Pro and Con 1159

Posted 11-11-04

Petrified-tree forests found in Antarctica

"Antarctic Forests Reveal Ancient Trees, By Larry O'Hanlon

11-5-04 A quarter-billion years ago, forested islands flashed with autumnal hues near the South Pole — a polar scene unlike any today...

"Geologists have discovered in Antarctica the remains of three ancient deciduous forests complete with fossils of fallen leafs scattered around the tree trunks. The clusters of petrified tree stumps were found upright in the original living positions they held during the Permian period....

"The fossilized tree rings in the Glossopteris trees reveal that they grew steadily each summer and abruptly stopped for winter".


By Marilyn Agee

II Thess. 2:1-3 says, "Now we beseech you, brethren (believers), by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ (to get his Bride), and by OUR (Paul's and the brethren's) GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM (at the Pre-Trib Rapture), 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 ('day of the Lord,' as in almost all major MSS) is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (the Day of the Lord) shall not come, except there come A FALLING AWAY ('HE APOSTASIA,' THE DEPARTING, i.e., THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE) FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed (SECOND), the son of perdition" (the False Prophet, who will speak "AS A DRAGON," i.e., be Satan-possessed, Rev. 13:11).

In II Thess. 2:3, Paul gave believers TWO SIGNS that will happen BEFORE THE DAY OF THE LORD COMES. They still apply today. The first is for the wise and foolish virgins. The second is for the foolish virgins and the other Tribulation saints.

(1) the Pre-Trib Rapture will take place
(2) after the Rapture, the False Prophet will be revealed

Until the Rapture, the Holy Spirit indwelling believers will restrain the revealing of this man of sin "whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders" (II Thess. 2:9).

The Tribulation will begin when the final Antichrist "shall confirm (gabar, strengthen) the covenant with many for one week" (i.e., 7 years) (Dan. 9:27). They will speak peace when there is no peace.

Some falling away from Paul's teaching in I Thess. 4:13 - 5:11 had already taken place. Someone had gotten them mixed up, even though Paul put it to them in order. First, Paul told them about the Rapture in I Thess. 4:13-18. Then he started telling them about the Day of the Lord in I Thess. 5:2.

Forgetting that Paul said, "But ye, brethren (believers) are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief" (I Thess. 5:4), the Thessalonians thought that if the Day of the Lord was at hand, they had already missed the Rapture.

Since I am convinced that "he apostasia" in 2 Thess 2:3 means THE DEPARTURE, i.e., THE PRE-TRIB RAPTURE of I Thess. 4:13-18 and "OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM" of 2:1, I searched on Google to see what others thought.

Many agree. I was pleased to be reminded that in Scripture, when "the" precedes something, it means that we should already be able to identify that thing. We have been told about it beforehand. I knew that, but hadn't thought about it lately.

All those listed below prove the case and add valuable information.

Keep in mind that Moses and Elijah must come before the Day of the Lord, the day of destruction, begins (Mal. 4:5; Joel 1:15). They will prophesy during the first half of the Tribulation (Rev. 11:1-12). The Day of the Lord isn't the same as the Tribulation. The Day of the Lord is roughly 7 years after the Pre-Trib Rapture. The last half of the Tribulation, called the Great Tribulation, will be shortened.

I hope you enjoy reading what these people have written as much as I did. (Emphasis is mine throughout.)
Great Falling Away after the Departure of the Church
By Prof. J.S. Malan, University of the North, South Africa

The departure (Gr. apostasia) of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 will precede the revelation of the Man of Sin (the Antichrist). The rendering of "apostasia" as "rebellion", "apostasy" or "falling away" in most English Bibles is unfortunate since these are secondary or derived meanings of the word. ITS PRIMARY MEANING IS "DEPARTURE" which, in this verse, refers to the rapture of the church. In consequence of the rapture, great apostasy will occur on earth while the Antichrist institutes his lawless and utterly sinful reforms. That time will be characterised by a worldwide moral and spiritual falling away.

In his first letter, Paul taught the congregation that the Lord Jesus will come at the end of the church dispensation to take the true believers away to heaven...

In Paul’s preaching to the Thessalonians, and also in his subsequent letter to them, a clear promise was made that the Lord Jesus would remove the Christians before the revelation of the Antichrist and the commencement of the judgements of the Day of the Lord during the great tribulation. He exhorted them "to wait for [God’s] Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess 1:10). "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Thess. 5:9)....

They will escape the time of judgement by way of the rapture, as promised by Jesus in His Olivet Discourse: "Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man" (Lk. 21:36)....

