2Th 2:3 and other teachings of Paul indicate pretrib Rapture

Those crusading against the pretribulation Rapture really need to get a life because their arguments do not have a biblical leg to stand on. Every week I get emails or comments from some crusader wanting to inform me that the Bible does not teach a pretrib Rapture. They tell me that my pretrib Rapture teaching will send people to hell, so I need to repent of my teaching or I will be going to hell myself.

They make the unfounded claim that those teaching a pretrib Rapture are leading Christian people to hell because they think that many Christians that were expecting to be taken in the pretrib Rapture will then lose their faith when they find themselves under persecution in the tribulation.

First, let’s start with the essentials. Christians losing their faith under tribulation is an oxymoron. True Christians do not lose their faith. They never have and they never will. The claim that Jesus cannot keep those the Father gave Him through the power of the Holy Spirit is an insult to the triune God that many of these kind also deny.

Those making this claim obviously have other theological problems than just the timing of the Rapture. They do not believe that all given to Christ will be saved. In other words, their point of view comes from a theology that one’s own actions determine salvation. They do not believe in sovereign election. Many of these think that believers only remained saved if they have no unconfessed sin in their lives or what they will define as grave sins that disqualifies you.

These same people claim that the Bride needs to go through the tribulation to make herself spotless and acceptable to Jesus. They do not understand that Jesus already paid the blood price for all sin past, present, and future as God’s Lamb sacrifice for sin. Only immersion in Christ, the one that sacrificed Himself for sin and rose again, makes His Bride spotless and justified before God.

These wrong-headed people think that salvation is something you earn by staying sinless, and tribulation is used by God to help you pay for your sins, so that you can be saved. They have much in common with the Catholics that teach unconfessed mortal sin will send you to hell. However, none of this is taught in the New Testament for those born into the Body of Christ. Many of these even will say that salvation comes by grace through faith, but then they dogmatically say that you need to keep their list of commandments to keep it.

If Jesus is waiting for the Church to make herself spotless, I am afraid that He will have to wait until Hell freezes over. It simply is not going to happen as long as we live in these temporary bodies of flesh. It is the blood that Jesus shed for us that covers the sins of those alive in Him. If you say that in your human flesh you have become sinless, you are lying and lying makes you a sinner. Yet, many holiness churches believe this heresy. They give salvation with one hand but love to take it away with the other.

There is no amount of tribulation that Christians go through that will ever make us any more justified before God than what Jesus did to save us. The bride is washed and made clean of sin by the blood of Christ, she is not made spotless by going through tribulation. Therefore, the first argument that the blessed hope robbers use against pretrib Rapture believers is simply heretical.

They also will claim that the Church never taught the pretrib Rapture until recently. That is not true, Paul taught it. The Rapture and the second coming became the same event through the teaching of men that made the prophetic scriptures allegory and spiritualized them. Even so, what the churches taught through the centuries does not determine what is sound doctrine. All the reformers knew that or they would have remained under the Roman Catholic Church.

What the Bible teaches is the only infallible guide to use. We have better access to the scriptures today then they had in the dark age and have better understanding of the manuscripts then the prejudiced clerics that only interpreted prophetic scripture through their own errant theology.

So what does the Bible say about the Lord’s coming for His Church? Paul and the New Testament taught a pretrib Rapture of the faithful Church. We are told to be looking for and awaiting the return of Jesus Christ. The faithful doing that are told that they will be spared from the great trial that will try all on earth (Rev 3:10). We are told that the Church is not appointed to wrath (1Th 5:9). We are not told to look for the Day of the Lord (Am 5:18) or the Antichrist. We are told to be looking for Jesus who can come for the Church at any time.

The teaching of the NT makes it clear that Jesus will come unexpectedly. You cannot come unexpectedly when people are counting down the last seven years. For example, in the beginning of those last seven years the two witnesses will show up for 1260 days of testimony. They will give signs and be able to call down judgments upon the nations as often as they wish to prove that the last seven years have begun.

