New Testament Prophecies of Apostasy

By Kent P. Jackson

Kent P. Jackson, “New Testament Prophecies of Apostasy,” in Sperry Symposium Classics: The New Testament, ed. Frank F. Judd Jr. and Gaye Strathearn (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University; Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2006), 394–406

New Testament Prophecies of Apostasy

Kent P. Jackson

Kent P. Jackson was a professor of ancient scripture at Brigham Young University when this as published.

 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has proclaimed to the world consistently since its beginning that there was an apostasy of the Church founded by Jesus during His earthly ministry and led by His Apostles following His Ascension. [1] This is a fundamental belief of Mormonism; in fact, the Apostasy of early Christianity provides much of the very justification for the existence of the Latter-day Saint faith. If there had not been an apostasy, there would have been no need for a restoration. Latter-day Saint theology asserts that the Church of Jesus and His Apostles came to an end well within a century of its formation; the doctrines which its inspired leaders taught were corrupted and changed by others not of similar inspiration, the authority to act in God’s name was taken from the earth, and the Christian systems that then remained did not enjoy divine endorsement. It was precisely the question of divine endorsement—in Joseph Smith’s words, “which of all the sects was right” (Joseph Smith–History 1:17)—that led to the glorious event that ushered in the Restoration of the gospel, the appearance of the Father and the Son to the young Prophet. In response to Joseph’s search for a true church, he was told to join none of them, “for they were all wrong,” and all their creeds were “an abomination” in the sight of God (Joseph Smith–History 1:19).

The message of the Latter-day Saints is that following seventeen centuries of darkness since the days of the Apostles, the heavens were again opened, divinely authored doctrines were revealed anew, the authority to speak and act in God’s name was brought back to earth, and the Church of Jesus Christ was established by divine command.

Prophecies about Apostasy

Possibly the best single witness of the Apostasy of New Testament Christianity is the New Testament itself. In it there are several statements made by Jesus and His Apostles about the future of their work. Though they labored with great zeal to bring souls to the Lord and establish the Church throughout the world, still their prophetic utterances concerning the end result of their efforts foretold tragedy. In short, they knew that the Church would fall into apostasy shortly after their time, and they bore candid testimony of that fact. In this study I will examine selected prophetic passages in which Jesus and His Apostles foretold the falling of the Church or events associated with it.

Matthew 24:5, 9–11. One of the most significant sermons of the Savior is that which is recorded in Matthew 24–25, the so-called Olivet Discourse. In response to questions of the Twelve regarding the destruction of the temple and the destruction of the world (see also Joseph Smith–Matthew 1:4, 21), Jesus prophesied of events that would transpire in the near and distant future. Matthew 24:9–11 records a prophecy of great importance concerning the future of the Church: “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.” [2]

The Joseph Smith–Matthew rendering of this passage places it clearly in the context of the last days of the early Church (see Joseph Smith–Matthew 1:4–21). A number of important statements are contained in these verses. Verse 9 foretells the fate of the Apostles themselves: affliction, hatred, and death for Christ’s sake. The only scripturally attested fulfillment of the martyrdom prophecy is the death of James at the hands of Herod Agrippa I (see Acts 12:1–2), but early Christian tradition tells of similar fates for other Apostles. [3] Yet the killing of the Apostles was not the cause of the Apostasy. Other references clearly teach that Christianity died from an internal wound, the rejection of true doctrine by the members of the Church. Still, the death of those who alone held the authority to lead the Church could only mean the death of the Church itself.

Verse 10 provides a valuable prophecy of the rejection of truth by the Saints. Unfortunately, the King James translation obscures its intended meaning beyond recognition with the phrase “Then shall many be offended.” In the New International Version (NIV), a highly recommendable recent translation, we read, “At that time many will turn away from the faith.” From the Phillips Modern English Version: “Then comes the time when many will lose their faith.” The Greek verb skandalízō in the passive voice as here (a third person plural, future tense), means, in a theological sense, “to give up one’s faith” or “fall into sin.” “Many,” the Savior foretells, will do it at that day.

