Does 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 say that before the rapture happens, the great apostasy and the Antichrist has to first come?
2 not to be easily disconcerted or alarmed by any spirit or message or letter seeming to be from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord has already come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way, for it will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness—the son of destruction—is revealed. -2 Thessalonians 2:2-3 BSB
Many Christians, like myself at one time, believe that right before Jesus comes to take us to be where He is at (1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, 2 Thessalonians 2:1), the Antichrist has to first show up because of verses 2 & 3. You see, I thought that the phrase “the Day of the Lord” meant the rapture because, in verse 1, it says, “Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him…” I connected verse 1 with verses 2 & 3 as being the same.
After doing a deep study on 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 and letting the Scripture interpret itself, I have discovered through the Holy Spirit who gives understanding to those who seek Him that the Day of the Lord means something different than what I believed it to be. I will show you with Scripture.
The meaning of the phrase “the Day of the Lord” can be found in the Old Testament and 1 Thessalonians 5. Paul knew the Scriptures very well (before his conversion, he was a Pharisee, Philippians 3:4-6) and used the phrase “the Day of the Lord” to convey how the rest of the Scripture defined it in connection with the revelation that the Holy Spirit gave to him regarding the Great Tribulation.
First, let’s look at 1 Thessalonians 5:2-3, “2 For you are fully aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and security,” destruction will come upon them suddenly, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.”
1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 defines “the Day of the Lord” as an event of God’s judgment, not the rapture or the second coming. Let’s continue to look at the phrase in how it is used in the Old Testament.
Alas for the day! For the Day of the LORD is near, and it will come as destruction from the Almighty. -Joel 1:15 BSB
14 The great Day of the LORD is near—near and coming quickly. Listen, the Day of the LORD! Then the cry of the mighty will be bitter. 15 That day will be a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of destruction and desolation, a day of darkness and gloom, a day of clouds and blackness, -Zephaniah 1:14-15 BSB
The phrase “the Day of the Lord” is the Great Tribulation that will come and bring destruction upon a world that has rejected the Lord Jesus Christ.
Now, knowing how the phrase in the Scriptures is defined, let’s reread 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 with this new insight. I added the words in bold for clarity.
1 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to Him [the rapture], we ask you, brothers, 2 not to be easily disconcerted or alarmed by any spirit or message or letter seeming to be from us, alleging that the Day of the Lord [the Great Tribulation] has already come. 3 Let no one deceive you in any way, for it [the Great Tribulation] will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness—the son of destruction—is revealed. -2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 BSB
Paul was telling the church not to let anyone deceive them that they were going through the Great Tribulation because, in Paul’s first letter to the church, he told them that the believers are not going to go through it (1 Thessalonians 1:10, 5:9). Paul reminded them that they were not in the Day of the Lord because there was no Antichrist.
In the future, I’m going to make a video on the subject showing more verses and connecting them with the Book of Daniel, Matthew, and the books mentioned here. I wanted to give a quick introduction to how biblical the Pre-Trib Rapture is. Even Paul said not to let yourself get deceived by people telling you that believers will go through it. The Post-Trib, according to 2 Thessalonians 2, is a deception. The video will cover all that.