The Rapture Bombshell in 2 Thessalonians!

OK – let’s be perfectly honest about something.  Everyone of us has felt that small, quiet sensation that something was missing in our understanding when it came to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.  When I say all of us, I mean all.  It does not matter what position you hold on the rapture.  This is true of pre-trib, mid-trib, post-trib, pre-wrath and no rapture proponents.

dark-clouds

 

It does not matter how sure you are of your position, nor how much you think you understand when it comes to 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.  Unless you are somebody that can settle for ignoring the questions that invariably arise and simply declaring that what you are feeling must be wrong, there has always been something nagging in the back of your mind when it came to this chapter of the Bible.

Something that says “I am missing something.”

As I said, it did not matter how much you felt that you did understand.  That sinking, incomplete feeling persisted in the back of your mind.  If you’re like me, this would absolutely drive you nuts.  Especially since I have come to learn that the feeling that something is missing is always right when it comes to scripture.

Unfortunately, this is where most false doctrines are born.  Satan convinces us that we are imagining that feeling.  He works to convince us that the voice of the Lord is not actually the voice of the Lord.

“I know what the truth is.  I cannot possibly be wrong here.  I must be imagining this.”

That is how it works.  I cannot count the number of times I have been in conversations with believers caught in false doctrine over the rapture.  They did not believe in the rapture, or at least the pre-trib rapture, and they will start reciting the same two or three lies and deceptions that that the vast majority in this camp fall into.

“The rapture was created in 1830.”

“The word rapture is not in the Bible.”

“Matthew 24 says the rapture is at the end of the tribulation.”

“The 7th trumpet is the last trump.”

“It is the wicked that are taken, not the righteous.”

“Counted worthy to escape means to prepare for the tribulation, so that you survive.”

Yet, it will not matter how much evidence to the contrary you present.  The person will have those two or three points that settles it in their mind, and it is simply not possible that they can be wrong.  What’s worse, every single time you discuss the rapture with these individuals, they will present the same recycled arguments as though they have discovered something new and unknown.  Literally, every single time I see these arguments raised, the person raising them does so with an unspoken expectation that they have just revealed something new and revolutionary.

The lack of logic and critical reasoning that these folks present is astounding.  Let me give you an example.

“The rapture is a new doctrine invented in 1830.”

The premise behind this argument is that as a new doctrine, the rapture is clearly what the Bible was referring to when it declared the existence of false end times doctrines.  However, it never occurs to them that they are basing their objections to the rapture on a theory created by one man, Dave MacPherson, in 1983, that he wrote in his book “The Great Rapture Hoax”.

Let me get this straight – your objection to the new doctrine of the rapture is based on the opinion of one man in 1983?

All because as a new doctrine it cannot be truth?  1983 is not new?

Never mind that fact that there are numerous early church fathers that taught on the rapture, and scholars were quick to point this out – complete with names, quotes and dates.

Here is a link that sheds an interesting light on the work of Mr. MacPherson:

http://www.raptureready.com/who/Dave_MacPherson.html

This is but one example of the lack of logic that follows those that fight the rapture.  As I said earlier, this is how false doctrines are born.  Believers will ignore the voice of the Lord as He tries to tell them they are missing something.  They disregard His voice.  Here is the thing – all the Lord is wanting us to do is ask “what am I missing”, and not be fearful that we will find out that we are wrong.  If we are willing to do this, then the Lord will reveal the greater mysteries of the Bible to us.  Yet, the absolute abundance of false doctrine spreading through the Body of Christ in these last days is a testament to just how selfish and fleshly many Christians have become.

2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is no exception to this.

What you are about to read is going to blow your mind.  In the myriad of arguments for and against the pre-trib rapture from 2 Thessalonians, we have thrown around every conceivable argument for every position.  If you can think it, it has been used in support of somebody’s argument somewhere.  Not only that, but chances are it has been used to support every position on the rapture.

That is everything but the right argument for the right position.

2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is probably the very best example of “missing the forest for the trees” in the Bible.  This is really the only way to describe it.  Literally, we have all been running around the trees, never once stopping to step back and look at the big picture.

forest

Here is why I say this.  In all of the arguments I have seen from 2 Thessalonians, every last one has missed the elephant in the room.  More accurately, they have missed the herd of elephants in the room.  No matter the position, the arguments all achieve the same unproductive results – they starts bitter battles in which nobody catches the obvious.

In fairness, part of this is due to the blinders that the Lord has on all of us.  There are greater mysteries in the Bible which the Lord has reserved until the last days, and more specifically to counter the false doctrines that He knew would pop up at the end.  The Lord knew Satan would attempt to take out as many believers as possible.  So, He continues to recycle the same false doctrines in new packages.  Hence, the Lord simply responds by revealing yet another concealed truth that frustrates Satan to no end.

Yet, there is another reason for all of this.

Nobody has bothered to ask “what am I missing?”  I say this for one simple reason.  What you are about to read in this project is something that you have not seen before – at least not in this context.  I have seen others come close, hitting various pieces of what I will show you.  That tells me the Lord has been trying to get people to listen.  Yet, no dice – nobody has yet picked up on what He was trying to reveal, at least not to this degree.

Not only that, but it was when I finally admitted that I was missing something, and that I somehow knew that there was something more that the Lord wanted us to learn – that the Lord did exactly what He has been trying to do with others.  He opened up 2 Thessalonians and blew the lid off every last argument against the pre-trib rapture.

Here is the thing.  I already had many of the needed pieces.  Many of us already have the pieces.  The Lord validated many of the things I had been teaching by what can only be described as pure accident.  However, it was how I was assembling the puzzle that became the issue.  As I said, all I had to do was ask what I was missing, and not be afraid to find out that I might be wrong.

For the record, I was not actually wrong.  I was incomplete – in a big way.

At this point, we need to bring in something we have covered a number of times.  Here is an excerpt from the section on “Matthew 24 and the Rapture”:

So many believers out there love to tout “the meat of the word”, yet when you really examine the content of what they believe, it becomes clear that they never truly moved past the milk stage.

In fact, they have been on milk so long that it has spoiled, curdled, become cottage cheese – and the more solid consistency has fooled them into thinking that they have meat.

Of course they don’t have meat.  They simply have spoiled milk masquerading as solid food!

Here is what I mean.

False understanding of the scripture always resides in one level of interpretation of the scriptures – the literal or “written” level.  In this level we have the literal written words studied as written.  This is the level where we all start, and where anybody can read anything they want.  It is also the only level where no real revelation from the Lord comes by itself.  This is important to understand.

Any believer that thinks they have a massive revelation from the Lord on the plain text of the scripture ALONE is in false doctrine.  All revelation in the first level comes ONLY AFTER revelation in the other three levels – the spiritual layers and the prophetic layer, or the level of mysteries.  Revelation in the first level is always given to confirm the greater mystery that God has revealed!

Here is where this comes into effect in Matthew 24 and 25.

When you read through the scriptures, it clearly states in the plain text that there will be persecution of those in Christ, “for my name’s sake”.  Clearly this refers to those that have the salvation of Christ during those days.  On the first level of interpretation, or the plain text level, it is obvious that this occurs.  Yet, those that seek only their own understanding, and answers to justify their flesh will stop there.

“See, this is proof that Jesus is addressing all of us!  Matthew 24 cannot be talking about a pre-trib rapture”.

Ultimately, that is why this is critical to understand.  Without the second, third and fourth levels of interpretation it becomes impossible to see the big picture, and thus, you become deceived.  That is why all false doctrine is found in the first level of interpretation alone.  Once the Lord opens your eyes to the second, third and fourth levels, you can never go back to the first level alone.

