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Sunday, 10 January 2016

apostasia: rebellion or rapture? thomas ice pre-tribulation rapture trickery!

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a great millstone were hung around his neck and he were thrown into the sea. (Mark 9:42)

This post refutes Thomas Ice's noxious mistranslation of the Greek noun apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, which he contends indicates the pre-tribulation rapture:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, (episunagōgēs) we ask you, brothers, not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion (apostasia) comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction.... (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3)

Ice specifically cites seven early bible translations prior to the King James Version of 1611 that he claims render the noun apostasia as either "departure" or "departing" which he chooses to interpret as the rapture, a meaning which was not intended by the early translators. 

Ice: "The first seven English translations of apostasia all rendered the noun as either " departure" or " departing." They are as follows: Wycliffe Bible (1384); Tyndale Bible (1526); Coverdale Bible (1535); Cranmer Bible (1539); Breeches Bible (1576); Beza Bible (1583); Geneva Bible (1608)."

The Bishops' Bible is an English translation of the Bible produced in 1568 under the authority the Church of England. It was substantially revised in 1572, and the 1602 edition was prescribed as the base text for the King James Bible that was completed in 1611.{1}

Bishops Bible: "2Th 2:3 Let no man deceaue you by any meanes, for [the Lorde shall not come] excepte there come a fallyng away first, & that that man of sinne be reuealed, the sonne of perdition..... " {2}

Wycliffe Bible: "2 Thessalonians 2:3 No man disseyue you in ony manere. For but dissencioun come first, and the man of synne be schewid, the sonne of perdicioun." {3}

The Middle English word dissencioun” comes from the Old French "dissension" which is not physical departure!{4}

Apostasia is translated "revolt" in the the Douay-Rheims Bible which was translated from the Latin Vulgate of Jerome (1582).

William Tyndale interpreted apostasia as a departure from the faith.. 

"sheweth that there shall be a departure from the faith....."

2 Thessalonians 2:3 Let no ma deceave you by eny meanes for the lorde commeth not excepte ther come a departynge fyrst and that that synfnll man be opened ye sonne of perdicion." {5}

Tyndale NT Commentary: "The necessary prelude to the coming of Christ is 'the rebellion'.... falling away hardly gives the force of apostasia..... In classical Greek, the word apostasia denoted a political or military rebellion; but in the Greek Old Testament we find it used of rebellion against God (e.g. Joshua xxii. 22), and this becomes the accepted biblical usage." {6}

The Original Geneva Footnotes

The Geneva Bible (Breeches Bible) includes marginal notes authored by John Calvin, John Knox, Miles Coverdale, and many other leaders of the Reformation.

The Second Epistle Of Paul To The Thessalonians:

"Lest the Thessalonians should think that Paul neglected them, because he went to other places, rather than come to them, he writeth unto them and exhorteth them to patience and other fruits of faith, neither to be moved with that vain opinion of such as taught that the coming of Christ was at hand, for as much as before that day there should be a falling away from the true religion, even by a great part of the world, and that Antichrist should reign in the Temple of God;"

2 Thessalonians 2: " 2 He sheweth that the day of the Lord shall not come, till there be a departure from the faith, and that the Antichrist be revealed, 8 whose destruction he setteth out, 15 and thereupon exhorteth to constancy." {7}

It is interesting that Paul does not make a distinction between the rapture (episunagógé) and "the day of the Lord" in this passage. Paul had previously taught the Thessalonian church about the rapture, and this later letter appears to indicate that they were in need of further clarification. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

Ice: "What precisely does Paul mean when he says that 'the falling away' (2:3) must come before the tribulation? The definite article " the" denotes that this will be a definite event, an event distinct from the appearance of the Man of Sin. The Greek word for " falling away" , taken by itself, does not mean religious apostasy or defection. Neither does the word mean " to fall," as the Greeks have another word for that. [pipto, I fall; TDI] The best translation of the word is " to depart." The apostle Paul refers here to a definite event which he calls " the departure," and which will occur just before the start of the tribulation. This is the rapture of the church."

voilà - the pre-tribulation rapture!
The context of verses 1-3 themselves defy Ice's interpretation. Apostasia is historically interpreted as defection, desertion, rebellion, from the prefix apó, which is a departure from a previous standing.{8} Paul's use of the noun episunagógé in verse 1 defines the rapture. Paul also uses the verb harpazo (1 Thessalonians 4:17; 2 Corinthians 12:2-4), but he never uses apostasia in this context! Ice switches "departure from the faith" with the rapture, he inserts the word "tribulation" which is not specifically mentioned in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, let alone verse 3, and then, as if by magic, the rapture precedes the tribulation! The false interpretation of "rapture" for "apostasia" is essential for the pre-tribulation rapture theory to hold water, whereas if we interpret "apostasia" as "rebellion", the meaning is plain! If we give Ice's interpretation credibility, we are left with the bizarre meaning that the rapture will not come unless the rapture comes first! His teaching is totally perverse! 

