Re: Apostasy - 2 Thessalonians 2:3

From: Paul Dixon - Ladd Hill Bible Church (
Date: Tue Mar 04 1997 - 13:58:05 EST

On Sun, 2 Mar 1997 wrote:

> As I have argued before the "coming" and "gathering" are not two distinct,
> separated events but the Sharp impersonal construction points more to the
> "gathering" to be an event within the larger event of the "parousia." The
> "parousia" is a complex of events. The "gathering" may or may not be
> temporally distinct. If it is then the "parousia" would include all the
> events between the "gathering" and the "second coming."

If you see the gathering "within the larger event of the parousia," as you
say, then you are still faced with an insurmountable problem. Paul goes
on to say concerning the PAROUSIA that that day will not come except the
APOSTASIA comes first and the man of lawlessness be revealed (vv 3-4).
Since these are clearly tribulational events, even in your judgment, then
the parousia, and the gathering contained within the parousia, will not
come until sometime AFTER tribulational events.

This coupled with Mt 24:29-31 demands that the parousia, the gathering,
and the coming of the day of the Lord are post-tribulational, for Christ
says immediately AFTER the tribulation of those days the sun and moon are
darkened. According to Joel 2:31 this occurs BEFORE the day of the Lord
comes. The day of the Lord CANNOT include the great tribulation.

If you think that 2 Thess 2:1-4 must be interpreted in light of your
exegesis of 2 Thess 2:6-7, then you are really going out on a limb. Which
of these passages is the clearer? I submit there is no way a pretrib
scheme is defensible from 2 Thess 2:1-4. These verses categorically rule
it out.

> >>Notice, I have not and never have appealled to the Granville-Sharp rule as
> the basis of my interpretation of 2:1. The context itself is sufficient
> to demonstrate the the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto
> Him refer to the same event, not two comings separated by 7 years.<<
> Whether you appeal to the rule or not, you still have to deal with the
> construction, and as I have argued before, identity is the least likely
> possibility. You seem to not want to deal with that issue.

You appear to be beating a dead horse here. You have already acknowledged
that the gathering has to be included in the parousia, or at least the day
of the Lord. If so, then pretribism is denied.

> >>If this is so, why doesn't Paul say something specifically about the
> rapture before the tribulation? He mentions specifically only the day of
> the Lord and its coming. If, as you say, the Thessalonians thought they
> were in the tribulation, and if the rapture precedes the tribulation, why
> wouldn't Paul simply say something like this: you are not in the
> tribulation, because the rapture precedes it, and if this is so, then you
> would even be here?
> Aha, you say. Paul seeks to assure them the haven't missed the rapture
> because subsequent tribulation events (apostasy and revelation of the man
> of lawlessness) had not yet occurred. How does this prove they hadn't
> missed the rapture? Some passage of time is surely required, under the
> pretrib scheme, between the rapture and these tribulational events. They
> could have been in that period of time. No, Paul never says these event
> follow the rapture (our gathering together unto Christ). He says these
> events precede the coming of the day of the Lord.<<
> You've missed the point. Note what I sauid in the last post.>>Apparently a
> false epistle was sent to the Thessalonians by Paul's enemies that taught
> that the tribulation they were suffering was proof that they were in the Day
> of the Lord. The Thessalonians were greatly disturbed by this teaching. Paul
> seeks to correct this false teaching and connects it to their gathering with
> the Lord, which, along with the parousia, is the topic orienter of the
> section. The Day of the Lord would not come until the apostasy had come first
> and the man of lawlessness was revealed.<< Paul was explicitly countering the
> argument that they were in the Day of the Lord. That is the content of the
> false teaching. Missing the rapture is merely an implication of this. This
> false teaching is why he appeals to the primary elements and sine qua non of
> the Day of the Lord. If these elements are not present, then they have no
> reason to think that the Day of the Lord has come. The crux of the
> interpretation of this passage then rests on 2:6-7. But you'll have to wait
> for my Bib Sac article on that.

Please address what Paul says. He clearly argues that those events
precede (PRWTON, v. 3) the coming of the day of the Lord. They are not
elements in the day. If you can't see this from 2 Thess 2, then try to
follow the argument from Joel 2:31 and Mt 24:29 where it is clearly
established that these events precede the coming of the day of the Lord.

I already addressed your explaining or interpreting 2 Thess 2:1-4 on the
basis of verses 6-7. See above.
> The posttrib position has one major difficulty. What is the meaning of
> SALEUQHNAI? In most contexts, including this one, it has the idea of being
> greatly disturbed. This makes no sense in a posttrib scheme since they expect
> to go through the tribulation/DOL. If they though they were in the DOL they
> would know that Jesus return is very soon. There would need to be no need for
> the assurance of salvation that Paul gives in 2:13-14 which parallels the
> exhortation not to be shaken and deceived in 2:1-2 in the chiasm.

No, no, no. They expected an imminent return of the Lord. That was their
problem. Some had given up their jobs in expectancy of the imminent
return. BTW, the KJV "is at hand" is possible, and probably preferrable
here, but not necessary.

Paul S. Dixon, DTS ('75)

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