Now, I don’t want to give the impression that believers are not being addressed in Matthew 24.

To the contrary, it is as the pre-trib critics claim:

It is clearly believers that are being persecuted for the sake of the name of Christ.

Case closed, right?  Wrong.  To the contrary, if this is where you stop you will miss the most remarkable revelations hidden in Matthew 24 and 25.  If you seek the Lord for His answers He will eventually open up additional mysteries to you.  Each level of interpretation reveals the “next piece” to what you have just read in the plain text.  In other words, the plain text gives you the basic foundation.  It is the next three levels of interpretation where that base is applied and the real learning begins.

Here is an example of this.  We spoke of “one taken, one left” quite a bit.  However, one of the things we did not get into is the order of the parables in Matthew 24 and 25.  This is a study in its own right.  Here is the nickel tour of my point.  One of the things that gets missed by “one taken, one left – the wicked are taken” proponents is that the order of the parables are specific.  In other words, Jesus did not simply rattle off some parables in no particular order.  He gave them in a specific order to teach a specific point.  When you study the parables in the order they are given, you find that each parable define the one before it.

You start out with one taken and one left.  You then add a layer of understanding with the next parable, and so on until you reach the end.  When you are finished you will be left with the actual picture that Jesus was trying to convey.  None of the parables by themselves reveal the entire truth.

The same thing happens in Revelation chapters two and three.  We have the letters to the seven churches.  Yet, these seven letters also address our personal relationship with Christ as well as seven church ages that were to come (we are in the final church age by the way, or Laodicea).  Yet, there is something else there that is literally “hidden in plain sight”.

The order of the things given “to him that overcomes” reveals the actual order of events for the end times and the calling of the Great Assembly!  It is the key to understanding the different groups found in Revelation, and the rituals that we see occur throughout the time of the tribulation.  Also, when the things that are given to the overcomers are separated and listed, you see the bigger picture in that all of those things can only be given in heaven.  In other words, we must take a trip to receive those things awarded to the overcomer.  Not only that, but the additional study that these things mandate is undertaken, you find that these are not things that are simply awarded as each of us dies.  There is a specific time of awarding coming, it comes for all of us at the same time – and it is NOT the Judgment Seat of Christ (the full context of this statement is found in the original project on Matthew 24 and the Rapture – it makes more sense when the rest of the statement is not left off).

With that, let’s take a look at the scriptures in question:

2 Thessalonians chapter 2:

2 Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers,[a] 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[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 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.

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

For the record, there are five more verses in the chapter that I left out.  They are not the scriptures where the debate is centered, and are not the source of the controversy.

That said, we need to look at each of the four levels of understanding for these scriptures.  The case for the rapture needs to be built from each, so that there is no question whatsoever on the subject.  Literally, when we have finished our examination of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 there will be no doubt as to the truth of the matter.

I have detailed many of the first level revelations on the page showing scriptural evidences for the pre-trib rapture.  We will concentrate on the second, third and fourth level revelations in this project.  Here is the link to the article covering the first level revelations:

http://tribulationrisingcom.fatcow.com/scriptural-evidence-of-a-pre-tribulation-rapture/

Only those that absolutely refuse to accept the truth of the pre-trib rapture will deny what they read here.  Unfortunately, there will be nothing that anybody can show them.

The confusion in 2 Thessalonians stems from the fact that everybody actually misses the elephant in the room.  Everything we have discussed in the page linked above is first level understanding, and it can be denied or discarded – though it is difficult to do.  Those that refuse to see what has been presented so far can declare with an incredible amount of stubbornness that what has been shared so far is opinion.  Stated differently, it can be denied because it is not where the actual truth resides in 2 Thessalonians.

No one has made the irrefutable case for the pre-trib rapture – or even against it – because we all keep missing the critical pieces.  Literally, the Lord has hidden the bombshells in plain sight, and now the time has come to reveal them.  What you are about to see is the second (and third) level understanding of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.

The elephant in the room – that is what we have missed.  All of the arguments that we see made miss the point that renders them all mute.  What exactly is that elephant in the room?

Let’s look again at verse 3 and 4:

Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 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.

The first point that we get from this verse the falling away comes first.  There is no real debate on this as we are indeed seeing a falling away.  Not only that, but as we have detailed in another project, there is one last literal fulfillment of the Great Falling Away coming, and it is tied to Lot’s wife and Hebrews 10.  More on this is just a moment.

That said, the big argument that those who fight the rapture turn to is that this proves that the rapture cannot come until the end of the tribulation, as this tells us that the revealing of the Antichrist at the Abomination of Desolation must come first.  Indeed, it does look as though that is what it is saying.  Now, we have already covered in the first level understanding that what the Bible is referring to when it says “that day” is the Day of the Lord, and not the rapture.  We will cover this more in just a moment also, and prove this beyond doubt in the second level.  However, even that misses the single most critical point in the entire chapter.

This does not tell us that the Antichrist is revealed at the Abomination of Desolation.  It simply tells us that he is revealed.  When it speaks of the Abomination of Desolation, it is simply declaring the signature act of the Antichrist – the thing by which he solidifies his station as an enemy of the Most High God.

“Not it does not!  It says he is revealed at the Abomination!”

Really?  Look again very closely.  Can you find any wording that actually says the revealing IS the Abomination?  Or, is all we have here is the revealing, followed by WHO the Antichrist is?

and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 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.

Let’s look closer:

is revealed,

who opposes and exalts himself

so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

Read it through several times.  He is revealed, then the Bible simply tells us who he is.  That is it, nothing more.  Proclaiming that the Bible declares the revealing AT the Abomination is an ASSUMPTION – nothing more.  In fact, there is quite a difference between “revealed”, and “revealed at”.  There is no way around this.

However, there are some that will not be able to accept this.  Can we prove this even more?  The answer is a resounding yes!

Go through different translations.  None of them translate the original Greek text to read “revealed at” as opposed to “revealed”.  All of them render the same understanding – the Antichrist is revealed, and this is WHO he is.

To cover what critics are thinking here – remember, there is already a great deal of scriptures on the Antichrist.  In fact, all of it is given from the Jewish perspective in relation to Israel.  The Abomination of Desolation is the signature and most vile act of the coming man of sin.  That is why the Bible says that he is revealed, and then tells us who he is.  It literally defines why he is the man of sin.

You can go back to any of the original Greek manuscripts and see very clearly that they DO NOT declare that the Antichrist is revealed at the Abomination – only that he is revealed.  Yet, we still haven’t hit the core point that everybody misses here.  This is going to blow your mind!

In every argument for or against the rapture from 2 Thessalonians that I have ever seen, not one has ever asked to most critical question that the scripture presents.  In this question rests the entire crux of the argument regarding the rapture, and is absolute proof that the rapture is indeed pre-trib.  It was a question the Lord impressed on me one day, and I was floored when He gave me the understanding of why He asked me the question:

What exactly does “reveal” mean?  

When my eyes opened I was dumbfounded.  How could we have missed this the entire time?  The Lord continued to emphasize that this was the heart of understanding what 2 Thessalonians was “revealing”!

“What does that have to do with anything?  Reveal means reveal.  You are getting off point.  That proves that the rapture is wrong if this is all you have!”

Well, not exactly.  To the contrary, this is at the very heart of the discussion:

Strong’s Concordance

apokaluptó: to uncover, reveal

Original Word: ἀποκαλύπτω

Part of Speech: Verb

Transliteration: apokaluptó

Phonetic Spelling: (ap-ok-al-oop’-to)

Short Definition: I uncover, bring to light, reveal

Definition: I uncover, bring to light, reveal.