There are only two occurrences of apostasia in the New Testament, the other being in Acts 21:21: 

.....and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake (apostasian) Moses, telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs.

I am not a "King James Only" adherent, but you would think that the forty seven scholars involved in interpreting the King James Bible between 1604 and 1616 would have arrived at the correct interpretation of this word, though clearly Ice thinks that he has carte blanche to redefine it!{9}

The root of apostasia is the verb aphistémi, meaning: I make to stand away, draw away, repel, take up a position away from, withdraw from, leave, abstain from.{10} There are fourteen occurrences of aphistémi in the New Testament, and since this verb can mean physical departure as well as a departure from the faith (below), some have used the connection as a pretext to teach that apostasia means physical departure, i.e. the rapture. Ice's mentor, pre-tribulation rapture authority John Walvoord (1910-2002), once held this view, but he was humble/honest enough to change his mind after considering the lexical arguments of Robert Gundry.{11} Actually Walvoord admitted that no single verse of scripture by itself clearly teaches the pre-tribulation rapture.{11}

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from (aphistémi) the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, (1 Timothy 4:1) 

Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away (aphistémi) from the living God. (Hebrews 3:12)

John Nelson Darby (1800-1882), crazed cult leader, founder of the Exclusive Brethren and "god" of  the Pre-Trib Rapture Center (PTRC) and the PWMI, is falsely credited with "discovering" the pre-tribulation rapture by Ice and his associates. Yet even the "mighty" Darby translated 2 Thessalonians 2:3 as the apostasy..
Darby Bible Translation: "Let not any one deceive you in any manner, because [it will not be] unless the apostasy have first come, and the man of sin have been revealed, the son of perdition;" {12}
Darby: "With nominal Christians this has necessarily the character of apostacy, or at least it is connected with this apostacy, and is consequent upon it; as Verse 3 (Th2 2:3) teaches us, the apostacy takes place, and then the man of sin is revealed." {13}

Erasmus: "signifies that great and before-predicted apostasy." {14}

John Wesley:  2:3 Unless the falling away - From the pure faith of the gospel, come first.{15}

More recently, Christian Apologist and pretribulationist Dave Hunt (1926-2013), interpreted apostasia as the apostasy: "Paul says that the apostasy precedes the revelation of the Antichrist (2 Thess 2:3)." {16}

The scriptures do speak of the end time apostasy, and we should bear in mind that this is linked with false teachers who will mislead many believers and cause them to fall away. Critically, they often achieve this by redefining important passages of scripture by their own authority. Chillingly, the redefinition of scripture can be as subtle as reinventing just one word in one verse! (Genesis 3:1; 2 Corinthians 11:3)

And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. (Matthew 24:4-5, 9-13, 24)

But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. (Jude 17-19)

Needless to say, Ice has failed Joe Schimmel's challenge/offer to collect $10,000 to produce a single verse or passage of scripture which clearly teaches that the rapture happens before the tribulation.{17}


  1. Let me get this straight. Since Tommy Ice holds to a two-stage second coming, and since Thessalonians is in two parts (books), he is justified, isn't he, in also seeing two raptures in II Thess.? Now then, is Ice actually saying that the (apostasia) rapture in vs. 3 must happen before the (gathering) rapture in vs. 1, or is he saying that the vs. 1 rapture can't happen unless the vs. 3 rapture happens first? If Tommy (two raptures) Ice is smart, he would want to get on the first rapture (wouldn't you?), and the first rapture coming down the track would be the vs. 3 (apostasia) rapture because he claims it has to happen before the vs. 1 (gathering) rapture has to happen! Besides, "apostasia" sounds more like a Greek word to Tommy than "gathering" anyway. See how simple things are when "Dr." Ice is exegeting?

  2. It was this "Pre-trib rapture trickery" as you so correctly label it-the twisting of THIS particular Bible verse that first caused me to 'smell a dead rat'.
    Sadly there are a great many held under the 'MESMERIC'? spell of false Bible teachers today, that would hang on their every word.
    It sickens me that Ice and his like can teach these errors. But little does he know (or otherwise?) that he is part of the "falling away" that is prophesied in the Bible? We may even say a MAJOR part?

  3. Oh Irv, you have made me laugh! Tommy Two Raptures has no chance of getting on either rapture as far as I can see! x

  4. Colin - I would definitely say "or otherwise".... he must be aware of what he is doing? x

  5. Tommy has some things mixed up. The "falling away" is not a pretrib rapture, but the TEACHING of a pretrib rapture is PART of the end-time falling away from the Word!

