Recently, I wrote an article – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 – The Day of Christ and ‘Apostasia’ – that focused on the interpretation of “apostasia” as a physical departure, or the rapture of the church; an interpretation I have held to for many years as contextually it seemed to make the most sense.
In this article, though, I am going to represent the other side in this debate, namely, that “apostasia” should be defined as a “rebellion or a revolt of the masses against God.”
I have prayed and meditated on this subject and have come up with, what I believe to be, a very interesting and viable interpretation of what exactly this “rebellion/revolt” would have to be, when exactly it will take place, and the overall contextual interpretation and its relationship in whole to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8.
Whenever we mention “apostasia” as a stand-alone word within this study survey, the context will always be that of the “rebellion/revolt of the masses against God.”
As an important reminder – and this is very important –there is a definite article involved with “apostasia,” which means that this is an extremely significant event and/or period in time that is absolutely unique. So much so that no one would be able to deny that it has taken place. This is not an “apostasia,” or “rebellion/revolt of the masses against God”; it is the “apostasia,” or the “rebellion/revolt of the masses against God.”
An Obvious and Logical Objection
To begin, we will focus on what can only be described as difficulties within this interpretive view.
In the last portion of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 – The Day of Christ and ‘Apostasia,’ we asked some questions. Those questions were concentrated on the idea that “apostasia” was a “falling away from the faith.” In this study, we will utilize those same questions and replace “falling away from the faith” with “rebellion/revolt against God,” as these same questions are just as applicable to our investigation here.
Here are the questions from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 – The Day of Christ and ‘Apostasia’ that I would like us to consider.
If this is, indeed, a “rebellion/revolt against God,” how is one to know this event when they see it? How is one to observe this so-called “apostasy” and know that the Antichrist is ready to be revealed? How is one to gauge or measure this event and know that it has undeniably occurred? Wouldn’t a “rebellion/revolt against God” be entirely subjective?
… People have been in “rebellion/revolt against God” since the beginning.
And who would decide that this “rebellion/revolt against God” has reached the point where it should be obvious, to the people who will witness it, that the Antichrist should finally be revealed?
End of quote from 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 – The Day of Christ and Apostasia.
Thankfully, in this study, we will offer the reader what we believe to be some logical and rational answers to these questions.
Problems With the Timing of the Rebellion/Revolt Against God
It has been my observation that when it comes to the timing of the “rebellion/revolt of the masses against God” question, those who hold to this view have offered weak responses to when they believe this will happen.
Here are the four most common answers I have heard to this question:
1. There will be a “rebelling/revolt against God” to a much greater degree in the Tribulation than there was before the Tribulation, and this will be the “apostasia.”
Objection: While in a certain sense, this may be true, the truth is that people’s hearts regarding a “rebellion/revolt against God” will be no different during the Tribulation than before the Tribulation, only that they will not have as much of a deterrence in executing their evil ways in the Tribulation as they did before the Tribulation. Their heart of a “rebellion/revolt against God” will not have changed. Rebels are rebels, and rebels against God they are in both instances.
2. We are already seeing the “apostasia” with the globalists’ agenda for a New World Order or Great Reset.
Objection: The globalists have always been seeking to go back to Babel ever since the dispersion. Though they are making much greater and visible strides today than they were in the past – which we would expect in the last days – their “rebellion/revolt against God” has always been the same. And where is the Antichrist if this is so?
3. The “apostasia” will effectively be in the Tribulation.
Objection: We did not mention this in the first two points, but it also applies to them, and that is the truth that people will be coming to Christ in the Tribulation in great numbers. Remember, the “apostasia” must be a worldwide phenomenon.
4. The “apostasia” will occur in the Great Tribulation when all the nations of the world give their power and authority to the Antichrist, the people worship him, and Antichrist sets up his Mark of The Beast economic and worship system.
Objection: As with the first three, there will be multitudes coming to Christ in the Great Tribulation and will refuse The Mark of The Beast and will not worship the Antichrist.
In all, all four of these popular theories fall woefully short. The “rebellion/revolt against God” must be worldwide and all-encompassing.
Two Important Truths Regarding Rebellion/Revolt Against God
- We are all born into rebellion/revolt against God through an inherited sin nature passed down to us from Adam.
- When it comes to the “apostasia,” the appropriate way of looking at this is the “rebellion/revolt against Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world!”
“For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.” – John 3:17-19
The rebellion/revolt of the entire world against Messiah Yeshua is the “apostasia” we are seeking to define as we move along.
What is the Key to Understanding When This Rebellion/Revolt Will Take Place?
