Thursday, June 21, 2007

Apostasy!? Apostasy!? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Apostasy!

by Patrick Heron


You hear it everywhere. There will be a great "falling away" in these last days. People will turn away from God and from the Word, and the whole world will become apostate. After this great apostasy, then the Antichrist will be unleashed on the world, and it's curtains for everyone.

Preachers, prophecy teachers, Pastors, and End Times novelists are all trumpeting the same warning: People will abandon God and his truth, and will turn to idols and false teaching and all manner of lawlessness and sin.

But is this true? Is this Biblical, and where does this doom and gloom doctrine come from? It arises from 2 Thess 2:3,

"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come except there come a FALLING AWAY first...and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."

To get the context of this, we must read the first verse in this chapter;

"Now we beseech you brethren by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him..."

So the context of this "falling away first" is two-fold. First, it talks about "the coming of the Lord," and secondly, " and by our gathering together unto him." These are two very separate and distinct items. For the "coming" of the Lord back to earth is going to happen at the end of the 7 years of Tribulation, and after the Battle of Armageddon. When he comes back down to earth to establish his 1000 year Millenial reign.

But the second part of verse one is about "our gathering together unto him..." A very different event altogether, often referred to as the Rapture of the saints.

Both these events provide the context for the next 8 verses, which deal with this touchy subject.

The believers in Thessalonica were afraid. Why were they afraid? You can read this in verse 2. But what were they afraid of? They were scared out of their wits because they thought that the "day of Christ" was at hand. That is, they thought that the Tribulation had already begun, and that Caesar was the Antichrist.

They thought this because some believers had told them so. In other words, they had received some wrong doctrine. Wrong doctrine can only be corrected by right doctrine. And that is what Paul is now providing in these 8 verses.

He begins by saying, "let no man deceive you." Because it is usually via man that we are deceived. But now he will tell us how not to be deceived. Paul goes on to say that "that day"; what day? "the day of the Lord." That is, the 7 years of Tribulation. This is the time period he is speaking of.

He continues by saying that "that day"... "SHALL NOT COME, except there come a falling away first..."

The Greek for "falling away" is apostasia. From this is transliterated the English word, apostasy. And if you look up the word apostasy in your dictionary, it will say it means "an abandonment of one's religious faith" or "to turn away" from one's religious practice.

But the original Greek word merits further study. The preposition apo means "away." And Greek is a very mathematical and precise language. Here is how that esteemed Biblical scholar, E. W. Bullinger defines apo in his Companion Bible, Appendix 104;

"Apo denotes motion from the surface of an object, as a line drawn from the circumference (of a circle)...Hence it is used as motion away from a place, marking the distance which seperates the two places..."

I don't want to get into the minutae of the origin and meaning of the word apostasia here, as I don't want to cause the reader to fall asleep. I have a fantastic, in-depth PowerPoint presentation on this topic available on my website which is simple and easy to follow ( provided to me with thanks to Keith Jackson of Florida). I highly recommend you read it.

Suffice to say that apostasia has nothing to do with a falling away from religion or a turning away from God and the truth. Rather it is depicted in Greek as a line going away from the outside of a circle and continuing in motion away from it.

In A Greek-English Lexicon by Sir Henry Stewert Jones and Roderick Mc Kenzie, (Oxford University Press, 1940), on apostasia they say;

"The verb may mean to remove spatially. There is little reason then to deny that the noun can mean such a spatial removal or departure. Since the noun is used only one other time in the New Testament of apostasy from Moses, (Acts 21:21), we can hardly conclude that it's Biblical meaning is necessarily determined." p.218

And a man named Daniel K. Davey did his Thesis on this word at the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary in 1982. He concludes;

"It is with full assurance of exegetical study and the complete confidence in the original languages, that the word meaning of apostasia is defined as "departure."

Ladies and gentlemen, if you are in the departure lounge at an airport, then you take off, the plane is a line in motion away from the circumference of the earth.

And that is EXACTLY what this word means. The "day of the Lord," the Tribulation, CANNOT begin until there is first a DEPARTURE. And remember the context of this section? It is the "gathering together" of the saints, commonly called the Rapture.

Paul is assuaging their fears. He is telling them not to have their minds upset by spirits or deceiving men. For the day of the Lord cannot happen until we are departed off this earth, until we are gathered together.

Then, Paul says, the son of perdition, the man of sin will be revealed. Who is this man? He is the Antichrist. And I will shortly be doing a series of articles entitled "Who is the Antichrist?" on Raiders News Network in this column. (Watch this space).

So if there is no "falling away" in these last days, then what is going to happen? Well, when Peter arose on Pentecost and gave that great speech, he quoted the prophet Joel;

"And it shall come to pass in the last days...I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.

And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit." Acts:2:17-18

According to this scripture, in the Last Days, there is not going to be an apostasy. Quite the opposite to what many preachers and teachers are saying is going to occur. For this prophecy says that God is going to "pour out His Spirit" liberally in these End Times.

Is there any proof for this? Well, yes. Absolutely, methinks. For there is massive revival going on in many of what we call Third World countries.

For instance, a few weeks ago in May, the Pope paid a visit to Brazil. It is the biggest Catholic country in the world with a 170 million population. A few short years ago about 98% of these people were Roman Catholic. But now this has fallen to 70%. The reason? There has been a huge rise in people becoming evangelical Christians. Do the math. 20% of 170 million is about 34 million believers.

Now there's what I call a paradox. The Pope is going to Brazil because he is concerned that millions are converting to Christianity! Hello!

My daughter Emily said she saw a documentary which said that 90% of the population of Honduras have become evangelical Christians. After their country was devastated by those horrible floods 10 or 12 years ago, the people have turned to God. Now they are thriving and exporting their produce to the U.S.

Colombia is the same. In the heart of the drug capital of the world, they fill soccer stadiums with 30,000 and 40,000 people for Christian services. This is being replicated in several South American countries.

I have heard of great healings, signs, miracles, and wonders as the Word spreads in India. I believe the spirit is being poured out in the countries of Africa also with tens of thousands converting to Christ.

When Mao took over China, there was a reputed one million evangelicals in that vast country. I received some newsletters last year reporting that the Word is spreading like wildfire there, with as many as 80 million Christians now in China.

And the people are so poor and down-trodden, and have so little going for them in these places that they have to walk out on their faith and believe God for their daily needs. And because of this, God is opening the flood-gates and blessing his people and signs, miracles, and wonders follow, just as in the Book of Acts.

And lets not forget the U.S. of A. There are millions of good, Bible believing folks in America. Even though we seem to spend much of our time belly-aching about our lot, and the government and the impending economic and military doom that seems to be around every corner...It seems in our world we are very insular and unthankful. We don't know how good we have it.

So, no folks. There is no "falling away" or apostasy. What we are seeing is "the latter rain." God is pouring out His Spirit, and His sons and His daughters shall prophesy and see visions, and the old men shall dream dreams.

The day is at hand. Keep looking up.

Dr. Patrick Heron is best selling author of Apocalypse Soon and The Nephilim and the Pyramid of the Apocalypse.


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