[click the HERE to download MP3 recording]
Amid current atrocities and disaster, what’s next in God’s timeline? And how can we as believers know that we are not in the Tribulation Period?
Text: 2 Thessalonians 2
Because we have the letter of 1 Thessalonians, we know that this church was concerned with what would happen in end times. They had questions––legitimate ones. And, some of them were “alarmed” and “shaken in mind” by a general attitude of fear (spirit) and by what people were talking about (v. 2); because a fake letter had come to them, stating that the Day of the Lord had come… and that they were going through the Apocalypse, having somehow missed the rapture. To be clear, “the Day of the Lord” is also the same as:
- “the Great Tribulation” (Matt. 24:21; Mark 13:19; Rev. 2:2 & 7:14)
- “Jacob’s Trouble” (Jer. 30:7; Is. 2:12; Lam. 4:6; Eze. 7:8; Dan. 9:12; Hos. 1:11; Joel 2:11, 31; Amos 5:18-20; Zeph. 1:14-18; Zech. 14:1-2; Mal. 4:1; Acts 2:20; Rev. 6:17)
- Or, commonly, “the Apocalypse” (Book of Revelation) which will end in Christ’s Second Coming [Advent] to earth (Rev. 19:11-20:6) at the repentance and faith of the Israeli people toward Jesus Christ as their Messiah (Zech. 12, esp. v.10; Rom 11:26).
Here in 2 Thessalonians, Paul is answering a question or set of questions just as specific as the ones he addressed in 1 Thess. From reading verses 1-3 simply, the set of questions were along the lines and progression of: A) What about the coming of the Lord? B) What about our being gathered together to him? C) Has the Lord come already, and so, subsequently are we living in the “Day of the Lord”? D) We thought you wrote us a letter that said we missed being gathered together to the Lord, and that “the Day of the Lord” (or “that day”) is now here.
Paul’s inspired answers to these questions are:
- That day [the Day of the Lord] will not come, unless “the rebellion” comes first, and the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction (v.3), is revealed. [see also Ezekiel 38 war]
To be to the point, I think you and I agree on what Jesus meant when he said, “as it was in the days of Noah…” (Matthew 24:37; Luke 17:26). There is increasingly more evidence that the time of the return of the fallen ones and their agenda (from that Old Serpent) has come again. How so?
The “rebellion” mentioned in 2 Thess. 2 is the Greek word for Apostasy. 2 Tim. 2:4 indicates the nature of that apostasy. People will follow after the myths… as in the ancient Babylonian, Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Norse myths. This following of the old myths will be the result of a great deception that–if it were possible (Matthew 24:24)–even the elect would not discern. The gods (fallen angels and demons) of the myths will reveal themselves in a deceptive way…as ancient aliens… with all power and signs and lying wonders (2 Thess. 2:3, 9-11) so that the Man of Lawlessness may himself be revealed. Once he is revealed, then the treaty may be signed with Israel. And when the treaty is signed, then the Day of the Lord begins—7 years.
- Paul had evidently told them this when he was with them before (v.5)
- Paul and the other Apostles did not write a letter; it was a fake (v.2)
- The “man of lawlessness” is apparently someone actual and real, because certain things are done in him, by him and to him (vv. 3-9); He has another name–the son of destruction; He will be revealed (literally, “allowed to come forward,” unveiled, or become manifested or uncovered) at a specific time.
- The coming of the lawless one, and also the deceptive miracles and false signs he will do, are by the power of Satan (vv. 9-12) [see “Demonstration of the Spirit and of Power”]
- He is revealed after the “rebellion” and when he exalts himself above EVERY religion in the world and takes a seat in the future Temple, making himself out to be the only “God” (vv. 3-4) *This necessitates a 3rd Temple of the Jews
- God is the One who determines when the Man of Lawlessness will be revealed — God is in ultimate control (vv. 6-8)
- At the end of the Tribulation Period, Jesus will kill this “son of destruction” with His simply showing up [Second Coming, Advent] and “breathing” (speaking the word). (v.8)
From Paul’s announcement of discourse, “concerning the coming of the Lord” and “our being gathered to him,” we gather the Thessalonians had apparently asked Paul about the time relationship between the Second Coming and the rapture. I would agree with bible.org that these (separate) happenings are complementary parts of the same set of end-times events, of which the Second Advent is the culmination (final event) of the Day of the Lord.
A believer needs not to fear that he/she has missed the time when believers are gathered together to Jesus. The reasons you needn’t fear are the same as were given to the Thessalonians. First, certain things have not happened yet… namely, the “rebellion” has not happened, the “man of lawlessness” has not been revealed and done his evil work… and Jesus Himself has not yet appeared bodily in order to kill him. Evidently, the Tribulation Period can only happen AFTER believers are gathered together to the Lord (1 Thess. 4:13-18). The Apocalypse (Day of the Lord) was not happening to the world of the ancient Thessalonians. And, the Day of the Lord (the Great Tribulation / Apocalypse) cannot be happening in our lifetime, unless “the rebellion” has happened and the Anti-Christ has appeared as described in 2 Thess. 2. Secondly, believers will not go through the Day of the Lord because that is God’s promise. “God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain deliverance by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thess. 5:9).
Astrobiologists Revise the Chances of Finding Advanced ET Civilizations | Technology Review, Nov. 6, 2015
Great Apostasy by Got Questions
The Shinar Directive — http://youtu.be/V56IIFYijg8