I had recently written, once again, a study on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10, and thought I did a fairly good job of making my point, that the rapture comes first and then Antichrist arrives, along with God’s wrath, but things change.
What changed you might ask?
First, there was the COVID 19 virus, that put the world in a panic. We, as a nation, also got put in quarantine. That quarantine turned into something of a joke as it got extended, first by the President, then by our California Governor multiple times, to the point that we were under quarantine for three months. During that quarantine, we were told that the church was non-essential, and churches were ordered closed. Surprisingly, our government, namely our California Governor, seems to have forgotten that we had a First Amendment to the constitution.
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
After a reasonable amount of time, many Pastors began to push back against the California Governor. Our own President Trump even got involved on behalf of the churches by demanding that the dictatorial Governors reopen churches because they are essential. In case you had not heard, here in California, by the end of the three months, we had more people die from suicide than from the COVID 19. My own church, did not take assertive action along with the others, but we did, in time, institute a drive-up/or sit in the parking lot church, and that was fine. All this initiated in early March of 2020.
As I look back, I am thankful that this seclusion led me to find other pastors on the internet. I found bold men, such as Pastor JD Farag, in Hawaii; Pastor Tom Hughes, from San Jacinto California; Pastor Jack Hibbs, of Chino Hills California, and James Kaddis, the Pastor of Signal Hill Church in Long Beach, California. These men preach a powerful, fearless gospel, and most opened their churches early. But the best of it was the messages that they brought and how they pulled no punches.
This time with these pastors, and the messages about the end times, was one of the biggest changes for me.
Here it is mid-June of 2020 and Pastor JD Farag recently stated,
after years of teaching, he still found himself struggling to sort out the timing of the rapture and Antichrist’s entrance into the end times scenario based upon 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3. (This struggle to understand the chronology of what is going to happen, is all to common in the church.)
But then, as he said, I settled it. (That means he got the facts straight in his thinking, applied some faith to the subject, and settled it; never to struggle with it again.)
It is my belief that settling the timing associated with the rapture and the Antichrist has become pivotal to me, since March of 2020; because, since the beginning of March, we, the church, have submitted to:
fear; quarantines; a voluntary loss of our rights; the loss of our ability to assemble at church; the mandatory wearing of face masks, and soon, a mandatory “vaccination,” which we have learned will do nothing outside of marking you with a scannable nanodot. Many of us, are alarmed at how rapidly these changes have altered not only our world but us. If it goes the way the globalists want, we will not be able to work, shop, or go anywhere without this “vaccination.” And, if you are not aware, this is all meant to show you your need for a centralized government under one leader – a one-world government.
Does anyone else see the biblical themes running through the current events we are dealing with here?
What does this all mean?
It means that the emergence of the Antichrist and a one-world government is right around the corner. Thus, I implore you to settle these details about the catching away of the church and the coming of the lawless one in your heart and mind as well. And no, this is not just about you, although you should be capable of expressing and explaining to others this hope that we rest upon.
Why did Paul write this letter to the church in Thessalonica?
Because a fraudulent letter had at minimum, been distributed, to the church in Thessalonica; the effect of which, disturbed their peace, and filled many in the church with fear, as they thought had been left behind.
How did Paul respond to this fraud?
By reestablishing truth with them. He wrote them a second time, in an effort to refresh their thinking, and by reexamining a vital truth without rehashing all the details he previously taught. An example was given of a college professor who gives a lecture, upon which the students will be tested. Several weeks later, days before the exam, he reexamines many of the vital points he made. Does he, once again, give the entire lecture? No, because they should have gone over those notes themselves. He is merely reestablishing in them, what is coming. And thus Paul begins to write, now, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered.
2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 ESV Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, (2) not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
“Now concerning the coming.” Coming is the Greek word parousía and means to be present. It also implies a coming to a place or an arrival.
Eugene Peterson in his version of the Bible expresses this about verse one. “ …the day when our Master, Jesus Christ, will come back and we assemble to welcome him.”
