The Rapture Comes First – Another Look At The “Falling Away” In 2 Thessalonians 2:3!

The Rapture Comes First – Another Look At The “Falling Away” In 2 Thessalonians 2:3!

The Rapture Comes First

Another Look At The “Falling Away”
2 Thessalonians 2:3

10/14/22 By Tim Buck
Fotet.org

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away (rapture) COMES FIRST, and the man of sin is revealed (Antichrist), the son of perdition.
2 Thessalonians 2:3

As the world moves closer to another world war, which may include nuclear weapons, some speculate that the Tribulation period has already begun.

Others grow weary of waiting for the Lord’s return. How much longer will Jesus keep us on earth before He comes for us? Is He really going to keep us out of the time of the Lord’s wrath that’s rapidly approaching our world?

Please know that the Bible assures us that the Lord will come for us before the start of the seven-year Tribulation, which begins the moment that Antichrist makes a covenant with Israel. This has not yet happened!

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 provides encouragement regarding our hope in Jesus’ soon appearing. In this passage, the Lord promises that His followers will miss the wrath of the coming Day of the Lord, which includes the whole Tribulation period.

Many Bible students also see 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as verse that confirms the pre-Tribulation Rapture of the church:

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away (departure/rapture) COMES FIRST, and the man of sin is revealed (Antichrist), the son of perdition.

 
The traditional way of regarding “falling away,” has been to regard this as reference to the last day apostasy in the church. The Greek word here, apostasia, normally makes one think of apostasy such as in a spiritual falling away.

I’ve always been uncomfortable with that interpretation for this prophecy because the text does not define what ‘falling away’ means.  How are we supposed to know how and when the falling away happens and what that means? Is this actually the only prophecy in the Bible with no further explanation?

Apostacy or defecting from the faith is not exclusive to the end times. Consider that the churches in Galatia whom the Apostle Paul wrote about leaving the faith (Gal. 1:6) and most of the 7 churches that the Apostle John writes about in Revelation 2-3 had already fallen away. The book of Jude is devoted exclusively to confronting “apostacy,” meaning defection from the true biblical faith (vs. 3, 17). In other words, there has been a “falling away” among individuals and churches since the first century. In fact, by the 7th century, Islam had conquered all the churches of Asia Minor in modern-day Turkey.

While preachers talk about some great apostacy that we’re supposed to be in today it’s worth noting that at this very moment, some of the largest revivals in church history are taking place in unexpected enemy strongholds like Iran, Afghanistan, India and China. And how do we take Christ’s promise that “the gates of hell will not prevail” against the church if this prophecy says otherwise? And what then did Jesus mean when He promised that He would be with us until the end of the age?

In recent years, apostasia has received heightened scrutiny from biblical scholars with many now regarding it as a reference to the Rapture when Jesus comes to take us home to heaven, the physical departure of the church from the earth.

Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away (departure/rapture) COMES FIRST, and the man of sin is revealed (Antichrist), the son of perdition.
2 Thessalonians 2:3

 
This aligns with the earliest English translations of the Bible, which often translated apostasia as a ‘departure’ such as a physical exit from a particular location.

Do sound reasons exist for such an interpretation?

I believe they do. Following are reasons to change the long-held viewpoint on this matter to that of regarding apostasia as a reference to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.

THE WORD APOSTASIA CAN REFER TO A PHYSICAL DEPARTURE AND POINT TO THE RAPTURE

The first question to ask is this: Is it possible for apostasia to refer to a physical departure such as the Rapture? Yes, it can.

In his book, The Falling Away, Dr. Andy Woods provides evidence regarding the use of the Greek word apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as a physical departure rather than a “falling away” from the faith. He wrote this regarding the basic meaning of the word:

“. . . apostasia simply means to ‘to stand away from’ or ‘to depart.’ Only by examining how this word is used in its immediate context will determine what the departure is from, whether it be a spiritual or physical departure.”

The root verb form apostasia confirms that it can refer to a physical departure from a location. New Testament writers used the verb form of apostasia fifteen times. As Dr. Woods points out:

“. . .  only three times does it mean a spiritual departure. The remaining twelve times, apostasia clearly means a physical departure. For example, Luke 2:37 says, ‘and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four, she never left (apostasia) the temple.”

Since apostasia can refer to either a physical departure or a spiritual falling away, we must rely on the context to determine the proper interpretation.

THE CONTEXT SUPPORTS A PHYSICAL DEPARTURE

Both the immediate and extended context of 2 Thessalonians 2:3 support a physical departure pointing to the Rapture. In fact, the Rapture is the main theme of the Thessalonian epistles.

