Last week in Chapter 1, Paul encouraged the Thessalonians in their persecutions. In Chapter 2, Paul is going to clarify misunderstandings they had about the timing of the rapture, the day of Christ, and the Second Coming.
Father, give us understanding as we read thy word, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
2 Thessalonians 2
1 Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together [ie rapture] unto him,
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 implication here is that they had been deceived by what they believed to be a letter from Paul. They thought they were already living in the tribulation period. It does not say ‘nor by letter from us’, but nor by letter as from us. The letter was not really from them.
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;
Jesus began the same way when He spoke on the subject of his Second Coming: Take heed that no man deceive you. Obviously, there is a lot of deceptive teaching on the topic.
In the Bible, day begins with night. (Gen 1:5) This is why in the Jewish way of thinking, the day begins when the sun goes down. Likewise, the day of Christ begins with the night of the tribulation period. Paul says that day had not and will not come, except there come a falling away first. You may remember how often the phrase that day was used by Isaiah, referring to the day of the LORD, or the day of Christ as Paul calls it—the seven-year tribulation period and the millennium to follow. The Greek word for falling away is apostacy. It is translated as forsake in Acts 21:21. It basically means there will be a great many who forsake the faith and turn to doctrines of devils. It should be plain to see that the time of apostacy has come. There have been other times of apostacy throughout history but this one seems different. Faith in the inerrancy of Scripture was revived in the 20th Century, but in recent years many fundamental evangelical churches have departed from their trust in the word of God. Paul Smith wrote a book documenting this departure called New Evangelicalism: The New World Order (2011, Calvary Publishing). The seminaries have by and large departed from the historic Christian faith and become ultraliberal. Nearly all of the denominations have departed from the faith. The founders of these denominations believed in the Bible. I’m sure they would be sorely disappointed to see what the churches they founded have become. Another thing the founders of the denominations believed was that the pope was the man of sin Paul is referring to here. In the dedication at the beginning of the KJV, it says that the publication of the KJV “hath caused such a blow unto that Man of Sin as will not be healed.” If you can find an old copy of the KJV, you will find that Man of Sin was originally capitalized, because it was a proper noun referring to the pope. Around a hundred years ago they quit capitalizing it, so the man of sin could be anyone who sins. Today, most publishers remove the Epistle Dedicatory all together.
The dispensational view that the Antichrist is yet future has caused some conflict within the church because traditionally, the Antichrist was understood to be the pope. The truth is, both views are true. The pope is an antichrist, but the Antichrist is still yet to be revealed. According to the Catholic Church, every priest is an alter Christus, which is Latin for another Christ. So in other words, every priest, including the pope, is a false Christ, or antichrist. The man of sin Paul is referring to is a specific person who has not yet been revealed. Once he is revealed, the tribulation period can begin. The marker for the beginning of the seven years will be when the false prophet confirms the covenant with Israel. (Dan 9:26, 27) The false prophet will inevitably be a pope. This is one thing that Catholic and Protestant scholars agree on.
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.
Can you see how this could apply to the pope? He sits in St Peter’s Basilica and claims to be the Vicar of Christ. Again, that is the classic interpretation of this verse. Dispensational theology, on the other hand, is a fairly recent development. Daniel was told to seal up his prophecy until the time of the end when knowledge shall be increased (Dan 12:4). Increased knowledge includes increased knowledge of the Scriptures and revelations that have come from dispensational theology. Therefore, the man of sin, the Antichrist, will sit in the rebuilt temple in Jerusalem and show himself that he is God. This is what both Daniel and Jesus meant by the abomination of desolation.
5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
Let is an old English word that means withhold (cf v 6). The Holy Spirit working through the church is withholding this from happening. Jesus works through his body, the church. The church is empowered by the Holy Spirit. Once the church is removed and we are no longer here on earth to be salt and light, the Holy Spirit will no longer be restraining or withholding evil in the world.