Verse 11 records an additional prophecy, namely, that many false prophets would arise and would “deceive many” (emphasis added). Recall that the historical context here is the last days of the apostolic era, when the Apostles would be afflicted, hated, and killed (see Matthew 24:9). Taking their places would be what the Savior calls “many false prophets” (Matthew 24:11). The related passage in verse 5, which Joseph Smith–Matthew places clearly in the early Christian period (see Joseph Smith–Matthew 1:6), is also significant: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” Notice that there would be many false Christs, and, like the false prophets, they would deceive many. One can only lament the fact that the available sources, scriptural or nonscriptural, do not give us a complete history of the fulfillment of these words.

Acts 20:29–31. On his way from Greece to Jerusalem at the end of his third missionary journey, the Apostle Paul stopped at the city of Miletus and called for the elders of nearby Ephesus. On their arrival he gave an important address of which Luke records only excerpts (see Acts 20:18–35). The prophecy relevant to the future of the Church reads as follows: “For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears” (Acts 20:29–31).

Paul warned the elders of Asia that following his departure, forces would damage the Church from without and within. From without, “grievous wolves” would invade the Church and would not spare the flock. At this point in Paul’s career, he had experienced years of trouble with Judaizers trying to gain influence among his converts. Perhaps it was similar infiltration of apostate forces that Paul foresaw. It should be recalled that the Judaizers, who had already had great success opposing Paul (for example, see Galatians 1:6), were members of the Church. In spite of the wolf metaphor, what is being alluded to here is undoubtedly not physical attack or external persecution. Instead, Paul is describing the entering of evil forces into the Church and their gaining power over the Saints. This is borne out as Paul continues by telling of those who were part of the Asian Church—and who were perhaps in Paul’s audience at that very moment—who would, in an effort to draw away disciples to themselves, “distort the truth” (Acts 20:30, NIV).

Paul ends his tragic prophecy by testifying that for three years he had warned the Asian Saints constantly, “with tears” (Acts 20:31). Similarly, in his great prophecy of apostasy in 2 Thessalonians, which will be examined next, he also bore witness to the Saints that he had warned them well of the coming fall (see 2 Thessalonians 2:5).

2 Thessalonians 2:1–12. The Thessalonian letters are Paul’s most eschatological in emphasis. In the first letter, Paul cleared up a doctrinal misunderstanding concerning the status of those who had died prior to the Second Coming of Jesus. In the second, he had to respond to a much greater doctrinal problem, the belief among the Thessalonian Saints that the “day of Christ” was “at hand” (2 Thessalonians 2:2). We do not know the details of the problem in Thessalonika, nor do we know its origin. The Greek verbal conjugation enestēken, translated as “at hand” in the King James Bible, has been rendered in a variety of ways in other translations. The basic meaning of the word is “is present,” so perhaps the reading “has come” (RSV), or something similar to it as found in the majority of the versions, is more accurate than the ambiguous “at hand.” [4] Whatever the exact misunderstanding of the Thessalonians may have been, Paul responded clearly that the day of Christ’s coming would not take place until the “falling away” and the revelation of the “man of sin,” “the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

The King James words “falling away” are translated from the Greek noun apostasía, from which we get our word apostasy, which is equal in meaning to it. Whereas the term “falling away” may give the incorrect impression of a process of drifting or gradually losing ground, the original term means something much more drastic. Some modern translations use “the rebellion” (NIV, RSV), “rejection of God” (Phillips), or “the Great Revolt” (JB). The two Greek elements combined in apostasía are the verb hístēmi, “to stand,” and apo, “away from”; the basic meaning of the word is “rebellion.” Semantically, ancient sources use the term to describe political rebellion and revolution. [5] What Paul was describing in the future of Christianity was a rebellion against God and His position in the Church. And, as he wrote in the following verses, the rebellion would succeed. The chief feature of this time of rebellion would be the triumph of the “man of sin.” Paul wrote: “Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:3–4).

