Summary: Paul gives an outline of prophetic events regarding the Rapture and the Anti-Christ during the Tribulation Period.
“I Know Who Holds The Future”
TEXT: 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12
INTRODUCTION: We continue in our study of II Thessalonians.
Paul had already written the Christians at Thessalonica a letter (1 Thessalonians) and explained the Rapture to them (4:13-18).
Like most Christians (even today), they didn’t understand it all.
To make matters worse, they had received a forged letter (2:2) that told them they had missed the Rapture and were in the Tribulation Period.
Paul wrote in his 1st letter telling them that they wouldn’t have to go through the Tribulation Period – 1:10, 5:9.
They were really confused. Paul now writes this 2nd letter to help clear up this controversy.
Paul is giving them God’s timetable for prophetic events … without setting dates.
Be careful when someone sets dates for the Rapture … Jesus warned us about setting dates.
Mt. 24:36 – “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”
24:42 – “Watch, therefore, for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.”
After the Rapture takes place, certain other events will take place. Paul outlines these events.
“that day” –the “day of the Lord” (2:2) begins at the Rapture.
This is what Paul is talking about here … “falling away” … i.e., the ‘departure’ of the church.
This is the GK. word APOSTASIA, which means ‘a divorce’ … usually meant as a falling away from the faith.
They don’t have to worry that they are in the Tribulation Period, because the Rapture hasn’t taken place yet.
WHEN the Rapture takes place the “man of sin will be revealed, the son of perdition”. This is the Anti-Christ … tho Paul doesn’t use that term.
“perdition” = ‘destruction’ … “son of perdition” is a name given to a follower of Satan (used of Judas in John 17:12).
SO … after the Rapture takes place, the Anti-Christ will be revealed to the world.
If the Rapture is SOON, the Anti-Christ is here now … and he will become prominent right after the Rapture … and be revealed as the “Anti-Christ” in the middle of the Tribulation Period. He will cause the world to worship Satan … which is what Satan has wanted from the beginning (Isaiah 14:14).
The Anti-Christ will, at first, usher in a world-wide peace as a master politician – 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3
2:4 - He will rebuild the temple in Jerusalem, and will in the middle of the Tribulation Period, take over the temple and demand to be worshipped as God.
2:5 - This is the “abomination of desolation” mentioned by Jesus in Mt. 24:15 … and Daniel 9:27
He will organize a world-wide religious church that will worship Satan by worshipping him.
He will perform miracles, imitating Christ’s ministry on earth … the “Anti”-Christ … and multitudes will follow him.
When the Anti-Christ comes out of the closet, he will bring great tribulation on the earth.
He will persecute the Jews, breaking his 3 ½ year peace covenant with them.
He will control the world’s economic system, so that none can buy or sell without the “mark of the beast” (Rev. 13:16-17).
The SEALS, TRUMPETS and BOWLS of God’s judgment will be poured out upon the earth during the last 3 ½ years … the GREAT TRIBULATION (The book of Revelation) … war, famine, death, hail & fire, killer locusts, sores, sea turning to blood, intense heat from the sun, darkness, etc.
2:6 – “withholdeth” = ‘restraining’
The “Restrainer” is the Holy Spirit, Who will be “taken out of the way” when the church is raptured.
As Christians, we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.
The INFLUENCE of the Holy Spirit (the Church) will be gone.
Do you realize that YOU are a part of restraining evil in our day?
That is part of our ministry, as long as we are here … to be used of God to be a Godly influence on the world around us.
It is only because of Christians that the lost can ever receive the true Word of God that leads to salvation.
2:8 – “And then” … i.e., when the Church is raptured … the Anti-Christ will come forth in political power to rule as a world leader.
BUT … NOTICE his END … which will occur at the REVELATION, 7 years after the Rapture.
NOTICE … Who is in charge here? GOD is!
This is God’s timetable … God is in charge … God is sovereign … He rules!
Satan can’t change a thing … he is ruled by God’s program of prophecy.