Is the apostasy spoken of by the apostle Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 a physical departure, a spiritual departure, or both?
As you’ll see, scripture teaches that it’s both a physical and a spiritual departure.
If you’re a believer who’s been born again of the Spirit, then the Holy Spirit is in you. You are sealed by Him until the day of redemption. He will be taken out of the way, then the Antichrist will be revealed. Since He is inside of you until the day of redemption, then you will be taken before the Antichrist is revealed.
“You are from God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world” (1 John 4:4).
“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4:30).
“And you know what restrains him now, so that in his time he will be revealed. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains will do so until he is taken out of the way. Then that lawless one will be revealed…” (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8a).
“In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory” (Ephesians 1:13-14).
Now, what about the apostasy spoken of by Paul to the Thessalonians?
Well, first of all, don’t let anyone tell you that you’re not supposed to look for any signs prior to the Rapture. After all, in 2 Thessalonians chapter two, Paul was telling the Thessalonians about signs that would occur prior to the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
Don’t listen to those who want to rob you of one of God’s sweetest gifts: hope.
Apostasia – Greek (feminine noun): “going away from a previous stand.”
Apostasy in Context
As always, it is of the utmost importance to follow the surrounding context of any subject. Studying about apostasy is no different.
Let’s read several passages originally written in Greek that use the exact same word and form of “apostasy” as does 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
In the following passages, using the closest context, let’s identify who or what is going away from who or what:
In 1 Maccabees 2:15, the king’s officers were enforcing apostasy against the Lord through pagan worship:
“The king’s officers who were enforcing the apostasy came to the town of Modein to make them offer sacrifice.”
In Joshua 22:22, it’s Israel committing apostasy against the Lord:
“God is the Lord, and God Himself knows, and Israel He shall know; if we have transgressed before the Lord by apostasy, let Him not deliver us this day.”
In Jeremiah 2:19, it’s Judah’s apostasy against the Lord:
“Thine apostasy shall correct thee… saith the Lord thy God.”
In 2 Chronicles 29:19, king Achaz committed apostasy against the Lord:
“And all the vessels which King Achaz polluted in his reign, in his apostasy, we have prepared and purified: behold, they are before the Lord.”
In Acts 21:21, it’s the Gentiles committing apostasy against Moses:
“But they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses…”
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, who or what is committing apostasy from who or what?
“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.”
The closest context in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 surrounding the apostasy is “you,” “that Day,” and “the man of sin.”
In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, it’s you (the believers) committing apostasy against the man of sin.
Since believers are sealed with the Holy Spirit, when the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, believers will be both physically and spiritually taken out of the way with Him at the Rapture.