In 2 Thessalonians 2, the Thessalonian Church was under such great persecution that they believed Jesus had left them behind at the rapture. Counterfeit apostles and teachers wrote letters to them, forging Paul’s signature and telling them Jesus had already come for His bride. They thought all hope was lost.
Paul told them not to worry about being left behind. He assured them that Jesus had not yet come for the Church and warned them to beware of false teaching. In chapter 2, he describes prophetic signs that precede the Second Coming of Christ.
The 5 Signs Preceding the Second Coming of Christ
The Thessalonians wanted to know what signs to look for in the days ahead, so Paul gave them five prophetic events related to the day of the Lord.
1. The Apostasy of the Church
“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
The great “falling away” Paul prophesies about is a super sign that the rapture of the Church is near. God describes the end-times Church as a harlot because she has prostituted the truth with the lies of the enemy. Up to 80% of American churches deny biblical authority and inherency. There have always been pastors, churches, and believers who have fallen away from the faith, but we have never seen it en masse like Paul describes.
2. The Rapture of the Church
“For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.”—2 Thessalonians 2:7
At the rapture, the true believers will be caught up to Heaven with Jesus, while the apostate Church and false believers will be left to endure the tribulation. The Holy Spirit is restraining the antichrist and will continue to control him “until He is taken out of the way.” Since the Holy Spirit lives in believers, the only way for Him to be removed entirely is for God to take believers out of the world. This is one of the most compelling arguments for a pre-tribulation rapture of the Church.
3. The Emergence of the Antichrist
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.”—2 Thessalonians 2:8-9
The antichrist is Satan incarnate. He will deceive masses of humanity through signs and wonders so they worship him as God. While he reigns, the antichrist will broker a seven-year peace treaty with Israel and her enemies, allowing the Jews to rebuild their temple. However, he will break the treaty halfway through and sit in the temple and demand to be worshiped as God, under penalty of death.
4. The Irresistible Deception of Masses of Humanity
“And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie,that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”—2 Thessalonians 2:10-12
The great deception is associated with the work of the antichrist. We don’t know the deception, but we know it will be compelling, and the unbelieving masses will flock to it. After the rapture, God will bring condemnation through a strong delusion on all those who heard the truth of the gospel and rejected it. Matthew 24:24 tells us that the deception will be so great that if it were possible, even believers would be deceived. However, believers will be protected from this deception.
5. The Destruction of Satan’s Kingdom
“And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”—2 Thessalonians 2:8
Israel will be the platform for the battle of Armageddon and the Second Coming of Christ, where He will breathe on the antichrist and destroy Satan’s power over the earth. Paul reminds the Thessalonians to stand fast because Jesus has the final victory. He ends his letter with a prayer that God would give them everlasting consolation, hope, and comfort as they endure persecution and anticipate the day of Christ.
Reminder For Believers
God didn’t save you to save you. He saved you so that you might lead others to Him. The Bible clearly says God will judge us according to our works. Those who oppose God will be cast into the lake of fire and endure torment forever, while believers will spend eternity in His presence. While on earth, we are responsible for speaking truth and life to people who do not know Jesus. God didn’t save you to save you. He saved you so that you might lead others to Him. Find one person to share your faith with today and bring the hope of Jesus to them.
Want to learn more about the prophetic events related to the day of the Lord and Christ’s Second Coming? Get your copy of our FREE Daniel Bible Study to further your study!