Did you know that the Apostle Paul and Moses have much in common? They both spent lengthy periods in the Arabian desert, receiving deep revelations from God from that region. It was during a three-year sabbatical within the Arabian Desert that God revealed to the Apostle Paul, the ‘catching away’ of His church, which he later penned in his very first Epistle. It was this dispensational doctrine of the rapture, which Paul was compelled to document in his epistle to Thessalonica. Join Carl now, as he reveals an intriguing discovery regarding the ‘falling away’ of the church prior to the rapture. You won’t want to miss this broadcast!…
Here is a complete transcript of the podcast (below)…
Friend, I’m continuing today on our topic of the Rapture of the Church. Now ever since Israel’s disobedience and rejection of Christ as Messiah, they have been put on hold. However, God’s plan has multiple threads to it. Remember, the church began on the Day of Pentecost and ends at the rapture. Then once we the church are gathered in the air to meet the Lord Jesus, the clock will begin again for the Jews. The Old Testament’s focus concerns the nation of Israel primarily and the New Testament is written to the Church. Both the church and the rapture were mysteries concealed within the OT, ready to be revealed within the NT. We must always ask the question when reading any chapter in the Bible friend. To whom is it written, when was it written, and by whom.
Now friend, it’s a little-known fact that after the Apostle Paul encountered the Lord Jesus on the road to Damascus, it wasn’t until three years later that he finally went up to Jerusalem. So what on earth was he doing in this three year time span you might ask? Well according to scripture, he went into the region of Arabia and evidently sought the Lord concerning the doctrines he would write during the NT, one of which is the rapture of the church. In two instances, Galatians 1:15-18 and Galatians 4:25, Paul by his own testimony reveals his journey into the Arabian Desert. Now the kingdom of Arabia extended east and south of Palestine from the Euphrates to the Red Sea during that time period. Paul may have gone to Arabia to begin missionary work, or he may have sought a place of solitude to reflect on his encounter with the risen Christ. What’s interesting friend, is that both Paul and Moses received special revelation from God in the Arabian Desert.
Remember Moses received the torah on Mt Sinai, which is located in Arabia and like I said, Paul went there after His conversion also. So, it’s during this time of solitude that Paul likely received his rapture revelation which he shared in the first or arguably second Epistle he ever wrote, his letter to the church at Thessalonica. So why wasn’t the rapture mentioned in the OT like the Second Coming? Because the church had not yet been birthed. Remember, the church didn’t exist until the day of Pentecost in Acts chapter two and after that God revealed in Genesis 10, that the Gentiles were to be a part of the Church. So, let’s read our key passage concerning the rapture once more in 1st Thessalonians 4:15-18,” For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. 16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain s hall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air (gathering): and so, shall we ever be with the Lord. 18 Wherefore lcomfort one another with these words.”
Friend there isn’t much comfort if we are going through the tribulation period is there? That’s why Paul is telling the church to comfort one another with these words because we’re not going to go through it. The rapture is called the blessed hope in Titus 2:13 for a reason and once again there isn’t much blessed hope if we’re going through the tribulation. It says also in this verse that we’re looking for the glorious appearing of the Great God and our Savior Jesus Christ. The Church is never once told to look for the Antichrist but Christ only, as I said before. Friend, there’s absolutely no event that has to happen before the rapture, it could happen at any time, it’s imminent. In contrast, the commencement of the tribulation period or the Day of the Lord, begins with the signing of a seven year peace treaty between Israel and the Antichrist found in Daniel 9:27 and Isaiah 28:14-22.
Now friend I’m going to get into the meat of this teaching write now. I’m also a Pastor, not a Greek Scholar but I will do my best to share my research with you. In Paul’s second letter to the church at Thessalonica, he’s writing in response to a forged letter in his name that had already been circulated, saying that his congregants had missed the rapture of the church and were now in the tribulation period also known as the Day of the Lord. So Paul wrote 2nd Thessalonians in order to refute this false statement, circulated within this letter. Now I’m going to read from the second chapter of Thessalonians right now and I will interject some of my statements within it as I go. 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-10:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (which is the rapture or present coming) 2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us (saying you are already in the tribulation because they missed the rapture), that the day of Christ is at hand (The Day of the Lord is a better word here and means the tribulation).
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day (of the Lord or tribulation) shall not come, except there come “a falling away” first and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. 5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (Paul preached on this before)
And now ye know what withholdeth (he is restrained by the Church in the present time) that he (Antichrist) might be revealed in his time. 7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (the Church) will let, until he be taken out of the way. 8 And then shall that qWicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:”
Friend there is so much meat in this scripture that it will take a moment to expound upon it. This passage was often quoted by the Early Church Fathers as their rapture passage. You will notice that in order for the antichrist to appear, there must be ‘a falling away’ first. Now this word for ‘falling away’ in the Greek is apostasia. Now this ‘noun’ is only used once elsewhere in the NT in Acts 21:21, and in that instance it means ‘to depart’, not fall away or rebel. So, the usage of ‘apostasia’ as a noun means departure not rebellion or abandonment as many surmise.