Paul...starts Chapter 2 by referring to the rapture as "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him." After that he explained and reconfirmed the correct order of end-time events...

Paul refuted the false teachings and reiterated that FIRST THERE WILL BE A DEPARTURE (APOSTASIA), FOLLOWED BY THE REVELATION OF THE MAN OF SIN (the Antichrist). He will be the abominable son of perdition who will enter the temple and show himself that he is God (2 Thess. 2:3-4). During the persecution of the first century when Paul wrote his letter, the departure had not yet occurred, neither did the alleged Roman Antichrist sit in the temple in Jerusalem to declare himself as God....

The Greek word APOSTASIA MEANS DEPARTURE, withdrawal or separation. A spiritual and moral falling away can be read into this word only as a secondary meaning, deduced from its basic reference to the departure of the truth. Apostasia is derived from the particle apo which means off or away [from something near], in various senses of place, time or relation. It denotes separation, departure, or the cessation [of a relationship]. The verb correlate of apostasia is aphistemi which, according to Strong’s Concordance, means to depart, withdraw, draw (fall) away, remove....

The following are examples of the rendering of aphistemi in the King James Version:

"…[she] departed not from the temple" (Lk. 2:37); "…he departed from Him for a season" (Lk. 4:13); "…and in time of temptation fall away" (Lk. 8:13); "Depart from Me" (Lk. 13:37); "…the angel departed from him" (Acts 12:10); "…who departed from them" (Acts 15:38); "…he departed from them" (Acts 19:9); "…they departed from him" (Acts 22:19); "…that it might depart from me" (2 Cor. 12:8); "…depart from the faith" (1 Tim. 4:1); "…from such withdraw thyself" (1 Tim. 6:5); "…depart from iniquity" (2 Tim. 2:19); "…departing from the living God" (Heb. 3:12).

In view of these examples it is clear that the basic meaning of the word apostasia and its verb form of aphistemi is to depart. For this reason, the word apostasia in 2 Thess. 2:3 was translated as departing first in the following seven English Bibles before the King James Version: Wycliffe Bible (1384), Tyndale Bible (1526), Coverdale Bible (1535), Cranmer Bible (1539), Breeches Bible (1576), Beza Bible (1583), and the Geneva Bible (1608).

The Vulgate uses the Latin word discessio, meaning departure. In a footnote to 2 Thess. 2:3 the Amplified Bible makes the following remark: "A possible rendering of apostasia is departure [of the church]." In its full meaning, this verse reads:

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day [the day of the Lord] shall not come, except there come a DEPARTING [of the church] first, and that man of sin [the Antichrist] be revealed, the son of perdition…"

"I recently came across an article by Kenneth S. Wuest entitled "The Rapture, Precisely When?"...

"Here Mr. Wuest discusses 2Thes 2:3, specifically the meaning of "apostasia."
"He asserts that IT SHOULD BE TRANSLATED AS 'DEPARTURE' WITH REFERENCE TO THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. I have never come across this in any translation and I wonder if it is a correct exegesis of this verse?

Any insight that you have will be appreciated.

**Note. My e-mail to him: II Thess. 2:3 (WEB) says, "it will not be, unless THE DEPARTURE comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction."

**The HNV says, "It will not be, unless THE DEPARTURE comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction."

**Also, see Tyndale (1534), Coverdale (1535), Cranmer (1539), Beza (1565), the Great Bible (1539) and Breecher's Bible. They used departing.

**I am totally convinced that "he apostasia" in II Thess. 2:3 means "the departing" in the Pre-Trib Rapture. It refers back to "our gathering together unto him" in verse 1, also to I Thess. 4:13-18. In 2:5, Paul said, "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things."

Mr. Wuest's argument follows:

"The words "a falling away" are the Authorized Version rendering of apostasia. The verbal form afistamai from which it comes is present middle of afisthmi, the root verb, which we will study. The simple verb Jisthmi in its intransitive sense means "to stand," the prefixed preposition means "off, away from," and the compound verb, "to stand off from." The word does not mean "to fall." The Greeks had a word for that, piptw. Afisthmi, in its various uses, is reported by Thayer as follows: "to make stand off, cause to withdraw, to stand off, stand aloof, to desert, to withdraw from one"; in contexts where a defection from the faith is in view, it means "to fall away, become faithless." The verb is rendered by the translators of the Authorized Version "TO DEPART," in Luke 2:32; Luke 4:13; Luke 13:27; Acts 12:10; Acts 15:38; Acts 19:9; Acts 22:29; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 1 Timothy 4:1; 2 Timothy 2:19; Hebrews 3:12. In Luke 8:13 it is translated "fall away," in Acts 5:37, "drew away," and in Acts 5:38, "refrain." Had they translated the word here instead of interpreting it, they would have rendered it by the word "DEPARTURE." The reader will observe that the predominant translation of the verbal form is "to depart," also, that where it is translated "fall away," the context adds the idea of "falling away" to the verb, which action is still a DEPARTURE.