So, Jesus will not come unaware to those on earth in those days. Those that enter the last days for Israel, just before her spiritual restoration, will be quite aware of the timing of when Jesus will come with His Saints. That however, will not stop the Antichrist from deceiving people to war against Jesus at His coming. It is not that the world will not know the timing of the Lord’s coming after the two witnesses give their testimony, they will want to prevent Jesus from coming to set up His kingdom at all.

The Antichrist and the False Prophet deceive the kings of the earth and gather the armies of the world to war against Jesus at His coming. Obviously then, people will know when and where Jesus will return. That fact however, does not explain all the passages that say people will not know the timing of the Lord’s coming. Only the pretrib Rapture of the Church explains all the passages that indicate that people will not be aware of the timing of His coming or be ready when He comes.

The timing of the snatching away of the Bride to Heaven is set by the Father alone. The Bride must be taken and the marriage in Heaven must take place before the King can return in Glory with His Bride. The taking of the Bride and the coming of Jesus in glory with His Saints is not the same event. There are at least seven years between those two events.

Some of the reason that people do not understand these two phases to the second coming is because they take passages meant for Israel and apply them to the Church. All signs are to Israel, there are none to the Church because the taking of the Church has always been imminent. The Church is grafted into the new covenant promise by grace. Once the fulness of the Gentiles comes in, God will deal with Israel again (Ro 11:25). There remains seven years that have not been fulfilled yet for Israel. All the prophets speak of these times.

Anyone that does an honest study of what Paul said, should come to the conclusion that early in Paul’s ministry that even Paul thought the Lord could come at any time. It was only after He was given special revelation that he would die in Rome, that Paul realized that it would not happen in His lifetime.

A long time ago I wrote an article on the proofs for the pretribulation Rapture. You might want to read it for many additional arguments on the pretrib Rapture. One passage in the article that I did not give justice to was 2Th 2:3.  I think we really need to take a good look at what Paul is really saying here.

1   Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2  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.
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;
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.
5  Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
8  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:
9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
13   But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
14  Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15  Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.

Let’s examine what verse 3 and this passage is saying. Some in Thessalonians were teaching they were already in the time that Jesus would come for the Church. Maybe certain people just wanted to con the Thessalonians, or more likely, some believed what they were pushing came from special revelation. Who knows, perhaps they wanted others to follow them and wait on some mountain top for Jesus (there is nothing new under the sun).

Paul warns them and reminds them that he already taught them that the Day of Christ will not come until there is a “falling away” (apostasy) first and the Son of Perdition be revealed. Some apparently forgot what Paul taught or did not understand what Paul taught them earlier, as some still do not understand today. Some of what Paul taught them is written in 1st Thessalonians.

In this second epistle, Paul corrects the false teaching that was going around. Many people today still do not understand what is spoken about here because they do not understand that Paul was expounding upon his previous teaching. Paul is explaining to them why they should not be believing anyone telling them that the Day of Christ is at hand because two main events have to happen first before they even arrive to the Day of Christ (when Jesus comes in power and glory).

The word translated as “falling away” is the word “apostasy”. Some like to translate it “falling away” but the word really means to depart from something or someone. Dr Thomas Ice in this link will explain all that and also tell you in very scholarly terms why he believes Paul is talking here about the departure of the Church in the Rapture.

I will continue to tell you why it is talking about the departure of the Church through my more common sense approach.

Paul had to make it clear that whatever was in the letter or prophecy is false and not what he taught them before. Paul says, the second coming when the Lord comes in power and judgment will not come until two things first happen. First, the departure or falling away (apostasy) and second, the “man of sin is revealed”. That really is saying the Rapture will occur first and then the Antichrist has to be revealed before the Day of Christ can even come. In other words, the Rapture, the first part of the tribulation, and the great and terrible Day of the Lord have to happen in sequence before the Day of Christ.

Some think the “apostasy” is talking about the “falling away” from the Christian faith. That does not make common sense. There were false converts falling away from Christendom even back in those days, so how would they even recognize this supposedly greater apostasy? They did not have IPAD’s to communicate. If they could not know the time that this supposed “great” apostasy from Christendom began, why would Paul even mention it to them as some proof that they were not there yet?