Now the common way people translate this falling away is there will be a departure from the faith. Now I do agree that in these last days certainly, many will depart from the faith, embracing ecumenical doctrines, teaching that there are many paths to salvation etc. This is certainly an apostasy or moving away from Orthodox doctrine no doubt. Heck Paul even talks about the doctrines of devils in 1 Timothy 4:1, and he explicitly mentions some departing from the faith in these last days. So I’m not saying that some people won’t depart from the faith because they will certainly as the NT teaches this. But what I am saying is that the falling away mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:4 is actually the departure or rapture of the church from the earth, not a falling away from faith or rebellion, as I will explain shortly. Now, notice, it says a falling away, not ‘the’ falling away. Did you know friend, that in the first ten translations of the Bible since Jerome’s Vulgate, this word has been translated as ‘departure’, not falling away.
So, the Wycliffe Bible, Tyndale Bible, Coverdale Bible, Crammer Bible, Breeches Bible, and finally the Geneva Bible all translated this term ‘falling away’ as departure or ‘departing’ right up until the publication of the KJB. That means friend, in layman’s terms for 1200 years or so, since Jerome’s Latin translation this word for ‘falling away’, was indeed translated as the departure of the church, which is not how it reads in many of the modern day Bibles! As I said, the Geneva Bible had the term departure also and that’s the Bible that traveled to this nation with Christopher Columbus on the Mayflower and was often quoted by Shakespeare in his plays. But for some reason, the King James translators incorrectly translated this word as ‘falling away’, instead of ‘departure’ which it had been for approximately 1200 years. This falling away is an ‘event’, but what else could it be other than the rapture? This ‘event’ must come before the day of the Lord can transpire. Once the departure of the church takes place only then can the tribulation period commence and the Antichrist be revealed, why? because we the Church friend are the restraining influence in the earth! Friend the church is the restrainer, the two billion people on this earth who’ve given their allegiance to Christ, and the Holy Spirit indwelling them is a restraining force for evil that once removed, will cause darkness to flood the earth like never before.
If this term ‘falling away’, means departure then 2 Thessalonians 2:4 makes total sense. Friend this is not some isolated view on my part. Several Lexicons in circulation, in fact five in total, have stated this word to be departure instead of falling away or rebellion in this verse, including Liddell and Scott, Arndt and Gingrich, Moulton and Milligan, Lampe and finally Kittel. Dr Thomas Ice, of the pre-tribulation institute has written several papers on this very topic and is a renowned Greek Scholar. The late Tim LaHaye also held to the same viewpoint. Another strong proponent and scholar of the viewpoint that the Greek noun ‘apostasia’ means departure, is Kenneth Samuel Wuest. Wuest was a professor of New Testament Greek at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago and published over a dozen books on the New Testament. Wuest is also credited as one of the translators of the original New American Standard Bible (NASB). He later went on to produce his own English translation of the New Testament. Friend, it’s evident from studying this scriptural passage, much confusion has surrounded the true meaning of the term ‘falling away’ in the KJB. In many of the modern-day translations since the seventeenth century and beyond, apostasia has been wrongly translated as ‘rebellion’ in the NIV, Goodspeed, RSV, Moffatt, Phillips, Jerusalem Bible, Williams, or ‘falling away’ in the Berkeley, ASV, and NKJV.
As we can see, in the outlay of the seven English Bibles down the centuries, clearly a change occurred in the timeline from the traditional view that falling away meant departure. So where exactly did this change take place you might ask? Well For some unknown reason a Swiss scholar named Theodore Beza (circa 1519-1605), was the first to transliterate apostasia and create a new word, rather than translate it as departure, as the previous English bibles had done. It appears that the translators of the King James Version had the Beza edition of 1589 available to them, though the KJV does not follow this edition exactly. It appears the KJV translators switched this Greek noun from departure to falling away also, based on the influence of having Beza’s edition of 1589 in their possession at the time.
Now after some further study, Theodore Beza’s deed of switching the meaning in his translation may be more purposeful than first thought. It appears Beza who was John Calvin’s successor, was a fan of Scholasticism. Scholasticism friend was a perverted educational tradition of the medieval schools which attempted to mix Holy Scripture with the philosophies of the Greeks and Romans. This included the works of Plato and Aristotle. It was a hodgepodge to say the least and resulted in confusion and a pollution of God’s Holy Word. It’s surmised that Due to Beza’s own Calvinistic beliefs, he switched the translation of the Greek noun apostasia, from departure to rebellion, to suit his own convictions. Unfortunately, friend, like I said, the King James translators were influenced by Beza no doubt and chose to use the English term falling away instead of departure, as it should have been translated and was so, for centuries past. Ok so let’s par the bus right there. I might have gone a bit too far with all this information friend, but I wanted to share some of my findings with you. You might be saying ‘TMI Pastor, TMI,’ too much information dude, just give me the cliff notes. Friend, I understand your viewpoint. But what I’m sharing with you today is the pre-tribulation rapture of the church is an integral doctrine of the NT. It was a mystery revealed to the Apostle Paul most likely in the Arabian Desert and He quickly shared this revelation with the church in the first, if not second Epistle he ever wrote.
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