“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other.” (Matthew 24:10)
In the classical Greek, the term turn away is apostasia, from which we get the English word apostasy. Technically, the term means political revolt or defection. In the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible) however, it is always used to refer to rebellion against God (Joshua 22:22; 2 Chronicles 29:19). There are two New Testament instances of the word. The first is Acts 21:21 where Paul was accused of teaching the Jews to forsake Moses by abandoning circumcision and other traditional observances of the Jewish faith. The second instance is 2 Thessalonians 2:3, which describes the great “rebellion” or turning “away from the faith” that occurs alongside or prior to the revelation of the man of lawlessness (the anti-Christ). Apostasy has always been danger to the church. (1) But in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 Paul warns Christians not to be carried away and deceived by the widespread apostasy that is to come in the end times before the Lord returns. (2) This period will be characterized by widespread apostasy, heresy and scoffing (see Figure 2.1). During such things, Christians must fight the good fight, keep the faith, and finish the race.
- Wood, A. S. (1996). Apostasy. In D. R. W. Wood, I. H. Marshall, A. R. Millard, J. I. Packer, & D. J. Wiseman (Eds.), New Bible dictionary (3rd ed., pp. 57–58). Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.
- Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (p. 131). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.