘Door of Escape’ and thus a prophetic typology. It is not a deliverance through tribulation but one emphatically out of, or ‘ek’ in the Greek. The Bride of Christ cannot go through the ‘1 Hour of Trial’ that is to come upon ALL the inhabitants on Earth. The post-Tribulationists say that the ‘1 Hour of Trial’ does not infer to the Tribulation Period. Realize that at no other time in human history since Christ Jesus has YHVH visited the whole Earth to include all of its inhabitants for judgment and wrath. Thus, it can only infer to the coming Tribulation Period.
The coming Tribulation Period will be by way of the 7-fold Seal Judgments, as the ‘1 Hour of Trial’ euphemism will be unleashed upon the whole world. This contrasts with those not on Earth but in Heaven. In Revelation, it is even alluded to by the one and only AntiChrist himself when he raises his fists at Heaven and curses ‘those that dwell there’. Why would this be alluding to the Raptured Church Age Saints? This factor is reminiscent of how Jesus at the LORD’s Super promised to take His Bride to the dwelling places, the Mansions in the Father’s House. Lucifer will be a bit disconcerted because his Seat or Throne and those of all his fellow Fallen Angel’s thrones will be vacated and it is the Church Age Saints that will be occupying them instead.
‘The Beast was given a mouth to speak arrogant and blasphemous words, and authority to act for 42 months. And the Beast opened its mouth to blaspheme against GOD and slander His Name and His Tabernacle— those [Saints] who dwell in Heaven.[above] Then the beast was permitted to wage war against the Saints [below] and to conquer them, and it was given authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation.’ -Revelation 13:5-7
These are the ones that ‘escaped’ through the Door of Heaven being ushered in by the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, Jesus at the point of the Rapture. Lucifer would have no contention with those in Heaven already as that is a given. By contrast, he then focuses his attention on the Tribulation Saints below to wage all-out war against and to prevail over them. So, who would he be addressing this ire against but those of the Bride that got raptured and are sitting on his thrones in Heaven watching the ‘1 Hour of Trial’ unfold? As to the ‘escape’ promised, the Rapture will be an escape for the Church Age Saints. Such will be the generation that will not see death. It will be an escape much like that of Noah and Lot in particular; of the ‘Secret Rapture’. It is a term that the post-Tribulationists abhor. The ‘Great Escape’, will be an invisible event much like a ‘thief in the night’ seeks to not be noticed, etc.
‘For you are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a Thief in the Night. While people are saying, Peace and Security, destruction will come upon them suddenly, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. But you, brothers [will], are not in the darkness so that this day should overtake you like a thief.’ – 1 Corinthians 5:2-4
Replacement Theology Factor
The next argument focuses on what constitutes the ‘Tribulation’. Most that hold to the pre-Tribulation interpretation also adhere to the notion that the Tribulation Period is 7 years. That is to say, 2520 days or 2 half sections of 1260 days. The Prophet Daniel adds another count of days after Jesus returns. Realize that the 7-year Tribulation Period does not commence with the Rapture but with the ‘Confirming of the Covenant’. That confirmation will be in tandem with the 1st day that the Daily Sacrifices are initiated with the 3rd Temple being in place to do so. Why? This day count is paramount as it will be at the 1260th day that the AntiChrist puts a stop to them as he then enters the Holy of Holies to proclaim himself ‘God’ and demand worship instead. It is at this halfway maker that the Great Tribulation commences. However, there are those who espouse to the post-Tribulation Rapture belief that keep repeating the argument that the Church Body is to ‘endure till the end’ and that it is only ‘after the tribulation of these things’, etc.
Again, this error occurs as a direct result of the Replacement Theology mentioned prior. This time sequence is erroneously replacing the Time of Jacob’s Trouble with that of the Church’ trouble. How can such believe this? It is again predicated on which Bible translation is adhered to and what doctrine one espouses from. This was caused, first of all by the teaching of the Roman Catholic, Augustine with his City of God, etc. This was a time several centuries into the life of the Church Body where it compromised with the world in that it fused with Roman State. And not knowing that the Church Age was to last nearly 2000 years, the belief that the Rapture was to be imminent waned. And later on, this position was continued by the Reformers. The ‘Roman Church’ became prominent as Israel was sent into its Diaspora, and persecution of Christians stopped.
