The typical church-going Christian today remains oblivious to the fact that their modern translations are based upon a "thought-for-thought" translation of their Bible rather than the more accurate "word-for-word" translation of the Biblical texts. After 1881, ALL English translations are seriously suspect because of the corrupt Westcott & Hort New Greek New Testament used to translate modern English Bibles.. The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament was adopted from a virtual copy of the corrupted Westcott & Hort Critical Greek New Testament. The Nestle-Aland Greek New Testament, now in its 28th edition was the basis of every modern English Bible since the Revised English Bible of 1901 was released. Furthermore, Nestle-Aland is the text used by nearly every Greek student in Bible college or seminary in the twentieth century.
Dean John Henry Burgon, a contemporary of Drs. Westcott & Hort, published a 600+ page book entitled 'The Revision Revised' exposing the thousands of changes made by Catholic sympathizers Westcott & Hort. The work of Dean John Henry Burgon is of such great importance to bring into question the inaccuracy of our modern translations that even today seminary professors of Textual Criticism go out of there way to hide the fact that Dean Burgon has brought the focus on the motives, actions, and deeds of Westcott & Hort. Westcott & Hort made over 36,000 changes to the Authorized 1611 King James Bible. The team of Westcott & Hort were sympathetic with Romanism, and were influenced by the use of vastly inferior Greek texts of Catholic origin rather than to use the recognized existing Textus-Receptus, accepted by the Church since the end of the first-century AD.
The English translated Authorized 1611 KJV Bible is not as pure as it could or should be, but still very close to being pure, something that I have noted in previous posts. There is a huge discrepancy in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, and yet it is missed by English readers, including many theological academics, and it has enormous significance to those who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching. The Greek "Textus Receptus" or "Received Text" has the "Definite Article" preceding the Greek word "apostasia" translated as "apostasy" in the KJV Bible passage of 2nd Thessalonians 2:3.
What's a "Definite Article" and what does it matter to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture belief? I am about to share this and it is significantly important, especially for those who believe in the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Read on to understand why understanding Greek Grammar and the principles of grammar are absolutely essential in the area of translation. In the Greek "Textus Receptus" the text reads "he apostasia", (sounds like or pronounced "hee apostasia" or "hey apostasia"). Most Bible teachers and preacher miss this compound error because of their ignorance of the Greek that human error and changes that were made to the Westcott & Hort Critical Greek Text, and thus we have a corrupted translation and meaning of the passage in other modern translations. 95% of clergy today are not schooled in Greek and have absolutely no understanding of what all this means. Thus, this is a factor confusing the understanding of the timing of the Rapture itself among Christians, as if the Church didn't have enough problems.
The Greek Lexicon, Lydell and Scott, defines 'apostasia', first as "defection, revolt", and then secondly as "departure, disappearance". Paul Lee Tan notes, "The definite article "the" denotes that this will be a definite event." "He 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" no less.
The use of the "definite article" in this context is meant to denote a one-time event, which the Pre-Tribulation Rapture fits into. It is hard to think of how the process of apostasy at the end of the Church Age could be viewed by believers around the world as an identifiable, one-time event. However, this would not be a problem if that event were the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. Furthermore, how could an apostasy be a sign to the Church since many New Testament Epistles warn about apostasy in the first-century and Jude said it has arrive in his day -(Jude 3:4). Dr. Tommy Ice says, "apostasy is a moving target while the Rapture will be a clear event".
The first "seven" English, (not American) translations all rendered the noun "apostasia" 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 (15830
Geneva Bible (1608)
This clearly supports the notion that the word truly means "The departure". In fact, Jerome's Latin translation, known as the "Vulgate", from around the time of 400 AD renders "Apostasia" with the Latin word "eiscessio", meaning "departure".
The question here that begs an answer is, Why was the King James Version the first to depart (no pun intended) from the established translation of "the departure". I have heard scholars argue that no one knows the reason for the transition shift. However, there is an answer that explains the change. In a Master's of Theology thesis, by a Dallas Theological Seminary graduate student, by the name of Martin Butalla, we discover the reason and its significance.
It appears that the Roman Catholic translation into English from Jerome's Latin Vulgate known as the Rheims Bible (Jesuit Bible) of 1576 was the first to break the translation trend. "Apostasia" was revised from "the departure" to "the Protestant Revolt", explains Martin Butalla: "Revolution is the terminology still in use today when Catholicism teaches the history of the Protestant Reformation". Under this guise, "apostasia would refer to a departure of Protestants from the Catholic Church". A number of modern Bibles today translate the word to "rebellion", a carryover from the corrupt Westcott & Hort Critical Greek New Testament.
The Roman Catholic Church translators appeared to engage in polemics against the Reformation by even allowing it to impact Bible translation. By 1611, when the original version of the 1611 KJV Bible came out, the translators changed the English translation from "the departure" to "falling away", which implies "apostasy".
