There is a very important eschatological chapter in the Bible that doesn't get much attention. Sometimes a few verses are picked out of it, but often they are mis-used for pre-trib rapture, and therefore taken out of context. Please join me in an adventure. We are going to go through 2 Thessalonians chapter two, and this will be an amazing ride, because this is an amazing chapter. Are you ready? Before we get started, I suggest you open a King James Bible, and quickly read the whole chapter. After that, continue on with this article.
We will go through this fascinating chapter, piece by piece...
Going Through 2 Thessalonians 2
Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, -vs 1
Is the above referring to the second coming of Christ at Armageddon, or the rapture? We see this is referring to the rapture, because it says "and by our gathering together unto him."
We see the rapture described as Christ coming in the clouds, and the elect being gathered together, and raptured. For example:
"And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh." -Luke 21:27-28
"John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen." -Revelation 1:4-7
As you can see in the above two Scriptures, we have the coming of our Lord Christ - "coming in a cloud with power and great glory," and "he cometh with clouds." At the Rapture, Christ will come in the clouds, and we will be gathered together unto Him:
"For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." -1 Thessalonians 4:15-17
Did you see the mention of the clouds? We have Christ coming in the clouds, and our (born again Christians) being raptured to meet Him in the air. Now, back to 2 Thessalonians 2:1 - recall it said "by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ" - that's Him coming in the clouds, and "by our gathering together unto him" - that's our being raptured to Him in the air. It is clear that verse 1 is referring to the rapture event.
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. -vs 2
The above is fairly clear, but if you enunciate on the wrong portion of the above verse, it can be confusing. I don't often do this, but let's refer to the 1599 Geneva Bible, and see how they portrayed this verse.
Geneva 1599 2 Thessalonians 2:2:
"That ye be not suddenly moved from your mind, nor troubled neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter, as it were from us, as though the day of Christ were at hand."
Let's also see it in Young's Literal Translation:
"that ye be not quickly shaken in mind, nor be troubled, neither through spirit, neither through word, neither through letters as through us, as that the day of Christ hath arrived"
As we see from verse one, the topic is the rapture. Here in verse two, we see that some of the Thessalonians thought the rapture was "at hand." In this letter, Paul is saying not to be:
- shaken in mind
Even if they hear the rapture is at hand via:
- a spirit
- by word
- or letter as by them (a falsified epistle)
So, putting the first two verses together, we see that the Thessalonians thought the rapture was imminent, and could happen at any time. They were told not to be shaken in mind or troubled, thinking the rapture was "at hand," and that even if they received a message from a spirit, by word, or from a letter, not to be deceived.
Notice in this verse it referred to the rapture as "the day of Christ." Some preachers and Bibles falsely change "the day of Christ" here, into "the day of the Lord." However, these are two separate events.
This cannot be referring to the Day of the Lord, because the Day of the Lord is from Armageddon, until after the rejuvenation of the earth, after the millennium of peace:
"And I will shew wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapour of smoke: The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord come" -Acts 2:19-20
"But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." -2 Peter 3:10-13
"Hold thy peace at the presence of the Lord God: for the day of the Lord is at hand: for the Lord hath prepared a sacrifice, he hath bid his guests. And it shall come to pass in the day of the Lord's sacrifice, that I will punish the princes, and the king's children, and all such as are clothed with strange apparel. In the same day also will I punish all those that leap on the threshold, which fill their masters' houses with violence and deceit. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord, that there shall be the noise of a cry from the fish gate, and an howling from the second, and a great crashing from the hills." -Zephaniah 1:7-10
As you can see, "the day of Christ" in verse 2 of 2 Thessalonians 2 cannot mean "the day of the Lord," because as we see in verse 1, the day of Christ is our gathering together unto Christ, not blood and destruction.
The Day of Christ is the rapture - it is Christ's coming in the clouds, and our gathering together unto Him. It is not the same as the day of the Lord. Notice the day of the Lord Scriptures above, and compare those to the day of Christ Scriptures below:
"And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ." -Philippians 1:9-10
"That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain." -Philippians 2:15-16
Christians are on this earth until the Day of Christ, and then we are raptured. The rest of the world will have to wait until the end of the tribulation, which begins the Day of the Lord, at Armageddon.
Therefore, we see that the Day of Christ mentioned in 2 Thess. 2:2 is synonymous to "our gathering together unto Him" in verse one. Verses one and two tell the Thessalonians not to be troubled by false teachings, which claim the rapture could happen at any time.