E. Schuyler English, to whom this present writer is deeply indebted for calling his attention to the word "DEPARTURE" AS THE CORRECT RENDERING OF APOSTASIA in this context, also informs us that the following translators understood the Greek word to mean "a departure" in this context: Tyndale (1534), Coverdale (1535), the Geneva Bible (1537), Cranmer (1539), and Beza (1565), and so used it in their translations. Apostasia is used once more in the New Testament and is translated "to forsake" (AV), signifying a departure. The neuter noun apostasion in Matthew 5:31; Matthew 19:7; and Mark 10:4 is rendered by the Authorized Version, "divorcement," which word also signifies a departure, here, from antecedent relations.

The writer is well aware of the fact that apostasia was used at times both in classical and koine Greek in the sense of a defection, a revolt in a religious sense, a rebellion against God, and of the act of apostasy. Liddell and Scott in their classical lexicon give the above as the first definition of the word. Moulton and Milligan quote a papyrus fragment where the word means "a rebel." But these are acquired meanings of the word gotten from the context in which it is used, not the original, basic, literal meaning, and should not be imposed upon the word when the context does not qualify the word by these meanings, as in the case of our Thessalonians passage, where the context in which apostasia is embedded DOES NOT REFER TO A DEFECTION FROM THE TRUTH BUT TO THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH. The fact that our word "apostasy" means a defection from the truth is entirely beside the point since we do not interpret Scripture upon the basis of a transliterated word to which a certain meaning has been given, but upon the basis of what the Greek word mean to the first century reader. The fact that Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1 uses this verb in the words "some shall depart from the faith and finds it necessary to qualify its meaning by the phrase "from the faith" indicates that the word itself has no such connotation. The translators of the Authorized Version did not translate the word, but offered their interpretation of it. They should have translated it and allowed the student to interpret it in its context.

With the translation of the word before us, the next step is to ascertain from the context that to which this departure refers. We note the presence of the Greek definite article before apostasia, of which the translation takes no notice. A Greek word is definite in itself, and when the article is used the exegete must pay particular attention to it. The basal function of the article is to point out individual identity. It does more than mark "the object as definitely conceived," for a substantive in Greek is definite without the article." This departure, whatever it is, is a particular one, one differentiated from all others. Another FUNCTION OF THE ARTICLE IS "TO DENOTE PREVIOUS REFERENCE." HERE THE ARTICLE POINTS OUT AN OBJECT THE IDENTITY OF WHICH IS DEFINED BY SOME PREVIOUS REFERENCE MADE TO IT IN THE CONTEXT." Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 Lord. THIS COMING IS DEFINED BY THE WORDS "OUR GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM," NOT AS THE SECOND ADVENT, BUT AS THE RAPTURE. The Greek word rendered "and" can also be translated "even," and the translation reads, "the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, even our gathering together unto him."

THE ARTICLE BEFORE APOSTASIA DEFINES THAT WORD BY POINTING TO "THE GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO HIM" AS THAT DEPARTURE. This article determines the context which defines apostasia. The translators took the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12 as deciding the significance of the word, but they went too far afield, not grasping the function of THE DEFINITE ARTICLE PRECEDING APOSTASIA WHICH POINTS BACK TO THE RAPTURE OF 2 THESSALONIANS 2:2, not ahead to the refusal to believe the truth of 2 Thessalonians 2:10-12. The article is all-important here, as in many instances of its use in the Greek New Testament. In 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, Paul had given these saints teaching on the rapture, and the Greek article here points to that which was well known to both the reader and the writer, which is another use of the Greek definite article. THUS, THE DEPARTURE OF THE CHURCH FROM EARTH TO HEAVEN MUST PRECEDE THE GREAT TRIBULATION PERIOD....
The Promise of the Rapture (Bernard E. Northrup,Th.D.) THE APOSTASIA / THE RAPTURE
2 Thessalonians: An Exegetical and Devotional Commentary
What Saith The Scriptures? Must There Be a Pre-Tribulational Rapture?