In their estimation, the Church Body replaced Israel as the ‘Elect’. This Replacement Theology made for a continual confusion of how the promises to Israel and its status was conveyed over to the Church. Not only that but its final chapter of judgment then, the Tribulation Period that is yet to be completed, i.e., Daniel’s 70th Week of Years or the last Sabbatical Cycle of 7 years, etc. Thus, it would make perfect sense for those supporting a post-Tribulation Rapture. The Church would have to endure the Time of Jacob’s Trouble to the end. And the 2nd coming of Jesus would be ‘After the Tribulation’ of all these things. The fact is that as the Western Church goes, such doctrines have been the mainstay of the Churches that are essentially just ‘Reformed Catholics’. And consider that the Eastern Church did not go through a Reformation to speak of.
Such are the Orthodoxy that also nonetheless believe that the Church was and is the New Israel. In this context, one can see why those that still believe in this reformed orthodoxy naturally subscribe to a post-Tribulation Rapture that makes sense and how all others should see it also. It should be noted that the inheritors of this false replacement doctrine are the likes that have also now been thoroughly compromised, at least in the West. The Episcopalians, Methodists, Lutheran, Mennonites, are now all basically made up of left-wing liberals that do not even believe in the Bible. As of late, such have had their seminaries have their students pray and praise plants and others now worship ‘Mother God’ and/or have gender neutral pronouns. This is just to show the degree of true ‘Apostasia’ that is pertinent to the Last Days of the ‘apostate’ spiritual state of this last Laodicean rendition of the Church that closes-out the Church Age.
The Reformed Camp Factor
Another facet to consider in the argument for a pre-Tribulation Rapture has to do with the Mystery of the Church Age, mainly made up of Gentiles. It was not yet fully revealed until given to the Apostle Paul. Nor was it and is not accepted by mainstream Judaism. Paul was given this mystery of ‘the New Man in Christ’, the Church and out of all the places, at Mount Sinai in Arabia. The Bible tells that he went there to be instructed of Christ for 14 years, much like Elijah went there at the end of his ministry, etc. Moreover, this mystery of the coming Church Age enveloped the further mystery of the Departure, that is the Rapture from Earth, and of the Bride of Christ that YHVH was to extract from the Nations for the Son. This ‘Marriage Mystery’ of the Church Age comprised of the Called-Out ones to have the Son of GOD be presented with a pure and spotless Bride. When? At the time of the Resurrection/Rapture event.
This Bride of Christ was to be composed of all the Followers of Jesus throughout all the Church Age, but none from either the Old testament or Tribulation Saints. Why is this important? It is important because in the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it is the Bride of Christ that then needs to be presented to Jesus in the clouds and what will be taken into Heaven. In essence, the coming Tribulation Period will be to have Israel return as a faithful wife she once was initially to YHVH, since Mount Sinai when she was betrothed to GOD the Father, there and then. The main problem with a post-Tribulation Rapture view is that if the Rapture is post-Tribulation, the Church Age Saints will have had the AntiChrist already ‘revealed’ for 3.5 years.
This sequence contradiction cannot be according to Scripture. If the AntiChrist is to confirm the Covenant which starts the Tribulation, regardless if 3.5 or 7 years, it must coincide with the Temple already being rebuilt as the Altar of Sacrifices must commence the countdown of the 2520 days with 1260th being the mid-point wherein the AntiChrist ceases the Daily Sacrifices. If the mid-Tribulation is when the Rapture of the Church Age Saints occurs, then this insinuates that the AntiChrist was revealed 3.5 years prior and this cannot be. If the ‘Falling Away’, inferring a spiritual state will be ‘the event’, how will that be measured? Will it be the Americans that fall away or the Europeans?
Europe is already lost. Perhaps the South Americas, Africans, or Asians? They are from the areas where revival has exploded over the last century. So where is the ‘Falling Away’ seen tangibly if that all, without a doubt to be seen then as ‘The Sign’? The Scriptures clearly state the AntiChrist will not be revealed until the ‘Falling Away’ or ‘Departure’ occurs first. Why do many believe in the pre-Tribulation Rapture? Because there is that initial Rapture call of John by Jesus to ‘Come Up Here’ that then sets the stage for the coming Tribulation. But then, why do others believe in a mid-Tribulation Rapture?