Latter-day Saint commentators generally equate the “man of sin” mentioned in these verses with Satan, an interpretation with which I certainly concur. [6] As part of the rebellion, as Paul noted, Satan would be made manifest. He would exalt himself over all that is called divine and would assume the place of God in the Church, supplanting God in that position. The metaphorical term “temple,” referring to the Church, is used by Paul also in 1 Corinthians 3:16 and Ephesians 2:21. [7] Of historical and theological significance is the fact that in Paul’s prophecy the Church survives. But God is not at its head, making that church—following the appearance in it of Satan—no longer the Church of God.

Paul’s words correspond well with evidence that we have from other scriptures. When the Lord appeared to Joseph Smith in the spring of 1820, He told the young Prophet that all of the Christian churches of his day were “wrong” (Joseph Smith–History 1:19). The Book of Mormon prophet Nephi envisioned in the latter days following the Restoration only two churches: “the church of the Lamb of God” and “the church of the devil” (1 Nephi 14:10). Since whoever does not belong to “the church of the Lamb of God” belongs to “the church of the devil,” as Nephi announced, all false religion and all wickedness would be classified as “the church of the devil” by Nephi’s definition. Paul told us the same thing as he foretold the “man of sin” replacing God at the head of the Church in the era of the rebellion.

To say that apostate Christianity has at its head Satan sitting in the place of God is not to say that all that is in it is satanic. Indeed, Latter-day Saints should rejoice—as the heavens undoubtedly do—at the great works of righteousness and faith, and the leavening influence on the world, of those whose lives are touched in any degree by Christ. But it is only in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which the Lord himself has proclaimed to be “the only true and living church upon the face of the whole earth” (D&C 1:30), that “the power of God unto salvation” (Romans 1:16) is found. The Restoration of the fulness of the gospel, with its priesthood and other blessings, took place because it is only in its light that salvation in its true sense is possible to mankind. While these are absent as Satan sits enthroned in what was once the Lord’s Church, Satan’s goal of hindering God’s children from returning to their Father’s glory is realized. How appropriate, therefore, is Paul’s description of him sitting in the place of God in the church of the apostasía.

In the next verse, Paul punctuated his prophecy by reminding the Saints that he had taught them of the Apostasy and the coming of Satan into the Church when he had been with them personally: “Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (2 Thessalonians 2:5). But his message did not stop there. Even at that time, said Paul, the “man of sin” was being restrained “from appearing before his appointed time” (2 Thessalonians 2:6, JB). “For the mystery of lawlessness [KJV, ‘mystery of iniquity’] is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:7–8, RSV). In these verses, Paul stated that the overt manifestation of Satan in the Church was still in the future. Yet even then the “mystery of iniquity” was operating, waiting in the wings, as it were, for its chance to come to the fore. Paul wrote of some force which restrained the “man of sin” from making his appearance before his time. It is not altogether clear whether he is referring to the Lord, the collective power of the apostleship, or something or someone else as the obstacle to the day of the “man of sin.” In any case, the message comes through clearly that Satan and his works were at that time already operational but were being held back until the divine power that restrained them would “be taken out of the way. And then shall that wicked one be revealed” (2 Thessalonians 2:7–8, JST). [8]

In verses 9–12, Paul told of Satan’s deceptive power with his church and apostate priesthood. They would come with “power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness.” Those who would follow them are they who “received not the love of the truth,” who “believe a lie,” and who “believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” In short, Satan’s work, accompanied by signs and miracles meant to counterfeit those of the Lord’s true servants, would prosper because the Saints would reject the truth and believe falsehood. Second Thessalonians 2:1–12 constitutes perhaps the most important prophecy in the New Testament concerning the Apostasy. Scholars of all perspectives generally agree that Paul is, in fact, expressing his belief in a rebellion against God that would precede the anticipated Second Advent of Jesus Christ. [9] What they do not agree on, of course, is what such a rebellion means and how it would manifest itself. Through the light of the restored gospel, Latter-day Saints can understand Paul’s words in proper perspective.

1 Timothy 4:1–3. In Paul’s first letter to Timothy, he prophesied concerning the departure of some of the Saints from the faith. “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth” (1 Timothy 4:1–3).