In my article QFTBOC: Salvation in the Tribulation, I made the following observations concerning 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, and embedded within my explanations on this passage lies what I believe to be the key to understanding when this event will take place.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he [Antichrist] might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 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:” – 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 (emphasis mine)
“Out of the midst” is the literal translation of the Greek words “ek mesos,” which is translated in our passage above as “out of the way.” The Holy Spirit, who resides in every believer, will be taken “out of the midst” of the world at the rapture of the church. Therefore, it is the church itself – with the indwelling Holy Spirit of God – that is taken “out of the midst” and, along with the Holy Spirit, is the combined entity that has been restraining unabated wickedness and the rise of Antichrist on the earth for two-thousand years.
It’s two-dimensional, so to speak. The Holy Spirit is in the midst of each believer, and the body of Christ is in the midst of the world…
The Holy Spirit is Omnipresent
The Holy Spirit – the Ruach HaKodesh – is the third person of the triune God. As the third person of the triune God, the Holy Spirit clearly displays God’s omnipresence. Consequently, God’s Holy Spirit will most certainly be omnipresent during the Tribulation. In fact, if it weren’t for the Holy Spirit convicting men and women of their sins, no one could come to Christ during the Tribulation at all. Because the Holy Spirit is God, He will still be quite active and present during the Tribulation, being the omnipresent Spirit that He is!
As we have noted, the Holy Spirit will not be taken away from the earth, as the Holy Spirit is omnipresent. The church will be taken from the earth; hence, the active working of the Holy Spirit within the body of Christ will no longer be present to keep evil at bay, as has been the case since the Holy Spirit indwelled the Jewish believers at Pentecost in Jerusalem.
The one thing we do know is that when the rapture does occur, there will be zero people on earth who will have the indwelling Holy Spirit within them. This would indicate, to me, that this is what is meant by Paul’s statement that “… he who now letteth will let until he be taken out of the way (or ‘out of the midst’).”
End of quote from QFTBOC: Salvation in the Tribulation.
Did you catch it? Here is another hint. I made the comment in another article that after the rapture occurs, not one single person on earth could it be said that they love God.
The two keys are: There will not be one person on earth after the rapture that will have the Holy Spirit living in them and not one person on earth who will love God but will, in fact, be in “rebellion/revolt” against the Savior, Messiah Yeshua. They all, up to this point, rejected the Savior!
Additionally, this will be the only time in human history – past, present, or future – that God will not have a remnant on earth! Everyone alive on earth will literally be in “rebellion/revolt against Christ!”
When will the “apostasia” begin? Immediately after the resurrection/rapture of the bride of Christ!
When will the “apostasia” end? When the first convert to Christ occurs! (Though the unbelieving world will still be in outright rebellion to our Lord throughout the Tribulation.) God will finally have a remnant of one, and it will grow rapidly! Or, maybe, one of the 144,000 Israeli witnesses will come to Christ first, or all in unison. Either way, there must be a first conversion or conversions to reestablish God’s remnant on earth.
The Interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is Virtually Unchanged Regarding the Rapture!
This interpretation actually allows the figurative rapture of the church to remain, much like the competing idea that the “apostasia” is the physical departure of the church. How?
Well, you cannot have the event of the “rebellion/revolt against Jesus Christ” without the rapture! In a very real sense, one is absolutely dependent on the other. Let us examine this.
A Quick Study of 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8
Below is the KJV version with the definite articles added, “that day” removed and replaced with “it shall not be” (as “that day” is not in the original), and “the falling away” in the KJV changed to “apostasia,” knowing that our working definition is the “rebellion/revolt against Messiah Yeshua” that will immediately follow the rapture.
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 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. Let no man deceive you by any means: for it shall not be, except there come the apostasia first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
The Thessalonians were being told that they were already in the Tribulation and that the Lord’s Second Coming – the second phase of “the day of Christ” – was “at hand,” “to be upon,” “soon to come,” or “impending.” The Apostle Paul was attempting to set them straight by pointing out three major events that proved they were not in the Tribulation.
We will dissect this in greater detail in just a bit.
Next, Paul expands on the Antichrist and reminds the Thessalonians that he had already taught them this.
“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. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” – 2 Thessalonians 2:4-5
Then Paul gives them a summary of the correct order of prophetic events.
“And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. 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.” – 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
Analyzing 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
Now, let us dissect 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 and then offer a more detailed analysis. Please pay close attention to the [numbers] and the [event or person].
