Q. Since I teach an adult Sunday School class, I am very diligent about accuracy. Here’s my question. In 2nd Thessalonians 2:3, Paul answers a very deep concern of the believers there. When he states that the Day of the Lord will not come “unless the apostasy comes first and the man of sin is revealed” is Paul implying that they would see the man of sin or will they (we) be taken in the Rapture beforehand? My observations are that apostasy is now rampant and easily observed. Why is it not reasonable that will we also see the anti-Christ identified before the Rapture?
A. In 2 Thes. 2:7 Paul clarified his statement of 2 Thes. 2:3. He said;
“For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming.”
Most evangelical scholars interpret the one who holds back the secret power of lawlessness as being the Holy Spirit, resident in the Church. The idea is that first the Church will be raptured and later the anti-Christ will be revealed and then the Day of the Lord will commence. This order of events is consistent with Paul’s other statements that Jesus will rescue the Church from the coming wrath (Romans 5:9, 1 Thes. 1:10). In both these verses, the Greek word translated “from” pertains to both the time and place of the wrath and describes the rapture.