This prophecy has a number of features that make it of considerable interest. First of all, Paul specifically stated that his belief in the future defection was the result of revelation. In fact, not only did the Spirit speak these words to Paul, but it did so “expressly.” The chronological note is also important. Paul used the term “latter times” (hústeroi kairoí) to denote the period in which the developments that he foretold would take place. In the ultimate sense, the period of time in which we now live can be called “the latter times” better than any other. As we learn through modern revelation, our day is the dispensation of the fulness of times—the preparatory era that precedes the Second Coming of the Savior. Yet Paul spoke using a different definition for “latter times.” His focus was on the last days of the Christianity of his era, the “latter times” of the early Church.

A few decades after Paul foretold the departure of some from the faith in the “latter times,” Jude announced to his readers that they were then in “the last time” (éschatos chrónos; see Jude 1:17–19). Similarly, John expressed to the readers of his first letter the certainty of the fact that they themselves were in “the last hour” (eschátē hōrā; see 1 John 2:18–19). Clearly John and Jude knew that they were not in the final era of the world, but their words reveal the fact that they knew that they were in the final days of the Christian Church. That was the period of time concerning which the Spirit spoke “expressly” to Paul. Paul’s term “the last days” in 2 Timothy 3:1 (eschatai hemerai) should be understood in the same light.

As we have seen in other prophecies examined so far, the departure from the faith would be a defection from true principles of doctrine. Paul wrote that those who would depart would give heed to what he calls “seducing spirits” and “doctrines of devils.” It must be emphasized that what Paul saw was not an abandonment of religion but a shifting of loyalties from “the faith” to a false faith. Accompanying this defection would be the manifestation of the negative character traits cited in verse 2 (see also 2 Timothy 3:2–4).

Verse 3 is interesting because it mentions two examples of the false ideas that the counterfeit religious system would foster: a prohibition against marriage and a prohibition against certain foods. Beyond that the Apostle gave no further details.

In his prophecy in 1 Timothy, Paul did not express any of the feelings of doom or urgency that are so obvious in the letters of his fellow Apostle John, written about thirty-five years later. Yet for Paul, the present danger was real enough that he admonished Timothy personally to reject strange ideas (see v. 7) and to remind “the brethren” of his warnings (v. 6).

2 Timothy 3:1–5, 13. In the prophecy in 2 Timothy 3, which parallels that of 1 Timothy 4, Paul told his beloved coworker that “perilous times” would come in the last days (v. 1). In this passage, he emphasized the spiritual depravity that would be characteristic of the world in that era. “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God” (2 Timothy 3:1–4). Elder Bruce R. McConkie has referred to such things as “signs of the times,” [10] common to an age of the world in which the sanctifying power of the gospel is rejected and the Lord’s Spirit is withdrawn.

Paul continued his sentence as follows: “having a form of godliness; but denying the power thereof” (2 Timothy 3:5). Latter-day Saints recognize these words as being among those spoken by the Lord to the Prophet Joseph Smith (see Joseph Smith–History 1:19). Paul’s point within the context of his prophecy of the time of apostasy is that despite the inward corruption, the outward trappings of sanctity would remain. Yet the power of God would not be found there. It was in such a circumstance that the Lord spoke the same words to Joseph Smith in response to his question about which of the churches of his day was right.

As Paul continued his warning to Timothy of “perilous times” ahead, he spoke with increasing concern. In verse 13 we read, “But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived.” The fact that Paul knew that those “perilous times” were not far in the future is demonstrated by his personal plea to Timothy in verse 14: “But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them” (emphasis added). Paul was confident of Timothy’s unceasing faithfulness if he would but continue in the things that the Apostle had taught him and also in the words of the scriptures (see v. 15). For others of Timothy’s generation there was more cause for concern.