HELPS Word-studies

601 apokalýptō (from 575 /apó, “away from” and 2572 /kalýptō, “to cover”) – properly, uncover, revealing what is hidden (veiled, obstructed), especially its inner make-up; (figuratively) to make plain (manifest), particularly what is immaterial (invisible).

NAS Exhaustive Concordance

Word Origin

from apo and kaluptó

Definition

to uncover, reveal

NASB Translation

reveal (5), revealed (20), revelation is made (1).

Thayer’s Greek Lexicon

STRONGS NT 601: ἀποκαλύπτω

ἀποκαλύπτω: future ἀποκαλύψω; 1 aorist ἀπεκάλυψα; (passive, present ἀποκαλύπτομαι); 1 aorist ἀπεκαλύφθην; 1 future ἀποκαλυφθήσομαι; in Greek writings from (Herodotusand) Plato down; in the Sept. equivalent to גָלָה;

  1. properly, to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up; to disclose, make bare:
  1. metaphorically, to make known, make manifest, disclose, what before was unknown;
  1.  passages of persons, previously concealed, making their appearance in public: of Christ, who will return from heaven where he is now hidden (Colossians 3:3) to the earth, Luke 17:30; of Anti-christ,2 Thessalonians 2:3, 6, 8. (On this word ἀποκαλύπτω (and the following) cf. Westcott, Introduction to the Study of the Gospels, p. 9f (American edition 34f); Lücke, Einl. in d. Offenb. d. Johan. 2nd edition, p. 18ff; especially F. G. B. van Bell, Disput. theelog. de vocabulisφανερουν et ἀποκαλύπτειν in N. T., Lugd. Bat., 1849.φανερόω is thought to describe an external manifestation, to the senses and hence, open to all, but single or isolated; ἀποκαλύπτωan internal disclosure, to the believer, and abiding. Theἀποκάλυψις or unveiling precedes and produces theφανέρωσις or manifestation; the former looks toward the object revealed, the latter toward the persons to whom the revelation is made. Others, however, seem to question the possibility of discrimination; see e. g. Fritzsche on Romans, vol. ii., 149. Cf. 1 Corinthians 3:13.)

In 2 Thessalonians, we see three uses of the form for “reveal”, all having the same understanding:

properly, uncover, revealing what is hidden

to make plain (manifest), particularly what is immaterial (invisible).

to uncover, lay open what has been veiled or covered up; to disclose, make bare:

When the Bible uses the word “reveal” in 2 Thessalonians, it is telling us that the Antichrist is shown for the very first time as the Antichrist before the Day of the Lord!  In other words, there is a falling away, then we see the Antichrist officially for the FIRST time – then comes the Day of the Lord.

When the Bible tells us that there will first be a falling away, followed by the revealing of the Antichrist before the Day of the Lord, it is not telling us that the revealing is the Abomination of Desolation for one very simple reason.

The Bible already defines when the Antichrist shows up for the first time!

Daniel 9:26-27 ESV –  And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing. And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.Its[f] end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed.

27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week,[g] and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”

The Antichrist is not revealed at the Abomination of Desolation.  He is revealed at the seven year treaty with Israel!

Can we evidence this even further?  Yes, we can.

Daniel 11:20-23 ESV – 20 “Then shall arise in his place one who shall send an exactor of tribute for the glory of the kingdom. But within a few days he shall be broken, neither in anger nor in battle.

21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

22 Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant.

23 And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people.

This details the first appearance of the Antichrist as the Antichrist.  Now, Daniel can be a bit confusing, especially if you are a bit hazy on world history.  Daniel chapter 11 cover quite a bit of ground up to this point.  It can be hard to distinguish prior history from those things yet to come.  However, the Lord knew when the time would come to reveal these things.  He ensured that we would have the keys – if we were willing to use them.

Look again at this verse:

21 In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

Different translations word this differently, yet they all convey the same thing – a coming king will rise.  However, here is something that few catch or think about.  When the Bible declares that this king rises, from this verse forward it makes it clear that this is THE king that will finish out the age, conquer Israel, stand in the Temple, and be defeated personally by the Messiah upon His Second Coming.

From verse 21 forward, there are no other kings or rulers mentioned in this capacity.  The kings of the south, north and east are mentioned, as well are many others.  Yet, when this ruler is mentioned in verse 21, there are no more kings that come after him.  He will be the king that secures the agreement, and from there we have no less than 11 verses that detail what the Antichrist does AS the Antichrist.

In fact, when taken again with Daniel chapter nine, as well as Revelation chapter 11, we see that there is an entire three and a half years with the Antichrist in his official capacity as the Antichrist BEFORE the Abomination of Desolation – complete with a listing of all his accomplishments prior to this!

What did we say earlier about 2 Thessalonians chapter 2?

This does not tell us that the Antichrist is revealed at the Abomination of Desolation.  It simply tells us that he is revealed.  When it speaks of the Abomination of Desolation, it is simply declaring the signature act of the Antichrist – the thing by which he solidifies his station as an enemy of the Most High God.

“Not it does not!  It says he is revealed at the Abomination!”

Really?  Look again very closely.  Can you find any wording that actually says the revealing IS the Abomination?  Or, is all we have here is the revealing, followed by WHO the Antichrist is?

and the man of lawlessness[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,[c] 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.

Let’s look closer:

is revealed,

who opposes and exalts himself

so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

Read it through several times.  He is revealed, then the Bible simply tells us who he is.  That is it, nothing more.  Proclaiming that the Bible declares the revealing AT the Abomination is an ASSUMPTION – nothing more.  In fact, there is quite a difference between “revealed, who”, and “revealed at”.  There is no way around this.

Right now, some of you that are reading this are sitting there much as I did, wondering how on earth you ever missed this.  Once it has been pointed out there really is no way to miss it.  However, those of you that are clinging to any argument to fight the rapture are trying to find something, anything to hold on to.

Perhaps, this line of thought has crossed your mind:

“Still you cannot say that the day Paul talked about is the Day of the Lord, and not the rapture.  All you gave was your opinion.  This does not change anything.  the day Paul is talking about is the rapture, and it still comes after the falling away and revealing – whenever that is!”

Denial is a terrible thing.  Unfortunately for our pre-trib critics it gets worse.  Let’s take a look at something else Paul shared in this block of scripture:

2 Thessalonians 2:5 ESV – Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  

I have said it many times during this project, and will continue to do so.  There are no errant words in the Bible.  Every word, every phrase, every statement was placed by the Lord for a specific reason.  This statement from Paul reveals something critical.

The answer to the question on the rapture is already recorded somewhere else.

In this case, Paul is writing a second letter to the Thessalonians.  If he says that he already told them, then that means the answer is found in the first letter to the Thessalonians.

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 ESV – 13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope.

14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord,[d] that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep.

16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.

17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

First off, it should be enough of an alarm to those that fight the rapture that Paul speaks of this event as a thing of hope.  Hope is not something that is EVER attributed to those enduring the tribulation – not even those that are martyred for Christ.  However, as it is with every first level argument on the rapture, those that refuse to believe will not accept such an observation.

That is why the Lord has now opened up the second and third layers of understanding.

