Chapter 2:3a, Relation of the Day of the Lord to The Apostasy


J. Deering,


Chapter 2:3a

          B.      Relation of the Day of the Lord to The Apostasy, 2:3a

3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first,

Paul makes it very clear that this document, or rumor, is a deception and "The Day of The Lord" is not upon them at this time. Nor has the "Gathering together unto Him."


Paul states that "the apostasy" must precede "The Day of The Lord." Paul uses the article before the word apostasy (the apostasy) to make it clear that he is referencing a very specific time of apostasy - and well known. The Greek word Apostasia, transliterated apostasy is an aggressive revolt and not a general falling away (Acts 21:21; Hebrews 3:12). Paul later writes the specifics of this faithless revolt in:

1 Timothy 4:1-3

4:1 Now the Spirit explicitly says that in the later times some will desert the faith and occupy themselves with deceiving spirits and demonic teachings, 4:2 influenced by the hypocrisy of liars whose consciences are seared. 4:3 They will prohibit marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.

2 Timothy 3:1-5;

3:1 But understand this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 3:2 For people will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3:3 unloving, irreconcilable, slanderers, without self-control, savage, opposed to what is good, 3:4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, loving pleasure rather than loving God. 3:5 They will maintain the outward appearance of religion but will have repudiated its power. So avoid people like these.

2 Timothy 4:3-4.

4:3 For there will be a time when people will not tolerate sound teaching. Instead, following their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves, because they have an insatiable curiosity to hear new things. 4:4 And they will turn away from hearing the truth, but on the other hand they will turn aside to myths.

"We should note three facts concerning the expression "except there come the apostasy first" (literal translation).

First, the position of the verb translated "come" in the Greek text indicates that Paul emphasized the future point of time when the apostasy will begin, not how long it will continue after its beginning. Through this emphasis, Paul might have been indicating that it is only the beginning of the apostasy that will take place before the Day of the Lord will begin.


Second, this emphasis upon the apostasy's beginning, together with the definite article the before the word apostasy, focuses attention on the following three aspects of this future apostasy (points abbreviated).


1.     It will be distinct from apostasies of the past. It is not just an apostasy, but the apostasy. This special designation indicates a worldwide, universal apostasy (greater than under Antiochus Epiphanes).

2.     The Apostasy's coming will be sudden. Its coming will not be a process over a period of time.

3.     The word itself refers to an absolute meaning. When something is absolute, it is "complete," "free from mixture," and "free from external restraint or limitations." This point implies that when the apostasy begins, three things will be true of it: it will be complete, it will not be diluted with a mixture that results from existence together with what is not apostasy, and it will be free from external restraint or limitations.


Third, the meaning of the word means "rebellion, and/or abandonment." Leon Morris defined it as rebellion against God's rule. It is not so much forsaking one's first love and drifting into apathy that is meant, as setting oneself in opposition to God."[1] "[2]


Paul says that this opposition would occur in the last days. This "falling away" of faith prepares the way for the final revolt against God in the person of the Man of Sin. All of this will preceed the "Day of The Lord."


Review Study Questions:

Verse 3a:

1.     What is Paul's instruction to the Thessalonians and to us?

2.     When does this "apostasy" occur?


[1] Morris, Leon, The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians, pp. 218-19.

[2] Showers, Renald E., the Pre-wrath Rapture View, an examination and critique, Kregel, Grand Rapids, pp. 179-80.