Dear Brother Jason, By saying that the rapture could happen very soon isn't 2nd Thess. being ignored? It says that our gathering together with him (Jesus) will not happen until a great falling away happens and the man of sin (anti-christ) is revealed who will desecrate the temple. How can this happen without a temple? I would appreciate your answer. Gregg
Good question. Thank you very much for asking! Let me answer below...
My brief summary: First, there is the rapture, then the man of sin is revealed, then the temple is rebuilt, then 3.5 years into the 7 years, the abomination is in the rebuilt temple, and the mark of the beast is made mandatory (another abomination in the temple of the body)
The point of 2 Thess. is that the church had heard a report that the rapture and resurrection had already come, meaning that the darkness of the day of the Lord was upon them.
[2Tim 2:18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
...and that they missed it because they were unworthy to escape the tribulation
[Luke 21:36] Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be accounted
worthy to escape all these things that shall come to
pass, and to stand before the Son of man.
That is why they were freaked out, because they thought they were in the 7 year tribulation, and that they were in danger of being killed by the antichrist.
[2Thess 2:1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
(The coming of our Lord Jesus, and our gathering together unto him is the rapture.)
[2Thess 2:2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
("The day of Christ is at hand" refers not to the rapture, but to the day of wrath, darkness, the seven years of tribulation. They must have gotten a letter that said they were living in the tribulation.)
[Amos 5:18] Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
Read it the opposite way, with your interpretation.... That the day of the rapture is at hand... Why would anyone be troubled and shaken in mind that the rapture is about to come? That is not troubling news! That is glorious news! The troubling news is that they had missed the rapture, and that they were in the time of Jacob's trouble, Isreal's trouble, the time of the Great Tribulation, the day of Christ, the day of the Lord, that they were in the days of Awe, that they had missed the way to escape the things to come that will try those who dwell on the earth.
[2Thess 2:3] 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;
(THAT DAY... That is, the day of wrath, the seven years of tribulation comes only after the AntiChrist is revealed. First, comes rapture, then antichrist, then the confirmation of 7 year treaty, then the 7 year tribulation kicks off.)
And, again if we read it the other way, that the rapture doesn't come until after the AntiChrist comes on the world scene, how is that comforting? That is not comforting, that is forever troubling and shaking news!
[2Thess 2:4] 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.
[2Thess 2:5] Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
[2Thess 2:6] And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
(In other words, the Christians in Thessalonia couldn't have missed the rapture, because there is no AntiChrist sitting in the temple, claiming to be God, who is revealed yet. And that the AntiChrist is still being held back by their presence in the world.)
[2Thess 2:7] For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
(Christians are the "He" who letteth will let. That is, whatsoever we bound on earth will be bound in heaven. And once we are removed/raptured, then the AntiChrist will have the freedom to fulfill his plans.)
[2Thess 2:8] And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
[2Thess 2:9] Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
[2Thess 2:10] And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
[2Thess 2:11] And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
[2Thess 2:12] That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
[2Thess 2:13] But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
[2Thess 2:14] Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
[2Thess 2:15] Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
[2Thess 2:16] Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace,
[2Thess 2:17] Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
[2Thess 3:1] Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:
[2Thess 3:2] And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith. -- Sometimes it's hard to read a passage and understand it when you have a mistaken perspective.
Here is a re-reading of 2 Thessalonians, which might help you gain my
perspective on it. Remember, Thessalonians was the very first book written
in the New Testament, and Paul did not have the benefit of the knowlegde
of the book of Revelation, nor were there the terms that are needed today
to distinguish among the various "rapture views", which makes it possible
for my 'paraphrase' below to be so much more specific.
1 I beg you, by the Pre-Tribulation Rapture promise of Christ,
2 That you don't worry if you "hear by letter" that you are in the 7 year Great Tribulation of God's wrath
3 Don't be decieved. The Tribulation doesn't come until after the Great world wide events of the Great resurrection and rapture, which removes the righteous and leaves only those in rebellion and apostacy, which allows for the revealing of the AntiChrist,
4 Who says he is God, and who will sit in the temple and declare it.
5 Don't you remember this doctrine I told you already?
6 And now you know why the AntiChrist is not yet revealed to the world
7 Yes, the AntiChrist is working, but not fully, because you are still here, preventing his works by your prayers, until the rapture, when you will be gone.
8 And then the AntiChrist will come out of hiding, and the Lord will destroy him.
I can hear Paul thinking to himself... how could my diciples have been
so easily misled, decived and troubled that they missed the rapture? And
by a mere letter? Come on, it's a world-wide gospel-promoting supernatural
event that no person could miss who was looking forward to it! They know
it includes people rising from the dead, the last trump, and all the rest.