Those same critics are quick to point out that there is no indication in 1 Thessalonians that this event is actually pre-trib.  To the contrary, the will be quick to lump this in with chapter five and attribute the rapture to going through the Day of the Lord.  All sorts of first level arguments will break out on semantics, especially dealing with these scriptures from chapter five:

2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape

Again, critics are quick to ignore scriptures such as this (in the same conversation):

9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

However, there is something that needs addressed.  When the Bible was written, it was written as one long letter or narrative.  In other words, each book of the Bible was one long, running story with no chapters and verses.  Each book is a conversation, and as with any conversation it is written in an order that makes sense to the conversation.  Not only this, but when the Lord intervened in the hearts of those that wrote the Bible, He gave them a specific order to the things that they wrote.  There are no arbitrary “orders” to the things written in the Bible.  Everything was written in a specific order to reveal specific things.

There are no accidents in the Bible.

In 1 Thessalonians, we see this very thing.  When Paul is writing to the Thessalonians, he reveals first the rapture, followed by the Day of the Lord.  This is done for the purpose of setting the timing of events.  The rapture, or the Gathering Together, occurs first – then comes the Day of the Lord.

“It does not say that!  You cannot prove what you have just said.  That is just opinion!”  If that was your response, I would think you are getting tired of going down this road.

Yes, we can prove exactly this.

Remember, this was written as a single conversation given in a specific order.  if it where not, then Paul would not have written this:

1 Thessalonians 5:6-11 ESV – So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation.

9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.

There is something here that nearly everybody misses:

9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.

Remember, this is a single conversation!  That is why this is such a bombshell to those that fight the rapture.  How do we know that the order given here is the rapture first, followed by the Day of the Lord?

Simple – in the midst of a full conversation on the Day of the Lord, Paul seamlessly transitions BACK into that which he covered with regards to the rapture – the dead in Christ and the living in Christ being gathered to Him, and NOT enduring wrath – the same wrath that Paul JUST addressed in the Day of the Lord!

1 Thessalonians 5:1-4 ESV – Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,[a] you have no need to have anything written to you.

2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.

3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.

Yet, just five verse later in the same conversation we have Paul declaring that those in Christ will do EXACTLY the opposite of what he just declared here!

Now, let’s bring this full circle with something we discussed in the first level understanding of 2 Thessalonians (linked at top of page):

For the record – that “day” mentioned in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is not the rapture – it is the Day of the Lord.  If you doubt me on this I would offer verse 2 as proof.  In fact, let’s examine all three together – along with verses 1 and 5 – to establish context:

2 Thessalonians 2:1-5:

Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

*** STOP ***

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the DAY OF CHRIST is at hand.

*** STOP ***

Let no man deceive you by any means: for THAT DAY ^^^ shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?

I highlighted and italicized several key points to illustrate once and for all what is being said here.  First of all, a false letter had arrived at the church in Thessaloniki that claimed to be from Paul, and that the rapture had already occurred and the tribulation (the Day of the Lord) had begun.  The church was fearful that they had missed the rapture.

Look at these verses from this context:

Verse 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,

They will say “see, the rapture does not happen until after the Antichrist comes. It says that day”.

They never see that “that day” is defined by verse 2. Here are the first five verses:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 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.

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, 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.

Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things? ~

Notice above, it does not refer to the gathering together unto the Lord Jesus as a “day”. It does however define the day of the Lord as a “day”. Try this on for size:

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,

Once more, to let it set in:

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. 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,”

First off – did you catch that?  A letter – from Paul – that the Day of the Lord had already come.  Not the gathering together unto Christ – but the Day of the Lord! ~

At this point it is nearly impossible to hold the line at “that day” being the rapture as opposed to the Day of the Lord.  By now, only those that simply refuse to let go of their flesh are still doing so.  Unfortunately, we are talking about those that are walking after their flesh, and denying the promise of His coming.  However, what we have just shared here from our first level commentary opens the door to examine the fourth level of understanding – the prophetic level.

Yes, 2 Thessalonians is a prophetic book. Yet, as with all scripture there is a deeper level of prophetic meaning that cannot be understood unless the Lord specifically removes the blinders.  That is why pre-trib rapture critics never make it past the first level in their walk with the Lord, and never receive that level of revelations from the Lord that comes to the overcomer.

Think of 2 Thessalonians as prophecy on top of prophecy!

Let’s dig into the fourth level of mysteries by looking at something we just mentioned:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 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.

The common defense given by those that hold to the pre-trib rapture – which we have covered here – is that this speaks to the Day of the Lord, and not the rapture.  I have seen some knockdown fights over this very point.  Back and forth it will go, never truly getting to the heart of what this is actually saying.

Here is a dose of level four understanding.

We have all heard the phrase “Day of the Lord”.  We all have an idea of what it means.  Yet, to most it remains an abstract concept.  What exactly is the Day of the Lord to you?  The explanations will go back and forth about what it is and when it starts.  It includes this or does not include that.  Yet, most believers are truly in the dark about the iron clad specifics involved in the Day of the Lord.

In this mess we get the same thing that happens with every discussion on 2 Thessalonians.  Every argument misses the forest for the trees.  Discussing this block of scripture becomes an exercise in circular logic and reasoning, bending to complex explanations that never actually ask the simple question:

“What exactly did Paul actually say here?”

Here is where the first dose of level four understanding comes in.  Let’s look again at the scriptures in question:

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him, we ask you, brothers, 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.

Here are several points that need emphasized and then put together:

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.

In case you are still scratching your head, wondering where this is going – let me paraphrase what Paul is talking about, and do so from our modern equivalent:

“We are already in the tribulation!”

THAT is what had happened to the Thessalonians, and what we are being warned about today.  Look again at what Paul says and you will see it.  The Thessalonians had not been told that they missed the rapture.

They were being told by those in false doctrine that the tribulation had already begun!

Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together to him,

It was only because Paul had taught them the rapture that they feared they had missed it.  They already had the order of events as we have seen in 1 Thessalonians.  So, when every false prophet started looking at Rome and the persecution of the church, they started running around in deception proclaiming that the tribulation had already started.

And the Thessalonians put two and two together – the start of the tribulation means the rapture had come and gone!

When you read this scripture, you need to simply remember that the Thessalonians were told  the tribulation had come – not that they had missed the rapture.  That is why Paul starts this whole conversation with “concerning the coming of Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him”, yet the rest of the conversation is on the tribulation.  He was addressing their fears based on what they were being told, and what it meant if it were true.

Bear in mind that the last pieces of the puzzle on the rapture would not come until Revelation itself, when the order of events show the final fulfillments of the Law of Moses that require a pre-trib rapture.  When this was mixed with the most brutal persecution that believers had ever seen, it made this an extremely easy proposition to buy into.

It is the exact same thing we are seeing today, which is why this warning was given in the first place.  Those that can be deceived into thinking that the tribulation has come will deny the rapture.  Not only that, but when combined with current events, it is simply enough to generate doubt in the hearts and minds of believers.

A believer need not be fully swayed into accepting that the tribulation has come – they need only to have enough doubt to question the soon return of the Lord!

“I don’t know if the tribulation has started, but they bring up a good point.  It does look like the things in Revelation are already starting.

If they are not right, then they are at least close.”

Unfortunately, once you fall into this trap the only thing that you can do is discard the pre-trib rapture.

As we see from 1 Thessalonians, 2 Peter, Hebrews 10 and Revelation – those that deny the promise of the soon return of the Lord are destroyed!

We have a myriad of false prophets running around, just as in Paul’s day, declaring the tribulation has already started.  I have seen more believers doubt the rapture specifically because of this deception – which is playing on current world events – events that were specifically prophesied to come BEFORE both the rapture AND the tribulation.  Here is the problem – if you begin to doubt the soon return of the Lord, you stop LOOKING for the return of the Lord.

Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers,[a] you have no need to have anything written to you.

2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,”

then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.

4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.

