Q. What makes you say that Paul is referring to 2 different events in 2 Thessalonians 2 v 1? Why cant it mean 1 event?.. simply Jesus comes and we’re gathered to Him. For instance if I wrote ” I had a friend arrive at my house and I went out to meet her” surely it would be obvious that its only one event? It would be silly to take it to mean they were 2 separate events because the sentence has been joined together by the word and.
A. In the rapture we’re gathered to Him to be where He is and in the 2nd Coming He comes to the earth to be here. Who is doing the moving and the direction of the movement makes them two different events. Besides, trying to make them into the same event violates other parts of Paul’s letters. For example in 1 Thes 1:10 he said Jesus would rescue us from the time and place of God’s wrath. In 1 Thes. 3:13 he hinted that we’d already be in the Lord’s presence when He returns, and in 1 Thes. 4:16-17 that we’d be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. All these support the idea that the gathering of the Church to the Lord and the return of the Lord to Earth are two different events.
Your example, ” I had a friend arrive at my house and I went out to meet her” is a great description of what will happen at the rapture, with you in the place of the Lord and your friend representing the Church. If you said “I went to my friend’s house so I could be where she is” you’d be describing the 2nd Coming.