2 Thessalonians 2 begins with these words, “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (Rapture) . . .” (v. 1). Here Paul introduces 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 with a reference to the Rapture. It seems unlikely that he would switch to a spiritual departure a couple verses later.

The usage of apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as our physical departure via the Rapture aligns with both the immediate and overall context of the verse. The context favors the interpretation of apostasia as a physical departure such as the Rapture of the church.

PAUL IS REFERRING TO A DEFINITE EVENT

Paul’s use of the definite article “the” in front of apostasia tells us he has a specific event in mind, either a particular instance of apostasy or a definite occasion such as the Rapture. Because he does not further explain the event, this indicates the apostle was referring to an event that his readers would readily recognize.

The only apostasia of which his readers would have been aware of is that of the Rapture. They had no framework leading them to assume it meant a spiritual departure or a falling away from the faith by the church in the last days. There is no evidence that Paul even talked about falling away from the faith until much later. At the time, he assumed he would be alive at the time of the Rapture for the church.

The apostle has a definite event in mind and “the departure,” as the Rapture, is something his readers would readily recognize. On the other hand, Paul never refers to spiritual apostasy in either of his epistles to the Thessalonians and offers no additional clarifying information in the text or anywhere else.

PAUL DOES NOT MENTION SPIRITUAL APOSTASY IN EITHER EPISTLE TO THE THESSALONIANS

As we look at 1 and 2 Thessalonians, we see repeated references to the Rapture, but Paul never mentions a falling away from the faith.

Why would Paul cite a spiritual departure from the faith as a key indicator of the Day of the Lord with no other mention of it in either book that he wrote to his readers? And if he had not yet mentioned it to them, we would expect to see an explanation.
However, he provides no such background to his reference.

Paul does not specifically prophecy of any spiritual apostasy of the church in the latter days. The Apostle, when reaching the end of his life and realizing he may not see the Rapture in his lifetime, lays down signs of the world’s decline and the characteristics of depravity in the last days with much supporting detail in two locations (1 Tim. 4:1-5; 2 Tim. 3:1-7).

THE SENSE OF PHYSICAL DEPARTURE IS CONSISTENT WITH VERSES 7-8

In 2 Thessalonians 2:7-8 Paul writes,
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.”

These verses tell us that the revealing of Antichrist cannot happen until the Holy Spirit’s restraining power is taken out of the way. The ‘Restrainer’ points to the Holy Spirit and thus to the Rapture which is the time His special restraining work leaves the earth along with the church.

Notice the more consistent parallels with verse 3 if we assume apostasia refers to a physical departure. Let’s summarize:

  1. In verse 3, Jesus removes His church via the Rapture first and then we have the revealing of the “man of lawlessness.”
  2. In verse 7, the Lord takes away the restraining work of the Holy Spirit that keeps Antichrist from making himself known to the world.
  3. In both verses 3 and 7, Antichrist steps onto the world scene after a “departure” (Rapture) and after the removal of the restraining ministry of the Holy Spirit through the church.
  4. On a side note… the Holy Spirit Himself does not leave the world only His restraint to allow the coming of Antichrist.

AN EXAMPLE FROM CHURCH HISTORY

We have an example from early church history as evidence of apostasia as a physical departure or the rapture. A key leader at the time referred to what we now call the Rapture as a “departure.” Cyprian, a bishop in the city of Carthage during the third century AD, wrote this:

We who see that terrible things have begun, and know that still more terrible things are imminent, may regard it as the greatest advantage to depart from it as quickly as possible. Do you not give God thanks, do you not congratulate yourself, that by an early departure you are taken away, and delivered from the shipwrecks and disasters that are imminent?

Cyprian (AD 200–258) used the words “depart” and “early departure” to refer to the Lord’s appearing to take His church away before a time of “shipwrecks and disasters.” While this by itself doesn’t confirm the translation of apostasia as “departure,” it lends considerable support to our interpretation of the word as a reference to the Rapture.

Please also note that Cyprian believed the church would depart before a time of great trouble on the earth (the Tribulation).

THE RAPTURE IS CONSISTENT WITH THE EXPECTATION OF THE THESSALONIANS

The young believers in Thessalonica expected the Lord to come for them before the start of the day of the Lord. Their response to an errant message telling them this time had already begun confirms this. They panicked when they received the mistaken communication.

In response to their concerns, Paul told them “not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed” (2 Thess. 2:2).  To be “alarmed” signifies a feeling of “fright” with its usage here conveying a “state of alarm.”