Satan tried to deceive the church by convincing them they missed the rapture.  That did not work, so he changed tactics.  Now, he works to convince the church that the rapture does not come YET.

Either way, the net result is the same.  The deceived believer STOPS LOOKING for the Lord, and starts looking to their own understanding.

“Pre-tribbers will lose faith.”

“I will stand for the Lord in the tribulation.”  (It should be noted that being prepared for the rapture requires an opposite understanding – you stand for the Lord TODAY, and have NO worries about tomorrow, knowing that the Lord has tomorrow covered)

“I would rather be prepared for the tribulation and surprised by the rapture, then prepared for the rapture and surprised by the tribulation.”

Be careful what you wish for. . .

Revelation 3:15 ESV – 15 “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot!

16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.

Unfortunately, the Bible bears out that these believers will specifically be destroyed for what amounts to spitting in the face of the Lord with their lack of faith.  Talk about sitting on the fence!  Nothing says faith like “I will trust in the Lord, but in case He fails I will have a plan B and take care of it myself.”

There is a reason that the Lord attaches this admonition to those that do exactly what verses 15 and 16 warns against:

I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.

This is a direct rebuke of exactly what we are seeing this very day as the return of the Lord draws near.  It is also a direct reference to the white raiment of the Priesthood – a raiment that will be worn ONLY by the Kingdom of Priests, those that overcome for the Lord.

Remember, white raiment of the priests in the original Greek is “himation”, and the white robes of the martyrs are “stole”.  Two VERY DIFFERENT words with two VERY DIFFERENT meanings, and worn for two VERY DIFFERENT purposes.

It is ONLY those called to the Kingdom of Priests that are summoned before the first seal is broken in Revelation chapter six.

These believers are storing gold for the coming tribulation, yet we know that such things will be rendered worthless as there is no preparing for the total judgment of God.  Yet, the Lord directly admonishes them to buy a better gold, an eternal gold.  This ties back to tithing, and what is actually means.

The Lord is telling these believers to quit spending their money on THEIR solutions – and begin spending it on GOD’S solutions!

We cover the true nature of tithing on the page detailing tithing and the New Testament.  This verse is a direct prophetic reference to what is now occurring – spoken over 2,000 years ago!

When we said earlier that 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 means exactly what is says – that is 100 percent right.

2 Thessalonians was not declaring the order of events with regards to the rapture.  It was discussing the order of events leading up to the tribulation.  Yet, we get lost in the phrase “Day of the Lord”, and miss what we are actually being told.  When you read this scripture, you need to simply remember that the Thessalonians were told that the tribulation had come – not that they had missed the rapture.  That is why Paul starts the whole conversation with “concerning the coming of Jesus Christ and our gathering together unto Him”, yet the rest of the conversation is on the tribulation.  He was addressing their fears based on what they were being told, and what it meant if it were true.

There is something else that we need to discuss.  It is yet another fourth level understanding that the Lord has revealed in 2 Thessalonians.

Let’s go back to the discussion on the meaning of the word “reveal”.  When I was going through the process of learning what the Lord was showing me, He showed me something that was absolutely stunning.  I say this same thing a lot it seems.  Yet, every time I utter these words in this project it is true.  This time is no exception.

In addition to the things that Lord reveals about the rapture, there is a prophetic warning hidden in plain sight in the level of mysteries.  It speaks to the coming of the Antichrist and reveals a critical component to understanding when he first appears BEFORE his official revealing at the signing of the treaty.

When I was studying this subject, I would do the same thing everybody else does.  I would read through 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, and try to make the connection between what was being said and the rapture.  Of course, as time went on the Lord opened this up and I would come to understand the truth that we have discussed here.  However, I still had to put the work in and go through the process.

That is how we learn.  It is how we are built.  The reason why the Lord does this, as opposed simply “miracling” the knowledge into our head is best demonstrated with what you are going to learn next.  If I had not been on the journey I would have missed what I am about to share.

Let’s look again at this scripture:

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[b] is revealed, the son of destruction,

While I was going through this process, I also noticed that this gives us a particular order of events.

The falling away.

The revealing.

That day.

As I said, I had the same struggles that you have.  I kept subconsciously associating “that day” with the rapture, even though I knew it was the Day of the Lord.  For the record, what makes all of this click is the understanding of what all of this actually says.  When the Lord turned on the light bulb and revealed that they were actually told the tribulation had started and not that the rapture had come, it finally set the proper context that has not left me since.  The proper context is always essential to understanding what you are reading.

So, as I looked at this order of events I struggled.  It was clear not only from the English translations, but from the original Greek (multiple manuscripts) as well.  There was no getting around it – this was the order of events.

However, there is something else a little further down that comes into the conversation:

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,

This also presents an order of events:

The restrainer is removed.

The revealing.

The day.

There is something we need to cover while we are here.  There is a great deal of debate on exactly who the restrainer is.  Is it the Holy Spirit, or is it the church?  However, when studying this subject in great detail, you find several interesting things.

First, the removal of the restrainer here is not what we think.  We always make an assumption that remove means “gone”.  In this case it does not mean that.  In fact, this is one of only seven exceptions in the Bible.  When we read about the restrainer in the original Greek, we find the direct, literal translation of “only He restraining now, until out of the midst it comes”.  The key to understanding what the removal of the restrainer means is found in the meaning of the word “midst” as used in the scriptures.  Let’s take a look at what Vine’s found on this very subject:

(e) ek m, “out of the way,” lit., “out of the midst,” Col. 2:14; 2 Thess. 2:7, where, however, removal is not necessarily in view; there is no accompanying verb signifying removal, as in each of the other occurrences of the phrase; with the article, e.g., 1 Cor. 5:2; 2 Cor. 6:17; see WAY;

This is a critical distinction to say the least.  It tells us that the removal of the restrainer DOES NOT mean that He is gone.  It simply means that He takes the reigns off the Antichrist and says “have at it”!  When you couple that with the fact that the original Greek refers to the restrainer as “him” or “he”, that rules out the possibility of the church being the restrainer.  Remember, the church is feminine in the original Greek, and is always seen from the feminine standpoint.  Likewise, “Him” and “He” are personal designations, indicating a singular person.  They are not designations that are ever used for either the church or Israel.

This is the very first time that all of these scriptures made absolute sense with the rest of the scriptures on the end times and the tribulation.  We know that the overcoming Bride is completely removed before the tribulation.  Yet, we also know that the Holy Spirit continues to work through out the first half of the tribulation, and as such there will be many saved the same as we are saved – through grace.

It is only after the completion of the first 42 months that the Holy Spirit Himself is finally taken from the earth, and those that make it in the second 42 months have to do so without the strengthening of the Holy Spirit.

It has been the lack of understanding on what the removal of the restrainer actually means that has caused a great deal of the false doctrines to grow.  This is why the Bible tells us that it is the honor of kings to search out the mysteries of God, and that we are to put line on line, precept on precept when studying every subject in the Bible.  If we simply read through the text, and automatically assume that a word meant 2,000 years ago what it means today, we will fall into false doctrine every single time.

Such assumptions are based in our flesh, as are all assumptions.  Assumptions are the efforts of the flesh to impose an understanding on something that best fits what we WANT to believe.  That assumption ALWAYS benefits our carnal nature.  The only defense against assumptions is to trust in the Lord and ask the most critical question of everything you read in the Bible:

“Does that mean what it appears to mean, or did it mean something else in the original Greek or Hebrew?”

The removal of the restrainer can be better understood as the “releasing of the Antichrist” to do his appointed work.  However, for the sake of clarity we will continue to refer to this event simply as “the removal”.