2 Timothy 4:3–4. Paul’s final prophecy of the abandonment of true religion is found in the last chapter of 2 Timothy. From the New International Version we read: “For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths” (2 Timothy 4:3–4). This passage paints a picture of rejection of the truth that is consistent in every detail with the other prophecies examined so far. In the verses that precede it, Paul charged Timothy strongly to “preach,” “correct, rebuke and encourage” (NIV) the Saints. Verse 3 reveals that the reason for his urgency is the fact that he knew that a time was coming in which the Saints would no longer accept the truth. Paul’s desire in this, his last preserved letter, was to hold off the onslaught of the inevitable rebellion. As has been noted already, what he foresaw was not an abandonment of religion. Much more serious than that, it was a willful rejection of true doctrine and its replacement by doctrines which were untrue but more to the liking of the hearers. Notice that the people involved, although unwilling to put up with correct teachings, desired teachings nonetheless. Having “itching ears,” that is, a desire to hear religion, they would acquire teachers whose doctrines were acceptable to them. The final outcome of their actions would be the abandonment of truth and the acceptance of “fables.”

2 Peter 2:1–3. Paul was not alone among the Apostles in prophesying doom for early Christianity. In 2 Peter, the chief Apostle foretold the introduction of false teachers into the Church. “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of” (2 Peter 2:1–2).

These false teachers, according to Peter, would “secretly introduce” (NIV) “damnable heresies.” So successful would they be that as a result of their efforts, “the way of truth” would be blasphemed (future passive from blasphēméō ). [11] Verse 3, quoted as follows from the New International Version, tells us more: “In their greed these teachers will exploit you with stories they have made up.” This tells us something concerning their purpose: to exploit the members of the Church (KJV, “make merchandise of you”), and their method of doing so: by making up doctrine.

1 John 2:18; Jude 1:4, 17–18. There are a few passages in the New Testament that give evidence indirectly that an apostasy had been foretold. Of these, the most informative are found in 1 John 2:18 and Jude 1:4, 17–18. These verses actually speak of apostasy already present in the Church. While doing so they make mention of the fact that the Saints knew that it would come and had been warned appropriately. John wrote: “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time” (1 John 2:18; emphasis added). What is important at this point is the fact that John reminded the Saints to whom he wrote that they had heard earlier that a time would come—called the “last time” (eschátē hōrā)—in which “antichrist” would come among the Church. They had been warned.

Similarly, Jude wrote: “Certain people have infiltrated among you, and they are the ones you had a warning about, in writing, long ago, when they were condemned for denying all religion, turning the grace of our God into immorality, and rejecting our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ” (Jude 1:4, JB; emphasis added). This passage, which is much less clear in the King James Version and some other translations, tells that the readers had received written warning in the past of the coming of “godless men” (NIV) who would pervert the gospel and reject the Lord. After writing more about those predicted apostates and likening them to some of more ancient times, Jude continued: “But, dear friends, remember what the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ foretold. They said to you, ‘In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires.’ These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit” (Jude 17–19, NIV; emphasis added). The coming in the “last time” (éschatos chrónos) of those who would scoff at the true faith had been foretold, according to Jude, by “the apostles.”

Revelation 13:1–9. The final prophecy to be examined is found in Revelation 13. Here we read John’s vision of the victory of the forces of Satan over the Saints of the Lord. In chapter 12, John characterized the continual conflict between Satan and the works of God as the efforts of a red dragon—Satan—to destroy a woman and her children. In Revelation 12:17 we read, “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” This is part of an ongoing conflict that has existed since before man was placed on the earth, and it will continue until Satan suffers final defeat following the Millennium (see Revelation 20:10).

The episode from that conflict that is recorded in chapter 13 is directly relevant to the end of the early Christian Church. As the vision continued, John saw the appearance of a beast, “having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy” (Revelation 13:1). This beast was the agent of the dragon, Satan, from whom he had received “his power and his throne and great authority” (Revelation 13:2, NIV). In John’s narrative, we find the beast blaspheming God, God’s name, His dwelling place, and those who live in heaven (cf. blasphēméō in 2 Peter 2:2). John continued: “And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations” (Revelation 13:7; emphasis added).