 = Holy Spirit and the rapture
 = Antichrist
 = Jesus Christ’s Second Coming
“And now ye know what withholdeth that  he [Antichrist] might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only  he [the Holy Spirit] who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way [literally “out of the midst”]. And  then shall that Wicked be revealed [the Antichrist], whom  the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming [the Lord’s Second Coming].” – 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8
2 Thessalonians 2:6-8, analyzed and individually defined in order of mention:
“And now ye know what withholdeth that
Defined: The Holy Spirit through the church is “what withholdeth” the Antichrist from being revealed.
 he [Antichrist] might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:
Defined: An introduction to the fact that Antichrist cannot be revealed until certain events occur and that the spirit of Antichrist, or “the mystery of iniquity,” was alive and well even when Paul wrote these words (1 John 4:3).
 he [the Holy Spirit] who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way [literally “out of the midst”].
Defined: The rapture is personified by the Holy Spirit as He indwells believers and will be taken “out of the midst.” That is, there will be no human beings on earth that will have the indwelling Holy Spirit inside of them after the rapture takes place – as all those who are left on earth are in “rebellion/revolt against Jesus Christ” – setting the stage for Antichrist to come on the scene.
And  then shall that Wicked be revealed [the Antichrist],
Defined: The Antichrist will be revealed after the rapture of the church.
whom  the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming [the Lord’s Second Coming].”
Defined: Jesus Christ destroys Antichrist at the end of the Tribulation – the second phase of the “day of Christ – at His Second Coming!
Analyzing 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
The same three events – with the “apostasia” representing the event that immediately follows the rapture – are highlighted in 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3, but they are dealt with in different sequences, and with more mentions, because Paul was correcting the Thessalonians for erroneously believing they were already in the Tribulation and thinking that the Second Coming was about to take place.
Again, we will first dissect the passage and then offer a more detailed analysis.
 = Rapture
 = “Day of Christ” the Second Coming
 = “Apostasia”
 = Antichrist
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and  by our gathering together unto him [the 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 is at hand [the Second Coming, the second phase of the “day of Christ”]. Let no man deceive you by any means: for  it shall not be [the Second Coming], except  there come the apostasia first [the “rebellion/revolt against Jesus Christ” with no person alive who accepts and loves the Savior],  and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [the Antichrist].” – 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3
2 Thessalonians 2:1-3, analyzed and individually defined in order of mention:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and  by our gathering together unto him [the rapture],
Defined: “… by our gathering together unto Him” is Paul emphasizing an important truth to the Thessalonians; that they should only be looking for this event, the rapture. But since they were being deceived, Paul would go on to remind them of two events that anyone who is left behind after the rapture should expect to see.
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 [the Second Coming, the second phase of the “day of Christ”].
Defined: The Thessalonians were being told that they were already in the Tribulation and that the second phase of the “day of Christ” – the Second Coming of Christ – was “at hand,” “to be upon,” “soon to come,” or “impending.”
Let no man deceive you by any means: for  it shall not be [the Second Coming], except  there come the apostasia first [the “rebellion/revolt against Jesus Christ” with no person alive who accepts and loves the Savior],
Defined: The second phase of the “day of Christ” shall not come, except there come the rebellion/revolt against the Lord Jesus Christ – and this event will be first. First before what?
 and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition [the Antichrist].”
Defined: Antichrist cannot be revealed until the “apostasia” – a 100% worldwide rebellion/revolt against the Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ, is present.
To reiterate, Antichrist will be revealed after the “apostasia” commences, which, again, follows straight on the heels of the rapture.
I pray the reader has enjoyed our study survey into the alternative interpretation regarding the Greek word “apostasia.”
What’s fascinating about the “apostasia” being a rebellion – and placing this rebellion in the only place where it should be, as I believe we have done here – is its relationship to the rapture, and the ramifications are profound.
When we consider the “apostasia” being initiated a split second after the resurrection/rapture of the church, we come to an amazing realization that the idea of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 proving a pre-Tribulation rapture is still fully intact! As we noted earlier, you cannot have the 100% worldwide “rebellion” occurring on earth without the church’s removal!
For this truth, I, and hopefully everyone who reads this study – no matter what side of the fence you are on in this debate – will find great joy and comfort.
At the very least, I pray that both sides are comforted by the prospect that the pre-Tribulation rapture is clearly taught in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 and visibly in view in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, knowing and understanding the correct order of progression: Rapture, a worldwide rebellion against Jesus Christ, Antichrist, Tribulation, Jesus Christ!
In the end, and as always, let the reader be the judge.
May we all keep striving to keep Answering the Call of The Great Commission and giving an answer to every man and woman who so desperately needs Jesus and asks us, “Why Am I Here and What Is It All About?”
Love, grace, mercy, and shalom in Messiah Yeshua, and Maranatha!
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