During hee apostosia, actually time of our departure (2 Thes. 2:1-3)

One of the most painful pieces of Bible translation that the one who is interested in eschatology can find is the way that practically all translators have treated 2 Thessalonians 2:3. It is in their translating hee apostosia as "a [religious] falling away." In the first place the Greek definite article, hee, "the" has been ignored or mistranslated by the indefinite article "a" in English by most translators. That would seem to be an insignificant change at first. However, THE DEFINITE ARTICLE REPEATEDLY IS USED AS AN ARTICLE OF PREVIOUS REFERENCE. THAT IS, IT TELLS US THAT THE NOUN THAT FOLLOWS THE ARTICLE REFERS TO A PREVIOUS MENTION OF THE SAME SUBJECT. In other words, the reader is told by the definite article to look for the same subject earlier discussed by hee apostosia in the immediately preceding context....The noun actually is used in its basic meaning in four other passages in the New Testament. It is amazing to see modern day translators misunderstanding the meaning of the noun when BOTH TYNDALE AND CLOVERDALE LONG AGO PROPERLY TRANSLATED THE PHRASE SIMPLY AS "THE DEPARTURE."...

Is there a departure mentioned in the preceding context to which the article of previous reference could be pointing? Indeed, there is, and it is only two verses before. For this reason I reject the translation of hee apostosia in ways that imply that the noun as used here refers to religious apostasy. After all, the antecedent "going away" or "departure" in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 specifically refers to the going away of the Church in "the up-gathering-together" of the saints of the Church. For this reason I insist that 2 Thessalonians 2:3 must be referring to the rapture and that the verse should be translated in this way....PAUL CLEARLY IS SAYING THAT THE DAY OF THE LORD AND THE MANIFESTATION OF THE MAN OF SIN IN THE DAY OF THE LORD CANNOT POSSIBLY ARRIVE BEFORE THE GOING AWAY OF THE CHURCH IN THE "UP GATHERING TOGETHER," THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH....
The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, by Dr. Thomas Ice
The Meaning of Apostasia

I believe that there is a strong possibility that 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is speaking of the rapture. What do I mean? Some pretribulationists, like myself, think that the Greek noun APOSTASIA, usually translated "apostasy," is a reference to the rapture and SHOULD BE TRANSLATED "DEPARTURE." Thus, this passage would be saying that the day of the Lord will not come until the rapture comes before it. If apostasia is a reference to a physical departure, then 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is strong evidence for pretribulationism....

The Greek noun apostasia is only used twice in the New Testament. In addition to 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it occurs in Acts 21:21 where, speaking of Paul, it is said, "that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake (apostasia) Moses." The word is a Greek compound of apo " from" and istemi "stand." Thus, IT HAS THE CORE MEANING OF "AWAY FROM" OR "DEPARTURE." The Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon defines apostasia first as "defection, revolt;" then secondly as "DEPARTURE, DISAPPEARANCE."[1] Gordon Lewis explains how the verb from which the noun apostasia is derived supports the basic meaning of departure in the following:

The verb may mean to remove spatially. There is little reason then to deny that the noun can mean such a spatial removal or departure. Since the noun is used only one other time in the New Testament of apostasy from Moses (Acts 21:21), we can hardly conclude that its Biblical meaning is necessarily determined. The verb is used fifteen times in the New Testament. Of these fifteen, only three have anything to do with a departure from the faith (Luke 8;13; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb 3:12). The word is used for departing from iniquity (2 Tim. 2:19), from ungodly men(1 Tim. 6:5), from the temple (Luke 2:27), from the body (2 Cor. 12:8), and from persons (Acts 12:10; Luke 4:13).[2]

"It is with full assurance of proper exegetical study and with complete confidence in the original languages," concludes Daniel Davey, "that the word meaning of apostasia is defined as departure."[3] Paul Lee Tan adds the following:

What precisely does Paul mean when he says that "the falling away" (2:3) must come before the tribulation? The definite article "the" denotes that this will be a definite event, an event distinct from the appearance of the Man of Sin. The Greek word for "falling away", taken by itself, does not mean religious apostasy or defection. Neither does the word mean "to fall," as the Greeks have another word for that. [pipto, I fall; TDI] THE BEST TRANSLATION OF THE WORD IS "TO DEPART." The apostle Paul refers here to a definite event which he calls "THE DEPARTURE," and which will occur just before the start of the tribulation. THIS IS THE RAPTURE OF THE CHURCH.[4]

So the word has the core meaning of departure
Will the Body of Christ Go Through the Tribulation?
By Cornelius R. Stam

Years ago we printed an article entitled First the Departure, in which we dealt at length with a passage of Scripture which does explicitly affirm that THE RAPTURE WILL PRECEDE THE TRIBULATION. In this article we gave conclusive evidence that the words HEE APOSTASIA IN II THESSALONIANS 2:3 SHOULD HAVE BEEN RENDERED "THE DEPARTURE" rather than "a falling away" and that the passage thus reads:

"Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day [the day of the Lord]1 shall not come except THE DEPARTURE COME FIRST, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."...

