Re: apostasia

From: Steven R. LoVullo (
Date: Tue May 09 2000 - 22:31:45 EDT


> Would not the article most naturally refer to the context,
> the first verse of the chapter, "our gathering together
> unto Him?"

No, only a preconception that the two words are synonymous would lead to
this conclusion. But as I've pointed out in another post, there is no usage
of APOSTASIA anywhere to describe the "gathering together" of believers at
the PAROUSIA. On the contrary, the word in both the NT and LXX always means
"rebellion." If you could find an unambiguous example of APOSTASIA being
used to describe the gathering together of God's people at the PAROUSIA you
would have a valid point. In that case there would be at least some evidence
for the anaphoric use of the article with APOSTASIA. But the anaphoric use
of the article normally points back to the same (usually anarthrous) word to
remind the reader of who or what was mentioned previously. In some cases it
may point back to an obvious synonym. Unless you have actual Greek examples
that demonstate that EPISUNAGWGH and APOSTASIA are synonymous, there is no
case here for the anaphoric use of the article. It makes much more sense the
construe the article here as either the "par excellence" (an apostasy "in a
class by itself") usage or the "well known" (an apostasy familiar to the
readers and probably to Christians at large) usage. The "well known" use of
the article fits nicely here, since in v. 6 Paul indicates that he shared
this information with the Thessalonians while he was with them. No doubt he
did so with other congregations as well.

> Kenneth Wuest renders he apostasia in 2 Thess. 2:3 as:
> "the aforementioned departure" referring to vs. 1.

Unfortunately, this is not a "rendering" at all, but an interpretation or
exposition. And Wuest is well-known for his exegetical fallacies (see
Carson, _Exegetical Fallacies_, p. 117).

> It would seem to me that the "rebellion" interpretation is
> contextual nonsense.

Since you do not explain *why* it is "contextual nonsense" it is hard to
respond to this charge. Suffice it to say that every reputable Bible
translation I know of renders this word as "apostasy" or "rebellion" or
something similar. So it apparently makes sense to most Bible translators,
not to mention most other Greek Scholars, be they Pretribulationists or not.

> There is no precedent for such
> a rebellion, at this stage, in the Pauline revelation;

When you say "this stage in the Pauline revelation" you make it sound as if
there is an abundance of material with which to compare 2 Thessalonians.
There isn't. Since the only letters to precede it are 1 Thessalonians and
Galatians (possibly), that doesn't leave us much. Since Galatians is dealing
with a whole different issue, we wouldn't expect Paul to deal extensively
with eschatology. So "this stage" ends up being, practically speaking, two
letters! So how can we possibly know for certain that at this stage it would
be impossible for Paul to deal with "the rebellion?" And what later letters
of Paul indicate that "the rebellion" is a concept Paul only came to at an
advanced stage of his ministry? This statement is question-begging, for it
assumes what it needs to prove. And when we take into consideration that
both Daniel and Jesus preceded Paul in their depictions of a rebellion
associated with the "abomination of desolation" (cf. Dan 11:30-32; Matt
24:10-15), there is ample evidence that this belief existed well before Paul
began his ministry. Given the fact that 2 Thess 2:1ff. has as its matrix Dan
11, it shouldn't surprise us that Paul associates a rebellion with the "man
of lawlessness" (compare 2 Thess 2:4 with Dan 11:36-37). Since this belief
existed well before Paul came on the scene, and since he appears to be aware
of it, there is no reason to believe that "at this stage" Paul could not
have taught such a thing.

> since "rebellions" are so common throughout all time,
> it would be far to nebulous to have any real meaning
> to the comfort of the Thessalonians.

As mentioned earlier, the article with APOSTASIA distinguishes this
rebellion from other rebellions. This is either *the* rebellion ("par
excellence") or a rebellion famous in Christian teaching ("well known"). So
it is neither "common" nor "nebulous."

If the whole context is taken into account, there is great comfort here for
the Thessalonians, for Paul makes it clear that though unbelievers will be
deluded and lost, believers will experience final salvation (vv. 10-14). It
also lends itself to exhortation as an example of why the Thessalonians
needed to "stand firm and hold to the traditions [they] were taught" (v.

Steve Lo Vullo

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