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:
So, we have three specific criteria that need to be met before that day can come: 1.) There needs to be a great falling away [✅]. (v 3b) 2.) The man of sin needs to be revealed [ ]. (v 3c) 3.) The man of sin cannot be revealed until after the rapture of the church [ ]. (vv 7, 8) I should also add that the temple has to be rebuilt before the Antichrist can commit the abomination of desolation. The Temple Institute in Jerusalem has been preparing to do just that for decades. Once they are given the green light they can have it completed in around ninety days. This will happen during the tribulation period. (Rev 11:1, 2)
9 Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
Here is how John describes it:
….And I beheld another beast coming up out of the earth; and he had two horns like a lamb, and he spake as a dragon.
….And he exerciseth all the power of the first beast before him, and causeth the earth and them which dwell therein to worship the first beast, whose deadly wound was healed.
….And he doeth great wonders, so that he maketh fire come down from heaven on the earth in the sight of men,
….And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
….And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
….And he causeth all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and bond, to receive a mark in their right hand, or in their foreheads:
….And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.
….Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six.
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.
11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
A big part of the strong delusion will be the apostate church that John saw in Revelation 17 and 18, but will also include deep-state government psyops, the pressure to take the mark of the beast, and the appearance of UFOs to explain away the rapture.
12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.
This verse warns against the attitude of some who say they will wait to see if this all happens before they receive Christ as their personal Saviour. If you are not willing to live for Christ now, it is doubtful you will be willing to die for Him later.
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:
14 Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
15 Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle.
A tradition is something that is handed down. Paul is simply reminding them to keep the faith that he taught them, whether it be what he spoke to them in person or what he wrote in his epistles.
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,
17 Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.
2 Thessalonians 2
In this chapter Paul made reference to the rapture but he did not go into great detail because he already did in his previous epistle. Jesus and Paul both taught that the rapture could come at any time. They both taught that it was a comfort. (John 14:1-6; 1 Thess 4:18) In the chapter before us, Paul taught on the tribulation period, which, unlike the rapture, cannot begin until the specific criteria Paul outlined are met. Among them is the rapture of the church (vv 7, 8). Therefore, Paul could end the chapter by telling them to comfort their hearts. Understanding that the church does not go through the tribulation period is a comfort.
On the other hand, we do not want to be lulled into a false sense of security. There are a lot of things that can cause much tribulation in the life of a believer. Just because we are not going to go through the great tribulation does not mean we can let our guard down. Churches in California are have been warned by the government that they will face arrest if they continue to meet on Sundays. Grace community church fought back in court and was allowed to remain open if they wear masks and social distance, but the same government allowed and even encouraged violent protests with no social distancing. New Zealand, which quarantines people who test positive for coronavirus in hotels, has proposed shifting to military facilities. In Australia, police have the power not only to enter homes and randomly test for coronavirus, but also to remove children from parents to ensure compliance. Here in the US, New Hampshire has issued an emergency order giving the Division of Public Health the power to fine people who don’t comply with COVID-related public health policies $2000 per day. Once the vaccine comes out things should get really interesting. Virginia is already discussing mandatory vaccinations. We need to resist the new world order—as Sweden has with astounding results; as the doctors who authored an open letter to Fauci regarding Hydroxychlorquine have; as a top EU scientist has concerning the true origin of the virus and the efficacy of potential vaccines; and as Sweden’s top epidemiologist has regarding face masks. Watch this.
I believe these things along with others, far too many to list, are signs that we are going home soon. The Israel-UAE Abraham Accord is of particular interest, as it appears to have the potential to be a catalyst for the Magog Invasion. Now is the time to be memorizing scripture, nurturing your relationship with Jesus, and preparing to meet our King.
….[Jesus said], If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes.
….For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side,
….And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation.
Jesus held them accountable to know the time of their visitation and He will hold us accountable as well. For there is no respect of persons with God. (Acts 10:34; Rom 2:11; Eph 6:9; Col 3:25; 1 Pet 1:17)
Father, thank You for the comfort of the blessed hope. Thank You that we are not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You that all your promises are yea, and in You Amen. Help us to work while it is day, to be salt and light and to stand in the evil day, having done all, to stand. We ask this in your Son’s holy and precious name. Amen. Come quickly Lord Jesus.