David E. Olander is Professor of Biblical Languages and Theology at Tyndale Theology Seminary.
As Professor of Biblical Languages I assumed that he would know better not to commit Greek 101 lexical fallacies.
I was wrong.
On a single page in the following essay, he commits two basic—but serious—word fallacies: “The Pre-Day of the Lord Rapture,” in Dispensationalism Tomorrow and Beyond: A Theological Collection in Honor of Charles C. Ryrie, edited by Christopher Cone, 269–91, Fort Worth, TX: Tyndale Seminary Press, 2008.
First, concerning the Greek word apostasia in 2 Thess 2:3, he writes: “Apostasy has a root meaning of departure from, or standing apart from” (274).
This is obviously the root fallacy that is so common. Meaning is determined by usage and not roots.
Nevertheless, it is the second fallacy that is more worrisome. He writes, “Historically [apostasia] can easily mean [a physical departure; e.g. the rapture]” (274).
Olander claims that historically it “easily” means this? And yet he does not provide a single historical instance! He assumes his reader will take his word as gospel. Olander is not being forthright. He knows that in Koine Greek literature the noun apostasia never means a physical departure, which is why he cannot give a single instance.
Furthermore, in a footnote on the same page, Olander cites Liddell & Scott’s lexicon on this term but leaves out any historical instances by using ellipses!
Here is the information that I have supplied for Olander’s readers that he omits:
Liddell and Scott’s lexicon A Greek-English Lexicon lists the primary meaning of apostasia as “defection, revolt”: “esp. in religious sense, rebellion against God, apostasy, LXX Jo. 22.22, 2 Ep.Th. 2.3.” As a secondary sense, the lexicon has “departure, disappearance.” However, the lexicon only recognizes this secondary sense as found in the sixth century A.D. document Olympiodorus Philosophus: in Mete. = in Aristotelis Meteora commentaria, ed. W. Stüve (Comm. in Arist. Graeca xii pars ii), Berlin 1900. This latter example of a spatial departure is thus found five centuries later after the New Testament. It is sloppy and simply fallacious to read back, not only this obscure meaning, but one that is five centuries after the New Testament! [See my full article on this topic below]
In my public debate in the cross-examination period with Thomas Ice I honed in on the Greek noun apostastia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. I finally got him to admit in our cross-examination that he was incapable of producing a single document in all of Koine literature where apostasia means a “spatial departure.” (See the video below that starts our discussion on this point and the timestamp at 13:05 where Thomas Ice finally admitted that he could not cite a single instance for the debate).
Thomas Ice relies on H. Wayne House’s chapter “Apostasia in 2 Thessalonians 2:3: Apostasy or Rapture” in the book When the Trumpet Sounds edited by Thomas Ice and Timothy Demy.
In the cross-examination, Ice refers to House’s citations of “papyri,” which are on pages 294–295. When one turns there all they find is two instances of the noun apostasia, both of which are translated as “rebels”! So Ice completely blundered by referring to a source that he was ignorant about—which is why he could not actually cite them in the debate. But worse, Wayne House, Ice’s source, completely blundered by using them in his chapter because they actually support my position that the noun means a political or religious departure.
Moreover, the problem with citing House’s chapter is that in all of his 35 pages of the chapter not once does he ever cite a single instance in Koine literature of the noun apostasia meaning a “spatial departure.” Much of his chapter is filler that is not relevant to the issue. House spends a good time digging himself into the cognate fallacy, a fallacy where you assume a noun’s meaning based on the verb’s form or vice versa. He focuses on the verb forms of apostasia, committing the cognate fallacy.
The 800-pound gorilla remains in the room. Where does the noun apostasia mean a “spatial departure” in Koine literature?
It reminds me of the frequent claim by pretribulationists that the early church taught a pretrib rapture. They have never been able to produce a single document that indicates a rapture event occurring before the arrival of the Antichrist.