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. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? verses 3-5
Don't be deceived by the false teachings that the rapture is "at hand," because "that day" - the rapture - will not happen until after the following occurs:
1) "a falling away." - This could be backsliding, but it could be worse. This could be referring to apostasy, which is people falling away 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" -1 Timothy 4:1
A quick distinction needs to be made here... Saved Christians cannot lose their salvation, and no one can take it from them, but they can give it up, and apostatize. For Scriptural proof of this, click here.
2) "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." - This is what Jesus referred to, as the Abomination of Desolation:
"But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judaea flee to the mountains" -Mark 13:14
This Abomination of Desolation is "standing where he ought not." Where is that? 2 Thessalonians 2:3 told us - "so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
Now, let's see where in the book of Daniel the Abomination of Desolation is described:
"And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate." - Daniel 9:27
Notice this Abomination of Desolation occurs "in the midst of the week." This is in the middle of the seven year tribulation. This timeline can be gathered from further study of Daniel 9, and by studying the timelines given in Daniel 12, and Revelation 12 and 13.
We see more about the abomination of desolation occurring elsewhere in Daniel:
"And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him." -Daniel 11:45
Now, 2 Thessalonians 2 tells us that the rapture will not happen until after the falling away, and after "son of perdition" be revealed, which is the abomination of desolation. Does Daniel concur? Yes, he does. After the son of perdition plants the "tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain," the rapture happens. Take a look:
"And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him. And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book." Daniel 11:45-12:1
"Written in the book" - This is the book of life:
"And I intreat thee also, true yokefellow, help those women which laboured with me in the gospel, with Clement also, and with other my fellowlabourers, whose names are in the book of life." -Philippians 4:3
"He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels." -Revelation 3:5
The "time of trouble" is Jacob's Trouble. Jacob's Trouble is the second half of the tribulation. Here is another Old Testament Scripture, showing us being raptured from Jacob's Trouble:
"Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it: it is even the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it." -Jeremiah 30:7
In the New Testament, we are told that the rapture occurs at a trumpet:
"For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." -1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
In order for Daniel and 2 Thessalonians 2 to be accurate, the rapture at the trump of God has to occur after the abomination of desolation is set up. We see that that happens in the middle of the tribulation. The middle marker in the tribulation in the book of Revelation is the seventh trumpet. Is this the rapture trumpet, as portrayed in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17?
Let's take a look:
"Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed." -1 Corinthians 15:51-52
That last trumpet is the seventh trumpet in Revelation. We can gather this from the word "mystery:"
"But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound, the mystery of God should be finished, as he hath declared to his servants the prophets." -Revelation 10:7
And here is the rapture in the seventh trumpet:
"And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth." -Revelation 11:18
"Thy wrath is come" - the seven vials of WRATH are coming up after the mid-point in the tribulation, and fill the second half of the seven years. "Saints" are a name given to the people of God. Christians are called Christians only three times in the Bible. They are more often referred to as saints. The saints receive their reward - their new body - see 1 Cor. 15:51-52, and then the wrath of God pours upon those left on the earth who destroy (or corrupt) the earth - this is the seven vials of wrath.
Moving on in 2 Thessalonians 2...
And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time. -vs 6
So far, we've seen that before the rapture, the "son of perdition" will be revealed. After the mid-trib rapture, "that Wicked" will be revealed. This is to be distinguished from the son of perdition. We'll get to that in a few minutes. We see "him" revealed as the son of perdition, committing the abomination of desolation in the mid trib. After the mid-trib, the Wicked will be reaveled.
For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way. vs 7
The mystery of iniquity is false teachings in the sphere of profession of the Kingdom of Heaven. These are the birds, tares, and leaven in the Matthew 13 parables about the Kingdom of Heaven (which is different than the Kingdom of God). For more information about this, and why there are false teachings, multiple denominations, and cults, click here. The religion of Mystery of Iniquity is Mystery Babylon:
"And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth." - Revelation 17:5
This Babylon Mystery religion originated with Nimrod in Genesis 10 and 11, and from this sprang the myth of a god dying, and being born again from the (false) virgin womb of his wife - Semeramis. In the Bible, Semaramis is named under her deity name - Ashtoreth, and also under the title "queen of heaven:"
"For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites." -1 Kings 11:5
As a side note: Ashtoreth is Ishtar, the false goddess of the pagan holiday of Easter, and Milcom is the same false deity as Molech, the false "virgin born" child of the pagan holiday that the Roman Catholic church renamed as Christmas.