Other translations read like this: The CJB states- “in connection with”; the NASB reads – “in regard to,”; and the Amplified Bible declares, “But relative to the coming.” As long as the terminology conveys the association and immediacy of His coming, we should be good.
The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is interpreted in one of several ways:
Primarily, “The day of the Lord” is one of those interpretations and pertains to several events, all of which are associated with the seven-years of God’s wrath. The Word of God also speaks of this in terms of a day.
If you do a search for the phrase, “the day of the Lord” and it shows up over 22 times across the Bible. In the book of the Prophet Joel, we get this.
“Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, And it will come as destruction from the Almighty.” (Joel 1:15 NASB)
And He also addresses it as a week of years. For example, in Daniel we see –
“Seventy weeks have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint the most holy place. (Daniel 9:24 NASB)
If God were talking about actual weeks, to the Jews that would be about a year-and-a-half. It is actually 70, seven-year periods of time, and it took us up to Jesus’ resurrection. However, that only covered 69 of those time periods. The seventieth has been on hold, waiting for its moment to arrive that is described as “when the fullness of the Gentiles has come.
Romans 11:25 NASB “… a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in;
In the Revelation we see many martyred saints getting this answer from Jesus.
Revelation 6:11 NASB And there was given to each of them a white robe, and they were told that they should rest for a little while longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren who were to be killed even as they had been, would be completed also.
That seventieth, seven-year period is the time of God’s wrath upon the earth, and you see that in Daniel 9:24 (which I have shown you above.) This time is what we refer to as the tribulation, however, the tribulation is a highly inappropriate term as tribulations are what Jesus described would be a daily aspect of our lives. There is, however, a segment of time, within the seven-years, which will become so deadly that Jesus calls it a time of great tribulation and points out how God has to bring it to an end or no one would survive. This scenario is associated with Matthew 24:15, however, Daniel 9 tells us, another one will cause the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION. At this point, if you are in Israel, run for your lives.
“for then shall be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world to this time; no, nor ever shall be. And unless those days should be shortened, no flesh would be saved. But for the elect’s sake, those days shall be shortened.” (Matthew 24:21-22 MKJV)
I wish I could tell you that this ugliness will be confined to Israel, but I cannot.
Secondarily, there is another advent associated with Christ, which is frequently thought of as the day of the Lord, and that is when Jesus returns to earth as the warring Messiah.
Revelation 19:11-15 NASB (11) And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness, He judges and wages war. (12) His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems, and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. (13) He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (14) And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses. (15) From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations, and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the winepress of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.
His coming back in this manner is at the end of the seven-years.
If you were one of the survivors I would think you would be screaming Hallelujah because all sufferings are about to end, as we enter the thousand years of peace that takes place right before eternity and the total elimination of Satan.
3. The third and most vital interpretation, as concerns the church in relationship to God’s wrath, is what we call the rapture.
When it comes to the catching away of the church, we, the church, are looking for Him to come in the clouds, but He, at this point, will NOT physically return to earth and will merely gather us back to Himself. Scripturally, we have this:
They also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.” (Acts 1:11 NASB)
This was not said to the disciples to clarify the day of the Lord; this was said to strengthen and encourage hope in the disciples who saw the most amazing man, die, come back to life, and leave them. They had a hope that He was the one who would save them, but standing there watching Him ascend into the clouds must have stripped the hope right out of them. They needed more hope – a hope that He would return for us.
Another passage that speaks of this time is 1 Thessalonians 1:10.
“and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, that is Jesus, who rescues us from the wrath to come.” (1 Thessalonians 1:10 NASB)
Since we know that the wrath, according to 2 Thessalonians 2:1-10, comes almost immediately after the church has been removed, then what we see in 1 Thessalonians 1:10 is indicative of His gathering of His church; and, the church is not included in “the day of the Lord,” which includes His wrath.
Having a clear understanding that this “day of the Lord” and what so many call The Tribulation, are the same thing, is essential.
Continued: See chapter two. omharris.com