A Bad Translation and a Couple of Prophetic Words

“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,” (2 Thessalonians 2:3, emphasis mine).  I heard read an interesting study saying that the word apostasy, meaning heresy and often translated as falling away or departure from the faith is a bad translation.  The Greek word apostasia means departure, as in physically leaving a place.  Nowhere in any ancient Greek text is the word apostasia used in the sense of heresy.  It always means departure.  Also, elsewhere in the New Testament the word is used only in the sense of departure.

In light of the true meaning of the word, 2 Thessalonians 2:3 should read: “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the departure comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition,” (emphasis mine).  The departure is when we leave earth—the Rapture.

The Rapture makes sense of verse 7, which says: “For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the One who now holds it back will continue to do so till He is taken out of the way.”  Right now the Holy Spirit present on earth in the bodies of Christians is what is restraining evil from having full reign.  When we are raptured away, evil will run rampant in the earth unrestrained.  That’s when the antichrist will be revealed.

Here’s a link to read in more depth about the mis-translation of the word apostasia and the pre-tribulation rapture: The Rapture in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.  And of course, you should read that whole passage to understand everything in context.  In fact, go ahead and read the whole book of 2nd Thessalonians.  It’s short.  Read both books of Thessalonians.  I’ll wait here until you get back.  ☺

I’ve been visiting missionaries, Suki and Dave, in Tuscany, and together we visited a couple of churches.  Last night I received a prophetic word.  The prophet said that I have a strong character—said twice.  And that I am at a crossroads where I need to make a decision, that I already know the right choice.  Suki was also given a prophetic word that encouraged her.

It’s true, I was presented with an interesting choice—one that I didn’t tell anyone about.  Potentially, the choice could make me a nice little profit, but I felt that it wasn’t the right choice.  So I prayed about it.  I didn’t get an answer per se, but just continued to feel that chasing the money wasn’t what God wanted me to do.  This prophetic word confirmed what I had already felt.

This morning Suki told me that she had a word for me, Isaiah 45:1-3, which says: “This is what the Lord says to his anointed, to [Alisa—she inserted my name in place of Cyrus], whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before [her] and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before [her] so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron.  I will give you hidden treasures, riches stored in secret places, so that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, who summons you by name.”  Amen!  Hallelujah!  This is not the first time I’ve received a word like this, but I never get tired of hearing about hidden treasures, the full inheritance, the table full of whatever I want (all of which have been prophesied over me).  I know that God loves me and that He provides everything I could ever want or need.

Suki went on to say that as she was praying for me, the Lord showed her that my life has been a very solitary one, despite the fact that I’m a cheerful, friendly person.  She didn’t have any way of knowing that about my past life (having only known me for a year), but she’s exactly right.  Even during my marriage I was alone much of the time.

And my present life is very solitary.  There are a lot of people who come and go, and I come and go, visiting missionaries all over Europe.  But I am mostly alone, traveling from place to place.  I don’t often write about loneliness because to be perfectly honest, I don’t often feel lonely.  There is a big difference between being alone and being lonely.  Although I am often alone, I rarely feel lonely.  Plus, there are worse things than being lonely—and an unhappy marriage is one of them.  But loneliness is something that most people fear, so they think that maybe I am unhappy when they realize how alone I am.  I think this is what Suki thought when God revealed to her about my solitary life.  I assured her that I am alone a lot, but very content, and living a very full life in the midst of solitude.  I don’t know if I convinced her, but it’s the truth.

I have a ring that is twisted into a Mobius strip with Jeremiah 29:11 inscribed on it: “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future.”  I wear this ring on the finger where a wedding ring goes.  It’s not that I hate men—not at all!—but I just don’t know how I would ever fit one into my life and ministry.  I know that it’s easy to say no to the man I’ve never met, but to be honest, I now consider myself married to Jesus.  I am anxiously waiting for the day when He comes to catch me up into the air for our wedding feast in Heaven.  So if a man meets me and sees the ring on my finger, it tells the story: I’m already spoken for.  And I keep myself busy, doing the work He has given me to do until that day comes—alone, but not lonely.  God is good!

ringI know the plans He has for me are all good!

Defining the Gift

Day Two

This is my 2nd day of a 21 day fast for understanding the things to come.  Like Daniel in chapter 10, I have “set [my] mind to gain understanding and to humble [myself] before God,” (Daniel 10:12).  Most Christians agree that we are living in the End Times.  Jesus is coming soon to Rapture His Church, and many terrible things will follow, including the final war, usually called Armageddon (although in the Bible, the name actually refers to a place, not an event).  However, there are probably things that we need to do to prepare for those terrible times.

I want to make it very clear that I am not asking God to reveal to me when the Rapture will be.  Jesus said that only the Father knows the day and the hour.  The angels don’t know, and even Jesus, Himself, doesn’t know (Matthew 24:36 & Mark 13:32).  If the Father isn’t revealing that to Jesus, then it’s for sure that He won’t tell me.

What I want is to understand what is coming and how to help God’s people prepare for it.

This morning as I was praying and contemplating my role, the Holy Spirit reminded me of my main spiritual gift: Encouragements.  In the King James Version, the gift is called Exhortation.  The Spirit urged me to consider the difference between the 2 words: encouragement and exhortation.

So I looked it up in the online dictionary.

Encourage:

  1. to inspire with courage, spirit, or hope : hearten
  2. to attempt to persuade : urge
    1. to spur on : stimulate
  3. to give help or patronage to : foster

Exhort:

  1. to incite by argument or advice : urge strongly
  2. to give warnings or advice : make urgent appeals

Then I got curious about the original language: Greek.  In the Greek, the word is paraklesis.  Paraklesis is from the root parakletos, the word Jesus used to describe the Holy Spirit, and translated as comforter.  That discovery is very encouraging to me.  I love the thought that my spiritual gift is much like the Holy Spirit, Himself.

Paraklesis:

  1. a calling near, summons (esp. for help), importation, supplication, entreaty
  2. exhortation, admonition, encouragement
  3. consolation, comfort, solace; that which affords comfort or refreshment—thus of the Messianic salvation (so the Rabbis call the Messiah the consoler, the comforter)
  4. persuasive discourse, stirring address, instructive, admonitory, conciliatory, powerful hortatory discourse

In contrasting these definitions, it seems that encouragement is too soft.  It seems to imply jollying-along someone who is depressed or unhappy.  But exhortation seems too hard and cold, almost like how a teacher talks to a lazy student.  Paraklesis is precisely what I do, which includes both encouraging and exhorting, and also refreshing and comforting.

C. Peter Wagner defines the spiritual gift of exhortation as frequently being part of the pastor’s gift mix:

The gift of exhortation is the special ability that God gives to certain members of the Body of Christ to minister words of comfort, consolation, encouragement, and counsel to other members of the Body in such a way that they feel helped and healed.  “Your Spiritual Gifts Can Help Your Church Grow” © 1979, 1994 C. Peter Wagner, Regal Books.

Now, having defined and contrasted the definitions, I understand at least 1 thing: this time of fasting and praying for understanding is important for helping the missionaries and pastors of Europe that God puts into my path (and others who will read it on my blog or in my next book).  God is good!