2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 – “But in connection with the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah and our gathering together to meet him, we ask you, brothers, not to be easily shaken in your thinking or anxious because of a spirit or a spoken message or a letter supposedly from us claiming that the Day of the Lord has already come. Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way. For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come and the man who separates himself from Torah has been revealed, the one destined for doom.”
Today we will look at another topic linked to the pre-tribulation rapture of the Bride of Yeshua – that of the apostasia to see if this word has been correctly translated, or if it has been irresponsibly mistranslated. Does Paul’s use of the word apostasia indicate a spiritual departure, or a spatial departure, or both – let’s take a closer look:
The Word Apostasia
2 Thessalonians 2:3 – “The tribulation will not come until The Departure comes first . . .”
The words translated “the departure” are the Greek words he [hé G3588] apostasia [ἀποστασία G646], meaning the departure. The word hé simply means “the”. The Latin Vulgate (“ne quis vos seducat ullo modo quoniam nisi venerit discessio . . .”) uses the word “discessio” which also translates as: a withdrawal, a dispersal, a separation, or a departure. The literal English translation therefore correctly reads “the departure comes first.”
A Spiritual Departure
2 Thessalonians 2:3 – “For the Day will not come until after the Apostasy has come . . ..”
Apostasia [ἀποστασία G646], formed from the conjunction of apo and stasia is defined literally as “a leaving, from a previous standing.” Today it has come to mean a defection from truth or rejection of truth; in other words, an apostasy.
The Two Spiritual Sequences:
1. First – Departure from righteous living as commanded by The Torah, Second – Destruction.
The historical patterns show a departure from scriptural or doctrinal principles prior to judgment leading to some form of destruction. This sequence can be seen in the narratives of Genesis 6:5; Genesis 6:17; Genesis 9:11; 2 Chronicles 36:21; and John 11:48. In Genesis the people have departed from righteous living and the earth is destroyed. In both Chronicles and John the Temple is destroyed after the people have departed from Yahweh’s commandments.
2. First – Departure, Second – Revealing.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 – “When our Lord Yeshua returns, we will be gathered up to meet him. So do not be easily upset or disturbed by people who claim that he has already come or that the Day of The Lord has begun . . . and do not let anyone in any way deceive you, for the tribulation will not come until The Departure comes first, and then the revealing of the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Perdition, comes second.”
2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 – “He who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed.”
Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians describes the sequence of events regarding the gathering together of those in Mashiach (Christ) and confirms that that time had not yet happened – the Day of the Lord or tribulation period was still in the future. Paul admonishes the Thessalonians not to be deceived, and then goes on to describe the future sequence of events. Note the parallel sequences in both verse three and then verses seven and eight of Second Thessalonians! First, the departure. Then, the Man of Lawlessness, the Son of Perdition, or as he is commonly known, the antichrist, is revealed. First – departure, second – revealing.
Modern translations of the Greek New Covenant apostasia into English use various words. For example:
• The Complete Jewish Bible – apostasy
• The New American Standard Bible – apostasy
• The New English Translation – rebellion
• The New Revised Standard Version – rebellion
• The English Standard Version – rebellion
• The King James Version – a falling away
A Spatial Departure
Apostasia is made up of two words, apo and stasia.
• Apo [ἀπό G575] means: a motion away from a place or person, the separation of apart from the whole. It is a state of separation, that is of distance – either physical: of distance of place, or temporal: of distance of time.
• Stasia means: a standing, to stand, exist, have stability. It comes from the root word: Stasis [στσις G4714].
Apostasia [ἀποστασία G646] combines both words and is the feminine form of apostasion [ἀποστάσιον G647], which is a derivative form of aphistēmi [ἀφίστημι G868], all of which refer to a departure from someone or something. In other words, a separation of distance, either physical or temporal.
Aphistēmi[G868] is translated “depart” 13 out of 16 times in the Newer Covenant scriptures. Below are a couple of examples:
Luke 2:37 – “Anna never departed the temple, serving night and day with fasting and prayer.”
Luke 13:27 – “And Yeshua will say, ‘Depart from me, all you evildoers’.”
Acts 12:10 – After the angel had released Peter from the prison, “immediately the angel departed from him.”
2 Corinthians 12:8 – “I implored Yeshua three times that the messenger of Satan might depart from me.”
The Spatial Sequence:
First – Departure as in the rapture, second – Destruction.
This historical pattern of rapture, or departure, before destruction can be seen in the raptures of Enoch, Elijah, and Yeshua. The Bride of Yeshua will also be raptured before the Day of the Lord, or Tribulation Period commences.
Several translations of the Greek New Covenant apostasia into English prior to the King James Authorized version of 1611 translate apostasia as either the departure or the departing. Those translations are:
• The Tyndale Bible (1526 / 1534) a departynge fyrst
• The Coverdale Bible (1539) a departynge come firft
• The Cranmer Bible (1539) a departynge fyrst
• and The Geneva Bible (1557) a departing first
One newer translation that also translates apostasia as departure is the Hebrew Names Version (1997).
Acts 21:21 – “They have been told about you, that you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs.
Paul may indeed indicate an apostasy, leaving, or rebellion of faith – a falling away from pure exposition of scriptural or doctrinal principles, or to a falling away from the true church, as may be the case in Acts 21:21. This passage could be interpreted to walk away from or to turn your back on Moses, himself, or to turn away from his teachings. Today we are seeing just such an apostasia from scripture and sound doctrine, as well as a falling away from (or turning of the back on) the church as the time of Yeshua’s return draws near.
Understanding the precise context of the scriptures in which the word apostasia is used clearly determines which meaning is being expressed. Paul’s Second Thessalonians letter may only be addressing the topic of a departure away from scriptural or doctrinal principles prior to the revealing of the antichrist, as in Acts 21:21.
However, If the word apostasia in Second Thessalonians is referring to the harpazō or departure of the Bride of Yeshua, this may be a deeper meaning of the topic and the Bride will also depart from earth prior to the commencement of the Tribulation Period. This would agree fully with Matthew 16:18 which states that the Church cannot be overcome by Satan or the all powers of Hell. That the apostasia is the harpazō also agrees with First Thessalonians in which Paul states that the Bride of Yeshua is to wait for Yeshua who “who rescues us from the coming wrath” (1 Thessalonians 1:10) and also with Paul’s statement that “Yahweh did not appoint us to suffer wrath, but to receive salvation through our Lord Yeshua Ha’Mashiach” (1 Thessalonians 5:9).
Prophecy continues to unfold as foretold by the Hebrew Prophets. Today we are one day closer to the return of Yeshua than we were yesterday and tomorrow we will be even one day closer. For almost two thousand years the Jews would proclaim “Next year in Jerusalem!” I now proclaim “Next Yom Teruah in the clouds!” Time is short – Yeshua Ha’Mashiach is coming soon – get busy reaching the lost.