1. The word apostasia and its root verb, aphisteemi, do not, used by themselves, mean "apostasy" and "apostatize." THEY MEAN "DEPARTURE" AND "DEPART," nothing more.

2. II 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."

3. The term "the departure," with the definite article, denotes previous reference.

4. Paul had written to the Thessalonians in his previous letter about the departure of the members of Christ's Body from this earth (I Thes. 4:16,17) and had even dissociated this from the prophesied "day of the Lord" with the "But" of I Thessalonians 5:1. He had also referred to this "departure" in the phrase "our gathering together unto Him," in II Thessalonians 2:1. Indeed, this was the basis for his appeal to the Thessalonians not to be "shaken" or "troubled" by those who would make them think that "the day of the Lord" was at hand. He had also "told" them about "these things" while he was yet with them (II Thes. 2:5).

5. "The man of sin" must also be manifested before the "day of the Lord" can come (II Thes. 2:3,4) and he cannot be manifested until "THE DEPARTURE" TAKES PLACE "FIRST."

"Now I know that the King James Version says that event is a “falling away”. The word used is “Apostasia”, which equally means, “a departure”. And SINCE PAUL IS REFERRING DIRECTLY TO THIS GATHERING TOGETHER UNTO JESUS, THAT THEY ALREADY KNOW ALL ABOUT, YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE A GREEK SCHOLAR TO UNDERSTAND THE CONTEXT, and the preciseness of the language he uses to convey the meaning of the message, that the event that has to take place before the man of sin comes on the scene, is this departure, that they have been taught, happens in the twinkling of an eye, after the dead in Christ have risen."
THE RAPTURE: Before or After the Tribulation? By Randall A. Grossman

"E. Schuyler English is credited with a unique interpretation of apostasia. The verb means "depart" and is commonly used in this general way. The noun form thus means "departure" and is usually used as a departure from loyalty or, in religious terminology, apostasy. English has suggested that the noun be translated as "DEPARTURE," with a reference to the pre-tribulation rapture."
So-Called “Replacement Theology” and Re-Thinking the Rapture

"Lidell & Scott’s Greek-English Lexicon (refers to the root meanings of words) says the proper original – HEE APOSTASIA- IS ‘THE DEPARTURE’....
Commentary on 2 Thessalonians 2

Since "the apostasia" had to be something that had not happened yet, then "the apostasia" could not be referring to a departure from the faith, which was happening. Instead, "the apostasia" must refer to some other departure, a rather specific departure that would be an unmistakable sign: a departure that would lead to another unmistakable sign.

The departure of the rapture, which leads to the revealing of the antichrist, are these unmistakable signs.

Others have recognized that "the apostasia" cannot refer to a departure from the faith as the key item that needs to come first before the Day of the Lord, because Christians and entire Churches were departing from the faith since before the New Testament was finished being written. As an ongoing sign of the tribulations of this age, a departure from the faith could not be the specific sign that Paul said must come first before the Day of the Lord is present.

Further, this is THE apostasia, not a apostasia. The use of the definite article means it is a specific departure, a departure previously mentioned. There is no mention of a departure from the faith earlier in 2 Thess, nor is it mentioned in the first book of 1 Thess. But there is mention of another departure, the rapture, both earlier in 2 Thess 2:1, and in 1 Thess 4 & 5.

Some wildly speculate that Paul must have spoken to the Thessalonians about a departure from the faith, since he writes, "2 Thess 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" However, we have no evidence that Paul taught about a departure from the faith that must come first before the Day of the Lord. In contrast, we do have evidence that he taught them about "the" departure of the rapture that must come at the start of the Day of the Lord....

Additionally, Paul mentions the departure of the rapture (our gathering together to Jesus) as he introduces his subject in chapter 2.

2 Thess 2:1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

Therefore, THE apostasia, the one of previous teachings, is the departure of the rapture, not some vague departure from the faith....

Isaiah 57:1 tells us that the righteous are taken away from the evil to come."

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