Who and what comes first?
II Thess. 2:3-5 “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?” We can look back at his first letter to the Thessalonians and see some of this being mentioned.
Paul in v.1 is explaining about “the Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” and “the day of Christ.” Paul is saying, If anyone tells you it has occurred prior to these next points you are being deceived. “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (the rapture and resurrection, for the living and the dead are the same event according to the Scripture1 Cor. 5: 52; 1 Thess. 4:16).
Throughout Paul’s epistles he mentions this day of Christ, some say it is the tribulation, others say it is the rapture. Apparently Paul is referring to the rapture and uses the day of the Lord, the Old Testament term of the Tribulation period “that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (1Thess. 5:2).
Throughout the other teachings he used the day of the Lord Jesus Christ:
1 Cor. 5:5 ‘day of the Lord Jesus”; 2 Cor. 1:14 “day of the Lord Jesus”; Phil 1:6 “until the day of Jesus Christ”;
Phil. 1:10 “till the day of Christ”; 1 Cor. 1:8 “that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ”; Phil. 2:16 that I may rejoice in the day of Christ.”
II Thess. 2:2 he says “as though the day of Christ had come.” In v.1 Paul is explaining on what will take place BEFORE it. Paul gives the warning, “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
With God timing is everything. It should seem obvious that Paul was writing about “that Day,” (v.3) will not come without something happening prior to that: The falling away would come first, and then the man of sin would be revealed (then the day comes vv.1-2). Paul is talking about two different matters: our gathering together to Him (v.1) and a falling away (v.3). Paul states that that Day will not come without the falling away (the Apostasy) coming first; that prior to Christ’s coming a falling away from the faith needs to occur. This is the only way this makes sense for it is in this time that a false Christ (Messiah) would be able to come as a counterfeit to the real one. The false one comes to earth before the real one comes to earth. Therefore he warns us who are living at the time, “Let no one deceive you by any means,” giving the same warning Jesus did in the beginning of his discourse in Matthew 24 as the indication of being in the last days.
The falling away, leaving the faith; it is at this time period that the son of perdition (antichrist) will be revealed. And he tells them this will be the one to enter the temple (in the middle of the Tribulation) and become what Jesus called, the abomination of desolation (Mt.24:15). And them Paul reminds them that he already spoke this to them on this matter.
Are we to look for the antichrist? Let me put it this way - we are not to ignore his appearing when we see the signs forming around us. The fact is, he can be known if he is alive, active, before he is in the place of power. There are two revealing's, first: during the time of the falling away the man of sin is revealed to the faithful in the church ( through numerous means (besides the number and his name). In the middle of the Tribulation he goes into the Temple and is revealed to the whole world who he (really) is. No one wants to be around for that.
The Bible says we are to walk circumspectly because the days are evil, we are to watch as never before because we are in [that] evil day[s].
The Lord has also given us ways to identify him and Paul says he will be disclosed to the remnant church, those who are watching, knowing that he comes before Jesus comes. For that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed.” The falling away is attached to the man of sin being revealed. The only ones who can know (whom he will be revealed to) are those who are ardent students of the word of God. It will not be an opinion that this could be him and another saying its another person. They will agree because the Scripture will be the final authority on the matter (see our series on the anti Christ).
Christ’s return will not occur before certain important things take place, so the sequence of events is important. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3 in the phrase “the falling away” the Greek word Apostasia comes from the Greek verb aphistemi, which literally means, “to depart” or “revolt.” Paul used the same Greek word. 1 Timothy Paul added the words “depart from the faith” instead of “depart” by itself, qualifying the phrase. The Greek word apostasia includes both to stand and from; it means to stand away from it, to depart, to leave. The context determines the meaning of the word. Paul first explains in 2 Thessalonians about our gathering to the Lord and then gives details on what will occur beforehand. What Paul is describing is not good, because it has the article THE before it. “That day” will not come until THE departure comes first. So when people say Jesus can come at any time, now that the apostasy is reaching toward its zenith it is only a matter of time before the man of sin comes on the scene.
The Bible says ‘some”, the word in Greek is “tis” an enclitic indefinite pronoun; some or any person or object.“The falling away” this departure Paul is speaking of does not refer to the rapture of the Church, it does not fit the context. Paul is not saying that a departure will come before the same departure happens; that the departure is the rapture. What he is saying that the falling away (departure from the faith) will happen before our gathering to Christ, the rapture, and before the Tribulation (the apostasy will continue throughout it). There is no other way to understand these words without changing the context of this verse.
This falling away, this apostasy is the main indication of the Church’s condition in the last hour? It is the culmination of what Christ and the apostles warned of in their teachings.They will leave their trust in God and accept Doctrines of devils. V.2 literally reads “through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies.” There is just as many lies circulating today than the truth, even within the church. It will affect the Church more adversely than anything else in its history. You can’t teach on end time prophecy without it? The apostasy separates the faithless from the faithful. And the faithful will agree on whom this man of sin is by the Bible when it is time.
The first revealing is by the church identifying him. We also have him revealing himself to the world in the middle of the tribulation (Rev.13) as he takes complete control with the new commercial financial system.
1Thess 5:2-3 “For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.”
We have been seeing the labor pains, peace and safety has everything to do with Israel, the world will say this because a covenant will be signed to make peace with Israel. Then begins the day of the Lord, the short time period of the tribulation. Everyone who is living at that time will be affected because of the one who brings this peace treaty.