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Have we missed the boat? Are we as believers somehow already in the Day of the Lord and experiencing that special time of intensified wrath of God?  Certainly we are experiencing a high level of suffering and persecution (in the early church).  What are we to make of these difficult times?  The Apostle Paul was writing to the Thessalonian believers to calm their fears and prevent further deception.

You must have a proper systematic understanding of eschatology in order to understand Paul’s argument in this text.  Remember the timeline for the Pre-Wrath Rapture view:

Pre-Wrath Rapture Timeline

This differs dramatically from the Pre-Trib position which would not make sense here.  Also you must understand the nature of the 70th week of Daniel which includes both a period after the mid-point identified as the Great Tribulation (which believers will experience) and then the Rapture of believers followed by the Day of the Lord, the time of the outpouring of God’s wrath on unbelievers culminating in the Battle of Armageddon.


A.  Primary Issue = Timing of the Rapture at Christ’s Second Coming (Parousia)

“Now we request you, brethren, with regard to:

the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ

and our gathering together to Him”

One of the main purposes of the Second Coming of Christ is the rapture of believers.

B.  Pastoral Intent (Motivation) = Need to Stay Calm and Level-Headed

  1. “that you may not be quickly shaken from your composure”
  2. “or be disturbed

C.  Primary Indicator in Question = Relationship between the Rapture and the Day of the Lord

“to the effect that the day of the Lord has come”

The Day of the Lord refers to that aspect of the Second Coming that is characterized by divine wrath and judgment.

D.  Possible Indoctrination Methods

  1. Prophetic Utterance

“either by a spirit”

                        Someone claiming to be passing along a prophetic word from the spirit

  1. Public Teaching

“or a message”

  1. Personal Letter

“or a letter as if from  us”

Marvin Rosenthal: The Thessalonians were greatly disturbed by false teachers who were communicating erroneous doctrine concerning end time events.  This false teaching, according to the apostle, was being propagated in three ways: “by spirit” (prophetic utterance), “by word” (some spoken teaching), and by forged documents attributed to the apostle Paul (“by letter as from us,” 2 Thess. 2:2).  The core of that false teaching was imbedded in the statement “that the day of the Lord is present.”

E.  Precursor Identification = Protection from Deception

  1. Danger of Deception

Let no one in any way deceive you,

  1. Definitive Precursor to the Day of the Lord

for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first …”

Marvin Rosenthal: The phrase falling away (2 Thess. 2:3) is a translation of the Greek word apostasia.  It means a defection, revolt, or apostasy.  It signifies a falling away or total abandonment of something or someone.  It is used only twice in the entire Word of God; therefore, how it is used becomes exceedingly important.  Dr. Luke used the word apostasy in describing an important occasion when the apostle Paul met with the Jewish elders at Jerusalem.  Many Jews had accepted Christ, but they continued to adhere to the old covenant and the Mosaic Law (Acts 21:20).  They wanted to believe in Jesus, but within Old Testament Judaism.  They did not comprehend that Jesus had initiated a new covenant.  . .   It is used in the context of the apostle Paul being repudiated for supposedly asking Jews to renounce Moses, circumcision as the basis of covenantal relationship, and the Jewish customs.

When Paul used the word apostasy in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, he did so in exactly the same way as Dr. Luke.  He was speaking of Jews who, during the seventieth week of Daniel, will totally abandon the God of their fathers and their messianic hope in favor of a false religion (humanism) and a false messiah (the Antichrist, 2 Thess. 2:2-12).

This view is in marked contrast with the general view of pretribulation rapturism.  The usual position is that Paul was speaking of believers in this age who will apostatize before the Rapture and the beginning of the seventieth week. . .

The Bible teaches that the apostasy and revealing of the man of sin must precede the Day of the Lord.  The Apostasy and revealing of the man of sin occur within the seventieth week.  Therefore, the Day of the Lord cannot begin before the first five seals are broken or at the beginning of the seventieth week. . .

The apostasy will occur during the first three and one-half years of Daniel’s seventieth week, and then, in the middle of the week, the Antichrist will be revealed to the Jewish people.  That event will trigger a period of such severity that unless those days were cut short, no flesh (again in context, Jewish) would live.

The issue at hand, and which to this author is undeniably clear, is that the apostasy and revealing of the man of sin to Israel must occur inside the seventieth week, not before it begins.  That a remnant of godly believers will recognize the Antichrist when the covenant is made is certainly true and consistent with the teaching of the Lord (Matt. 24:33; cp. vv. 4-28) and the apostle Paul (1 Thess. 5:4-6).  But what Paul is teaching is that Israel, the nation with whom the covenant is made, will not recognize the Antichrist until the abomination of desolation occurs in the middle of the week.  According to the apostle Paul, the Day of the Lord judgment must take place after those events.  Therefore, the Day of the Lord cannot commence at the beginning of the seventieth week, and the Rapture, which occurs at the very outset of the Day of the Lord, cannot possibly be pretribulational.


A.  Rebellious Character of the Antichrist Will Be Blatantly Obvious

the man of lawlessness is revealed”

B.  Destructive Agenda of the Antichrist Will Be Blatantly Obvious

“the son of destruction”

MacArthur: Human history has had its share of evil leaders …  But one is coming who will surpass them all, both in the extent of his power and the evil of his person.  He will be the most fiendish, wicked, powerful man ever to walk the earth.  He is known in Scripture by many names; he is “Gog of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Mesheck and Tubal” (Ezek. 38:2); the little horn of Daniel 7:8, 24; 8:9; the “prince who is to come” (Dan. 9:26); the king who does as he pleases (Dan. 1:36); the foolish, worthless shepherd (Zech. 11:15-17); the beast (Rev. 11:7; 13:1; 14:9; 19:20; etc.).

C.  Sacrilegious Actions of the Antichrist Will Be Blatantly Obvious

  1. General Description of Usurption of Worship

“who opposes and exalts himself

above every so-called god or object of worship”

  1. Ultimate Display of Sacrilegious Blasphemy

“so that he takes his seat in the temple of God”

  1. Primary Objective

“displaying himself as being God”


“Do you not remember that while I was still with you,

I was telling you these things?”