Most Bible believers in Christendom today think that Paul is saying here that there will be a falling away from Christianity or Christendom. We have had departure from Christendom since the beginning. Teaching that true believers would fall away from the faith is really teaching a different gospel than the one that Paul taught. False converts can depart from Christian identify, but I do not see how the Thessalonians or even the Church through history could measure just when the “great” apostasy had arrived?

How will the Church know what degree of apostasy from Christendom is the one that Paul spoke of? The Catholic Church so departed from Christian doctrine that the Protestants called them antichrist and departed from them. Does apostasy from the faith once delivered to the saints get greater than what it was in the dark and middle ages? Perhaps. But, how would you know what degree of apostasy is to take place to fulfill 2Th 2:3? And if you cannot know what degree of apostasy to look for, why should it even be mentioned as one of the two things that need to take place first before the Day of Christ? Why would Paul pair what cannot be ascertained, with the revealing of the one person (Antichrist) that can be ascertained? It just ain’t logical.

Don’t take me wrong, I think Apostasy has been increasing ever since Christianity started and it will continue to grow worse and worse until it is identified as a great world harlot. However, on the other hand, true Christianity has also been growing through the Church age. The Holy Spirit does not become a slacker as we approach the end of the age. The Holy Spirit is still drawing those that belong to Christ. A lot of salvation is still going on in China, the America’s, and Africa and I personally do not think the Holy Spirit will leave the 10 x 40 window without the gospel, before the Church is complete. So along with the counterfeit Harlot of these last days we also have a very healthy true Bride of Christ on earth. There is no great apostasy from the faith for those within the Bride of Christ.

Logically then, Paul was not talking about departure from Christendom or the faith. Paul was talking about the departure of the Church in the Rapture.  2Th 2:3 is really supporting what Paul already taught the Thessalonians in 1 Thessalonians. This follow-up epistle was needed to make some things clearer, but most still get it wrong.

Paul says nothing about a great apostasy from Christendom in 1 Thessalonians or elsewhere. So if we are going to error on the meaning of a word, let’s error on the side of logic and common sense. Paul was saying that the departure (apostasy – Rapture) of the Church had to happen before the man of sin would be revealed.

We also know the Son of Perdition cannot come until the hinderer is taken out-of-the-way. And we know the Son of Perdition is the Antichrist. So again, Paul is talking about an occurrence that happens some years before the Day of Christ. The Day of Christ is the day He returns in glory and defeats the Antichrist, it is not the Rapture.

In 2:2 Thessalonians Paul was giving the Thessalonians instruction about what they obviously asked him about. It is common sense then to believe that Paul was correcting what they were being told wrong through some false letter or prophecy. Paul told them, don’t be deceived by anyone, that day will not come until first, the apostasy (Rapture) happens, then the Antichrist has to have his 42 months on earth to deceive those that did not believe the truth. Only after these two major events could the Day of Christ be at hand.

In the remaining verses in this passage, Paul tells them why what he said has to happen first. At that time the wicked on earth that reject the love of the truth have to be revealed, judged, and removed before the Kingdom of Heaven is established on the earth. Paul told them to hold fast to the doctrine that they were taught. Apparently, even back then, some were distorting the doctrine Paul and others taught them by teaching something different. The fact that some with legalistic theology are also doing it today, should be no big surprise, but don’t buy into it. The pretrib Rapture is the blessed hope for the Church that is watching and waiting for the Lord to say… come up hither.

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 Don Koenig is the founder of ThePropheticYears website. He has been publishing articles on the Internet on Bible prophecy, biblical discernment and Christian worldviews since 1999. You can find well over a thousand articles and thousands of comments written by Don from the homepage of this website.


