2 Thessalonians 2:3 - apostasia: "falling away" (KJV) or "departure"?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by beameup, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. beameup

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    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; 2 Thes 2:3

    I read that English translations of this passage prior to the KJV, translated apostasia as "departure" and thus was a reference to the harpazo ("rapture").
     
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  2. Darrell C

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    Yes, this is argued by some.

    Taken from another forum:


    Years ago we printed an article entitled First the Departure, in which we dealt at length with a passage of Scripture which does explicitly affirm that the Rapture will precede the tribulation. In this article we gave conclusive evidence that the words hee apostasia in II Thessalonians 2:3 should have been rendered "the departure" rather than "a falling away" and that the passage thus reads:



    "Let no man deceive you by any means; for that day [the day of the Lord]1 shall not come except the departure come first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."



    The preceding verses and the preceding letter written by Paul to these same people all bear witness that "the departure" referred to is the departure of believers to go and be with Christ.



    We are quite taken aback to see how lightly some have disposed of the evidence we advanced for this rendering of II Thessalonians 2:3. We have given Scriptural proof after proof that the word apostasia does not mean departure from the truth, but simply departure, and that the original passage in question certainly does not use the words "a falling away" but rather "the departure".



    To all this our post-tribulational brethren reply by simply stating authoritatively and dogmatically that the word apostasia means a departure from the truth.


    Lest some of our readers believe that apostasia means a departure from the truth, we offer again what we believe to be conclusive Scriptural proof that the words "a falling away," in II Thessalonians 2:3, should have been rendered "the departure" and that the Greek word apostasia does not contain ideas of revolt or rebellion as does our English word apostasy.



    APOSTASIA AND APOSTASY



    Actually the Greek noun apostasia occurs in only one other passage in the New Testament, namely Acts 21:21, where Paul is informed of the report that he has taught "all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses."



    We suggest that "depart" here would be a closer synonym to the rendering "forsake" than would the word "apostatize." To forsake is not exactly to revolt or rebel against, and this is the meaning of apostasy. Furthermore, in this case we are explicitly informed that these Jews were being urged to forsake or depart from Moses, indicating that the word apostasia by itself does not mean "a departure from the truth" but simply "a departure."



    But some people have evidently overlooked the root verb from which the noun apostasia is derived. This verb, aphisteemi, occurs 15 times in the New Testament and its meaning is easy to determine from those passages in which it is used. So that there may be no mistake, we present here a list of every New Testament use of this verb:



    Luke 2:37 - "departed not from the temple."



    Luke 4:13 - "the devil...departed from Him."



    Luke 8:13 - "in time of temptation fall away."



    Luke 13:27 - "depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity."



    Acts 5:37 - "drew away much people after him."



    Acts 5:38 - "refrain from these men."



    Acts 12:10 - "the angel departed from him."



    Acts 15:38 - "who departed from them from Pamphylia."



    Acts 19:9 - "he departed from them."



    Acts 22:29 - "they departed from him."



    II Cor. 12:8 - "I besought the Lord...that it might depart."



    I Tim. 4:1 - "some shall depart from the faith."



    I Tim. 6:5 - "from such withdraw thyself."



    II Tim. 2:19 - "depart from iniquity."



    Heb. 3:12 - "in departing from the living God."


    The reader should observe carefully that in 11 out of these 15 occurrences the verb in question is rendered depart, departed, or departing.



    Only three of the 15 are concerned with departure from the truth. In two of these it is clearly stated that the departure is "from the faith" (I Tim. 4:1) and "from the living God" (Heb. 3:12) while the third clearly implies a departure, or "falling away," from that which was "for a while believed," leaving the meaning of the verb aphisteemi in each case simply depart. And these are the only three passages of the above fifteen where departure from the truth is even involved.



    In the other twelve the meaning of the word itself is again simply that of departure - nothing more.



    In Luke 4:13 we read that the devil "departed" from Christ. In Acts 12:10 an angel "departs" from Peter. In Acts 15:38 we read how a man had "departed" from Paul and Barnabas. In II Corinthians 12:8 we read of Paul's thrice-repeated prayer that a thorn might "depart," or be removed, from his flesh. And so with all the others.



    Indeed, in two of the 15 cases above the very opposite of apostasy or departure from the truth is involved.



    In I Timothy 6:5 Timothy is told to depart ("withdraw thyself") from men who are "destitute of the truth," while in II Timothy 2:19 all who "name the name of Christ" are exhorted to "depart from iniquity."



    If one carefully considers these fifteen occurrences of the root verb of the noun apostasia, he would surely not declare with finality that the meaning of apostasia is "apostasy" or "a departure from the truth."