  6. Exactly Irv, though I don't think he is "mixed up", rather he has been very successful in mixing up others! x

  7. It makes me wonder what these guys do at their PTRC meetings? Perhaps they spend much of their time racking their brains out churning over selected Bible verses to see if they can fit a rapture into them?
    Certainly not all of our pre-trib brethren agree with Ice and Co.'s interpretation of 2 Thessalonians 2.3, but having said this, you would think they would not want to be in fellowship with a man who twists the very obvious meaning of Scripture?
    The Saviour warned all that "it must needs be that offences come, but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh." Matt 18.7. Of course this Scripture can be applied to ALL offences committed by men, not just those who would lead men and women astray by false Bible teaching. To lead people astray by false Bible teachings, I believe is a very great sin, or am I being a nit picker?

    I have said this many times before, and will keep repeating it-"Hath God said" Genesis 3.1?
    God bless you.

  8. Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary:
    "Mt 18:7, "Woe unto the world because of offences!" (There will be stumblings and falls and loss of souls enough from the world's treatment of disciples, without any addition from you: dreadful will be its doom in consequence; see that ye share not in it). "For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!" (The struggle between light and darkness will inevitably cause stumblings, but not less guilty is he who willfully makes any to stumble)."

    It is incredible that any should "willfully make any to stumble" and yet this appears to be the case here. God bless you Colin x

  9. Amen, Bravo, and Full Steam Ahead, Colin and Treena!

  10. Slightly edited today on arrival of Tyndale NT Commentary. The Wycliffe translation of "apostasia = dissencioun" is important I feel!!!

  11. Rev 11.10

    And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth.


  12. I assume you are arguing for a pre-trib rapture Anonymous. The two witnesses ministry ends with their death and resurrection which occurs after the sixth trumpet is sounded, during second woe of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1; 9:13; 11:14).

  13. Why does timing of the Rapture matter if we all Christians going to be saved anyway?
    God loves everyone-john 316- Is this verse for non believers as well or just Christians?
    Hope you can help.

  14. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. 10And then many will fall awaya and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. 12And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. 13But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. Matthew (24:9-14)

    I suggest you do your homework Anonymous:

    And someone said to him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” And he said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door. For many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has risen and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then he will answer you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. Luke (13:23-28)

  15. Home work not easy. You said 'the one who endures to the end will be saved'. Is this works based salvation that you believe in-I am not sure?
    Thanks again

  16. It is not what I say - the Bible says it. We are required to remain faithful and we do have choices to make. God bless.

  17. Good answer to Anonymous.

    I see that this 'falling away' or 'departure' doctrine of Tommy Ice has been fully embraced by his good friend David Reagan; according to his Lion and Lamb website-no surprises there I guess?
    Reagan goes through the seven pre KJV translations and the Latin discessio/departure meaning.
    Reagan's reasoning for the KJV translators 'change' in translation is "that they were taking a stab at the teachings of Catholicism"!
    God bless.

  18. That is interesting Colin. I will take a look! God bless tx

  19. I notice that apostasia is translated "revolt" in the the RC Douay-Rheims Bible (1582)

    The Geneva Bible includes marginal notes authored by John Calvin, John Knox, Miles Coverdale, and many other leaders of the Reformation.

    The Original 1599 Geneva Bible Notes on 2 Thessalonians 2:3:

    "(3) The apostle foretells that before the coming of the Lord, there will be a throne set up completely contrary to Christ's glory, in which that wicked man will sit, and transfer all things that appertain to God to himself: and many will fall away from God to him."

    I have revised the post yet again Colin. Hopefully this settles it - those snakes are clever! God bless tx

  20. Indeed "those snakes are clever!" And it is astounding that men as intelligent as Ice and Reagan cannot see the very plain contextual meaning in this so-called 'contentious' verse? The context makes it so very plain, unless you want to force another meaning on it? They have their own interests to protect?
    Theology is a 'funny' thing really. Let me put it this way-TODAY you could have a hundred people in a room that would all agree as individuals; "I believe the Bible to be the INERRANT Word of God" and yet their theology would set them asunder from each other!
    Do we not now live in a post theological age? Why did the Reformers and even the 'simple' believers choose the stake rather than bend the knee to Rome? A brief perusal of Foxes Book of Martyrs would confirm why they chose the former. Many make the mistake of thinking that those who went before us were of a lesser intelligence/understanding/education, but this is so untrue. Believers in days gone by did not have the multitudinous technological distractions that we do today? Aside from this, mankind IS falling NOT ascending. Gordon H Clarke made a most lamentable observation back in the 1960s "There are too few people who wish to understand even the simplest biblical teaching. This is not a theological age. Some writers say it is a post Christian age." Are these words prophetic/correct or not?
    I believe (sadly) that most who come upon this excellent posting of yours will not do it rightful justice. They will find it too 'hard' to understand.
    To speak lightly of the Reformation is a very great sin-they were not perfect-they started the ball rolling, so to speak.
    Sorry for so many words when half would have sufficed!
    God bless you.

  21. Very sadly I think you are quite right in saying that Gordon H Clarke's words are prophetic Colin...

    "Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of HEARING the words of the LORD." Amos 8:11

    God bless you x