Concerning the Coming
2 Thessalonians 2:1 Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, 2 not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. 3 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, 4 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. 5 Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? (NKJV)
In this second letter to the Christians at the church in Thessalonica Paul intended to encourage the church while they were being persecuted and, also, to clear up some of the confusion regarding the end times.
In this passage, Paul writes “concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him” (v.1). This is a reference to the Parousia, which is the Greek word for “coming”, specifically to the second “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”.
The Parousia is also called the Day of the Lord. It is a period of time that includes, in order, the Rapture of the church, the seven year Tribulation of disasters on earth, the coming of Christ with His saints (Christians) to judge and punish unbelievers, the thousand year reign of Christ on earth (the Millennium), and the destruction of the heavens and earth.
Some believe that the Rapture comes before the Day of the Lord begins. However verse one would seem to indicate that the Rapture is the first event of the “coming”, the Day of the Lord.
Paul cautions the new believers not to be “shaken in mind or troubled” by those persecuting the church who spread false rumors that Paul had reported that the Day of the Lord had already begun (v.2a). These false rumors consisted of three different reports: that Paul had received this information through direct revelation from God; that Paul had verbally reported this information; and that Paul had written a letter reporting this information (v. 2b).
These false rumors were naturally unsettling to the Christians because, if true, it meant that the Day of the Lord was underway and the Rapture had not yet happened. They were confused.
Next, Paul offers assurances to the church in writing that they should not be deceived by these rumors (v.3a). He writes that certain things will happen before the Day of the Lord begins.
First, the “falling away” will occur (v.3b). The Greek word here is “apostasia.” The church will become apostate. It will fail to uphold Scripture.
Immediately before the Rapture the church will be “lukewarm” like the church at Laodicea (Rev.3). The Lord will “spit out” (Rev. 3:16), reject, the church at that time. The church of Laodicea mentioned in Rev. 3 is the model of the last churches existing prior to the Rapture. There is no other mention of the church in Scripture after Rev. 3. That is because the church is raptured after Rev. 3, prior to the Tribulation that begins in Rev. 4.
The church will become “lukewarm” by becoming more liberal, causing more and more false teaching. This has already begun. The recent false teaching accepting homosexuality in liberal churches could signify that the “lukewarm” condition is near completion and that the Rapture is near.
So the lukewarm church will rebel against the teachings of the Bible. Next, the Antichrist, “the man of sin”, will be revealed (v.3b). Finally, all Christian churches will align under him (v.4a). He “sits as God in the temple of God” in Jerusalem, which has been restored (v.4b).
All of these events will precede the Rapture, when those believers who have remained faithful to the true God, Jesus Christ, will meet up with Him in the air.
Paul then completes this passage by reminding the church that he had already explained these things to them (v. 5). This is a reminder to us that we forget things. We should always be reading the Bible so that this does not happen.
Online Bible Commentary