BIBLE LESSONS:

 

2 Thes. 2. Did Paul Teach a Pre-Trib Rapture? Part I

2 Thes. 2:1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him,

 

Remember I Thessalonians. This being gather to Jesus is referring to the rapture.

 

1 Thes. 4: 15 According to the Lord's own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep(died). 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.

 

Remember also what Jesus said.

 

John 14: 2In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.

 

The Thessalonians first concern here was over the rapture. With the rapture being connected to the day of the Lord, the tribulation, then their concern had to be over the timing of the rapture. Let’s read verses 1 thru 12 together first then I will address them.

 

2 Thes. 2:1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that (the tribulation has already come) the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the tribulation) will not come until the rebellion (falling away) occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4 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. 5 Don't you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6 And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7 For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. 8 And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming. 9 The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12 and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.

 

First, notice that with verse 1 Paul starts off with referring to the rapture and said in verse 5 that when he was with them he taught them on these things. So they had been taught about the Rapture and the day of the Lord, the tribulation. Second notice in verse 1 and 2 they were concerned, unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from Paul saying that the rapture and (the tribulation) “the day of the Lord had already come”. You can see how this would confuse them if Paul taught a pre-trib rapture for we see in Paul’s first letter that he taught on the rapture and offered them great hope of escaping God’s wrath. With verse 3 he tells them not to let anyone deceive them in any way.  You see again that he connected the day of the Lord with the Rapture, the Rapture first then the day of the Lord, the tribulation.

 

You can see here that Paul has the rapture, our being gathered to Jesus in verse 1 before the tribulation, the day of the Lord in verse 2. So what were they concerned about? With Jesus saying in Matthew 24 that his second coming would be like lighting that flashes and lights up the whole sky, that everyone will see him return down to the earth, the only thing they could have been concerned about is missing the rapture or there not being a rapture and that they were in the tribulation. If Paul taught a post-trib rapture they wouldn’t have been concerned, they would have expected to go through the tribulation. So what could they have been concerned about if it wasn’t missing the rapture and being in the tribulation. Or that they were being told by the false letter the rapture would be post-trib and that they were going through the tribulation.

 

Their concern was that the day of the Lord, the tribulation had already started thus they were going through the tribulation. All this started with a false report or letter. With seeing that Paul placed the rapture before the tribulation and they were concerned that they were in the tribulation, this shows that Paul could not have taught that the rapture occurs with the 2nd coming. Now, with verse 3 Paul explains how the tribulation will begin.

 

3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the tribulation) will not come until the rebellion (falling away) occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

 

We see that what Paul is referring to cannot come until a falling away occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed first. Notice again how he started with referencing the rapture first, (the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him) then goes into the day of the Lord, the tribulation. Again, if Paul had taught them a post-trib or mid-trip rapture then they wouldn’t have been concerned that they were in the tribulation, they would have expected it, but if Paul taught a pre-trib rapture then they would have been concerned, alarmed and unsettled if they were in the tribulation, for that would mean that they missed it, they were not raptured and they were going through the tribulation. We see that Paul has the rapture before the revealing of the anti-Chirst and that the tribulation, the day of the Lord cannot start until after the anti-Christ is revealed. We see the anti-Christ is revealed with the first seal in Revelation chapter 6, with the signing of the peace agreement with Israel and the Islamic nations in Daniel chapter 9, but we know for sure he is revealed to the Jews in the middle of the tribulation when he (Satan) enters into the Temple and claims to be God, the abomination of desolation, Matthew 24, Daniel 9 and Revelation 12. So a post-trib view would require the revealing of the anti-Christ to have to take place before the rapture, but Paul said the day of the Lord cannot occur until the anti-Christ is revealed first and the rapture must take place before the tribulation, before the wrath of God. This is true for the pre-wrath view also, for the anti-Christ would be revealed before the rapture.

 

Paul said the rapture must occur before the day of the Lord, before the revealing of the anti-Christ, before the judgment and wrath of God begins. The anti-Christ will be revealed before the tribulation. This actually starts the 7 years of the tribulation. Again, we see that Paul has the rapture before the tribulation.

You couldn’t say that he takes us up to protect us from his coming. We won’t need to be protected from Jesus’ return. We see in Rev. 19 that those that are gathered there against him are destroyed by the word of his mouth. There is no battle. I think that Jesus would be perfectly capable of not allowing his word to destroy the righteous. And remember, we’ve already read that Jesus said in John chapter 14 when he returns for his Church, his bride he was going to take us back to the Father’s house. When he returns at his second coming he is not going back to heaven but coming down to the earth. Plus we see the Church, his bride coming with him from heaven. Rev. 19. The order in which Paul has these statements will not fit with the rapture occurring at the 2nd coming. To say that the ‘day of the Lord’ is referring to the day of his second coming just doesn’t work.