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39 thoughts on “2Th 2:3 and other teachings of Paul indicate pretrib Rapture

  1. Thanks for another great post. I had read the Ice one awhile back. I prefer your common sense explanation. A question regarding your opinion on the 10/40 window being evangelized before the rapture…….wouldn’t that sort of make the rapture not imminent? Also, isn’t there a scripture in Revelation that says its actually the tribulation martyrs that come from every tongue, tribe and nation? I had always understood that to mean the promise of the whole world hearing the gospel isn’t guarenteed until the tribulation, and will for sure happen then. I would be interested to hear your thoughts on this…

  2. Great article.

    One of things that always comes to my mind when I hear the argument about the church having to go through the Tribulation to be cleansed and worthy of being saved is ‘what about all of those Christians that lived and died before the Tribulation ever comes’?

    Does this mean that of all of the Christians all through the ages, only those that are purified through the Tribulation will be in Heaven? That doesn’t make sense. The church is the bride of Christ. It doesn’t make sense for them to claim that only some of the bride/church has to be purified in the Tribulation but not all those that lived before. Therefore, one of the best arguments against those that say the church must go through the Tribulation, is the fact that the whole entire church CAN’T go through it…most have died already.

  3. Hi jen g,

    Thanks,
    The 10 x 40 window was just a thought. I am not saying that the 10 x 40 window has to be evangelized before the Rapture can occur. Even so, I think reaching the 10 x 40 window with the gospel very well could occur if there is another decade or so left before the Rapture.

    God decides when the Bride is complete and it could be a specific limited number of people that He is looking for. After the Rapture, the whole world will be evangelized by the two witnesses and the 144,000 Israeli’s before the end comes and that is what I believe scripture was saying when it said the gospel of the Kingdom will be preached as a witnesses to all the nations and then the end will come.

    I do not think the gospel of the Kingdom is the same gospel as the gospel of grace. The gospel of the Kingdom is what John the Baptist preached and Jesus preached and it will be what these latter day saints will preach. Namely, repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. This is the thousand year reign with Jesus ruling from Jerusalem with a rod of iron.

    The gospel of grace to all is for those elected to be in the Body and Bride of Christ to rule and reign with him in the Kingdom. After the wedding in heaven it is too late to be part of the Bride. On the other hand,the gospel of the Kingdom is to all so they can choose to follow Jesus and be allowed into the Kingdom or follow the Antichrist into destruction.

  4. Don,

    How can I give you some PDF for good reading and would you read them and could your readers read them? It would be related to topic at hand.

  5. I agree that the church is sinless, but I think it makes sense to understand that the bride will be made spotless at the judgment seat of Christ. Then only our righteous good works will remain, with which we will be robed and rewarded.

    Loved the teaching on apostasy. I enjoyed what Dr. Ice had to say as well. I’m getting a kink in my neck!! Maranatha

  6. Ronda,

    They will just say that all Christians went through tribulation in their lives and that Pretrib rapture believers want to be exempt.

  7. Jeremy,

    I have read all the arguments, so I probably would not read anything that is going to waste my time. You would have to provide a link to the documents in a comment. However, if it adds to error that I am speaking against here I probably will not post it. Getting people to follow any link in a comment section of a blog does not happen very often.

  8. Hi Don,

    In the above comment you mention two Gospels one of the Kingdom and one of grace. I would add Paul to the list of those who preached the Gospel of the Kingdom.

    Act 28: 30-31 30 “And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.”

    I can find many other scriptures showing the Apostles were preaching about the Kingdom of God.

    This idea you just presented of two gospels is the first I have heard of such an idea.

    Please expound, I am all eyes : )

  9. Don,

    I would not waste your time. I asked because their is another view called the imminent pre-wrath view that I thought you would not have seen before and is different than all views you listed. I will send you link.

  10. David V,

    You are correct, I used the wrong word, I should have said the gospel of the “kingdom of heaven” being at hand. This is what John, Jesus and I believe the 144,000 will preach. If you don’t mind I am going to go back and correct the comment. I did not make that mistake in the article.

  11. Don,

    I think this guy and you would agree on a lot of points and disagree on some others but not a waste a time has this guy uses scripture and proper interpretation methods. You should enjoy reading any article or book he has written. Let me know what you think.

    Here is the link to the site.

