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Abstain (868) (aphistemi from apo = separation of one thing from another + histemi = stand and is the root of our English = apostasy) literally means to stand off from means to withdraw, to stand off, to forsake, to depart from or to remove oneself from. To apostatize or to fall away from. To withdraw from a place, an association or a relationship. Abstain is aorist imperative which is an almost "military like" command calling for urgent action to depart from wickedness. In this context of being part of the seal of God's sure foundation of how to know your faith is genuine and sure and real and able to stand firm in the face of false teaching (cp 2Ti 2:18 - upset the faith of some) is to name God as your Lord (note kurios is used twice in one verse!), your Master, your Owner, the One Who has the right to exercise supreme authority in your life and to depart from, stand off from, forsake, withdraw from anything and everything that is unrighteous and wicked. God's command to depart from that which is sinful (cp 1Jn 5:17) always includes His power to carry out the command. The point is that if you are habitually drawn toward, continually loving, constantly seeking that which is offensive to His holy Name which you claim to name as "Lord", then you need to examine yourself carefully to make sure His holy Name truly lives abides within your heart (2Co 13:5-note, Ro 8:9-note, Col 1:27-note). Thayer amplified by other notes... Transitively (denoting a verb which requires a direct object), in present, imperfect, future, 1 aorist active -- to make stand off, cause to withdraw, cause someone to move from a point of reference, to remove; tropically, to cause or excite to revolt, to mislead, to alienate, refers to political defection (Ac 5:37, cp use in Lxx of Dt 7:4 "draw...away"). Intransitively (denoting a verb when it does not require a direct object), in perfect, pluperfect, 2 aorist active -- to stand off, stand aloof, with the genitive of person to go away, depart, from anyone (Lk 13:27-note) (from Ps 6:9; cf. Mt. 7:23); Acts 12:10; 19:9; to desert, to leave in a lurch, to withdraw from one, Acts 15:38; to cease to vex one, Lk. 4:13; Acts 5:38; 22:29; 2 Co. 12:8; to fall away, become faithless, to apostatize as in Heb. 3:12-note which is the antithesis of the call to draw near in Hebrews 4:16-note and thus it implies a refusal to listen to God’s voice. to shun, flee from, keep away from (referring to moral/ethical behavior) = 2Ti 2:19. Middle voice = to withdraw one’s self from: absolutely to fall away, to become apostate, Lk. 8:13; from "the faith" [not the ACT of believing but the body of truth BELIEVED] = 1Ti 4:1 To go away, to withdraw, to keep one’s self away from, absent one’s self from, Lk. 2:37 (she was in the temple every day); from any one’s society or fellowship, 1Ti 6:5 Uses in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX): Jer 16:5 = "withdrawn My peace". 1Ki 21:24 = "remove the kings" (send them away); Ps 66:20 = blessed be God Who has not turned away from my prayer; Ge 31:49 = "then he proceeded from"; Nu 12:10 = "when the cloud had withdrawn from over the tent (referring to the Shekinah glory cloud)"; Ge 19:9 = "stand aside" - to keep far from, to abstain from; Ex 23:7 = "Keep far from"; to revolt = Ge 14:4 = "they rebelled"; to withdraw from Nu 8:25 = "they shall not retire from" , to reject Nu 14:31 = "the land which you have rejected" (referring to the promised land which was to be laid hold of by faith - genuine faith obeys but the rejection of these leaders [except for Joshua and Caleb] proved their faith was not genuine!). TDNTA summarizes aphistemi... Transitive “to remove” either spatially or within a relationship, “to win over,” “to seduce,” middle “to remove oneself,” “to resign,” “desist,” “fall away.” Only the personal use is important theologically, and in the LXX the term becomes almost a technical one for religious apostasy (Dt 32:15; Jer 3:14; Is 30:1), usually from God or the Lord, and leading to idolatry and immorality. (Kittel, G., Friedrich, G., & Bromiley, G. W. Theological Dictionary of the New Testament. Eerdmans or Wordsearch) NIDNTT has this note regarding aphistemi in the