    Continued...
     
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  3. Darrell C

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    THE AUTHORIZED VERSION AND ITS PREDECESSORS



    Before leaving this subject we would call attention to Mr. Kenneth S. Wuest's rendering of II Thessalonians 2:3 in his Expanded Translation of the Greek New Testament. It reads as follows:



    "Do not begin to allow anyone to lead you astray in any way, because that day shall not come except the aforementioned departure [of the Church to heaven] comes first and the man of lawlessness is disclosed [in his true identity], the son of perdition."



    Now however Mr. Wuest's translation of the New Testament may be appraised, we doubt that in thus rendering the verse he was trying to establish some private theory as to the timing of the Rapture. He was just trying to produce a good English translation of what the Greek actually says, and he proves this in his preface to II Thessalonians, parts of which we quote below.



    "If apostasia and aphisteemi meant what our word `apostasy' and `apostatize' mean, why did Paul when using aphisteemi in I Timothy 4:1 feel the need of adding the qualifying phrase, `from the faith' to complete the meaning of aphisteemi in that instance of its use.



    In explaining why the Authorized Version failed to retain the rendering "a departure," which they found in the five versions which preceded A. V., Mr. Wuest points out a mistake contained in all six versions. Says Mr. Wuest:



    "The fatal mistake the translators made was in failing to take into consideration the definite article before the word apostasia which appears in the Greek text of Eberhard Nestle, in that of his son, Erwin Nestle, and in that of Westcott and Hort. A. T. Robertson in his monumental work, A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research, asserts that the translators of the A. V., under the influence of the Vulgate, dealt with the Greek article in a loose and inaccurate way (p. 756). He goes on to say that the vital thing is to look at the matter in hand from the Greek angle and find a reason for the use of the article in any given instance. The use of the article here is classified by Dana and Mantey in their Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament as that of denoting previous reference. In this usage the article is used to point out an object the identity of which is defined by some previous reference made to it in the context (p. 141). The word `previous' is all-important here. The translators of the A. V. looked for the definition of the word in the subsequent context, whereas the Greek article points here to a previous context, namely, to the coming of the Lord Jesus into the air and the gathering together of the saints to Him and their consequent ascent to heaven. Thus, instead of speaking of a departure of men from the true Faith, Paul is referring to the departure of the saints to heaven. It is this departure of the Church which is preventing the coming of the day of the Lord and the disclosure of the man of lawlessness in his true identity."

    Dr. E. Schuyler English, too, has made a comprehensive study of the Rapture in relation to the tribulation and has written a book on the subject entitled Re-thinking the Rapture. In it he deals at length with the meaning of apostasia and its verb root, aphisteemi and goes on to say:



    "The day of the Lord will not come, then, until the man of sin be revealed. And before he is revealed, there must be `the departure.' Departure from what or to what? It must have been something concerning which the Thessalonian believers were informed, else the definite article would hardly have been employed, and without any qualifying description with the noun. 2 Why do we assume that this departure must be from the faith?



    "Again, how would the Thessalonians, or Christians in any century since, be qualified to recognize the apostasy when it should come, assuming, simply for the sake of this inquiry, that the Church might be on earth when it does come? There has been apostasy from God, rebellion against Him, since time began. And if it be proposed that the man of sin, sitting in the temple of God and showing Himself to be God, is the apostasy, we must ask ourselves a question: Is this act, on the part of the man of sin, apostasy, a falling away, or is it blasphemous denial by one who never at any time acknowledged God?



    "There is a departure concerning which the Thessalonians had been instructed by letter. This is not conjecture but fact: it is the Rapture of the Church, described in I Thessalonians 4:13-17. It was on account of the confusion in the minds of these young Christians, in the matter of events associated with the coming of the Lord, that this epistle was written - for some had sought to deceive them, as by spirit (claiming, perhaps, some new revelation from God), or by word (possibly a misinterpretation of something Paul said), or by letter as from Paul, telling the Thessalonians that the day of the Lord was already present. And how could the apostle set their minds at rest? He could assure them, `by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him,' that the day of the Lord will not come `except there come the departure, the Rapture, first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.' The day of the Lord was not present; for they themselves, members of Christ's mystical Body, were still on earth. The Rapture had not already taken place, they being left behind; for the man of sin was not revealed.



    "This interpretation corresponds perfectly in sequence, with that in verses 7 and 8, if the restraining power is, as we believe to be the case, the Holy Spirit. The Church departs, and the man of sin is revealed (vs. 3); the Holy Spirit, the restrainer, is taken out of the way, `and then shall that wicked one be revealed' (vss. 7,8 )."