So, this is where I found myself.  I had two short timelines that revealed the order of the things to come.  Here was the first order of events:

The falling away.

The revealing.

That day (DOTL).

Here was the second order of events:

The restrainer is removed.

The revealing.

That day (DOTL).

With enough years of study you begin to recognize the patterns in which the Bible is built.  As the word says, that which has been is the thing that will be – there is no new thing under the sun.  One such understanding is that separate timelines on the same subject are meant to be put together.  This is how we can identify the events that unfold during the tribulation with such accuracy.  We have an abundance of timelines in both the Old and New Testaments that bear this out.  We simply put them together and the answer is revealed.  It is the same here.

So, that is what I did.  Here was the combined timeline:

The falling away.

The restrainer is removed.

The revealing.

Day of the Lord.

This presents an interesting picture, and one that nobody ever considers.  This tells us that the Antichrist is revealed before “that day”, which we know now to be the tribulation.  Now, this is not necessarily a bombshell on the surface, as it is no real stretch to say that the Antichrist must show up before the signing the seven year treaty with Israel.  In fact, we see from Daniel that he is involved with the process before it is completed and signed.

However, Daniel reveals a critical point that comes into play here in 2 Thessalonians.  Daniel tells us the the Antichrist “confirms” the covenant with Israel.  This is important to understand.  The difference here is this.  The parties bound by the treaty are the signatories.  However, there must be a third party involved to help negotiate the treaty, and then stand witness to its signing.

As the witness to the signing, the third party confirms the covenant is made.

That is the next critical point.  The Bible calls the treaty a “covenant”.  That is the most sacred agreement you can make, and it involves your very existence.  To break a covenant in the Law of Moses carried some rather stiff “penalties”.

When you look at Daniel chapter nine, you see that the Antichrist is NOT the signer or the covenant, but the third party confirmation.  In other words, he will be the one that negotiates the treaty between Israel and her enemies.  Also, we see that it is a single accord as opposed to multiple accords.  This is important to understand as Israel has been required to negotiate multiple treaties with the individual nations that have attacked her, even though they have worked in concert with each other.

There are three things that we learn from Daniel on the coming covenant with the many:

The Antichrist does not sign the treaty – he negotiates it.

Israel’s enemies all sit down together under a single agreement.

The Antichrist later breaks the treaty.

Daniel 9:27 ESV – 27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week,[g] and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering.

There are several interesting things here.  First off, The only way that the enemies prophesied to come against Israel can sit under one agreement is to have them under one commander at the outset of the invasion.  Stated differently, the reason only one accord is needed is that the enemies of Israel were working together behind the scenes, long before the conflict actually started.

That can only happen if somebody is working behind closed doors to bring Israel’s enemies together for a singular purpose.  In other words, somebody is moving behind the scenes to arm, equip and prepare the nations of Allah that the Bible tells us will rise.  This person will not be held accountable for what they are doing, and be seen by a world gone mad as a man of peace.  The world will never hold him accountable for the lives that are lost because of what he is doing behind closed doors.

That would be Psalms 83, Isaiah 17 and Ezekiel 38/39.

The second thing that jumps out is that even though the Antichrist does not sign the treaty, he will find himself in a position to actually break the treaty.  How exactly does the Antichrist break a treaty he was not bound by in the first place?  It is really quite simple:

You confirm the covenant – then you take command of the signatories of the treaty!

As we know from Daniel and Revelation, there will be a ten nation confederation that will give the Antichrist his power.  These ten nations will be bound by the covenant when he assumes command.  Then he will be in a position the break the covenant he did not sign, yet now sits bound to uphold.

There is a third point that must be presented.  The covenant is the most solemn, unbreakable assurance you can give in the Bible.  It is the most solemn, and it covers that which is most precious – your relationship to God and His promises.  In the case of the seven year covenant, look at what it requires to actually break the agreement:

27 And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the overspreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate.

The sacrifice is stopped.

The offerings are stopped.

Abominations are spread everywhere across the land, and done so very suddenly.

Jerusalem is made desolate as the remnant flees and those who remain are slaughtered.

This tells us just how much is involved in the covenant agreement with Israel.  This tells us that the Temple comes, and that the land is divided (inferred here, and confirmed later in Daniel 11).  There is no more personal price for a covenant than we see here.

It also goes hand in hand with the prophetic mystery found in 2 Thessalonians.  We will revisit this point in just a few minutes.  It is a critical link to understanding what must now occur, even before the soon return of the Lord.

With that, we can see the second level understanding revealed in 2 Thessalonians confirmed in Daniel chapter 11:

Daniel 11:21-23 ESV –  In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

22 Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant.

23 And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people.

Here is the order given to the rise of the Antichrist:

The contemptible man rises, yet without royal power.

With no warning, he “obtains”  what will become the beast kingdom.

After this, war comes and the armies are defeated.

An alliance is made, and he moves behind the scenes.

He becomes mighty with a small group of people.

First thing that must be understood is that verse 23 is a double reference.  It speaks both to the seven year treaty with Israel, and the secret alliance forged behind closed doors to secure the power of the Antichrist when the time comes.  We know this refers to both as verse 21 secures the prophetic double reference showing that he schemes his way into power.

Also, the reference to royal power is critical.  It does not say that the Antichrist does not have power – it says that he does not have the power of the beast kingdom when he rises.  To the contrary, both references to his actions behind the scenes dealing with scheming and deceit show that he is already in a position to do so when the time comes.

In other words, he gains the position and status required for the kings of the rising beast kingdom to actually speak with him, and work with him.

Never forget, all of this happens behind closed doors, dripping with deception.  That means you will not be able to trust the “company line” presented by the media.  It will require looking at the end result of the different actions that are undertaken.

There is something else that must be remembered.  The Bible most often deals with “end result” scriptures.  Here is what I mean.  Many times, we will read the scriptures above (and others dealing with prophecy), and lump them into a linear progression.  We will make an assumption that verse 21 must happen first, and be completed before verse 22.  Then verse 22 can happen and be completed – then verse 23 can come.  However, this is not the case.

For instance, verse 21 simply tells us that at some point the Antichrist will begin to work behind the scenes to secure power.  In and of itself it does not reveal exactly when this starts – only that when it is finished he will have been successful at “obtaining” the kingdom.

Verse 22 tells us that in this process a war will come, and the armies that mount against Israel are soundly defeated.  It also reveals another critical piece of the equation – whoever was leading the nations that come against Israel will fall.  This gives a deeper insight as to how the Antichrist will be able to step into a kingdom that is not his, yet it will be handed to him.

He steps into a kingdom that is now without a king.  It is a kingdom that will be fractured and in disarray.  It is a kingdom that has just been decimated by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.  It is a kingdom that has no leader now.

It is a kingdom where a relative few can secure power over many.  It is a kingdom where those few stand ready to sweep the man of sin into office, and were prepared behind the scenes to do so – long before the day came to execute.  All they need is the right mixture of terror, fear and uncertainty.

Some of you can already see where this will inevitably lead.

Verse 23 tells us at some point an alliance is made with him, and after that he begins to scheme and deceive.  It does not reveal in and of itself when that alliance is made, only that when it is he will become a real jerk.

Of course, verse 23 does indeed mean what it says on the surface and the chronology it reveals holds.  I don’t want to give the impression that these three verses do not give a literal chronology.  It is clear upon face value that they do.  The obvious order revealed here does indeed hold true.  Verse 23 does reveal that a specific alliance will come after verses 21 and 22.  It does reveal the timing of the seven year treaty.