Paul’s main purpose in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 was to comfort and assure the Thessalonian believers that the Day of the Lord (the Tribulation) had not yet started.

SINCE APOSTASIA REFERS TO A PHYSICAL DEPARTURE, THE RAPTURE MUST OCCUR BEFORE THE SEVEN-YEAR TRIBULATION

If apostasia refers to the Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, and we have many reasons to believe that it does, then we can know with certainty that Jesus will appear before the seven-year Tribulation to take us to heaven.

Paul is telling his readers that they could know that the Day of the Lord hadn’t yet started because they were still here on earth. This applies to the church today in that we cannot be in the Tribulation now because we are still here on earth.

This study and conclusion is not wishful thinking, but rather the result of a careful study of word usage as well as the context of 2 Thessalonians 2:3.

If apostasia signifies the physical departure of the church from the earth, then Paul is teaching the Rapture must occur before Antichrist arrives and before the start of the Tribulation.

Are YOU Ready?

The Rapture is the next event on God’s prophetic calendar.

Keep watching and enduring until the glorious day Jesus comes!

Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
John 14:1-3
Sickest Abortion Bill Yet! Plus, Radical Abortion Groups Continue To Disrupt Churches!

Sickest Abortion Bill Yet! Plus, Radical Abortion Groups Continue To Disrupt Churches!

A demonstrator holds up an abortion flag outside of the U.S. Supreme Court as justices hear a major abortion case on the legality of a Republican-backed Louisiana law that imposes restrictions on abortion doctors, on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., March 4, 2020. REUTERS/Tom Brenner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sickest Abortion Bill Yet!

June 19, 2022 by Tim Buck
Fotet.org

Unprecedented Evil Abortion Bill In California, Legalizing Infanticide Of Babies Up To 28 days AFTER BIRTH!

One of the SICKEST abortion bills we’ve ever seen – legalizing infanticide up to 28 days AFTER BIRTH – has just passed the full Assembly vote in California and the first state Senate Committee.

Now, countless innocent babies are in danger, even after they’re born.

The evil bill tries to disguise its intent by using the term “perinatal,” meaning up to FOUR WEEKS AFTER a baby is born. The radical-left media is also trying to cover-up the sinister evil in California’s newest abortion bill and trying to explain it away. But They’re Lying!

The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ) just confirmed its intent to permit the murder of babies up to 28 days after birth and sent a legal letter to the California Appropriations Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee opposing the demonic death-bill.

The Left is using the leaked Supreme Court draft opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade to unleash an unprecedented assault on life, not only with federal efforts to make Roe permanent, but in the states.

And now for the first time, there’s even been an assassination attempt on a Supreme Court Justice over the issue overturning Roe v Wade!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Radical abortion activist group continues to disrupt church services, large gatherings

Group’s motto is ‘Abortion On Demand & Without Apology!’

Pro-abortion disruption is being unleashed in churches, malls, sports stadiums and public areas by the radical RiseUp4AbortionRights group, with the latest target a Church in Detroit, Michigan.

As previously reported by Live Action News, naked Riseup4AbortionRights activists disrupted Sunday Mass at the St. Veronica Parish in Eastpointe on June 12, shouting, “Overturn Roe? Hell no,” “Abortion on Demand Without Apology,” and “Overturn Roe.”

Congregants responded by countering, “Abortion kills babies.” A video of the disruption was uploaded by the group, as well as Refuse Fascism Ohio.

The incident followed multiple disruptions at Catholic churches on Mother’s Day in May, as well as a disruption event at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas.

Final Judgment For the Saved and Lost! Where Will You Spend Eternity?

Final Judgment For the Saved and Lost! Where Will You Spend Eternity?

 

 

 

 

Final Judgment

Tim Buck
FOTET.org

It is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.
Hebrews 9:27

The Bible talks about 4 judgments. The first is the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10) for Church believers (Body of Christ) that occurs in heaven after the Rapture. The second and third judgments are for the Old Testament saints (Daniel 12:2-3) and believers who have died in the Tribulation period (Rev. 20:4). Both of these judgments occur on earth after Christ’s Second Coming at the end of the Tribulation. The first three judgments are all for believers.

God’s judgment for unbelievers is a lot different than the judgment of His children. It’s called the Great White Throne Judgment. This final judgment of the unsaved occurs in the blackness of space after the Millennial Kingdom, after the destruction of the universe and before the creation of the new heavens and new earth (Rev. 20:11-15).

Here I want to focus on the Great White Throne Judgment where all mankind who has ever rejected Christ will appear. Close your eyes and picture it for a moment. The Millennium is now over, Satan and his armies have been cast into the Lake of Fire, that Jesus said was prepared for the devil and his angels (Mt. 25:41).