    Please read 4 part series on Pretribulationism
    http://www.biblicalreader.com/btr/btr_index.html

    The book Toward A Biblically Sound View of the Rapture
    http://www.biblicalreader.com/books/catalog.html

    I think you would also like the Olivet Discourse book. Also for fun you may like his works on What the Bible Says About the Future.

    Have fun reading a lot there.

  12. Jeremy, That sounds like a pre-wrath view to me. What I did leave out was the view that there is more than one Rapture.

  13. Jeremy,

    You have to be kidding me. Do you really think I am going to be reading book suggestions? I do not even have the time to read the books I want to read now.

  14. Thanks for the response, Don.

    You said, “They will just say that all Christians went through tribulation in their lives and that Pretrib rapture believers want to be exempt.”

    You’re right. There will always be an argument for those who believe they need to earn their salvation. They’ll be surprised, some day, when they find for themselves that there’s nothing we can do to earn this at all.

  15. I have heard for many years about pre, post, and mid rapture theologies, however, the teachers I trust have always made the points you made in this article about the pre-trib rapture.

    Though there are, of course, things we will never know for certain in this lifetime…I think that too many are hopelessly and blindly dedicated to their ‘Judas Goat’ religion instead of God Himself and just want to take things that the Lord made plain to see for all…and make it as complicated as possible…kind of like the ‘jump through these various hoops’, man-made Catholicism ideologies.

  16. There is a sad irony in the belief of the people who think we have to go through the Tribulation, in that, even though they don’t have to, deep down they KNOW they WILL. Is it because intuitively they realize they really don’t have a relationship with The Lord? Also, another thing that perplexes me is the use of the argument by them that the Pre-Trib Rapture position is an escapist dream and belongs exclusively to America. Who ever said that? I realize it probably would be really hard to posit the Pre-Trib view to someone today in Syria, Egypt, Nigeria, etc., or to someone who lived through the Holocaust, Rwanda, Nanking, Bosnia, etc., but the Bible itself states that SOME will be martyred, not all. It is as if these people think anyone who is Pre-Trib picked when and where they were born. Don’t get me wrong…I do believe we are not going to get off scott free from tribulation and some form of persecution, but from THE Tribulation? I really cannot believe in a Bridegroom who beats the crap out of His bride and them expects affection and adoration from her…unless the bride is a muslim.

  17. Excellent article Don. Hopefully some of these people will read what you have written and look into the scriptures to see if what you have said is true.

    The truth does set us free and we all need to be set free from that pervasive legalism that is so foundational to religion… set free from works of self-righteousness.

    Is it an unwillingness to see sin for what it is or to relate sin to themselves that blinds such people to the Truth? Perhaps they have such SELF-satisfaction as to disable any comprehension of God’s truly perfect being – any comprehension that God is beyond our touch.

    What blasphemy there is in religion.

  18. Hi Don,

    I went to that site Jeremy suggested ,and he does and he does not advocate pre-wrath.He,Smith does not like fixed points for the rapture.That means he does not believe the whole tribulation is Gods wrath.He kind of suggest that it may be “associated with the seventh seal”He harps on the rapture is immenent, but thinks it could happen some time during the tribulation before the Day of the Lord.
    It seems he wants his cake and to eat it too.He covers almost all the bases.this is equivocation at its best.I had to read and re-read the first three paragraphs to nail him down.To those who arre not well versed in all the prevailing positions,he can be very confuseing.That is why Jeremy thinks that you Don,ands Smith line up.There was no info on who or where this guy comes from,although I suspect some fundamental Baptist group,as the other author was Presbyterian,from the late 19th,early 20th century,his bio was fundamentalist leaning.
    No wonder there are 30 thousand plus denominations or groups out there.Now I would not make the timeing of the rapture a fellowship breakeing deal,but most would IMO.
    IF I were Jeremy,I would read more of Dr. Thomas Ice’s material,and then make the comparison.

    You all have a blessed day,

    Dave L

  19. In addition to my last post,

    The artical I read was “the immenent pre-wrath view of the rapture” I clicked on resource page at the top of the link page from Jeremy,and scrolled down to about mid page.(in case someone else wanted to see what I read) I should have given the reference above.

