Paul’s 3 Things That Must Happen Before the Rapture


After Paul the apostle wrote his first letter (1 Thessalonians) discussing the rapture, or being caught up (We looked at it yesterday in our daily meditations), he received a letter back from the Thessalonian church. We know this for he started the second chapter of his second letter (2 Thessalonians) with the word “concerning.” The Thessalonian church had received some communication from people trying to deceive them into believing that the Day of the Lord, and with it, the Rapture, our being gathered to Christ, had already happened (2 Thessalonians 2:2). Here are Paul's words:


1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).


The believers at the church in Thessalonica were concerned because a person had told them that the persecution they were enduring (2 Thessalonians 1:4) was the persecution associated with the end time coming of the Lord. It's interesting that Paul uses the same Greek word, thlipsis, translated tribulation (Matthew 24:21 KJV) or distress (NIV) to describe the persecution that the Thessalonians were enduring at the time Paul was writing. Paul replied to this false thinking so that he might ease their fears that they had missed being caught up (raptured) to the great gathering together with the Lord in the air. It is clear Paul believed that the Day of the Lord happens just after the Church is caught up to the Lord (vv. 1-2). He calls the coming of the Lord and our being gathered to Him as, “the day of the Lord” (2 Thessalonians 2:2).


Paul reassured them that they had not missed the rapture by telling them that three things must happen before that Day (The Day of the Lord) comes (v. 2). Today and tomorrow we will look at the three things that, in Paul’s teaching, must happen before the coming of Jesus for His people.


1) The first thing that Paul says must happen is that the Rebellion occurs (v. 3). Other English translations call it the Apostasy, or the falling away. The definite article is in the Greek text but not explicit in the English translation. It is the rebellion, not just any countrywide rebellion but a worldwide falling away from the faith. The Greek word used is Apostasia, which means to depart, defect, and revolt. The meaning of this word is always speaking of a religious defection, a departure from what is considered to be orthodox.[1] What would cause a worldwide defection from the faith?

It is possible that when Antichrist and the False Prophet demand that everyone receives a mark on their forehead or hand, and worship the beast (Revelation 13:15-18), many with half-hearted faith will compromise, take the Mark, and fall away from the Lord. Those with understanding and true faith in Christ, will not take the mark, and continue to walk with the Lord, anticipating His return. We live in a day when central banks all over the world are limiting cash, forcing people to buy via the Internet and to turn to digital money. In this writer's mind, this is all part of an agenda to control the finances of the whole world, so that a one-world currency can be set up, possibly a blockchain currency, controlled by a Mark, a digital device on our person. Money on our mobile phones is just a precursor.

When this global economy is set up, those who take the Mark will be acknowledging the Antichrist's rulership and godhood. Christians are warned not to take this mark: 9And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:9-10). In my opinion, and it is just my opinion, this taking of the Mark by many, and abandonment of faith in Christ, a falling away, will herald Paul’s first thing that must happen before the catching away of true believers (the Rapture). Let’s look at the second and third of Paul’s three things tomorrow. Keith Thomas


These thoughts are shortened from a much larger in-depth study. To read the more detailed study, click on the All Studies box on groupbiblestudy.com. Then click on the series The End Times, and then the study The Rapture and Day of the Lord.

[1] Key Word Study Bible, AMG Publishers, 686 Apostasia, Page 693.