Prophecy – Part 90 – The Church’s Rapture Explains The Sudden Apostasy,

2 Thessalonians 2:3-7

In our last study we considered the desire of the Lord Jesus Christ to have faithful servants.  We examined Scriptural evidence in the Bible that supported that the Church is Delivered from the hour of Testing.   Also, we looked at the Scriptural evidence that the church is saved from God’s Wrath.

Next, we began to look at how the church’s Rapture explains the Sudden Apostasy.  That will occur before the return of Christ.  Now we would like to continue the study of 2 Thessalonians 2:3-7.  Why?  As Christians we are to understand and be prepared for Satan’s attack against us, whether in the Age of Grace or in the Tribulation period.

In 2 Thessalonians 2:1-2 Paul deals with false teaching that had made its way into Thessalonica.  Apparently someone had communicated a message to the church at Thessalonica that the day of Christ had already come and that they were in the Tribulation Age.

Of course, the Apostle Paul clearly had sent no such message.  This false teaching upset these new believers.  For anyone to be in the Tribulation Age, several things had not happened– which would have had to taken place already. Notice nine things to be considered:

  1. There is the great Apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3).
  2. There is the manifestation of the Antichrist (2:4).
  3. There is the removal of the Holy Spirit, His ministries as the divine restrainer (2:6-7).
  4. The Lord will eventually destroy the Antichrist at His second coming (2:8).
  5. The coming of the Antichrist will be after the working of Satan, which will include supernatural power, miraculous signs, and lying wonders (2:9).
  6. All of this will involve all deceptiveness and unrighteous acts in people who are on their way to a Christ-less eternity in hell (2:10).
  7. These people are perishing because they did not receive the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior in order that they might be saved (2:10; John 3:16).
  8. Because of their rejection of Christ, God will send them strong delusion that they will believe the lie that the Antichrist is God (2:11).
  9. Ultimately, all those who did not believe the truth of the gospel but had pleasure in unrighteousness will be damned (2:12).

While we are on the subject of salvation – See John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13.  I would like to give you some reasons to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.   You may receive Christ and be blessed now and for all of eternity, or you might reject God’s free gift of salvation that Christ came to give you.  It’s up to you, no one can force you into heaven, the decision to accept Christ must come from your heart.

Did you know that God loves to give free gifts to lost sinners?  In eternity past, long before we took our first breath, our Creator, God the Father, God the Lord Jesus Christ, and God the Holy Spirit showed themselves to be a great giver of everything a man or woman could ask for.  Today God still wants to give man the desires of his heart.

What greater thing could man want than to go to Heaven and spend eternity there with God?

“Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart” (Psalm 37:4; Romans 8:28; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 4:13,19, KJV).

“For then shalt thou have thy delight in the Almighty, and shalt lift up thy face unto God” (Job 22:26, KJV).

“For he hath said, It profiteth a man nothing that he should delight himself with God”  (Job 34:9, KJV).

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son [Jesus]: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:” (Colossians 1:12-14).

“If he then be risen with Christ, SEEK those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.  Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.  For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.  When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory” (Colossians 3:1-4).

Think about this, the Scriptures declare that God the Father is behind “every good gift and every perfect gift” (James 1:17).

NOTE:  When we say, “the best things in life are free,” it’s a way of acknowledging that when God gives life, and friendship, and laughter, He is showing that no one can give a better life than He can.  Many believe that since God gives His children so many wonderful blessings they are too good to be true.  Why do so many people believe that?  Because His offer of salvation is so priceless and so perfectly suited to our needs and happiness that it is beyond our comprehension. 

We will continue to give you reasons to believe in God’s wonder, His free gift of Eternal Life, as we continue to study Revelation.  Hope you will be listening.  Next, we want to look at a subject that is confusing to some folks.

FACT: THE CHURCH’S RAPTURE EXPLAINS THE SUDDEN APOSTASY
Another indication that the Rapture occurs before the Tribulation is that it best explains the sudden apostasy, which many people miss.  The sudden apostasy is clearly explained by the removal of the restrainer.

“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?  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way” (2 Thessalonians 2:3-7, KJV).                                                     

The ultimate lawlessness of the Antichrist (empowered by Satan himself) cannot be restrained by anyone short of God.  Although he has been defeated by the Lord Jesus in every contest thus far, the Devil is still very active in his warfare against his former earthly subjects, the Lord’s people (Colossians 1:13).  Consequently, every Christian should be aware of Satan’s attacks, how they will be carried out, and what important protections God has given His people.

“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the Saints in light:  Who hath DELIVERED US FROM the power of darkness, and hath TRANSLATED us into the KINGDOM OF HIS DEAR SON: in whom we have REDEMPTION THROUGH his blood, even the FORGIVERNESS of sins:” (Colossians 1:12-14 emphasis added).

FACT:  We who are saved can have occasions of victory over this adversary, as we prepare for the conflict and take those steps that lead us to victory.

It is important to remember that we who are saved can have occasions of victory; “however,” if we fail to do our part, we shall be temporarily defeated by the adversary.

FACT:  God can only give us victory in our skirmishes with the Devil as we look to God to help us (James 4:7).  Happily, these defeats do not determine the outcome of the campaign, although they do sully our testimony and hinder our spiritual progress.

“Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.  Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the that friendship of the world is enmity with God?  Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God”  (James 4:3-4; I John 2:15-17).

“Submit yourselves therefore to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you.  Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” (James 4:7).

One day, when He completes the church, the Lord will remove His people from the scene of this spiritual warfare.

“Who gave himself or our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father” (Galatians 1:4; I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Remember God loves to give free gifts to the unsaved.  Let’s review reason two.  It’s described in the Bible.  It is the most quoted of all books and describes a wonderfully mysterious gift that goes far beyond anything we have ever received. When unwrapped, it includes peace of mind, acceptance, forgiveness, adoption into the family of heaven, and everlasting life.  But does God offer to give us the desires of our heart as a reward for good living?  Not according to the Bible.  It refers to this spiritual package as salvation and it is called “the gift of God.”

“For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

“For by grace are ye saved through FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9).