"The children gather wood, and the fathers kindle the fire, and the women knead their dough, to make cakes to the queen of heaven, and to pour out drink offerings unto other gods, that they may provoke me to anger." -Jeremiah 7:18
Pagans used to worship this "queen of heaven" and other false gods via a transubstantiation eucharist.
Today's main Mystery Babylon religion also has one they call "the queen of heaven," but they say it's Mary. Their pagan transubstantian eucharist is supposedly unto God.
Mystery Babylon is the Roman Catholic church, as can be derived from Revelation chapter 17.
The Mystery of Iniquity of today is working through the Roman Catholic church. The Mystery of Iniquity working in the days when 2 Thessalonians was written, was the Roman empire. Eventually, the Roman emperors were replaced with Roman popes. The Roman empire never ended. For proof of this, click here.
That's the first part of 2 Thessalonians 2:7 explained, but what about the second part - only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way? I used to believe the "he" was the saved, Christian church. However, after serious study, I no longer believe that. The fact that it says "he" seems to refer to a person. Further, following this in the chronology, shows me that "he" is someone.
Many people think this verse is referring to the rapture, however the rapture was already mentioned in this chapter. We were told it would happen after the son of perdition is revealed. By this point, the mid-trib rapture happened. This verse, and several of the ones following it, is referring to what happens after the mid-trib rapture.
In the book of Revelation, we see the rapture occurring in chapter 11. Chapter 12 is still part of the seventh trumpet. Click here to see the layout of Revelation, and the long seventh trumpet, bracketed between the last two of the three woes. The woe of the seventh trumpet isn't the rapture, it's the devil being cast to the earth. During the seventh trumpet, the rapture happens first, and after that, the devil is cast down:
"And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." -Revelation 12:9
He who lets (which in the time of King James meant restrains, or withholds) is the son of perdition - antichrist. After Satan is cast to the earth, the antichrist is wounded in the head, or hurt in some mortal way. Then, he was suddenly healed, and the world wondered after him, and began worshiping him:
"And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy. And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? And there was given unto him a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies; and power was given unto him to continue forty and two months." -Revelation 13:1-5
He who lets - until he be taken away, was the son of perdition - antichrist in the first half of the tribulation. After he is taken out of the way "that Wicked" is revealed:
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: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. verses 8-10
Do you see how smoothly these verses mesh with the timeline and description in Revelation 13:1-5? Wow.
Notice in the above passage, that antichrist is no longer referred to the "son of perdition," but is now referred to as "that Wicked." Notice the 'w' is capitalized. For the second half of the tribulation (the "forty and two months") Antichrist is either directly influenced, or embodied by Satan.
That Wicked is the seed of the serpent, just as Jesus is the seed of the woman. This was prophesied:
"And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel." -Genesis 3:15
Here is food for thought. The seed of the woman was a literal, physical seed - Jesus. The seed of Satan is antichrist - is he combined with Satan, in the second half of the tribulation, to physically, and genetically be the literal seed of the serpent? Perhaps.
Notice that many will not receive the truth of God. I believe these are the ones who will receive the mark of the beast:
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name." -Revelation 14:9-11
I believe the above explains the following:
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. -Verses 11 and 12
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: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 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, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work. verses 13-17
This chapter ends in Paul thanking God for the saved Thessalonians the letter was written to, along with exortation to all believers in Christ.
Note the part that says "hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle." This is only in the bounds of proper doctrine. Now, we have the complete cannon of the Bible in which to learn the proper doctrines, and there is good preaching at good churches, but even then, we are to check it against the Word of God. The Thessalonians did not have the complete cannon of the Bible, therefore they were to heed the traditions, words, and epistles from the apostles of Christ.
In concluding, we see a clear order of events. We are told that pre-trib rapture is a deception, and that it occurs after the abomination of desolation is set up. After the rapture, the son of perdition is taken away, and that Wicked is brought up - antichrist with the devil, having been cast to the earth.
Food for Thought: Notice "son of perdition." Perhaps antichrist is a genetic mixture of the devil and a human. Devils certainly did this before, in Genesis 6, so why not the devil doing this, to create the seed of the serpent, as mentioned in Genesis 3:15? When the son of perdition is wounded unto death, the devil steps in, and the son of perdition is then transformed into that Wicked. Shortly after this comes the mark of the beast.
For more information about the book of Revelation and the mid-trib rapture, please see the articles in the left side bar, under the "eschatology" section.