Second Thessalonians chapter two has been the nemesis for pretribulationism. Or what I refer to as the 800-pound gorilla in the Bible of the pretribulationist.
This biblical passage has convinced more ex-pretribulationists that their pretrib theology is wrong than any other Bible passage. The reason for this is straightforward: The fundamental premise of pretribulationism is that there cannot be any prophesied events that will take place before the rapture, and consequently they believe in the novel idea of what has come to be called the “any moment” rapture (a.k.a. imminence).
Paul, however, gives an unambiguous statement in v. 3 that has lead many to reject imminence and thereby understand that there will be in fact at least a couple of key monumental events that will happen before the rapture.
Several pretrib teachers have attempted to get around the plain meaning of this Biblical text, but there has been one in particular that is indeed the most strained.
A few years back at a Bible prophecy Conference I gave a series of lectures on Thessalonians. One of them was focused particularly on the pretrib argument that the Greek word behind “rebellion” (apostasia, ἀποστασία) can carry the meaning of a “physical and spatial departure,” thereby suggesting that Paul has the rapture in mind when he uses this word in this verse. READ MORE…