Think of it like this.  In ADDITION TO the literal revealed timeline in these three scriptures, we are also getting the fourth level understanding as well.  We get the “timeline behind the timeline” if you will.  We get the official order of events that are born out elsewhere in scripture.  However, we also get the order of the behind the scenes rising of the Antichrist.  We simply need to remember that there is not a requirement that each verse be completed BEFORE the next verse begins.  In fact, many of the prophetic verses that appear completely chronological actually occur simultaneously.

That is what allowed ISIS to begin fulfilling scriptures in Revelation chapter 17, yet we are not yet in the tribulation.  It is not until EVERY scriptural condition for the beast kingdom is met that it assumes the form we see at mid-trib.  Yet, it must start somewhere.  It does not appear overnight.  It begins a slow ascent that will lead it to fulfill the individual scriptures one by one – until the last requirement is met.  Then shall come the full beast kingdom.

That is the same process we see revealed in the fourth level of understanding in Daniel chapter 11.

Even though it seems we took the long way around, we arrive back at the point we made just a moment ago:

“With that, we can see the second level understanding revealed in 2 Thessalonians confirmed in Daniel chapter 11:

Daniel 11:21-23 ESV –  In his place shall arise a contemptible person to whom royal majesty has not been given. He shall come in without warning and obtain the kingdom by flatteries.

22 Armies shall be utterly swept away before him and broken, even the prince of the covenant.

23 And from the time that an alliance is made with him he shall act deceitfully, and he shall become strong with a small people.

Here is the order given to the rise of the Antichrist:

The contemptible man rises, yet without royal power.

With no warning, he “obtains”  what will become the beast kingdom.

After this, war comes and the armies are defeated.

An alliance is made, and he moves behind the scenes.

He becomes mighty with a small group of people.”

All of this reveals that the Antichrist does not simply materialize out of thin air when the time comes to negotiate the treaty that ends Gog/Magog and starts the tribulation.  To the contrary, the Antichrist comes before this day, and assumes the role of “Antichrist lite” and moves behind the scenes to secure his future empire.

This is an understanding that will become critical to what the Bible reveals in the overall prophetic layer revealed in 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.  What did we say earlier about the second level understanding in 2 Thessalonians?

“With enough years of study you begin to recognize the patterns in which the Bible is built.  As the word says, that which has been is the thing that will be – there is no new thing under the sun.  One such understanding is that separate timelines on the same subject are meant to be put together.  This is how we can identify the events that unfold during the tribulation with such accuracy.  We have an abundance of timelines in both the Old and New Testaments that bear this out.  We simply put them together and the answer is revealed.  It is the same here.

So, that is what I did.  Here was the combined timeline:

The falling away.

The restrainer is removed.

The revealing.

Day of the Lord.

This presents an interesting picture, and one that nobody ever considers.  This tells us that the Antichrist is revealed before “that day”, which we know now to be the tribulation.  Now, this is not necessarily a bombshell on the surface, as it is no real stretch to say that the Antichrist must show up before the signing the seven year treaty with Israel.  In fact, we see from Daniel that he is involved with the process before it is completed and signed.”

It is absolutely amazing how the Lord can build a prophetic book out of scriptures that were written 500 years apart!  Yet, that is exactly what we have here.  Only the Most High God can do such a thing.  We can now see exactly where Daniel chapters nine and 11 fit with 2 Thessalonians chapter 2.

But wait – there’s more!

Everything we have just covered fits somewhere between the second and fourth layers of understanding and interpretation.  I say they fit somewhere in between for this reason.  Although all of this seems to be more of a prophetic or fourth level understanding, it is what comes next that truly defines what the level of mysteries truly means.

Everything we have discussed to this point will literally jump off the page when you see where we are heading next!

As the Lord was revealing the second level understanding to me, there was something that kept scratching at the back of my mind.  There was still something missing.  By this point there was no debating the timing of the rapture anymore, and that is the core reason behind what the Lord was revealing.  It is important to remember something.  That is what all of this is ultimately about.  The soon return of the Lord for His Bride is more than some minor event in history.

It is THE event in history, outside of the death and resurrection of Christ.  In fact, the rapture is the fulfillment of the Lord’s promise to do for us what was done in Him – the making perfect of all things by His blood.

He was resurrected in perfected, eternal form.  The rapture is His promise of the very same for all of us!

As I said, the rapture was well past to point of debate by now.  Yet, I knew there was more to come.  Indeed, the level with which the Lord is now revealing the mysteries of the Bible shows something fascinating.  Given how many will refuse to even consider what the Lord is presenting, the fact that He is still revealing such detail can mean only one thing:

It is not necessarily to wow the world into following Christ – it is to complete the ledger entries in the books in heaven.  In other words, all of the believers that simply would not let their faith in Christ come full circle, and accept the promises that that prove Jesus Christ really is the Son of the Most High God – these revelations are being given to them to seal their fate and lay out undeniable evidence that they indeed had every chance to repent of their rebellion.

The day is coming where they will find themselves before the Great White Throne, required to answer why they would not listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit telling them to read these warnings.  They will be required to give an account of why they listened to their flesh and found a reason why the words of the warnings the Lord gave could not possibly be true.

They will be required to give an account of why they somehow felt that they were smarter than God, and felt that they did not even need to pray and seek His guidance on the words contained in this record.

“I already know the answer.  I don’t need to pray about this!”

Philippians 4:5-7 KJV – Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.

6 Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

7 And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

We have covered this in “The Devil’s Body Count” – “request” here means more than just asking for something.  The original Greek has this as “petition”, meaning every issue that you encounter.  In the original Greek, this verse literally says to take all things before the Lord – including all questions on truth and doctrine.  In fact, it says to take every last issue before the Lord, from every need to every last revelation that He gives to you.

By default that covers every last false revelation as well.

At any rate, let’s bring back something we mentioned earlier:

~ So, this is where I found myself.  I had two short timelines that revealed the order of the things to come.  Here was the first order of events:

The falling away.

The revealing.

That day (DOTL).

Here was the second order of events:

The restrainer is removed.

The revealing.

That day (DOTL). ~

What kept scratching at the back of my mind was the fact that the Lord gave the timeline in two pieces instead of one.  The question is why?  Remember, there are no accidents in the Bible.  Paul did not simply break this into two pieces “just because”.

There is a reason this was done.

Understand that Paul could have easily spoken these events in a singular narrative.

Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

Whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

This is the exact timeline revealed in the order the Paul gave.  We simply moved the separations in the timeline a little further down the page, and bumped up the timing markers into a single group.  Yet, the exact meaning of the scripture remains unchanged.  In fact, this simple exercise takes away all confusion as to what Paul is revealing.  The question is why the Lord did not do this in the first place?

There are two answers to this question.  Here is the first:

10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:

12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

The Bible tells us a number of times that those that do not want the truth of the Lord more than they want their own truth will be deceived, that they should be given over to their own flesh.  In other words, if you love yourself more than you love the Lord – you will get a big dose of exactly that – yourself.

The Lord will magnify your deceptions!

This goes back to what we spoke a moment ago concerning the ledger entries in the books in heaven.  Sometimes a warning is not about those that will heed – it is about those who will not.

The second answer is the most amazing of the two.  As we said earlier, this break in the timeline is given to hide the level of mysteries revelation in plain sight.  In other words, the Lord broke this into two timelines to reveal a mystery.

When I kept running these two timelines together, the Lord began to impress something on me.  I was trying to combine them into a linear understanding alone.  Yet, the Jews have understood something that the Gentile mind misses.  Prophetic time runs in cycles and in three dimensions.