  20. Hey Don, excellent article.
    Just wanted to give a corollary to Ronda’s comments. Jesus said the Tribulation would be worse than any other time period in history, past, present, or future in Matt. 24:21,22. Other Old Testament passages about the “Day of the Lord” (part of which is O.T. for the Tribulation) agrees(Zeph. 1:14-18,Amos 5:18, and too many others to list).If the Church, the Bride of Christ, which includes all believers from the first Pentecost after the Crucifixion up until the Rapture, has to go through any part of the Tribulation, then why should a particular
    part of His Bride who are living at the time, be subjected to a time of horror worse than any other part of His Body has had to endure?
    I agree with you, that those who believe we go through any part of the Tribulation are adding to what Jesus did on the Cross. The pre-trib rapture is the only position that relies totally on the grace of God.
    One other thing, typology is one of the ways God has given us to be sure our doctrine is correct: true doctrine will always agree with typology, and typology will never illustrate incorrect doctrine.I can’t find any typology anywhere in the Bible that agrees with any other position than the pre-trib rapture.
    Thanks for writing a great article. Keep ’em coming!

  21. Hi Don,

    After rereading the artical,there are a few things I would like to point out.I read the artical by Ice,and I had read it a few yeas ago.I read MacArthurs notes in ESV study bible,and checked Vines.Also some other resources.

    First of all, Ice starts his article by saying it is “a strong possibility that 2nd Thes. 2:3 is the rapture.”
    He also uses words (likely,and I believe.) He is hedgeing his postulation and that’s fine.But When He leaves out information,and substitutes other info to support his idea,then I take issue with that kind of thing.It taints the article.

    Ice asks the question,(why was KJV the first English translation to depart from the established translation of departure)? Now the translators were to follow the bishops bible of 1568, which renders “the falling away” same as KJV.Ice left out four of bibles the translators were to use ,( Matthews,the Great bible,Geneva,and Bishops.) He adds three bibles that were not on the list,(Cranmers,Breeches,and beds).The Syriac bible has rebellion.ESV, NASB, have this rendering as well. The “departure” can be from false professions too,and not from the earth only.When scholars do word gymnastics,I start to worry.When things seem forced,that bothers me. Ice makes a lot of good points,but MacArthur and many others still hold to the church apostaciseing.He thinks that it is questionable linguistics to render “departure” in that verse.I think that there are enough verses to support both the rapture and the apostasy that there is no need to work so hard to prove a point here.The verses that follow 2 thes..2:3 speak of those who believe not the truth.vs 12 And God shall send them strong delusion,that they should believe a lie.vs 11 Who are they in this chapter .

    Could “the falling away” be when the one world religion is formed under the leadership of the false prophet? I don’t think there is anything in the bible that says he has to come after the rapture.And I thought he came befor the antichrist.The ecumenical movement has signed many agreements so far,perhaps there will be one final covenant?

    I have great respect for Thomas Ice,but will always investigate what people are teaching.So,in this case,I respectfully have to disagree.I hold a pre-trib view,and know the apostasy is growing by leaps and bounds.And Don, there IS a growing movement to teach that there will be NO rapture.The tv,radio,and web have proliferated with scoffers of all kinds.Another sign of the times.But this you know.

    Blessings, Dave L

  22. David L,

    It really does not matter how previous translations interpreted the word. The word is still “Apostasy” and every case where Apostasy was used it meant to depart from something. The only real question here is whether Paul is referring to a departure from the faith, Christendom, or the physical departure of the Church.

    I already explained why I think it is talking about a physical departure. I see no point in arguing it all over again here. I know what John MacArthur teaches on this verse but if everyone agreed, there would not be anything to talk about.

    Dr. Ice has much more to say in defense of his view than what the earlier Bible versions said. I think you should consider his main arguments and not just the background.

    So, are you saying Christians will depart from the faith, or are you saying that many calling themselves Christians will depart from the faith? I do not think either fit, for the reasons that I gave in the article.