Because here is a Rapture at the midpoint of the 7-year Tribulation. In this case, with the Man-Child that is raptured-up. Why do others believe in a post-Tribulation Rapture? Because there is a final Rapture as the LORD with the sickle harvests the souls at the end before His coming. This is the point, that there are in fact 7 total ‘Raptures’ or translations in the book of Revelation. Such are determined, yet to occur in sequence and pertaining to specific types of Believers at that time and place. Notwithstanding, this is why those that just hone-in on the particular passages that disclosed such a 'translation' have then made it out to be when the Rapture of the Bride of Christ is to then occur. But not stepping back and considering the whole scope of the entirety of the revelation as a whole. The following is the outline taken as an excerpt from the study on the 7 Raptures of Revelation, #252.
1. chapter 04:01The Rapture of the Bride
2. chapter 07:09 The Martyrs out from Great Tribulation
3. chapter 11:12 The 2 Witnesses after 3.5 days (a 1260 coefficient)
4. chapter 12:09 The Man-Child of the Virgo Vision
5. chapter 14:01 The Overcomers singing the Song of Moses
6. chapter 14:16 The Sickle Harvest
7. chapter 20:04 The Beheaded
The following is the link to the chart that displays this assertion of the 7 Raptures of Revelation.
The Epiphaneia Factor
As stated, prior, the next factor to consider for a pre-Tribulation Rapture has to do with the context given of the 2 Thessalonians 2 passage. If one studies the opening stage, it sets the context of the 2 appearing or gatherings of Jesus Christ in one passage. It first starts with the 2nd coming of Christ, the ‘Parousia’. But it is to be first promoted by the in-gathering of the ‘Company’ of Believers that is summonsed much like with a military command of a trumpet blast. In this case, to assembly in the air, invisibly at the ‘Epiphaneia’. This ‘Epiphaneia’ or appearing of Jesus is initiated at the point of the Resurrection/Rapture event. The following is a specific and detailed world study of the word ‘Epiphaneia’ which means ‘to appear’, Epiphaneias G2015 in the Strong’s Concordance.
It is defined as in a vision or within a spiritual dimension as all the verses that follow will be fulfilled not on Earth but in Heaven, thus an invisible event to the physical world. This is to say that within the ‘Epiphaneia’, it will eventually lead to the ‘Parousia’ of Jesus as He will be made manifest in His full glory. This cannot be said of the ‘Parousia’ as it cannot contain any measure of an ‘Epiphaneia’. ‘Epiphaneia’ is thus the unveiling of Jesus in the Air to only the Bride of Christ. It will be the occasion whereby the Church Age Saints will receive the Glorification of their new bodies. This occurs before the AntiChrist is or can be revealed at the point of the Resurrection and Rapture event before the 7-year Tribulation Period starts. The following passages in the New Testament are those that strongly suggest the 2 Thessalonians 2:3 ‘Falling Away’ means to be linked to the appearing of Jesus.
1 Timothy 6:14 Epiphaneias G2015
That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ:
2 Timothy 1:10 Epiphaneias G2015
But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:
2 Timothy 4:1 Epiphaneias G2015
I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom;
2 Timothy 4:8 Epiphaneian G2015
Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.
Titus 2:13 Epiphaneian G2015
Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
1 Peter 1:7 Apokalupsei G602 (To unveil)
That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
The Parousia Factor
Now, in contrast to ‘Epiphaneia’, the literal and physical, visible appearing or ‘Parousia’ of Jesus Christ at His 2nd coming will be given. The following word study is presented to strongly suggest this sequence and type of appearance/gathering difference. The Greek word, ‘Parousia’ G3952 in the Strong’s Concordance speaks of a physical presence manifested. It means ‘a coming’ or ‘a presence’ as in an arrival or advent. It is thus, the literal future visible return from Heaven of Jesus along with His Bride that was raptured at the initial ‘Epiphaneia’. That was the cause to reveal the coming AntiChrist and thereafter to ‘Confirm the Covenant’ and initiate the Daily Sacrifice, etc. Why is this sequence important? It is because the 1st day of the Daily Sacrifices will start the countdown of the 2520 days. Then midpoint will be mathematically precise, the 1260th day that is tied to the Revelation 12 Sign. This is to say that one can then calculate the literal 2nd coming of Jesus at the end of the 7-year Tribulation Period.