Now things take a sharp turn…God speaks and planet earth spontaneously combusts and vaporizes. In the aftermath… the residents of Hell for the past 6,000 years find themselves, not free, not dead, but now standing before a great white throne.

What they see is frightening as Jesus stands before them in His robe as judge with the books of man’s deeds in His hands. Instead of receiving a glorified body like the body all believers will receive, they’ve been resurrected into a body suited for tormenting day and night that will never die.

And here they stand in the blackness of the uncreated world…  on nothing. Standing and facing God. No friends to help them here. The books of judgement from Cain to Hitler to the last sinner who rejected Jesus are now opened, and the lifetime of deeds of every unsaved person is read and man is judged according to what’s written in the books! No excuses at this throne… it’s all written down and read out loud. As judgment is past, each and every one is cast into the Lake of Fire (Rev. 21:15).

From this point forward, God creates a new heaven and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness and beauty beyond our imagination (Rev. 21).

Which judgment will you find yourself in after you die? It’s a sobering thought and only you can change the outcome!  It’s up to you and you can make that eternal decision today.

YES! Leftism Is A Religion: Presbyterian Church Graces the UN With Hymn To Climate Change

YES! Leftism Is A Religion: Presbyterian Church Graces the UN With Hymn To Climate Change

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Religion of Climate Change

By Robert Spencer
Jihad Watch

Edited by Tim Buck
FOTET.org

Is modern American Leftism a new, secular religion? Of course it is.

Who could forget House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Grey Goose) giving thanks to her god for his salvific sacrifice: “Thank you, George Floyd, for sacrificing your life for justice”? Or New York Governor Kathy Hochul proclaiming that the unvaccinated “aren’t listening to God and what God wants.”

And now the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which has long been a hollowed-out shell teaching social justice Leftism in vaguely Christian garb, has done its part for the sanctification of the contemporary Leftist agenda by publishing a new hymn, “The Climate is Changing.” The lyrics are far more ludicrous than the title might suggest.

Presbyterian News Service reported Friday that the hymn was prepared for the opening of the UN Climate Change Conference on Sunday in Glasgow. Apparently the assembled dignitaries, after working hard all day on strategies to compel the U.S. and Western Europe to commit economic suicide and hand global financial hegemony to China on a silver platter, will be in the mood to belt out a rousing hymn about saving Gaia. The pious Presbyterians were happy to oblige.

“The Climate is Changing” is helpfully written to a tune that many of the conference participants will find familiar: “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise,” an enduringly popular nineteenth-century hymn that begins: “Immortal, invisible, God only wise, in light inaccessible, hid from our eyes, most blessed, most glorious, the Ancient of Days, almighty, victorious, thy great name we praise.”

Now, this is the twenty-first century, and all that patriarchal business about a wise, omnipotent, glorious God is as dated as porkpie hats and the notion that there are only two genders. “The Climate is Changing,” which was written by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette, co-pastor with her husband, Bruce, of First Presbyterian Union Church in Oswego, New York, is much more up-to-date. Here are the first two verses, in all their virtue-signaling pseudo-Christian glory:

The climate is changing! Creation cries out!
Your people face flooding and fire and drought.
We see the great heat waves and storms at their worst.
We pray for the poor, Lord — for they suffer first.

We pray for the animals here in our midst
who cannot defend their own right to exist.
We pray for the mountains and forests and seas
that bear the harsh footprint of our human greed.

You get the idea. If you don’t recall Jesus saying much about the necessity to reduce greenhouse emissions, but only in the West, while giving China a free hand to pollute as much as it wants while turning the world into its personal economic fiefdom, Bruce Gillette, the husband of the holy hymnographer, might want to have a few words with you.

“We all need to be doing more to counter the crisis ASAP,” said Bruce, who is also (surprise!) vice-moderator of Presbyterians for Earth Care.

The demonic religion of climate change worships the creation instead of the creator. Like an environmental cancer, the nations of earth have foolishly bought into this lie!

The notion that man can somehow control earth’s temperature is a direct assault on the sovereignty of God who holds the universe and earth’s changing seasons and temperatures in place for His purposes.

Climate Change is another sign of the last days and according to Revelation 8, God will purposely judge earth’s ecology in the Tribulation for man’s misplaced worship of “Mother Earth” instead of God Almighty. 

7 Years In Heaven… What Will The Church Do?

7 Years In Heaven… What Will The Church Do?

 

 

 

 

Explore the Bible’s unique promises for the church in heaven that outline what’s in store for every believer AFTER THE RAPTURE!