classic Greek literature... aphistēmi (Homer), derived from histēmi, means trans. to put away, remove: (a) in a spatial sense; (b) from a condition or relationship; (c) from association with a person. It also means to turn someone (either privately or politically) against a person, to cause to revolt (Herodotus). Intrans. it means to remove oneself, go away; to stand aloof, withdraw from, cease, give up; recoil, separate oneself; to fall away. From it are derived the nouns apostasis, revolt (first found in classic Greek, from the time of Thuc, 1, 122); apostatēs, deserter, political rebel (e.g. “against the king”, “against the country”; a later term found in Polybius); apostasia, a late form of the classical apostasis, meaning, state of rebellion or apostasy (e.g. “from Nero”; “from the Romans”); and apostasion, a legal term for handing over at purchase, conveyance, and used of a bill of divorce (Deut. 24:1, 3; Matt. 5:31; 19:7; Mk. 10:4). (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan or Computer version) Aphistemi - 14x in 14v - Luke 2:37; 4:13; 8:13; 13:27; Acts 5:37 38; 12:10; 15:38; 19:9; 22:29; 2 Cor 12:8; 1Ti 4:1; 2Ti 2:19; Heb 3:12 - NAS = abstain(1), depart(1), departed(1), deserted(1), drew away(1), fall away(2), falls away(1), leave(1), left(2), let go(1), stay away(1), withdrew(1). Below are the 14 uses of aphistemi... Luke 2:37 (Lk 2:26 = Anna the prophetess) and then as a widow to the age of eighty-four. She never left the temple, serving night and day with fastings and prayers. Luke 4:13 When the devil had finished every temptation, he left Him until an opportune time. Luke 8:13 "Those on the rocky soil are those who, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no firm root; they believe for a while, and in time of temptation (peirasmos) fall away. Luke 13:27-note and He will say, 'I tell you, I do not know where you are from; DEPART (aorist imperative = Command to be obeyed immediately!) FROM ME, ALL YOU EVILDOERS.' Comment: Compare two other similar occurrences of Jesus issuing a command to unbelievers to "Depart" in the NT = Mt 7:23 (depart = apochoreo) and Mt 25:41 (depart - poreuomai = to transport oneself from one place to another) Acts 5:37 "After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census and drew away some people after him; he too perished, and all those who followed him were scattered. 38 "So in the present case, I say to you, stay away from (aorist imperative = Command calling for urgent attention!) these men and let them alone, for if this plan or action is of men, it will be overthrown; Acts 12:10 When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. Acts 15:38 But Paul kept insisting that they should not take him along who had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. Acts 19:9 But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he (Paul) withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. Acts 22:29 Therefore those who were about to examine him immediately let go of him; and the commander also was afraid when he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had put him in chains. 2 Corinthians 12:8 (2Co 12:9-note, 2Co 12:10-note) Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me. 1 Timothy 4:1 But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith (see note), paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons W E Vine on "some shall fall away from the faith": corresponding to this verb aphistemi, to depart, or fall away, is the noun apostasia, whence our English word “apostasy.” This is defined in Joshua 22:23 as a “turning away from following Jehovah,” and in Hebrews 3:12 as “falling away from the living God,” as Israel did in the wilderness, Acts 7:39 40 41. “The faith” is the sum, or body, of Christian doctrine. Departure from it had already begun in the apostle’s time, but the special errors here referred to arose shortly afterward and were prolific in their effects, leading to a general defection from the Scriptures of truth. John MacArthur: Apostasy isn’t an unintentional departure or a personal struggle with doubt. It is deliberately abandoning truth for erroneous teaching. (The Master's plan for the Church) Knight comments that here aphistemi: connotes the serious situation of becoming separated from the living God after a previous turning towards him, by falling away from the faith” (The Pastoral Epistles : A Commentary on the Greek text. W. B. Eerdmans; Paternoster Press) Wuest comments on aphistemi in this verse: “to stand off from, to fall away.” Our word “apostatize” is the English spelling of a form of the Greek word. The definite article (Ed: "the" in the Greek text) before the word “faith” marks it out as speaking, not of faith as an act, but of the Faith, that body of doctrine which forms the basis of what we as Christians believe. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos or Wordsearch) 2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His," and, "Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain (aorist imperative = Command calling for urgent attention!) from wickedness." Hebrews 3:12-note Take care (present imperative = command calling for continual vigilance!) brethren, that there not be in any one of you an evil, unbelieving heart (Note: By definition this is an unbeliever - not a believer who loses his or her salvation) that falls away from the living God. Wuest comments: Our word “apostasy” is derived from a form of this Greek word. Apostasy is defined as the act of someone who has previously subscribed to a certain belief, and who now renounces his former professed belief in favor of some other which is diametrically opposed to what he believed before. In other words, his new belief is not merely a new system of faith, but one which at every point negates his former belief. These Jews, should they renounce their professed faith in the New Testament system and go back to the First Testament sacrifices, would be embracing that which if brought in again would negate the New Testament. It was a question of the Levitical sacrifices or the crucified Messiah. In making a profession of Messiah as High Priest and then renouncing that professed faith to return to a dependence upon the sacrifices which God set aside at the Cross, the person would commit the sin called apostasy. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos or Wordsearch) Aphistemi - 147x in the non-apocryphal Septuagint (LXX) - 8" class="scriptRef">Ge 12:8; 14:4; 9.9" class="scriptRef">19:9; 13" class="scriptRef">13.6" class="scriptRef">6" class="scriptRef">30:36; 10.31" class="scriptRef">31" class="scriptRef">31.40" class="scriptRef">31:40, 49; 28.22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22" class="scriptRef">22.23" class="scriptRef">23.7" class="scriptRef">Ex 23:7; 13.58" class="scriptRef">Lev 13:58; Nu 8:25; 12:10; 14:9, 31; 27" class="scriptRef">16:27; 31:16; 32:9; 28" class="scriptRef">28" class="scriptRef">Dt 1:28; 4:9; 7:4; 13:10, 13; 32:15; Josh 1:8; 3:16; 8:16; 18-Josh.22.19" class="scriptRef">22:18 19, 23, 29; Jdg 16:17, 19 20; 1Sa 6:3; 14:9; 16:14, 23; 18:13; 19:10; 28:15 16; 2Sa 2:22 23, 28; 7:15; 12:10; 22:23; 11" class="scriptRef">11" class="scriptRef">11.29" class="scriptRef">1Ki 11:29; 24" class="scriptRef">24" class="scriptRef">20:24; 2Ki 1:18; 3:3; 10:29, 31; 13:2, 6, 11; 14:24 25; 15:9, 18, 24, 28; 17:18, 22; 18:6, 22; 22:2; 23:19, 27; 24:3; 1Chr 17:13; 2Chr 13:6; 14:3, 5; 15:17; 21:8, 10; 25:27; 26.18" class="scriptRef">26:18; 28:19, 22, 24; 29:6; 30:7; 35:19; 36:5; Neh 9:26; Esth 6:1; Job 7:16; 14:6; 19:13; 21:14; 30:10; 31:22; Ps 6:8; 10:1; 18:22; 22:11; 35:22; 38.21" class="scriptRef">38:21; 39:10; 44:18; 66:20; 80:18; 81:6; 119:29, 118; Pr 23:18; Eccl 11:10; Isa 33:14; 40:27; 52:11; 57:8; 59:9, 11, 13 14; Jer 2:5; 3:14; 5:25; 6:8; 14:19; 16:5; 17:5, 13; 32:40; 33:8; Lam 3:11; 4:15; Ezek 17:15; 20:8, 38; 23:17 18, 22, 28; Dan 2:5, 8; 4:17; 6:18; 7:12; 9:5, 9, 11, 13, 26; 11:4, 31; 12:11. NIDNTT notes that in the Septuagint aphistemi manifests A meaning not found in classic religious contexts: God departs from men (Jdg. 16:20; 2Ki. 17:18; 23:27; Ps 10:1; Ezek 23:18) and withdraws his gifts (14.9" class="scriptRef">Nu 14:9, protection; Jdg 16:17, 19, strength; 2Sa 7:15, steadfast love; Isa 59:11, 14, salvation and righteousness). The underlying cause is man’s own wilful departure from God (Dt 32:15; Jer 2:19; 3:14; 17:5, 13" class="scriptRef">13; Sir 10:12), and scorn of