Q&A | A Falling Away or The Departure?
Attention: My answer to the following question is intended to clarify certain end-times events in their contextual chronology. If you like facts, I believe you are in for a treat. Enjoy! - Scott
"Hi Scottie. Thanks for all your hard work on this subject. It's a blessing. I do have a question that has me a little perplexed. It's about 2 Thessalonians 2 in the verses below. This makes it sound as if the rapture occurs mid-trib. Can you clarify what this refers to?"
Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-4 (NKJV)
Thank you, Victor. This is one of the most misunderstood verses concerning the rapture - all because of a bad translation down the pike. I am asked about this continually. It is time to put it on the website. Thank you for your question. It is a very good one.
The context of the chapter is the Rapture, "Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him
" - and the timing of the Tribulation, "as though the Day of Christ had come".
The Day of Christ, the Day of the Lord (Joel 2:31), the Day of Wrath (Zephaniah 1:14-15) are terms for the Tribulation period.
The word day
here is not a 24 hour day as one might assume. The usage is likened to if you were to say, "Back in my day, we did not have access to free and informative websites to learn about Bible Prophecy. We had to buy books". Day
refers to a time period. Here it is Daniel's 70th Week - the Tribulation Period.
Paul had written a first letter to the church of Thessalonica prior to this second letter and revealed the rapture to them in 1 Thessalonians 4. It seems a second letter was necessary to clear up confusion because someone had forged a letter in Paul's name telling them that they had missed the rapture and that the Day of the Lord had begun. Paul notes above that they were troubled by this - as they should have been had it been true.
This alone tells us that the early church was taught that they would NOT be going through the "Day of the Lord" - the Tribulation. This should be enough to convince any thinking person of the very early and true teaching of the pre-Tribulation rapture, but we can unpack much more evidence.
A Falling Away or The Departure?
Let us get this first point clear right out of the gate. The Word was NOT originally written in English. The Word was originally written in Aramaic/Hebrew and Greek and was translated into English more than one thousand years later. Latin preceded the English.
Read this carefully - ALL English Bibles are poor TRANSLATIONS of the Father's intended message and that is compounded by the fact that they have many errors. A true scholar will look to the original languages for the truth. The term "falling away" of the Bible translation above is improperly derived from the Greek noun apostasia
The first seven English Bible translations of apostasia
all most appropriately rendered the noun as either the "the departure" or "the departing".
Wycliffe Bible (1384)
Tyndale Bible (1526)
Coverdale Bible (1539)
Cranmore Bible (1539)
Breeches Bible (1576)
Beza Bible (1583)
Geneva Bible (1608)
Unfortunately, as time goes by, we see our English translations progressively faltering in greater and greater ways.
Supervening these early Bibles, The King James Bible of 1611 was the first to actually change the above correct translations from "departure" to "falling away". To this day, no good reason has ever been given.
It is terribly unfortunate that most English translators have followed the KJV in departing from translating apostasia
as "departure". This has caused much confusion as to the timing of the coming of our Messiah and our gathering to Him. It has also darkened the abilities of many to rightly divide the Word.
You may have noticed that many combatants of the factual pre-Tribulation Rapture pitch their tent in the "KJV Only" camp. This cult (as many have called it) mistakenly worships a translation
which they have been deceived to believe is somehow perfect. Let me assure you that no translation of Scripture is without error. Man cannot help but tamper with it. Only the original books and letters by the original authors are perfect.
Many of the later translations continue the confusion. We find translators have used the words "apostasy", "revolt" and "rebellion" and push the view that it is "apostasy from the faith" in the latter days. However, extensive studies in the Scriptures confirm that this word in almost every case means "departure from" - a physical departure. It cannot be an abstract departure from faith in this context. The facts give a staggering amount of weight that this "departure" is the very physical rapture itself - the changing of bodies from corruptible to incorruptible (1 Corinthians 15:51-53) BEFORE the Man of Sin is revealed.
The Latin Vulgate - St. Jerome's Latin Bible translation from the late fourth-century (prior to all English translations above) used discessio
which translates as "departure".
E. Schuyler English, one of our finest Greek scholars translates this word in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as "the departure".
The Revealing of the Man of Sin
Let me be clear. The Man of Sin - The Lawless One - The Antichrist, will be revealed to the world at the beginning of the 7 year Tribulation period whether those left behind know who he is or not. Most people will not understand who he really is even when he sits in the newly rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem and declares himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:4).
These unfortunate souls likely failed to read their Bibles - and mocked those who did. If they were to understand who he is, and if they were in their right mind, they would never follow him, take his mark or worship his image (abomination/graven image/idol). However, Scripture clearly states that many will eternally burn in the Lake of Fire for doing so (Revelation 13:16, 14:9-11, 16:2, 19:20). Remember, he is the beast and a deceiver.
When the first seal is broken in Revelation 6 and a rider (The Man of Sin) on a white horse hits the world stage, the Tribulation period begins and the Man of Sin is considered revealed.
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In the Book of Revelation, the picture of the rapture is shown to us in chapter 4 when a Voice like a trumpet calls John up into heaven immediately after the church age of chapters 2 & 3. The Tribulation begins in Chapter 6. Two, three, four and five precede six. Chronology.
Remember what Paul wrote in his first letter to Thessalonica when revealing the Rapture to them in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18, "Comfort one another with these words". Paul's intention was to make clear to us and them (the church body) that
the church is not appointed to the wrath of the Tribulation period. He stated this early in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 and again in 1 Thessalonians 5:9. Paul clearly intended for them to be comforted by that fact. Notice 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 covers the Rapture and THEN chapter 5 covers the Tribulation. Chronology.
The chronology of events is then reiterated by Paul for even more clarification and comfort to the church in 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8, where he states that the One who restrains, the Ruah haQodesh (Holy Spirit) will be removed (same as the departure) and THEN the Lawless One will be revealed - Rapture first THEN the Tribulation period.
Understanding the precise meaning of the Greek word apostasia
ends the debate. If not for an irresponsible translation from the 1611 KJV, there would hardly be any confusion as to the timing of the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church. Just the root word alone "apo" denotes movement away from the surface of an object.
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In closing, if your Bible has one of the above mistranslations, "falling away", "apostasy", "revolt" or "rebellion" you can confidently make the appropriate correction and simply write "departure/rapture" in the margin of Second Thessalonians 2:3. The departure/rapture comes first and THEN the Man of Sin is revealed.
In my opinion and in yours as well hopefully, it really cannot be much clearer. We are in the best of eschotological company, because in context, we actually study
the Word(s). HalleluYah!
Deeper studies are recommended below.
Scott Clarke | February 19, 2015
Thomas D. Ice
The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3
The Antichrist & the Falling Away
The Seven Years of
About the Tribulation
About the Rapture
Thank you for reading and sharing the truth!