    As I said in the article, The harlot is certainly rising but true Christianity is also still increasing. So in general there is no greater apostasy then there was in the dark and middle ages. Nor can the Holy Spirit stop building the Church until it is complete.

    The False prophet rises for the last 3 1/2 years. He is the second two horned beast that rises out of the land. He forces people to worship the Antichrist. So nothing any pre-trib Church will see has anything to do with the False prophet.

    In spite of what you suggest, most Christians believe in the taking of the Church when Jesus comes. They would have to deny the scriptures to suggest the Church will not meet with Jesus in the air. They really just call it the second coming rather than the Rapture. Most are really arguing against the Pre-trib Rapture view, not that Jesus will not come for His Church. Some with Dominion Theology might deny a Rapture but they are still a hertical fringe.

  23. I came across this scripture that I thought might be an appropriate comment for the context of this current article and some of what has been said by other commentators, I think verse 16 says a lot…

    ——–

    2 Peter 3:14-16

    14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless;

    15 and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation—as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you,

    16 as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

  24. ~David,

    I don’t think that anyone that is taking a position in the comments here that the Apostasy is the falling away from the Faith is twisting scripture toward their own destruction. Now some of what I mentioned in the article about heretical teaching could be doing that.

  25. If 1 Thess 4:17 and 2 Thess 2:3 are essentially referring to the same event as I think you are suggesting, why do you think Paul uses such different language in these passages?

    Thanks

  26. Hi Don

    The point I was trying to make about how kjv translates that verse,is had Ice looked at Bishops bible,as the translators did, he would not have asked why.I would think he should know what resources the translators were supposed to use.IMO it seems disingenuous.
    Next, I tend to agree with MacArthur ,that the rebellion,(departure) is from a previous professed position,or allegiance.But he limits it to the antichrist.The question I would ask ,how is antichrist revealed to the church,if we are not herestill,unless we recognize him before the rapture.Now if he does not rebell till mid trib,(seating) himself in the temple,then the apostasy could be the consummation of the one world religion . Because if we recognize the antichrist ,then why not the false prophet also before the rapture. Is there anything in the bible that’s says these two can not be revealed before .They will not necessarily be in leadership positions yet.
    In the first verse Paul talks about the rapture,and next,don’t worry,then in the 3rd verse,he tells us what has to happen first before we are “gathered together to him” This is like saying the rapture will not take place untill the rapture happens if we believe that verse 3 does mean the rapture,and not a departure from orthodoxy,or previous position,or allegiance.I hope this is not too convoluted.So to be clear I think verse 3 is “the apostasy” that we will recognise because of its magnitude,and not a general apostasy.

  27. David L,

    Who said the Antichrist will be revealed to the Church? Paul’s point was that since he has not been revealed, the day of Christ could not be at hand.

    The mid point of the tribulation does not reveal a False Prophet leading the Harlot. The
    False Prophet leads the ten kings to burn the Harlot with fire. So how would the False Prophet be the leader of the Harlot? The one world harlot religion is not what the False Prophet will promote. He will promote the Antichrist who places himself above anything called God. In other words, no world religion will survive the Antichrist since the Antichrist will claim to be God.

    The point is that Paul is talking about the Rapture when he speaks about “the departure”. You say we will recognized the departure from Christianity because of its magnitude. Is that limited to Christians in the United States and Europe or is the Church of Asia, Africa, and South America exempt? They certainly do not see any great departure from the faith in their congregations. It simply is not logical that believers will see a general departure from the faith in the whole world that all true Christians can recognize while the Holy Spirit is still working to bring people into the faith.

  28. Don,

    I have understood the false prophet to lead the end times one world religion.If not him,then who?I’m not sure how I came to this belief.I suppose because he causes everone to worship the beast,or antichrist.
    I have also thought that the final apostasy would be the one world church.

    Are you saying he is against the one world religion,or turns against it later.
    Maybe I need to go back and start over.

    Ps I am not recieveing followup comments since two days ago,24th were the last

  29. David L,

    I do not know why you are not receiving follow up comments. Did you somehow hit the link saying that you no longer want to receive comment notifications? You might trying to recheck the box that says you want to receive follow up comments.

