Summary: Paul wrote this section to clarify what would precede the Day of the Lord. Several events must occur before the Great Tribulation will arrive.
2 THESSALONIANS 2: 1-5
THE DAY OF THE LORD
[1 Thessalonians 5: 1-11]
This section contains truths found nowhere else in the Bible. It is key to understanding future events and it is central to the letter. The church at Thessalonica found itself, much as we are at times, in a state of confusion over the return of Jesus. So Paul here begins dealing with a doctrinal error concerning the return of Christ that had crept into the Thessalonian church.
Paul had instructed the Thessalonians concerning the Day of the Lord when he preached to them in person. The Day of the Lord is the period of history mentioned repeatedly in the Old Testament during which God will bring judgment [and Millennial blessing] on the people of the earth in a more direct, dramatic, and drastic way than ever before (Isa. 13:6, 9; Zeph. 1:14-16). From other New Testament revelation concerning this period of time it is believed that this Day of the Lord will begin after the Rapture of the church, and will include the Tribulation and the Millennium.
In his first letter to the Thessalonians Paul had taught them that the day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night (1 Thess. 5:2). Misinformation began to circulate regarding this event. To some it seemed that the day of the Lord had already come. After all, the persecutions they were experiencing seemed to be what the prophets had predicted when they wrote about the great calamities coming on the world in “that day” or the day of the Lord. Apparently the Thessalonians even had received instruction from other teachers that the judgments they were experiencing meant it was the Day of the Lord, that is, the Great Tribulation. But if this were so, how could Paul’s previous instruction that they would be caught up (1 Thess. 4:17) and escape the wrath of God coming on the earth be true? Paul wrote this section (2 Thess. 2:1-5) to clarify the matter. [Walvoord, John & Zuck, Roy; The Bible Knowledge Commentary: Wheaton, IL: Victor Books, 1983, p. 717.] They had not been excluded from the rapture nor was it the day of the Lord for other events must occur before the great gathering out of God people and the Great Tribulation (CIT). Not only that but believers will not go through the wrath of God (1 Thess. 5:9).
I. THE COMING OF OUR LORD, 1.
II. THE DAY OF THE LORD, 2.
III. THE APOSTASY OF THE CHURCH, 3a.
IV. THE LAWLESS ONE, 3b-5.
Verse 1 is an urgent request for them to understand properly the events around the Coming of the Lord. “Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him,”
Paul now launches into the subject of the Coming of Christ on which he has just touched (1:5-10). The brethren are implored to correct the confusion about the Return of their Lord.
There are two phrases in the verse relating to the Second Coming. The first is “on behalf of the coming” [huper tçs parousia] or “presence,” and the second is “our gathering together to Him.” [hçmon episunagôgçs ep auto] which refers to the Rapture. Both of these phrases are generally interpreted as referring to the coming of Christ. The parousia or coming had been used in 1 Thessalonians 2:19 & 4:15 for the gathering out of God’s people event. The gathering together is a reminder of 1 Thessalonians 4:17, in which both those in Christ who have died and those still living will be “caught up together” to meet the Lord and “always be with the Lord.” [Both nouns are united with the same article indicating they are two parts of one event. It should be noted that parousia also is used for Christ’s return after the Tribulation (Mt. 24:37-39). The Latin equivalent to the word parousia is "advent," so Christians sometimes speak of the second advent of Jesus. ] We still look for and await this great assembling together (Heb. 11:25) in the sky.
The very form of Paul’s plea (request or beseech, erôtômen) and the solemn use of the full title “our Lord Jesus Christ” indicates that what follows is of extreme importance. It is clear that the subject of the Second Coming had become a source of tension and disruption, instead of a source of comfort and hope as it is intended to be.
II. THE DAY OF THE LORD, 2.
Verse 2 addresses the alarm that distorted teaching concerning their present tribulation was causing. “that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.”