God’s gifts (Num. 14:31, the land; Neh 9:26, the law). This rebellion expresses itself in the cultic worship of other gods (Dt 7:4; 13:10, 13; Jos. 22; Jdg 2:19; 2Chr. 29:6; 1Macc. 2:19), and in ethical behaviour constituting disobedience towards God (Is 30:1; Ezek 33:8; Da 9:9-11; Sir 48:15; 2Macc 5:8). It is against this background that we should understand the exhortations to keep aloof from sin (Ex 23:7; Ps 119:29; Isa 52:11; Tob 4:21; Sir 7:2; 23:12; 35:3). (Ibid) Below are a few select uses of aphistemi in the Septuagint... Genesis 14:4 Twelve years they had served Chedorlaomer, but the thirteenth year they rebelled (Hebrew = marad - to resist authority; Lxx = aphistemi similar to use in Acts 5:37, cp similar sense in Nu 14:9). 2 Chr 29:6 For our fathers have been unfaithful (Heb = maal = to act unfaithfully or with treachery; Lxx = aphistemi) and have done evil in the sight of the Lord our God, and have forsaken Him and turned their faces away from the dwelling place of the Lord, and have turned their backs. Psalm 6:8 Depart (Hebrew verb = sur = command to turn aside from; Lxx = aphistemi in the aorist imperative) from me, all you who do iniquity, for the Lord has heard the voice of my weeping. (Compare "depart" in Ps 119:115-note and Ps 139:19-note, where the Hebrew verb sur is translated with a different Greek verb ekklino = literally to bend away, turn aside) Spurgeon comments: Depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. The best remedy for us against an evil man is a long space between us both. "Get ye gone; I can have no fellowship with you." Repentance is a practical thing. It is not enough to bemoan the desecration of the temple of the heart, we must scourge out the buyers and sellers, and overturn the tables of the money changers. A pardoned sinner will hate the sins which cost the Saviour his blood. Grace and sin are quarrelsome neighbours, and one or the other must go to the wall. Psalm 80:18 Then we shall not turn back from You; Revive us, and we will call upon Your name. Spurgeon comments: So will not we go back from thee. Under the leadership of one whom God had chosen the nation would be kept faithful, grace would work gratitude, and so cement them to their allegiance. It is in Christ that we abide faithful; because he lives we live also. There is no hope of our perseverance apart from him. Quicken us (revive us), and we will call upon thy name. If the Lord gives life out of death, his praise is sure to follow. The Lord Jesus is such a leader, that in him is life, and the life is the light of men. He is our life. When he visits our souls anew we shall be revived, and our praise shall ascend unto the name of the Triune God. Verse 18. (last clause). The need of quickening in order to acceptable worship Matthew Henry comments: We will never desert a cause which we see that God espouses and is the patron of. Let God be our leader and we will follow him. Adding also this prayer, "Quicken us, put life into us, revive our dying interests, revive our drooping spirits, and then we will call upon thy name. We will continue to do so upon all occasions, having found it not in vain to do so." We cannot call upon God's name in a right manner unless he quicken us; but it is he that puts life into our souls, that puts liveliness into our prayers. Psalm 119:118 You have rejected all those who wander from Your statutes, for their deceitfulness is useless. Spurgeon comments: There is no holding up for them; they are thrown down and then trodden down, for they choose to go down into the wandering ways of sin. Sooner or later God will set his foot on those who turn their foot from his commands: it has always been so, and it always will be so to the end. If the salt has lost its savour, what is it fit for but to be trodden under foot? God puts away the wicked like dross, which is only fit to be cast out as road metal to be trodden down. (Note) Isaiah 52:11 Depart, depart, (Twice = Hebrew verb sur = command to turn aside from; Lxx = aphistemi in the aorist imperative) go out from there, Touch nothing unclean; Go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, You who carry the vessels of the Lord. Jeremiah 2:5 Thus says the Lord, “What injustice did your