This post deals with the issue in the second chapter of the second Paul’s epistle to Thessalonians. Here’s the entire chapter:
In the third verse we read “Let no man deceive you by any means (…)”. When you encounter such warnings of the Holy Spirit, pay attention, because it’s likely we were already deceived about what follows. And that’s the definitely the case!
Here’s the third verse:
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;
This chapter’s keyword is contained in this verse. And it was mistranslated. This word is “aspostasia” which is translated as “falling away”.
Nowhere in Greek lexicons do we find this word meaning “falling away”.
This word is usually translated as “departure”.
This word can also be translated as:
Defection – which means desertion of one’s country in favor of another one.
It can also mean:
The noun apostasiah is used only twice in the New Testament; the second instance is translated as “forsake” and is found in Acts 21:21 where it’s about forsaking the commandment of God given through Moses to circumcise children.
The verb form of apostasiah, however, is used sixteen times in the NT, and only three times it’s to do with departing from faith. The three verses that use this word in this told manner are:
1. Luke 8:13 which mentions the verb “fall away” and in this verse Jesus tells about what happens to certain persons when the word of God is sown in their hearts. It’s told that some receive the word gladly but in the time of temptation they “fall away”.
2. The next verse that mentions this verb in connection with departure from faith is found in 1 Timothy 4:1, which is supposed to refer to the very falling away that Paul talks about in his second epistle to Thessalonians. Yet in the epistle to Timothy Paul simply explains what the Holy Spirit expressly told about the future Christians – that many will fall away because they will be seduced by the doctrines of demons.
Nothing is mentioned about the revealing of the man of sin, or that it’s the first sign of the coming horrors, which shows that the actual falling away predicted by Paul in his epistle to Timothy is not a sign but a prophecy that came true already and has nothing to do withapostasiah, the departure, mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
3. The last chapter which mentions falling away in relation to departure from faith is found in Hebrews 3:12, where it’s rendered as “depature from the Living God” because of the evil heart of unbelief.
Now the next few verses that have the verb form of apostasiah (which is aphistemi) are these:
- It’s translated as departure from iniquity in 2 Timothy 2:19.
- It’s translated as withdrawal from the men of corrupt minds in 1 Timothy 2:19.
- It’s translated as not departing from the temple of God in Luke 2:37.
- It’s translated as “depart” in relation to Satan’s messenger in Paul’s flesh in 2 Corinthians 12:8.
- It’s translated as the departure of an angel in Acts 12:10.
- It’s translated as Satan’s departure from Jesus after failing to tempt him for forty days in Luke 4:13.
- It’s translated as Paul’s departure from unbelievers in Acts 19:9.
As you see, in the vast majority of instances this verb is translated as to do with spacial departure and not a departure from an idea or faith.
The verb form of apostasiah usually means a literal change of place, and we find that this very meaning also applies to 2 Thessalonians 2:3! The word “departure” perfectly fits the context, and it explains the whole letter!
This word, of course, refers to our departing out of here – the Holy Spirit filled born-again Christians will be raptured and only then the man of sin will be revealed!
The further proof of that is the fact that KJV predecessor Bibles used exactly this word!
Five Textus-Receptus-based Bibles translated the apostasiah word as “departing” or used its equivalents:
- 1519 Greek Latin Erasmus New Testament mentions the Latin word “defectio” which means “defection” – desertion of one’s country in favor of another one.
- Tyndale Bible of 1534 – “Let no man deceive you by any means, for the Lord cometh not, except there come a departing first, and that that sinful man be opened, the son of perdition”.
- Coverdale Bible of 1535 – mentions the archaic word form of “departing”.
- Cranmer Bible of 1539 – “(…) for the Lord shall not come except there come a departing first (…).”
- Geneva Bible of 1557 – “(…) except there come a departing first (…).”
This word apostasiah comes from the word aphistemi which means to:
- cause to withdraw
- go away
- withdraw from one
- absent one’s self from…
Aphistemi comes from two root words – “apo” and “histemi”.
“Apo” means “away”, “deserting”, “distance”, “from”, “separation of one thing from another”.
“Histemi” – means “to set up”, “in the presence of others”, “in the midst”, “to place”, “to make firm”, “to fix”, “to establish”, “to cause a thing or person to keep his place”, “to stand”, “to be kept intact”.
So the original word clearly means departure from something that’s established, or being taken from the midst.
Verse seven further proves that the whole chapter is about rapture, and that the mentioned “falling away” is the departure of the Holy Spirit from the earth. It again confirms what has been already covered, which makes this sentence the third one mentioning rapture in this chapter!
Here are all three instances, with the third one explained below:
As you can see, the correct translation of the verse seven should be something like this:
(…) but at this moment it’s holding back until it’s taken out of the midst.
What’s holding back the iniquity? The Holy Spirit! That’s why Paul says in the sixth verse “Now you know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time” – he says “now you know” because he has already told that the man of sin can only be revealed after our rapture!
If the word apostasiah would indeed mean “falling away from faith”, the “now you know” part of the letter would not make sense, since Paul didn’t mention departing from faith in the letter, or in the previous one. But in both cases he mentioned rapture.
The whole letter, when apostasiah is translated correctly, becomes clear. It’s main focus is rapture. But since the word is mistranslated, the letter is confusing and vague.
So now it becomes clear that the thing that holds the iniquity back is the Holy Spirit!
It’s us, the born-again Christians that are filled with the Holy Spirit that hold the iniquity back. When we are gone, all the horrors will start on the earth, so that even people’s hearts will fail them.
We are called the salt of the Earth by Jesus for a reason. Once we are gone, there will be nothing to stop the corruption.
We are called the salt because salt stops corruption. I’m sure that the fishermen disciples of Jesus salted their fish so that it’s kept fresh longer. So they must have clearly understood what Jesus meant by that word.
When we are no longer there, all sorts of demons and demonic entities will come out, and people who looked civilized, like the elite, will show their true colors as blood drinkers and not human. I’m sure they will openly kill people and drink their blood, and there will be many other horrors, and that’s why people’s hearts will fail them.
So as you can see, this word is definitely mistranslated. It doesn’t mean “falling away” because Greek Lexicons never mention such a possible translation. But they do mention the word “departure” as its most likely translation, which, in the second epistle of Thessalonians, means leaving this earth to be caught up with Jesus, departing the earth to go to the place better.
Does that mean we should mistrust the KJV Bible? No! Judging from their introduction letters to the Bible, those KJV translators were saved. But the Holy Spirit gradually leads each born-again Christian to the whole truth; He doesn’t reveal everything at once but only gives what we can handle. (Our hearts would also fail us if we are revealed all the truth at once!!). They did their best, but this word was definitely mistranslated.
But this does mean that we should carefully read the Scripture and forget the traditions of men, so that instead of wresting the Scripture to suit our own ideas about it, we allow it to speak to us.
Bible can teach us as it’s the Word of God – it’s not a dead-letter book but it’s the Living Word that can lead you to all the truth. But most people don’t allow it to teach them because they impose their own understanding on it.
We should not automatically assume that the accepted way of interpreting some particular word is the truth. We should look at the context and, most importantly, we should allow the Holy Spirit to guide us and point out inconsistencies and errors in the understanding of verses.
The more I understand the Bible, the more interesting it gets to study it further. God’s Word is full of mysteries, comfort and joy. May your eyes be opened to the treasures that it has!