    CONCLUSION



    1. The word apostasia and its root verb, aphisteemi, do not, used by themselves, mean "apostasy" and "apostatize." They mean "departure" and "depart," nothing more.



    2. II Thessalonians 2:3 states in the Greek, that the day of the Lord will not come "except the departure come first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition."



    3. The term "the



    4. Paul had written to the Thessalonians in his previous letter about the departure of the members of Christ's Body from this earth (I Thes. 4:16,17) and had even dissociated this from the prophesied "day of the Lord" with the "But" of I Thessalonians 5:1. He had also referred to this "departure" in the phrase "our gathering together unto Him," in II Thessalonians 2:1. Indeed, this was the basis for his appeal to the Thessalonians not to be "shaken" or "troubled" by those who would make them think that "the day of the Lord" was at hand. He had also "told" them about "these things" while he was yet with them (II Thes. 2:5).



    5. "The man of sin" must also be manifested before the "day of the Lord" can come (II Thes. 2:3,4) and he cannot be manifested until "the departure" takes place "first."



    6. Thus, in addition to many clear proofs that the Rapture of the Body will precede the great tribulation we also have a passage which "explicitly affirms" this.



    "Wherefore comfort one another..." (I Thes. 4:18 ).



    "Be not soon shaken in mind, or...troubled..." (II Thes. 2:2).



    "Let no man deceive you by any means..." (II Thes. 2:3).




    Endnotes



    1. I Thessalonians 2:2 properly reads the "day of the Lord" not the "day of Christ."



    2. "Such a noted scholar as Dr. George Milligan, in his commentary on the Greek Text (Macmillan, New York), although holding to the traditional translation of apostasia, states that the use of the definite article proves [that the apostasia referred to is one] regarding which the apostle's readers were already fully informed."


    Source

    Enjoy.


    God bless.
     
  4. Martin Marprelate

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    From Vine's Expository Dictionary.
    Under "Fall away"
    Apostasia, "a defection, revolt, apostasy," is used in the N.T. for religious apostasy; in Acts 21:21, it is translated, "to forsake," lit., "thou teachest apostasy from Moses." In 2 Thes. 2:3 "the falling away" signifies apostasy from the faith. In papyri documents it is used politically of rebels.

    Aphistemi, when used intransitively, signifies "to stand off" (apo, "from," histemi,"to stand"), "to withdraw from;" hence, "to fall away, to apostatize," 1 Tim. 4:1, RV, "shall fall away," for KJV, "shall depart;" Heb. 3:12, RV, "falling away."

    Under "Depart"
    Aphistemi, in the active voice, used transitively, signifies "to cause to depart, to cause to revolt," Acts 5:37; used intransitively, "to stand off or aloof or to depart from anyone, Luke 4:13; 13:27; Acts 5:38 ("refrain from"); 12:10; 15:38; 19:9; 22:29; 2 Cor. 12:8; metaphorically, "to fall away," 2 Tim. 2:19; in the middle voice, "to withdraw or absent oneself from," Luke 2:37; to "apostatize," Luke 8:13; 1 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 3:12, RV, "falling away."

    In summary, apostasia is very clearly associated with rebellion or apostasy both inside and outside of the N.T. Aphistemi can clearly mean "to depart" but the occurrences in the N.T. have nothing to do with any 'rapture.' It can also very clearly mean "to apostatize." Check out Luke 8:13 and 1 Tim. 4:1. Dispensational wishful thinking, I'm afraid.
     
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  5. Darrell C

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    Did you read what the author has to say?


    God bless.
     
  6. Martin Marprelate

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    Yes. I disagree with it so I provided another opinion.
     
  7. Darrell C

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    I have not a dogmatic stand either way, yet. I think the author makes some good points which would be for those who deny the view to invalidate.

    Just for arguments sake, we see that those who do not receive/obey the Gospel will be given strong delusion from God. The question being, can we tie that with Apostasy (in the sense this falling away is usually perceived to mean)?

    I view to be in view here a simple statement, that there will be a "standing away" from. This, if we consider it a conscious effort of those we deem to the apostates in view, seems to conflict, but only just a little. We could view the apostasy as a result of the strong delusion, which has more to do with embracing the lie rather than rejecting the Gospel and standing away.

    Great article for discussion, though, if you ask me.


    God bless.
     
  8. Mr Mojo Risen

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  9. Darrell C

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    You feel all translations are in the list you provide?

    The issue is not resolved in a translation, but in the Greek itself.

