Many pretribulationists believe that the Greek word apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 means “a physical departure” (i.e. the rapture). This claim has been thoroughly debunked many times (see the two articles at the end of this post). In Koine Greek, the word never means “a physical departure,” but rather “a non-physical departure,” either a political or religious departure.
It is natural to ask how the early church understood and thus translated the Greek term apostasia in 2 Thess 2:3. Syriac is arguably the first language that the Greek New Testament was translated into during the second century. Not surprisingly, the term chosen to render apostasia in 2 Thess 2:3 for the Syriac version means a non-physical departure (i.e. religious or political).
Syriac New Testament Peshitta:
ܠܡܐ ܐܢܫ ܢܛܥܝܟܘܢ ܒܚܕ ܡܢ ܐܣܟܡܝܢ ܡܛܠ ܕܐܢ ܠܐ ܬܐܬܐ ܠܘܩܕܡ ܡܪܘܕܘܬܐ ܘܢܬܓܠܐ ܒܪܢܫܐ ܕܚܛܝܬܐ ܒܪܗ ܕܐܒܕܢܐ
Hebrew Peshitta New Testament:
למא אנש נטעיכון בחד מן אסכמין מטל דאן לא תאתא לוקדם מרודותא ונתגלא ברנשא דחטיתא ברה דאבדנא
English Syriac Peshitta Version:
“Let no one deceive you in any way; because [that day will not come], unless there previously come a defection, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition”
NA 28 Greek New Testament:
μή τις ὑμᾶς ἐξαπατήσῃ κατὰ μηδένα τρόπον· ὅτι ἐὰν μὴ ἔλθῃ ἡ ἀποστασία πρῶτον, καὶ ἀποκαλυφθῇ ὁ ἄνθρωπος τῆς ἁμαρτίας, ὁ υἱὸς τῆς ἀπωλείας
The standard Syriac lexicons define the term in a non-physical sense, not a physical sense:
William Jennings’ Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament
Payne Smith’s A Compendious Syriac Dictionary
The other Syriac lexicons are consistent on this definition, see:
Carl Brockelmann’s Lexicon Syriacum Editio Secunda Aucta Et Emendata
J. Louis-Costaz’s Syriac-French-English-Arabic Dictionary
Marcus Jastrow’s A Dictionary of the Targumim, the Talmud Babli and Yerushlami, and the Midrashic Literature
Edmundi Castelli’s Lexicon Syriacum Ex Eivs Lexico Heptaglotto
See also the following two related articles on apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3:
Does Apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Refer to a ‘Physical Departure’ (i.e. the Rapture)?
Why the Greek in John 7:51 and Mark 3:27 Supports Prewrath in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 that the Apostasy and the Antichrist Will FIRST [Proton] Happen BEFORE the Day of the Lord