Each time I would look at the two time lines, I would use the Day of the Lord as the common point, and insert the other events either ahead or behind.  There is nothing wrong with this, and the Lord used this to reveal the second level understanding that the Antichrist is revealed before the signing of the treaty.  Yet, it still left questions as to other events, such as the rapture.  Additional scripture allows you to surmise where it generally occurs – before the day of the Lord.  Yet, we now have a more robust understanding of things which clouds the picture.

Then the Lord opened everything up.  He gave me three separate understandings that brought the final pieces into place.

As I was trying to place the additional pieces in the linear timeline, I was hit with a thought.  Both time specifically mention the Day of the Lord, and both place an event before that day.  So, I wrote out both timelines side by side, concerned only with lining up the Day of the Lord.

I just about hit the floor!  Here is what I saw as the Lord filled me with understanding:

The falling away.                                   The restrainer is removed.

The revealing.                                         The revealing.

That day (DOTL).                                  That day (DOTL).

It was not just a linear timeline, but a circular one.  After this, the Lord reminded me of something we discussed earlier – the prophetic warning against those that declare that the tribulation has already begun.  Here was what we had so far:

                             “We are in the tribulation!”

The Falling Away                                    The Revealing

                                     The Day of the Lord

We now had a circular pattern that revealed something absolutely amazing!  Just before the Day of the Lord, there would come a falling away that would occur with the revealing of the Antichrist in his behind the scenes role, preparing for the coming covenant with many.  Then, I understood that there was something else I was leaving out of this pattern:

The lifting of the restrainer, which comes BEFORE the revealing.

                                    “We are in the tribulation!”

                                   The restrainer is pulled back

The Falling Away                                                          The Revealing

                                            The Day of the Lord

I was absolutely struck by all of this.  Literally, all of the arguments that have come from 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 were melting away.  Instead, they were being replaced in one swift stroke with the key to all of this.  In one shot, the Lord had literally lifted the blinders, and I was seeing things that had been there the entire time – literally hidden in plain sight!

Then came the next piece of the level of mysteries puzzle:

Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?

Wow.  The Lord just told me to go back to 1 Thessalonians, and look again at the timeline elements there as well.  That is what I did.  Just as it was in 2 Thessalonians, there were two separate and distinct timelines.  As it also was in 2 Thessalonians, these timelines can be combined in a single linear timeline.  What else does this tell us?  You guessed it – the two timelines can be combined into a level of mysteries pattern that reveals the full truth of the order of things to come.

Here is the first timeline:

They will say peace and safety.

Sudden destruction comes upon them.

Here is the second timeline:

Salvation.

Wrath.

With both of these timelines, there was additional timing information that needs included as well:

They will say peace and safety.

Day of the Lord – comes like a thief.

Sudden destruction comes upon them.

And now this:

Salvation – those that are asleep and awake in the Lord.

Wrath – they will not escape.

In the conversation recorded in chapter five, Paul directly links the Day of the Lord to the salvation / wrath timeline.  So, that brings in this piece:

Salvation – those that are asleep and awake in the Lord.

Day of the Lord – comes like a thief.

Wrath – they will not escape.

There was one final piece that needed to be added in to truly reveal what 1 Thessalonians was telling us:

So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.

Paul ties this to obtaining the salvation in verse 9, and does so as a direct requirement for that salvation.

Stay awake – watch.

Salvation – those that are asleep and awake in the Lord.

Day of the Lord – comes like a thief.

Wrath – they will not escape.

As it is in 2 Thessalonians, we also have the same circular level of mysteries pattern now revealed:

                                             Stay awake – watch.

Peace and safety.                                                     Salvation in Christ.

                            The Day of the Lord comes like a thief.

Sudden destruction.                                          Then comes the wrath.

                                          They shall not escape.

It is no exaggeration to say that this left my head spinning.  We have two clear cut prophetic mysteries hidden in plain sight.  Both clearly reveal the timing of the things to come.  Both there the entire time believers have used both to argue against the rapture coming before the tribulation!

Just when you think you have seen it all, the Lord has a habit of proving yet again that we cannot grasp the full depth of His revelations.  What we have already is well beyond what anybody will ever need to see the truth.  Yet, as we have already said – this is about building the irrefutable case against those that refuse to accept the truth.  As such, a just God must build a just case that is beyond all doubt.

It is a case that can leave no questions as to the truth.  It can only leave blind denials by those that refuse to give up the flesh.

The Lord had one more piece of the puzzle to reveal.

1 Thessalonians was meant to be combined with 2 Thessalonians to reveal the full prophetic picture!  Get ready for the bombshell – the Lord encoded the tribulation timeline in both books, and it absolutely puts to bed the coming order of events!

                                   “We are in the tribulation!”

                                   The restrainer is pulled back

The Falling Away                                                           The Revealing

                                         Stay awake – watch.

Peace and safety.                                                           Salvation in Christ.

                      The Day of the Lord comes like a thief.

Then comes sudden destruction.                     Then comes the wrath.

                                        They shall not escape.

Let’s summarize what we have just learned in the level of mysteries regarding the coming timeline for the return of the Lord and tribulation:

False prophets will rise, claiming that the tribulation has already begun.

As this deception spreads, the Holy Spirit will take off the restraints and the Antichrist will begin his rise behind the scenes.  He will prepare to “save the world” at the signing of the seven year accord.

The Great Falling Away and time of Lot’s Wife begins as the Antichrist moves behind the scenes.  As the process plays out in the Middle East between Israel, Iran, ISIS, Syria, Saudi Arabia and the Palestinians, more and more believers will surrender to their flesh and lose sight of the big picture.

They will hear the words of the false prophets, and doubt will set in on the soon return of the Lord.  They will see world events, and their imaginations will be exploited by Satan.

They will fall away from the Blessed Hope, and begin to look to their own understanding and to their old lives.  They will turn to their own devices for their salvation.  They will literally fulfill the warning of Lot’s wife and secure their doom – on the way out the door!

As these believers fall away into certain doom, overcomers will head the warning of Matthew 24-25, Mark 13, Luke 17 / 21, and of 1 Thessalonians:

They will remain awake and watch for the soon return of the Lord.  They will sound the trumpet, yet it will fall on an increasing number of deaf ears.

At the height of this final, short lived period just before the tribulation, the sleeping world will cry peace and safety.  They will cry for these things, and declare the false promises of both.  When the final call comes and foolish governments filled with fools declare that they have a solution – then shall come the salvation of the Lord to those that have kept watch.

Those that overcame the world, the flesh and the devil shall be called to the salvation of the Lord.  Those that stayed awake though the rest of the world slept will be called.

Those that stayed the course, though believers at every turn ridiculed them, persecuted them – hated them – for the hope that they had in Christ.

A hope long since abandoned by those believers that simply could not bring themselves to get out of their own way.

The Blessed Hope has come, and those that dared to call the name of the Lord, yet hated Him for His promise are now doomed – for the Day of the Lord has come!

The global destruction that comes with the return of the Lord will herald the coming wrath of God upon the world. . .

A wrath that will fall first upon those that scoffed at the promise of the soon return of the Lord!

They shall not escape.

This is the timeline of the tribulation soon to come.  This is the revelation given by the Lord in the letters to the Thessalonians.  This is the level of mysteries that has remained concealed until this time.

It is the final ledger entry in the books of those that will soon cry “Lord, Lord”. . .

Yet, the Lord shall not know them!

2 Peter chapter 3:

This second epistle, beloved, I now write unto you; in both which I stir up your pure minds by way of remembrance:

2 That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour:

3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

4 And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.

5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:

6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

7 But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,

12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless.

15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you;

16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.

17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.

Those that have an ear, let them hear!

In the most blessed name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

 

 


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