 

 

 

 

Chart highlights major events for the church while in heaven during the 7-year Tribulation on earth. While earth is preparing for war, Heaven is preparing a wedding!

7 Years In Heaven
What Will The Church Do?

Tim Buck
Fotet.org

Despite today’s hardships, the Bible promises a glorious new era is rapidly approaching. God’s future plans for the church are out of this world!

The future is so wonderful for the church that the Apostle Paul says the heavenly and spiritual realm we are about to experience is hard to comprehend.
 

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.
1 Cor. 2:9

After the Rapture, the church will spend 7 years with our groom Jesus in heaven before returning to earth to rule and reign with King-Jesus for 1000 years! During our 7 years in heaven, God brings the church through a series of events preparing us for eternity.
 
God’s plans for us include our rapture and being lifted up to see Jesus and then our journey to heaven. What will that be like? Imagine passing through the universe on a guided tour by its creator.

At the moment of the rapture, we receive our glorified bodies like the resurrected body of Jesus. We won’t be given a new body, we’ll receive a perfected version of the one we were born with, just like Jesus.
 
Finally we reach the Father’s house and according to Jude 25, we will be introduced to the Father by Jesus with expressions of exceeding great joy.

We will pass through the Bema Seat in heaven to receive rewards and crowns for our service to the Lord and have the privilege of casting them back to Him.

The pinnacle of our stay in heaven is being wed to the Son of God in an amazing ceremony called the Marriage of the Lamb. It’s simply impossible to comprehend being married to God… but in that day we will more fully grasp our unique and eternal relationship to Jesus!
 
The wedding is the last event for our 7-year stay in heaven. It’s time to saddle our horses and descend to earth with Jesus for the wedding reception with the special guests (Rev. 19:9) being the resurrected saints of the Old Testament.

And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
Mt. 8:11

After the wedding reception on earth we will all gather (Church and Israel) for the inauguration of Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and rein with Him in His Millennial Kingdom!

No doubt, the church is special! So be thankful you are a child of God who has plans beyond our imagination to care for us and shower us with His incomprehensible blessings throughout eternity.

AFGHANISTAN: OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM LEADERS IN THE UNDERGROUND CHURCH

AFGHANISTAN: OFFICIAL STATEMENT FROM LEADERS IN THE UNDERGROUND CHURCH

Afghan women dressed in traditional clothing caring their children through the streets of Kabul, Afghanistan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Afghan’s underground church is strong but under serious threat! Please stand with them in prayer. Afghan Christian’s are saying the Taliban takeover is a nightmare!

Brothers and sisters,
pray for us.

1 Thess. 5:25

 

FIRST-HAND GROUND REPORT IN AFGHANISTAN

What we are witnessing right now is the decimation of the country and people of Afghanistan. We are watching twenty years of work and the strengthening of a nation being destroyed in a single day.

The Taliban has a hit list of known Christians they are targeting to pursue and kill. The US Embassy is defunct and there is no longer a safe place for believers to take refuge.

All borders to neighboring countries are closed and all flights to and from have been halted, with the exception of private planes. People are fleeing into the mountains looking for asylum. They are fully reliant on God, who is the only One who can and will protect them.

The Taliban are going door-to-door taking women and children. The people must mark their house with an “X” if they have a girl over 12 years old, so that the Taliban can take them. If they find a young girl and the house was not marked they will execute the entire family. If a married woman 25 years or older has been found, the Taliban promptly kill her husband, do whatever they want to her, and then sell her as a sex slave.

Husbands and fathers have given their wives and daughters guns and told them that when the Taliban come, they can choose to kill them or kill themselves—it is their choice.

Some women said they had no time to buy a burqa to comply with Taliban rules that women should be covered up and accompanied by a male relative when they leave the house.

To Afghanistan’s women, the flowing cloth represents the sudden and devastating loss of rights gained over 20 years—the right to work, study, move and even live in peace—that they fear will never be regained.” [Source: CNN World]

Global Catalytic Ministries (GCM), a longtime ministry partner of FAI, is taking an active stance in prayer, support, and advocacy for our brothers and sisters—many of whom have been serving as leaders as the Afghanistan church grows at a historic rate (second only to Iran right now).

Although people are heading for the hills, many want to stay in the country and continue to advance the Gospel; however, we will relocate those who need to be secured. GCM’s stance has always been and will be to do whatever is necessary to move the Gospel forward. Our brothers and sisters in Afghanistan continue to inspire us with their boldness and resolve in their darkest hour.