By Rev. Bill Lee-Warner
The apostle Paul makes reference to an apostasy preceding the unveiling of the “man of lawlessness, the son of destruction.” (Antichrist) Five considerations as to what “the apostasy” means:
A. Apostasy by definition means “an abandonment of a previous loyalty”. (Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 10th Edition)
B. In context, Paul is writing to believers. His reference to this development therefore has some connection to the church.
C. The definite article (“the”) is placed before the word apostasy, making it a specific, identifiable apostasy.
D. By connecting this apostasy with the day of the Lord, it has a connection with Israel, since many of her prophets (O.T.) speak of this event in relation to Israel.
E. This apostasy has direct reference (in context) to “the man of lawlessness” (Antichrist).
With each of the above, we may conclude that “the apostasy” refers to when Antichrist desecrates the temple (cf. Daniel 9:27; 11:31) — prefigured in Antiochus Epiphanes in 168 BC in a near/far depiction — claims to be God, demands the worship of the world and orders the mark of the beast to be taken as a test of loyalty to himself. Those who refuse will die (4th and 5th seal). The apostasy (“abandonment to a previous loyalty”) will come when: (1) a significant number of people in the church in general choose to follow after Antichrist and, (2) numbers of Jews choose to put their hope and faith in this false savior instead of God Almighty.