Think of the mindset similar to our contemporary world of political correctness where words are changed for being considered too sensitive or offensive. We have numerous words or phrase that are no longer used today but were as common everyday language but a few years ago. As an example of what I am referring to, society has deemed not to call people handicapped, but rather refer to them as "physically challenged" or "mentally challenged". The military once classified African-Americans as "Negros" and in the slang of our culture the "N-word" was used for centuries. None of these are used or considered acceptable today.
Such a change was a theological response to the Catholic notion that the Protestant Reformation was a revolt against the true church, but instead, Protestants saw Catholic beliefs as the "falling away" or "the great apostasy". This would mean that the shift in translation was not based upon the research or the etymology of the meaning of the original language but as a theological polemic against the false teachings of Romanism.
Incidentally, this example could well be used as an argument, i.e., a counter-point argument with the critics of those labeled "King James Only" followers. I reiterate a point that I have made before that some have failed to note, I am not a "KJV Only" Bible reader. Rather, I am a Masoretic/Textus Receptus "ONLY". This distinction is most important when we are interested in purity and truth of the Word. It was relevant with the computer experts at Stanford University when they studied the KJV Bible, where they concluded the KJV Bible as being 98.2% accurate! Suffice it to say, we need to be diligent in the seeking the most accurate manuscripts available and dated as closely to the first century AD Church. Nothing since Westcott & Hort even comes close to the KJV Bible for preserving God's True Word!
Any Bible college or seminary student understands the dilemma of communication: when and where did a word begin; how was it used in the Old Testament era; how was it used in the classical sense; how was it used in the Septuagint period; how was it used in the New Testament era; and how is it used in the contemporary era? You can see by this, translating the Biblical texts is more complicated than you might imagine.
It is an established fact that E.Schuyler English is thought to be the first Pre-Tribulationist to propose that "the departure" in 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 was a physical departure and thus a reference to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. However, history records at least several other men actually held this idea before English's series of articles in 1950. J.S. Mabie is said to have presented the view that "the departure" refers to Pre-Tribulation Rapture as early as 1859 during a prophecy conference in Los Angeles, California. He later wrote his view in an article published in November of 1895 in a periodical called the 'Morning Star'. Another pre-Schuyler English proponent of "the departure" as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture was John R. Rice in a book published in 1945. John R. Rice was the founding editor of the Christian magazine 'Sword of the Lord'. I can identify another eight or ten more men holding the same view during the first half of the twentieth-century but there is no need to pile it on. In coming segments we will look at the years between the first-century era of the Apostle John and the late 1700's. We will find upwards of a hundred from my seminary library research that held the view that Christ's return would be in two phases, that of a Rapture and then a Second Coming in judgment.
In addition to the reasons already cited for why "apostasia" should be translated as "the departure" and understood as a reference to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture of the Church before the Day of the Lord, we need to mention that the "literary structure" of the passage also supports the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view. By "literary structure" I am referring to 'grammar or grammatical form'. Boring yes, but essential, absolutely!
It appears that Paul later in 2nd Thessalonians 2:6-8 repeats the same two events mentioned in 2:3, thus supporting, or "doubling down" on the Pre-Tribulation Rapture view in verse 2:3. Both events are stated twice in the passage: First, "the departure" (rapture) and then "the revelation of the man of sin" in verse 2:3, and Second, the restrainer (Holy Spirit) "is taken out of the way" (rapture) and "that lawless one will be revealed" in verses 2:7-8. If "the departure" is meant to refer to some other form of apostasy then the parallelism is broken.
Whatever Paul was saying in verse 2:3 is reiterated again in verses 2:6-8. This literary construction is another factor that tips the scale in favor of seeing "the departure" in verse 2:3 as the Pre-Tribulation Rapture event. Last time in my post "Edify One Another" I pointed out that Paul taught the Pre-Tribulation Rapture, and it was not an invention of John Nelson Darby or Margaret MacDonald. The apparent reason why these two events are repeated twice was for the purpose of expounding in verse 2:6-8 upon the introductory statement in verse 2:3. Paul was adding emphasis to his basic point that the Rapture would precede the Tribulation.
We see the paralleling of "the departure" with the departure of the restrainer (Holy Spirit). Since most Pre-Tribulationist believe "the departure" of the restrainer is the Holy Spirit and is an argument for Pre-Tribulationism, it makes logical sense that they should be more open to "the departure" as a clear reference to the Pre-Tribulation Rapture. As with all words, context must determine the precise meaning. In some cases, "apostasia" means spiritual departure (i.e., falling away or departure from the faith). And in other cases, "apostasia" means physical departure (i.e, moving from point A to point B). In light of all the evidence, exegetical, lexical, contextual, and theological, the evidence supports a physical departure, namely the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
The origin of the "definite article" "ho, he" (pronounced hee or hey), and to (the masculine, feminine, and neuter forms), meaning "The", is from the Greek word "hode, hede, tode" meaning "this, these", or "that, those". Over time it became weakened to mean simply "the". But the article is sometimes restored to its original force and origin and may be translated by various pronouns such as "this, that, some, others, ours, his", or "which".