    That is what the article argues, that the Translators dropped the ball on this. And unless we take a mob rules approach, that most translations render it falling away does not in itself deny any credibility to the proposed translation of departure.

    The article states:


    Do we consider these to be attempts to under-gird a particular view? Maybe. Should we dismiss it offhand? Probably not.

    By the way, welcome to the forum.


    God bless.
     
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  10. Mr Mojo Risen

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    Thanks, I didn't read the entirety of the article but just did research through the online Lexicon and Strongs and both had the Greek for apostasy.
    Now I'll have to go read it all the way through ha ha
     
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  11. Mr Mojo Risen

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    Who wrote the article? What is their eschatology position?
     
  12. Martin Marprelate

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    We should certainly not dismiss the article 'off-hand,' but if we were to accept 'Depart' as a possible translation of apostasia (which it is, but not its primary meaning, nor is it found in Scripture) then that would not mean that 'departure' = 'rapture.' That is a huge stretch in any case. It could very possibly refer to a departure from the truth.

    Apostasia is only found twice in the NT- in 2 Thes. 2:3 and Acts 21:21. If we translate the latter to read, 'You teach all the Jews who live among the Gentiles to depart from Moses' there would still be no possible connection to a rapture. The word used in 1 Thes. 4:17 to describe our being 'caught up' to meet the Lord, is harpazo, which obviously has no connection at all with apostasia.

    I looked up apostasia in the secular Liddell & Scott Greek lexicon, and the primary reading there also is 'apostasy,' often referring to political rebellion.

    Finally, it is not wise to suppose that a noun and a verb will necessarily have the same meaning, and connect apostasia with aphistemi. If you take the verb 'to run' and then look up the noun 'run' you will find a malfunction in a pair of ladies' tights or stockings, a score at cricket or baseball, an extension to a chicken coop and various other meanings.

    All in all, I think you will only find a rapture in 2 Thes. 2:3 if you are determined to do so.
     
  13. Darrell C

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    It's an article from another forum, which as I mentioned, is not something I present as a inarguable argument, just commenting on the OP who mentions translations and basically Translators who view a correct translation to be departure. To be honest, even though I am a Pre-Tribulation Rapturist, I look at this argument as one that can be argued both ways, and reasonably. So I tend not to look at arguments which cannot, from Scripture, be brought to a conclusive and inarguable position. It's kind of like debating Creation, we can only offer arguments from what we take out of the texts, rather than getting into extra-biblical arguments.

    And arguments concerning grammatical issues are pointless, in my view. An argument/position is better defended through the context of each passage, and while some view grammatical arguments as conclusive, I do not. The issue of past or present tense can be moot because the subject is a general teaching. It's going to apply to both.

    But the author of the post is definitely Pre-Trib Rapturist. Just wanted to let Beam-Me-Up know that what he had heard is in fact an issue that has been raised before, and is in fact an issue going back some years..


    God bless.
     
  14. Darrell C

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    Spiros Zodhiates states this in the Hebrew-Greek Key Study Bible:

    2 Thessalonians 2:3: In this verse we have the two signs which precede the parousia of the Lord Jesus. One is translated "the apostasy," he apostasia, although it does not exactly mean that. The verb from which this substantive is derived is aphistemi, made up of the preposition apo (575), "from," and histemi, "to place or stand." In its strict sense it means to place oneself away from or to stand away from someone. It does not necessarily mean to remove oneself from someone or somewhere. (and I will bypass the crs. for where the verb is found, short on time) This departing from someone does not necessarily imply wholehearted agreement or disagreement, but it is separating oneself for the purpose of not incurring the dangers of that association.

    I will stop there and just point out that we could debate the meaning of the word until the cows come home, but if we are predisposed to deny a possible meaning it is useless, right?

    "There must come a standing/placing away from first."

    So I am not going to debate that, lol. Instead, I am going to try to focus on that which cannot be disputed, the points that we might both agree to in the passage.

    And I will show why I think the article presents a reasonable case when we look at the example you give in this next statement:


    I see this...

    ...as in error at a basic level.

    The "coming of the Lord and our gathering unto Him" is a reference to the Rapture,and has to be, because this is what Paul states will happen.

    I will also say that I find the above a completely acceptable translation, and in fact it brings out the charge levied against Paul much better, and fits into a Biblical Context better.

    Paul wasn't teaching men that they should "forsake" Moses, or become "apostate" in regards to the Law...we know this because he agrees to participate in a Jewish Ritual associated with the Law. Further, Paul makes it clear that the Law was good, and while he had the Word of God in mind, rather than the Covenant, we cannot impose into Paul's teaching a forsaking of the Law. I believe Paul penned Hebrews, where foundational teachings of the Law are to be progressed from, rather than abandoned.