 

Paul said that the tribulation would not come until after the rebellion (falling away) and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the anti-Christ. The anti-Christ is revealed with the first seal of the scroll in Revelation chapter 6. So even with the mid-trib view the anti-Christ is revealed 3 ½ years before their rapture would occur. You just can’t get away from the fact that the tribulation cannot start until after the anti-Christ is revealed which starts the wrath of God and the rapture must take place before the wrath of God, before the anti-Christ is revealed.

The anti-Christ will be revealed after the Rapture has taken place, the beginning of the tribulation starts with the signing of the covenant with Israel. This starts the 7-year count down. Daniel said this period of time will be 7 years, not 3 ½ years. It’s called the time of Jacobs(Israel’s) trouble. See the Bible Lesson 'The Tribulation being 7 years'.

So again, why would they have been so concerned if they were taught any view other than a pre-trib view? The only explanation that makes since is that Paul taught Jesus’ coming for the Church, the rapture, would occur before the tribulation, before the day of the Lord. And the day of the Lord is the whole 7 years.

2 Thes. 2:1 Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers, 2 not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that (the tribulation has already come) the day of the Lord has already come. 3 Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day (the tribulation) will not come until the rebellion (falling away) occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

Notice again the order in which he said all this. He first started with the Rapture, verse 1 ‘Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him’. With verse 3 he told them not to be deceived, that the day of the Lord, the tribulation will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction’. That day in verse 3 is referring back to verse 2, the tribulation (saying that the day of the Lord has already come), not to verse one, the rapture (the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him). If Paul had the rapture in mind in verse 2 and 3 it would have been clearer to say our being gathered to him again, but he uses two different statements.

The New Testament was written in Greek. They didn’t have the word ‘Rapture’ for Paul to use. Nor did they use the word Tribulation. These words are English translations that came along later by the Church as terms to describe these two events. The Rapture is the “gathering together of the believers in Christ”. The “Day of the Lord” is the tribulation. So let’s exchange the words we’re used to today, Rapture and Tribulation in the verses.

 

1Concerning the Rapture, we ask you, brothers, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by some prophecy, report or letter supposed to have come from us, saying that the tribulation has already come. 3Don't let anyone deceive you in any way, for (the tribulation will not come) until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness(the anti-Christ) is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.

Paul used two separate statements, (the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him) and (the day of the Lord) showing he had two separate events in mind.

The post-trib view says that the day of the Lord is only the day of Jesus’ 2nd coming. There are many scriptures in the Old Testament that refer to the day of the Lord that tells us of the same things we see happening in the book of Revelation, which it’s obvious occur over a period of time, not on a single day. We see the bowls occur over a period of time. But take a look at this scripture that is about The Day of the Lord.  

AMOS 5:18 Woe to you who long for the day of the LORD!

Why do you long for the day of the LORD?

That day will be darkness, not light.

If the day of the Lord that Amos is referring to is the day that Jesus returns, his second coming, then why would He say why do you long for the day of the Lord. Why would he say woe to you unless the day of the Lord is referring to the tribulation? The tribulation will be a day of darkness, a day of destruction. Just read the book of Revelation and you will see all the death and destruction that will be taking place during those 7 years.

The day Jesus returns back down to the earth will not be a day of darkness, it will be a glorious day. The word darkness sounds like it is describing the destruction occurring during the tribulation more than it does to the day Jesus returns. Those that have accepted Jesus as the Messiah and their Savior during the tribulation will be longing for his second coming and praying for this day of darkness and gloom to end. Read what Peter said,

Acts 2:19 I will show wonders in the heaven above
and signs on the earth below,
blood and fire and billows of smoke.  
20The sun will be turned to darkness
and the moon to blood  
(before) the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord.
21And everyone who calls        
on the name of the Lord will be saved

Notice here Peter says ‘glorious day’, not a day of darkness and gloom. Peter was looking forward to Jesus’ return. The great and glorious day is the day Jesus returns back down to the earth. The signs he describes in verse 19 and 20 are before the glorious return of the Lord. Read the Old Testament book of Joel. He is describing the day of the Lord. It is obvious the day of the Lord he is describing is longer than a single day. He describes the same things we see in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is not about a single day but of the whole 7 years of the tribulation. The phrase, Day of the Lord is referring to the 7 years of the tribulation.

The anti-Christ will not be revealed until after the rapture. Paul will make this clearer starting with verse 6. Paul mentions one more thing that must happen before the revealing of the anti-Christ, the man of sin that clears it all up. Check out Part II.

In the book I explain and go into a lot more detail concerning the Rapture and cover End Time Prophecies of Jesus, Daniel, Ezekiel and the book of Revelation that lead up to Jesus’ 2nd coming. You should learn all you can concerning what the Bible says is coming upon the world so you can share it with your unsaved friends and family. So you can warn them. So they won’t find themselves here during the time of the Tribulation. For our time is short. More importantly they won’t find themselves standing before God the Father as their judge, but will stand before Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus.