Re: K.S. Wuest on 2 Thes 2:3

From: Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church (
Date: Sat Jan 25 1997 - 00:19:11 EST

On Fri, 24 Jan 1997 wrote:
> In a message dated 1/22/1997 6:55:21 PM, (Paul Dixon - Ladd
> Hill Bible Church) wrote:
> <<Assuming, for the sake of argument, that APOSTASIA refers to a departure,
> namely a pretrib rapture, then it seems we are faced with at least two
> insurmountable difficulties. First, is the matter of double-talk. Paul
> would then be saying, concerning the coming of the Lord and our gathering
> together unto Him (a clear reference to the rapture, v. 1), that day will
> not come except the rapture (departure) come first. Huh? This is
> nonsense.
> A second and fatal problem for pretribbers is this: they still have the
> problem of the revelation of the Man of Lawlessness which must take place
> before the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto Him (v. 1).
> But, pretribbers say the Man of Lawlessness is not revealed until after
> the rapture and in the middle of the tribulation period.
> All of this, of course, is assuming your interpretation of APOSTASIA as a
> reference to the rapture. Even most pretribbers are rejecting that
> interpretation these days. It is probably best taken as a religion
> falling away, or a departure from the faith (so NT usage).
> >>
> Paul,
> I agree with you on the first, that there is a tautology present if APOSTASIA
> refers to the pretrib rapture. But your second objection is not so fatal. You
> seem to be defining the Day of the Lord strictly in terms of the Second
> Coming rather than a complex of events that are climaxed by the Second

The Day of the Lord in scripture can be traced at least from Joel 2:28-31
to Mt 24:29-31 and to Rev 6:12 ff, as well as 2 Thess 2:1 ff.
        1) Joel says before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes
the son will be darkened and the moon turned into blood,
        2) Christ says immediately after the tribulation of those days
(an obvious reference to the great tribulation) the sun will be darkened
and the moon shall not give its light (Joel 2:28ff), Mt 24:29ff.
        3) Rev 6:12 adds that when the 6th seal is opened then the sun is
darkened and the moon became as blood (Joel 2:28ff).

The result of this, at least from a futurists point of view, is the
following necessary chronology (combining all these passages): the
abomination of desolation and the great tribulation period occur, after
which the sun and moon are darkened, followed by the coming of the day of
the Lord which is apparently precipitated by the coming of the Lord and
our gathering together unto Him (Mt 24:30-31), that is, the rapture of the

That the day of the Lord does not precede, nor include, the great
tribulation is clear. Christ says, immediately after the tribulation of
those days the events of Joel occur which necessarily precede the coming
of the day of the Lord.

Why didn't Paul say something here about the sun and moon being darkened
as necessary precursors? Simply because he didn't have to. The apostasy
and abomination of desolation (revelation of the man of lawlessness) were
sufficient. The point is the rapture in this scheme necessarily is what
starts the day of the Lord (so, Mt 24:29-31, Rev 6:12 ff).

> Coming. There is also a problem with the relationship between the Parousia
> and the gathering together of the saints. The construction in 2 Thess 2:1 is
> a Granville Sharp impersonal construction, so the "rule" does not apply. You
> seem to view the "coming" and "gathering" as referring to the same event.
> However, with the impersonal construction, these can refer to distinct, but
> related events, overlapping events, or one event being a subset of the other.
> Identification is the least likely possibility, statistically speaking, while
> the "gathering" being a subset of the "coming" is the most likely (See Dan
> Wallace's dissertation or grammar). This at least allows for the possibility

I said nothing about the Granville Sharp rule and would never even attempt
an argument from that highly suspect rule. I have already argued my case,
that is, that the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto Him
refer to one and the same event. The rapture necessarily starts the day
of the Lord. The old Scofield Bible notes taught this. Unfortunately, the
new Scofield notes are changed. Apparently, they realize the implication
to the pretrib scheme, if the rapture starts the day of the Lord
(post-trib rapture).

> that the "gathering" and the "coming" are separated in time. The decision
> concerning the timing of the rapture will rest on other contextual factors.
> Some factors that may contribute to this question is the chiastic structure
> of 2 Thess 2:1-15 where 2:1-3a is parallel to 2 :13-15 and the APOSTASIA is
> parallel to the deluding influence, which argues for a religious defection,
> as you argue. Other questions involve the relationship of 2:1 to 2:3-12; the
> relationship of 2:2-3a to 2:13-15; the relationship of the "gathering" to the
> Man of Lawlessness (2:6-7? Note that the Parousia is discussed strictly in
> terms of its relationship to the Man of Lawlessness in 2:8); and the
> difficult interpretive issues of 2:6-7 some of which have been previously
> discussed here. For a detailed discussion of most of these issues I will
> defer to my forthcoming article in the Oct 97 BibSac.
Yes, I will look for your article. In the meanwhile, look for mine
already published in JETS (Dec 1990) entitled: The Evil Restraint in 2
Thess 2:6.

You can also access it on the net.

Paul Dixon (DTS, '75)

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