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but first... the 'man of sin' revealed | table of contents

In 2nd Thessalonians 2:1-4, Paul warns his readers not to be deceived about the timing of the coming of the Lord (parousia) and the Day of the Lord. Apparently, the people of Thessolonica were concerned that perhaps the Day of the Lord had already come.

Paul begins...

    "Concerning the coming (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ *and* our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the day of the Lord has already come..."

Again, as I've already established, and as is made clear in this passage, the 'gathering together' (the rapture event) is tied definitively to Jesus' coming (parousia), as well as to the Day of the Lord. The Coming, the Day, and the gathering are all interconnected. Paul refers to the Coming, the Day and the Gathering in the same line of thought.

Now, Paul warns the reader...

    "Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God's temple, proclaiming himself to be God."

Don't let anyone deceive you...: Paul tells the Thessalonians not to be deceived about the timing of the Day of the Lord, because the Day of the Lord cannot begin until certain events happen first.

What events have to happen prior to the Day of the Lord? According to this passage, their are two: first, the "rebellion" (NKJV = falling away), and second, the revelation of the 'man of lawlessness,' who sets himself up in the temple to be worshiped, the person most of us refer to as "the antichrist." As Paul clearly states, both of these events must happen before the Day of the Lord commences (Note 12).

Now, as we have previously seen, the rapture occurs after the Day of the Lord begins. If the Day of the Lord can't begin until the 'man of sin' is revealed, that means that the rapture also cannot occur before he is revealed.

If that has not yet sunk in, read through it again. The rapture cannot happen until after the man of lawlessness (or Antichrist) has been revealed. Since we know the rapture occurs after the Day of the Lord has begun, the antichrist must be revealed before the rapture occurs.

How is the man of lawlessness revealed? He exalts himself and sets himself up to be worshiped in the temple. That is when it will become obvious to all who are alert, watching and sober (1 Thes 5:6) that this individual is indeed the man of lawlessness spoken of by Paul.

So, when does this 'revelation' occur in the timeline? According to the prophet Daniel, this event, which both he and Jesus refer to as the "abomination of desolation," occurs right at the mid-point of Daniel's 70th week (Daniel 9:27, Matt. 24:15) (
Note 13).

The 70th week is that final seven year period that most refer to as the 'Great Tribulation'. Daniel tells us that the man of sin is revealed at the half-way point, that is, 3 1/2 years into the last seven year period. If the Day of the Lord cannot come until after the antichrist has been revealed (2 Thes 2:2-3), and the the rapture cannot occur until after the Day of the Lord begins, that means the rapture cannot occur until after the half way point of the 70th week.

What does this mean? The pre-trib idea simply cannot be correct. It contradicts Paul's plain teaching as well as the even more direct teaching of Jesus as we shall see.

in summary:

1) The Day of the Lord cannot begin until the antichrist is first revealed.
2) The antichrist is revealed at the mid-point of the final seve year period.
3) Thus the Day of the Lord begins after the mid-point.
4) And the rapture event, which comes after the Day of the Lord begins, must also occur after the mid-point.
5) Thus the notion of a pre-trib rapture cannot be correct.

order of events:
A summary of the order of events according to Paul:

1) A great falling away
2) The man of sin revealed, worshipped in the temple (mid-way through the final seven year period - Dan. 9:27, Rev 13:4-6)
3) The Day of the Lord (1 & 2 have to happen first - 2 Thes 2:3-4)
4) The Lord descends from heaven (1 Thes. 4:16)
5) The voice of an Archangel (1 Thes. 4:16)
6) The trumpet of God (1 Thes 4:16)
7) The rapture gathering (1 Thes 4:17)

Note again that #4-7 are all defined as part of the coming (parousia) of the Lord in 1 Thes. 4:15-17. 2 Thes 2:1-4 tells us specifically that this coming and the gathering cannot occur prior to #1 & 2.

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