Rapture Passages – 2 Thessalonians

08Apr11

2 Thes.2:1 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. [3] Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, [4] who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God. [5] Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? [6] And you know what is restraining him now so that he may be revealed in his time. [7] For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. Only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. [8] And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

Despite the immense popularity of the this passage by proponents of the pre0tribulation theory I will not be spending too much time on this passage as we examined it in great deal previously in our discussion of the Man of Lawlessness. This discussion is limited to the rapture, and the pre-tribulation rapture theory, so the only discussion related to the Man of Lawlessness will involve how it helps give us timing to when this passage finds fulfillment.

COMING of the LORD JESUS

As mentioned countless times there New testament is filled with different kinds of comings of Jesus. The student must study diligently to understand exactly which coming is being referenced by the context and events described in the passage. The reader may want to consider looking at previous posts that describe the uses of the term “coming” throughout the Bible.

GATHERING TOGETHER

We also discussed this previously, but will take a moment to review here since it does have direct relation to whether the “coming” in question involved the rapture. As discussed previously the term “gathering together” is the Greek word “episenagogue.” This word is used three times in the New Testament. The first is found in the Olivet Discourse and is related to the gathering of the Church after the fall of the Temple and the expansion of the Gospel as God’s messengers are fully released to proclaim the Gospel without the infringement of the Jewish religious leaders.

The other time it is used is probably the most famous usage in the New Testament.

Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to gather together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

This gathering together (used in a similar context of the Day drawing near) is in relation to the fellowship of believers. This passage in no way indicated some sort of “rapture” but rather the coming together in Christian fellowship and unity. This is accomplished at the fall of Jerusalem when the Christians and Jews, who under Roman law were seen as the same religious sect, are now officially separated and the Lord of Glory is vindicated for His crucifixion.

DAY OF THE LORD

Note how easily the Apostle refers to the “coming” and “gathering” as the Day of the Lord. This Day of the Lord is commonly argued to be the Second Coming, but the context simply does not allow for it. As mentioned in a previous post, it would literally make no sense for the Thessalonians to write a letter asking if the Day of the Lord has passed if the Day of the Lord was the Resurrection or rapture. Should the Thessalonians expect Paul to still be around if the day of the Lord meant Rapture? If Day of the Lord truly was understood to be the “rapture” then writing to Paul would be fruitless!

Now, if on the other hand, the Thessalonians believed the Day of the Lord to be the coming judgment against apostate Israel, then asking about that event would make sense. And if they had friends or relatives in the Judean area it would easily explain their concern that the Day of the Lord had passed.

A future post dedicated to the term “Day of the Lord” will hopefully prove informative. For our understanding at this point, let it be understood that there have been several references to the “Day of the Lord” throughout Scripture that have clearly found their fulfillment even before the time of Christ.

For the sake of time I will simply bullet point in a review setting those ideas discussed in previous posts regarding this passage to help our understanding.

  • The Rebellion must comes first – This is related to the Jewish rebellion of the early 60’s AD that lead to the destruction of Jerusalem
  • Man of Lawlessness is Revealed – discussed previously in depth this man was a contemporary of Paul as the context suggests and may have been Nero, a Judean governor of the False High Priest Phannius
  • Both someTHING and someONE restrains him – often seen as a political restraint which could be characterized as both a “he” or an “it” which this passage does.
  • The Thessalonians knew who and what was restraining him – so this was set in the first century as the context demands.
  • The Coming then was imminent and the Thessalonians could expect this coming during their lifetime

This makes this passage difficult to postpone into our future. The context does not allow for the postponement as the Thessalonians were well aware of this Man of Lawlessness and who it was restraining him at that time. That coupled with the idea of the Day of the Lord can in no way be related to the Second Coming makes this passage one that should be considered fulfilled within the first century.

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5 Responses to “Rapture Passages – 2 Thessalonians”

  1. Matthew 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will (episunago) his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

    Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have (episunago) your children together as a hen (episunago)
    her brood under her wings, and you would not!

    Hebrews 10:25 not neglecting to (episunagoge), as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

    2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now concerning the (parousia) of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being (episunagoge) to him, we ask you, brothers,

    Luke 13:34 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have (episunago) your children together as a hen [gathers = not in Greek] her brood under her wings, and you would not!

    Mark 13:27 And then he will send out the angels and (episunago) his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven.

    Luke 12:1 In the meantime, when so many thousands of the people had (episunago) that they were trampling one another, he began to say to his disciples first, “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.

    Luke 17:37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will (episunago).”

    Mark 1:33 And the whole city was (episunago) together at the door.

  2. Could you link in your posts to the other posts to which you are referring?

    This is good work.

    • 3 low5point

      Sure…love too…now, if someone can show me how it’s done? 🙂


  1. 1 PP2: References « Dave's Bible Study Group: Minneapolis
  2. 2 A Study of II Thessalonians 2:1-8 | Pursuing Truth (Minneapolis)

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