fathers find in Me, that they went far from (Heb - rachaq = to become distant; Lxx = aphistemi) Me And walked after emptiness and became empty?" Jeremiah 17:5 Thus says the LORD, "Cursed is the man who trusts in mankind and makes flesh his strength, and whose heart turns away from (Hebrew verb sur = to turn aside from; Lxx = aphistemi) the LORD. 17.13" class="scriptRef">Jeremiah 17:13 O LORD, the hope of Israel, all who forsake You will be put to shame. Those who turn away (Heb = sur = to turn aside from; Lxx = aphistemi) on earth will be written down (cp Rev 20:12-note), because they have forsaken the fountain of living water, even the LORD (Jer 2:13, 17). Comment: In the context of 2Ti 2:19, Jeremiah describes the antithesis of departing from wickedness and clearly describes the fate of those who steadfastly refuse to obey the command to abstain from wickedness. Jeremiah 32:40 (Jehovah speaking) “I will make an everlasting covenant (see New Covenant in the Old Testament) with them that I will not turn away from (Lxx = apostrepho) them, to do them good; and I will put the fear of Me in their hearts (Note how foundational is a God given fear of the LORD as a "force" or heart attitude which motivates one to abstain from wickedness - cp mention of fear in Job 1:1 and note what follows "fear" - Have you ever considered the truth that fear of the LORD is one of the glorious gifts of the New Covenant?) so that they will not turn away from (Lxx = aphistemi) Me. Ezekiel 20:38 (Jehovah says) I shall purge from you the rebels (speaking of unbelieving Israel at the time of the Second Coming of Messiah - cp Zech 12:10 13:8,9, Mal 3:3 4:1, 2) and those who transgress (Heb = pasha = rebel; Lxx = aphistemi ~ those who depart from or revolt) against Me; I shall bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the LORD. APHISTEMI AND APOSTASY Dr Charles Ryrie has some interesting comments on aphistemi especially as this word relates to the concept of apostasy. Ryrie concludes that a study of the 14 uses of aphistemi... reveal two basic meanings of the verb: (1) a personal (or in most cases physical) departure. This is the meaning in all but three references. In most instances the record speaks of a physical departure of a person from one place to another. (e.g., Luke 2:37; Acts 22:29). Sometimes it means departure from a course of action (e.g., Acts 5:38; 2Ti 2:19). (2) Apostasy or departure from the faith. This meaning occurs three times and in each instance the faith involved is true faith (Luke 8:13; 1Ti 4:1; Heb 3:12). In the first reference (Lk 8:13) the specific object from which people apostatize is the Word of God, the seed. In the second it is the true faith or Christian doctrine, and in the third it is the living God. The instances. From the word study it is obvious that apostasy is a departure. To be specific this involves two questions: (1) Departure from what? and, (2) What was the nature of the previous relationship which is broken by the departure? In no instance is the first question difficult to answer. In the five New Testament references where apostasy involves religion the thing or person from which the departure is made is quite clear in the text or context. The second question is the difficult one and has a direct bearing on one’s definition of an apostate. Specifically, the question is this: Can an apostate have been a Christian believer? or, to put it another way, Can a Christian apostatize? In the parable of Luke 8:13 it seems clear that those on the rock who receive the Word with joy but who have no root and who in time of temptation fall away (apostatize) are not genuine believers, since the test for true faith is the production of fruit which was lacking in their cases. They did "believe" (Luke 8:13) but this was not a fruit-bearing faith and therefore not a saving faith. In the second instance, the false teachers of 1Timothy 4:1 are said to “depart from the faith.” Whether they ever possessed (in contrast to professed) the faith is not specifically revealed in that passage. However, the false teachers described by Jude (who were likely the first to fulfill the prophecy of Paul in 1 Timothy 4) are adjudged by Jude to be unsaved. He discerns them to be