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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament


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The Gr. word ἀποστασία (apostasia) is found twice in the NT, but in neither case does English Version render ‘apostasy.’ In Acts 21:21 a charge is brought against St. Paul of teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles ‘to forsake Moses’ (lit. [Note: literally, literature.] ‘apostasy from Moses’). In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 St. Paul assures the Thessalonian disciples that the day of the Lord shall not come ‘except the falling away (lit. [Note: literally, literature.] ‘the apostasy’) come first, and the man of sin (marg. [Note: margin.] , with bettor textual justification, ‘lawlessness’) be revealed.’ It is sometimes assumed that the word ‘first’ indicates that the revelation of the ‘man of sin’ must be preceded in time by the apostasy (cf. article Man of Sin, and Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) iii. 226); but the relation of 2 Thessalonians 2:2 to 2 Thessalonians 2:3 makes it more natural to understand ‘first’ as signifying that the apostasy and the revelation of the ‘man of sin,’ regarded as contemporaneous, must come before the day of the Lord. This is confirmed if we accept Nestle’s contention (Expository Times xvi. [1904-1905] 472) that ἡ ἀποστασία in this passage should be taken as a translation of the Heb. בְּלִיַעַל (Belial [q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ])-a rendering that occurs frequently in Aquila’s version and also in 3 Kings 21:13 in the Cod. Alexandrinus. In any case the Apostle’s reference is to the wide-spread expectation in the primitive Church (Matthew 24:24, 1 John 2:18; cf. Daniel 12:11) that the return of Christ would be preceded by such a revelation of the power of the Antichrist (q.v. [Note: quod vide, which see.] ) as would load to apostasy from the faith on the part of many professing Christians.

J. C. Lambert.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Apostasy'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. 1906-1918.

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