    I know some teach that the False Prophet will lead the one world religion. However, if they are talking about the False Prophet leading the Harlot of Revelation 17 they are getting the cart before the horse. The Bible teaches that the ten kings that give their power to the Beast will burn the Harlot with fire (Rev 17 12:17). If the Beast rules the world in the last 3 1/2 years, how then can this Harlot that the ten kings hate be leading a world religion with the Beast?

    My take goes like this. The world religious Harlot comes to power and you have a form of Dominion Theology on the earth. The Harlot persecutes true believers in Jesus Christ (fifth seal). Then the Beast rises and a counterrevolution occurs against the religious Harlot and she is burned with fire by the ten kings that give their power to the Beast. Then all that love a lie worship the Beast. The only religion that remains is that the Beast/Antichrist is God and the False prophet promotes him as such.

  30. Thanks Don,

    I will review what you have writen,and reconsider my varied position

    The comments are now posting to my in box. I am still learning and must have done something unawares.

  31. Revelation 17:3 shows the woman riding the beast; they are contemporary. The woman is obviously world religion, but at this time does this beast represent a system or an individual?

    I would suggest it is a system… the system that is depicted in verse 10 as seven kings “five are fallen, and one is (at the time of John)… and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space”.

    When does the system become the ‘he’ who must continue “a short space”? I don’t know if a system can come from the bottomless pit so verse 8 might suggest an individual. And with verse 11 showing this same beast as (returning) to perdition it seems verified that the ascension FROM the pit is the moment when the system becomes the individual.

    I think you have written something along these lines Don but my memory no longer “serves me right”.

    I agree with your final and abbreviated ‘take’: – At the manifestation of The ‘Antichrist’ and his rise to political and therefore military pre-eminence all forms of worship other than the worship of Satan must be done away with, therefore the destruction of the Harlot.

  32. Brian,

    The woman helps the Antichrist come into power. The woman that rides the Beast is world religion. However, the ten kings that give their power to the Beast hate the woman and turn on her and burn her with fire (Rev 17:16). At that point the False Prophet causes the whole world to worship the Antichrist. The woman that persecuted the true Church will herself be persecuted by the followers of the Antichrist.

    The woman is harlot religion but she still acknowledges some universal God in heaven. On the other hand, the Antichrist will war against the God of Heaven and claim to be above anything called God.

    It is hard to figure out what you suggest from what you said but The Woman is not any of the two Beasts of Revelation. The Beast is a world kingdom and an individual, but the Beast has nothing to do with the woman after the ten kings burn her with fire.

  33. Hi Don,

    Good article and very timely as I am running into an increasing number of people who now doubt the rapture. I was taught that the Thessalonians were worried about their relatives and brothers and sisters in Christ who had missed the rapture because they thought they were in the tribulation because of Nero. (Personally, I would have been worried for my own selfish self.)

    Then I got confused by Jacob Prasch’s take on verse II Thess 2:3 – that both the falling away from the truth and the revealing of the antichrist must occur and that Christians would be here on earth to identify him. Admittedly, I could never finish his book.

    But, it is worth reminding us of Dr. Ice’s great article, then your logical conclusions re: THE apostasia as if it were one event. How can we gauge, measure, or otherwise determine the sheer scope of such an event – with or without technology? Plus the fact that there is so much disinformation – who could really know this truth?

    Great point too, that the early church didn’t have cell phones. I know the world was a lot smaller then, but it still took weeks and weeks to travel and deliver news.

    Thanks for taking the time to “think” about these things. We need continuous reminding and encouragement. Susan

  34. Great article Don. Honestly, I don’t share your viewpoint (yet) in regards to “apostasia” meaning departure through rapture, but you did bring up good thought provoking points. If Paul did not mean that, what did he mean? This is where I believe you scored great points in refuting the “falling away from Torah” position. It doesn’t seem to make sense because you can point to a falling away all throughout the church’s history.

    I don’t have an answer for that and again, quite frankly, I’m not sure what I think paul meant. Still thinking and studying. Thanks for challenging me on this topic.

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