without the Holy Spirit (Jude 1:19), and “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of His” (Ro 8:9b-note). Those who are addressed in Hebrews 3:12-note are not yet themselves apostates but are professing church members who are being warned against apostasy which stems from an evil heart of unbelief. The writer obviously believes that apostasy was a very real danger for some of these readers. This is most naturally understood in the light of the Lord’s parable of the sower of Luke 8:4-15. In other words, there is always the possibility of a professing Christian renouncing that which he professed. He receives the Word but since it does not bear fruit in his life his experience proves to be merely self-regeneration rather than Spirit regeneration (cf. Jas 2:26-note). The fact that these readers of Hebrews are addressed as "brethren" does not necessarily show that they were genuine believers, for how else could a writer address the people of the church(es) even though he recognized that there were unbelievers among them? Therefore, this warning concerning apostasy is to the professing element in this group(s). The apostasy of Acts is not pertinent to this discussion since it was quite proper to apostatize from Moses to Christ. The reference in 2Thessalonians 2:3 shows that the departure will be from God and it will be by unbelievers (2Th 2:12). The definition. Thus, apostasy is a departure from truth previously accepted and it involves the breaking of a professed relationship with God. The characteristics. Several other characteristics of apostasy are evident in these passages. There is an objective, well-understood, and previously believed standard of truth from which the apostates depart. This is evident in the three references where religious apostasy is involved. The departure is willful. The very word implies it and the actions and life of apostates show it (particularly 1Ti 4:1). Thus apostasy involves both the mind and the will. The distinctions. An apostate is distinguished from a professed believer who upon discovery of further truth accepts it. The apostate would reject it, rather than accept it. The volitional element of rejection is not present in the professed believer such as those of Acts 19:1-6. An apostate is not the same as a New Testament heretic. The noun heretic is used only one time in the New Testament (Titus 3:10-note), but the adjective is used two times (1Cor. 11:19 and Gal 5:20). The word means a willful choosing for one’s self which results in a party division. Heresy belongs to the works of the flesh which can and often are performed by carnal Christians (Gal. 5:20). Sometimes this may be used for good so that those who are not involved in heresy will stand out in the churches (1Co 11:19). Toward a heretic the Scriptures really command a surprisingly lenient attitude—admonish twice, then ignore (Titus 3:11-note). Apparently, then, in New Testament times the heretic was a carnal Christian who espoused error which brought factions into the church. Thus he was distinguished from an apostate who is not a Christian and whose departure was from the complete body of Christian truth which put him outside the church, rather than leaving him part of a faction within the church. In today’s usage, probably heretic and apostate would be used interchangeably by most people. An apostate, according to the definition, would be different from a carnal Christian in that the latter is “in Christ” (1Co 3:1) while the apostate is not. (For the full article see - Apostasy in the Church — Charles C. Ryrie Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 121: Page 50, 1964. Dallas TX: Dallas Theological Seminary) The Holman New Testament Commentary commenting on the somber significance of this passage adds that Only God knows the inward working of the heart, but everyone who confesses the name of the Lord will evidence increasing godliness -- they must turn away from wickedness. Both inward and outward change are necessary components of a true believer in Jesus Christ. Timothy might have difficulty discerning the faithful from the faithless, but God cannot be fooled. He knows those who belong to Him.

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