1 Thessalonians 3:13 Parousia G3952
To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
2 Thessalonians 2:8 Parousia G3952
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:
2 Peter 1:16 Parousia G3952
For we have not followed cunningly devised fables when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2 Peter 3:12 Parousia G3952
Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
It is understandable that those taking sides with the pre-Tribulation, pre-Wrath, post-Tribulation interpretations have arguments and verses to support their understanding. But as of the past decade, the pre-Tribulation Rapture position has been attacked and mostly has been vile in nature of being a ‘damnable heresy sending the gullible to hell’ because of it. Where is that spirit coming from? It is very unsettling when dealing with most who hold the opposing interpretations to the pre-Tribulation Rapture, and it is just that, a difference of interpretation. It is paramount as such a view will set one’s theology and view of what the coming Tribulation Period is to be defined and measured with.
However, if one hears 1 more time that the ‘pre-Tribulation’ Rapture is a hoax invented by John Darby in the 19th century and that it is a Jesuit plot to fool the Christians, one will go insane. As one who attended a Jesuit University and has been Jesuit taught (Universidad Pontificia Comillas de Madrid), One can attest that as a Follower of Christ, no they did not. If Darby would have ‘conspired’ to his interpretation, then he in his Bible version, like the Geneva Bible would have rendered ‘Apostasia’ as ‘Departed’, which he did not. This goes for the Jesuits as they too have rendered the interpretation the same.
It was ironically that during the same time span, Darby and Westcott-Hort contended with their translations and interpretations. As noted, the later translated ‘Apostasia’ to mean a ‘Falling Away’ from the Faith and most translations have now followed suit. It was Darby and others however, that started to bring attention to the earlier manuscripts and interpretation. Why? It needed to be revisited as the 19th and 20th century witnessed the fulfillment of prophecy concerning the reemergence of Israel. What?
For centuries, if not for most of the Church Age time, Israel was allegorized and/or set aside and ‘replaced. Why? There was the rise of the Roman Church. Then it was realized that the Resurrection/Rapture was not imminent. However, scholars like Darby and others ascertain correctly that Israel, as the prophetic time-clock had to be present in the End of Days, which it has now been reconstituted. As the Fig Tree, it has recuperated as a Nation, then Jerusalem as its capital. What is exciting to realize is that the 3rd Temple is next. Thus, these developments spurred the reevaluation of the mostly Reformed Theology and the Amillennialism interpretation of the Rapture sequence.
The issue is that such theology and doctrine in some denomination are still the mainstay and orthodoxy and are reluctant to change toward the original interpretation. And, if any dear challenge it, it is seen and treated as heretical by many. Regardless, most would agree that the Church Age or the ‘Pentecostal Intermission’, in-between Israel is fast approaching its end. In studying of Pentecost and how the Church Age is entering the season of harvest, Pentecost is traditionally observed in 2020 to be from ether the 28th, 31st of May or the 6th June. There is however a tiny minority opinion that holds to the interpretation that Pentecost consists of a double-count to end sometime in mid-July.
There was a confirmation of sorts about how this particular time, or dispensation is related to the in-gathering of the Gentiles at Pentecost as it relates to the number 50. It concerns the first church of the Gentiles that was entirely set up by the Apostle Paul in Acts 19:19. This was Ephesus and the 1st to be of the 7 Churches of Asia to typify the Church Age with. It was interesting to note that as the city repented of their sorcery and magic, they burned all their books of magic. Then it was specifically noted by the Holy Spirit that the value of the books was ‘50’ thousand pieces of silver. It is the metal of redemption coupled with the numerical coefficient of Pentecost, 50, etc. Will the Church Age truly end on a Pentecost (a 50-day countdown) season as it began?
Regardless, this study assessed context and presented contrasts of the Greek word, ‘Apostasia’ to strongly suggest that the ‘Falling Away’ is referring to the ‘Departure’ of the Bride of Christ, i.e., the Rapture. And that it is not the ‘Falling Away’ of one’s Faith, individually nor corporately as a prerequisite for the advent of the AntiChrist to appear.
Greek Interlinear: https://www.scripture4all.org/OnlineInterlinear/NTpdf/2th2.pdf
Riplinger, G. A., New Age Bible Versions
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