    Now let's look at the other aspect of your argument/point:

    Not in this verse, no, but we aren't examining the translation in this verse, right? So let's take it back to the context in view:


    2 Thessalonians 2

    King James Version (KJV)

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

    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    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;



    Paul's primary focus is on the coming of Christ and our gathering unto Him, which is thought by most to be what is referred to in v.2:


    2 Thessalonians 2

    King James Version (KJV)

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

    2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

    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;



    The New King James adds a footnote that the NU-text reads "the Lord."

    Now this is significant if, rather than the popular view that the coming of Christ and our gathering unto Him is the same thing referenced in v.2, that in view are two different events.

    And if we balance Paul's teaching I think it is easy to see that Paul is not saying that the coming of our Lord and our gathering unto Him has to be preceded by the apostasy or revelation of Antichrist, but that he is saying don't be shaken by that which you've heard...you are not in the Day of the Lord.

    He follows this by saying...

    2 Thessalonians 2

    King James Version (KJV)

    5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?



    We can look back at what Paul taught (and I don't have time to do so right now, and am in fact redoing this response due to computer issues (the first one was more detailed, of course, lol)) and see what he taught.

    And an interpretation that has the Church in the Day of the Lord is highly unlikely.


    And it is not surprising you find the leading interpretation.

    But again, I see it as a secondary issue. Regardless of how one translates it, we still see either a placing away from or a standing away from. Either one does not nullify Paul's previous teaching, nor do we neglect to balance this with all that is taught concerning the Rapture.


    Not what I see as a credible argument because no-one translates or gives it a meaning of "to apostasy."

    THE apostasy and the apostasy can be the same thing. Whatever we want to make it mean it still has the underlying premise of departure. The false charge against Paul refers to a departure from the Law.


    And the same argument can be levied in the opposite direction: one can only miss the Rapture if they have no intention of allowing it to be within the teaching.

    The coming of our Lord and our gathering unto Him is the focal point, and that is a reference to the Rapture.

    The Day of the Lord is speaking about the Tribulation.

    The concern of the Thessalonians was in regards to the coming of Christ and our gathering unto Him, so in order for us to make this to mean that the Church is going to go through the Tribulation we have to ignore what Paul has already taught.

    And you can't reconcile the Rapture he teaches with what he is saying in 2 Thessalonians 2, because that makes void the previous teaching. We would have the Day of the Lord coming upon the Church like a thief in the night, and that can't possibly happen.


    God bless.
     
  15. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    Just for fun, I will present another mention of the Rapture, and see if it denied as a reference to it:



    2 Corinthians 5

    King James Version (KJV)

    1 For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.



    He is speaking about the resurrection body we will have.


    2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven:


    We desire to receive that body.


    3 If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked.



    What he means is that, if we die, we will not receive that body, because we receive this body at the Rapture.

    We will be "naked" (without that "house" which is from Heaven) if we die prior to the Rapture. His earnest desire is to be resurrected and caught up.


    4 For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.


    To be unclothed is not to have our earthly house or the house which is from Heaven. When we receive that house from Heaven mortality is "swallowed up of life:"



    1 Corinthians 15:53-54

    King James Version (KJV)

    53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.

    54 So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.



    Same statement.



    He goes on to say...


    8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.


    Which is to say, even if we die and do not receive that body when we die...it's still better to be with the Lord than in our earthly house.

    So we see that Paul lived in earnest desire to be Raptured.

    I share that sentiment with him.


    God bless.
     
    #15 Darrell C, Mar 10, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
  16. Van

    Van
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    Thanks for the discussion. I especially liked the observation that just because a lot of folks believe something does not demonstrate its truth.
     
  17. Darrell C

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    There's a lot of that going around, lol.


    God bless.
     
  18. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    This reminds of James West speaking to a friend of his that was into eastern mysticism, who believed in a John Lennon, approach to life, that if one imagines something it becomes real. So he asks the guy, "If millions upon millions of people believe that Jesus is the Christ, then...does that make Him real?" Which leads to the reasoning that if that is so, then he (the friend) needed to place his faith in Christ.


    God bless.
     
  19. Darrell C

    Darrell C
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    I am surprised, no-one wants to challenge this?


    God bless.
     
  20. Martin Marprelate

    Martin Marprelate
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    Acts 21:21. 'But they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses.'
    This wasn't what Paul was actually teaching! It was what the Jewish Christians had been told he was teaching.
     

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