In English we have two words known as "articles": the infinite article "a" (or "an"), and the definite article "the". However, in Greek, there is only the "definite article" "ho, he" (pronounced hey), and "to". Omitting the article before a word often gives that word an indefiniteness. The KJV Bible translators omitted translating the "definite article" in translating into English. Unfortunately, an English translation does not show the significance of the use or omission of the Greek article. It has many usages and possible meanings, not always translated. The "definite article" "ho" appears in front of "apostasia" in the Greek Textus-Receptus, and is translated "The Apostasy".
The general rule for understanding the article is as follows: 1. The article placed before a word makes that word either definite (stressing its identity) or generic (the word is a general representattive of a class or a group); and 2. The omisson of the article before a word makes that word indefinite ("a", "an") or qualitative (stressing its essence, character, and quality). For example, the omission of the article before "God" in "...and the Word was God" -(John 1:1), gives the word "God" a qualitative meaning. That is, the Word is the essence of the Divine nature of God. Thus, the Word, "logos", is very God", not the indefinite "a god". While this is an aside to my explanation, this is exactly what the Jehovah Witness Watchtower's 'New World Translation' does. The JW 'New World Translation' is based upon the corrupt Westcott & Hort Critical Greek New Testament as well as is all English translations of the Bible since 1881.
Surprisingly, even the New American Standard Bible (NASB), favorite of many pastors, while it has been based upon the corrupt Westcott & Hort Greek New Testament, alias, a.k.a., the Nestle-Aland Greek Text of the United Bible Societies, but it kept the original rendering of all the English Bibles noted earlier on in the list, "the departure".
Frequently the article is used before a word to point it out in a distinctive way, distinguishing and contrasting one thing from another. In Acts 19:13, "We adjure you by (the) Jesus whom Paul preacheth", uses the "definite article" before "Jesus" to point out His distinctiveness and identity.
All of this is in response to the critics of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture teaching, who want to argue that if the Tribulation is taught in the New Testament, then where is it clearly taught? This is the question all others holding a NON-Pre-Tribulation Rapture view continue to ask. Their ignorance (lack of linguistic knowledge and grammatical form of the Greek) blinds them from seeing the truth. Their lack of any formal Greek training and a lack of appreciation for the "Rules of Grammar" prevent them from understanding as well as seeing the obvious answer to their headlined question at the Pre-Wrath Rapture sites. When you understand the "Rules of Grammar", the Greek Textus Receptus that was used to translate the KJV Bible, the history of Paul's ministry, general first-century church history, and the contextual history of the Bible, you can clearly see that Paul taught the Pre-Tribulation Rapture!! This is one of several proofs validating the concept of Paul being the revealer of the Pre-Tribulation Rapture.
2nd Thessalonians 2:3 teaches that the Rapture must occur before the Day of the Lord (Tribulation).
This is one of those occasions where, to the reader, it is not so obvious or specifically stated. The purpose of Paul's writings to the Thessalonian believers in his second epistle was to "comfort" them in light of a false (forgery) teaching that they were in the Tribulation -(2nd Thessalonians 2:2). If "apostasia" refers to a departure from the faith before the Tribulation, then how is that a comfort? It simply isn't a comfort! However, if "the departure" is the Pre-Trib Rapture, then there is great comfort since they will be delivered and taken to heaven to be with the Lord before the coming wrath of the Tribulation (all seven years of it). Also, if this passage does not refer "apostasia" to the Rapture, then imminency is lost because they would be looking for a great apostasy rather than the Lord Christ Jesus. Maranatha!
I know this has been a long article, but there is even more to share and explain in order to fully understanding this matter in the use of the "Definite Article" that is omitted or missing from the English KJV Bible passage of 2nd Thessalonians 2:3. The Greek Textus Receptus, used to translate the KJV Bible New Testament; however, contains the "Definite Article".
It is most unfortunate that the 1611 KJV translators made such a serious mistake. In my next segment of "Pre-Tribulation Truth - 4", I will provide the rest of this study. As a side-bar note, the New American Standard Bible (NASB) has, surprisingly, correctly rendered the passage of 2nd Thessalonians 2:3 correctly. Without access to the NASB translator committee's notes we cannot know why they translated it correctly.
The point I am making is that you cannot refute the Pre-Tribulation Rapture event by saying you cannot find it in the Bible. The Pre-Tribulation Rapture is in the Greek text of 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, but unless you have adequate understanding of the Greek grammar you will not find it. Chances are the untrained mind in the Greek mindset cannot grasp what it is they are holding. It's in the Greek Textus-Receptus New Testament, from which the KJV Bible translator (four different groups of scholars) committees overlooked the existence of the "Definite Article" and carelessly omitted it.
God bless and keep listening for the trumpet call!