Without yielding to the temptation to attach rigid interpretations to John’s metaphors, I feel that the information provided for us is sufficient to enable us to draw two confident conclusions about the beast, its identity, and its work. First of all, it is a deputy of Satan; it derives its power from him and does his work (see Revelation 13:2, 4). As God’s work is “to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man” (Moses 1:39), Satan’s and that of his beast is to do the opposite. The Prophet Joseph Smith said that the beast was “in the likeness of the kingdoms of the earth” (Revelation 13:1, JST). “Kingdom” in a scriptural context can mean, of course, any kind of institution, movement, force, or power—religious, political, or otherwise. The second statement that we can make concerning the beast is that it accomplished what it was sent to do. Verse 7 records the tragic fact that it succeeded: it overcame the Saints.

In viewing John’s beast in the light of its context in Revelation 13 and other prophetic statements concerning the fall of the Church, we can identify it as the institutions or forces of Satan that prevailed over early Christianity following the time of the Apostles. As for the nature of those forces, it should be remembered that the scriptures we have examined so far present in clear focus the prophetic vision of the Apostles: the cause of the Apostasy would be the rejection of the truth by the members of the Church. In this light, the beast seen by John that overcame the Saints might be interpreted best as being Christianity itself—not the Christianity of Jesus, Peter, John, and Paul, but the Christianity that overcame the Saints and Apostles and survived into the next generation.

Conclusion

The foregoing scriptural passages demonstrate that Jesus and His Apostles knew that the church that they headed would come to an end shortly after their generation. They bore a somber witness to that knowledge in the record that they left behind for later readers—the New Testament. All Christians who take seriously the apostolic testimony must reckon with the prophetic word of the inspired witnesses that the forces of false religion would prevail over those of the truth and that the church which was guided by the power of the apostleship in the first century would no longer exist in the second.


[1] See, for example, James E. Talmage, The Great Apostasy (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1909); James E. Talmage, Articles of Faith (Salt Lake City: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1913), 198–216. After the original publication of this article in 1983, I expanded on the theme in “Watch and Remember: The New Testament and the Great Apostasy,” John M. Lundquist and Stephen D. Ricks, eds., in By Study and Also By Faith: Essays in Honor of Hugh W. Nibley on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday, Vol. 1 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book and FARMS, 1990), 81–117, a briefer version of which appeared earlier as “Early Signs of Apostasy,” Ensign, December 1984, 8–16. My book From Apostasy to Restoration (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1996), 8–18, summarizes the same thoughts and puts the apostasy in the broader context of Early Christianity and the Restoration.

[2] All biblical quotations are from the King James Version unless indicated otherwise by the following abbreviations: JB—Jerusalem Bible, JST—Joseph Smith Translation, NIV—New International Version, Phillips—Phillips Modern English Version, Reicke—Bo Reicke, The Epistles of James, Peter, and Jude, vol. 37 of the Anchor Bible series (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1964), RSV—Revised Standard Version.

[3] John Foxe, Book of Martyrs (London: Seeley and Burnside, 1837), 1:27–32.

[4] Albrecht Oepke, “Enistemi,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. G. Kittel (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), 2:543–44.

[5] Heinrich Schlier, “Apostasia,” Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. G. Kittel, 10 vols. (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1964), 1:513–14; F. F. Bruce, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, vol. 45 of the Word Biblical Commentary (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1982), 166.

[6] See, for example, Bruce R. McConkie, Doctrinal New Testament Commentary, 3 vols. (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1973), 3:63; Sidney B. Sperry, Paul’s Life and Letters (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1955), 103.

[7] William F. Orr and James Arthur Walther, 1 Corinthians, vol. 32 of the Anchor Bible series (Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1976), 172–74.

[8] Bruce, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 170–71; John W. Bailey, “2 Thessalonians, Exegesis,” in The Interpreter’s Bible (Nashville: Abingdon, 1955), 328.

[9] See, for example, Bailey, “2 Thessalonians, Exegesis,” 327.

[10] Bruce R. McConkie, The Millennial Messiah (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1982), 42.

[11] Hermann W. Beyer, “Blasphemeo,” in Kittel, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 1:621–25