Paul Refutes False Teaching
The Apostle Paul had multiple instances whereby some tried to undermine his teaching concerning the “catching away” (Rapture) of the members of “the body of Christ.” Paul taught that the “catching away” (Rapture) of the members of “the body of Christ,” along with tempering effect of the Holy Spirit, will be removed from the social order before the Antichrist is revealed and the Tribulation begins.
Consider first this instance as noted in Paul’s own words. “Hymenaeus and Philetus” (v17-18, below) had attacked and undermined Paul’s doctrine of the Rapture of the members of “the body of Christ” by “Saying That the Resurrection (Rapture) Is PAST Already.” Some falsely teach this even today.
“17 their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who Concerning The Truth Have Erred (missed the mark), Saying That THE RESURRECTION IS PAST ALREADY; and overthrow the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:17-18)
This false teaching has served to “overthrow the faith of some” (v18) because it contradicts Paul’s message of the “blessed hope” (Titus 2:13) concerning the resurrection and “catching away” (Rapture) of the believing members of the “body of Christ” at His “appearing … the air” (1Thes 4:13-18). Paul says “Hymenaeus and Philetus… have erred” in departing from “the truth.” As many today do, they likely twisted the Scripture and contrived a sort of allegorical resurrection. This false concept is taught also even today by certain “preterist” groups, and others that falsely say “the church today replaces
.” Most of these believe that most of the Scripture’s prophecies of the Book of Revelation have already been fulfilled. By the deception of saying the resurrection (or Rapture) has already past, Satan thereby overthrows some fundamental articles of “the faith” of the “blessed hope” of Pauline truth concerning the resurrection and Rapture of believers. Israel
“Looking For That BLESSED HOPE, AND THE GLORIOUS APPEARING OF the Great God and Our Saviour Jesus Christ;” (Titus 2:13)
For us today, looking back on such old false teachings that were so condemned by Paul, the thought that some would say “the resurrection is past already” shouldn’t trouble us at all. Yet, we learn that from the very beginning, even while Paul himself still taught “the gospel of the grace of God,” the faith of some was subverted. Such an example ought to make us diligent to follow Paul’s instruction to contextually “Study” and “rightly divide the word of truth” in our personal Bible study (2Tim 2:15). We must seize early every opportunity to turn away from ourselves such dangerous teachings that would “subvert the faith of some.” Sadly, with the strong inclination of some men to vanity, there is no absurdity so ridiculous that there will not be some men who will listen to it and thereby be deceived.
Paul’s writings to the members of “the body of Christ” make clear that the Tribulation judgments are ordained of God to come upon
and the world … NOT upon “the Church, which is His body.” The “Church” will be “caught up” and away (Raptured) before the ~7-year Tribulation period begins. Paul clearly wrote concerning the members of “the body of Christ”; “God Hath Not Appointed Us (the body of Christ) To Wrath (God’s vengeance), but to obtain (full) salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thes 5:9). Israel
We must recognize that the specific context of 2 Thessalonians is that Paul is dealing with the false information. The lies being taught by some at that time said the persecution the believers were experiencing was “the Tribulation” and that these believers must have missed the Rapture that supposedly had already past. Recognizing this we can see that Paul’s correction in 2 Thessalonians makes sense.
There have always been awful events suffered in the world and no doubt there will be terrible earthly events before the day of the Rapture of “the body of Christ.” However; the church shall escape the specific “time of Jacob’s (
’s) trouble,” called the Tribulation. That phrase alone tells us who the trouble is coming upon – Jacob ( Israel ). That “day” will bring God’s wrath and vengeance upon all rebellious mankind. Note that it is not called “the time of the church’s trouble.” Israel
Paul wrote “let no man deceive you” in 2Thes 2:3 (below) as he undertook to dispel the fears of some believers who have heard the false teaching of some that the “the day of Christ (the Lord’s 2nd coming) is at hand (already)” (v2). In verses 4-5 Paul reminds them of his teaching about the key signs of the revealing of “THE SON OF PERDITION (The ANTICHRIST)” in regard to the timing of Christ’s 2nd coming to earth – not about the Rapture.
“1Now we beseech you, brethren (the believers), by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him (unto Christ at the Rapture),
2 That ye BE NOT soon SHAKEN IN MIND, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by (a falsified) letter as (as if it were) from us, that “the day of Christ (Lord, see below)” is at hand (already). (2Thes 2:1-2)
(NOTE: Here “the day of Christ” (above) is mistranslated. it should be translated “the day of the ‘LORD,” from the Greek “kurious,” meaning “Lord,” as seen the Greek Interlinear, NIV, AMP, etc. If it were “the day of Christ” the Greek word would be Greek “Christos” - “the day of Christos,” as correctly seen in Philip 1:10 and 2:16.
THIS IS SIGNIFICANT BECAUSE;
1. “The Day of The LORD” Always Refers To Christ’s 2nd Coming to Earth in fulfillment of prophecy to
2. “The Day of “CHRIST” Always Refers To The Rapture of The Church, the “body of Christ,” bound to dwell “eternal in the Heaven,” (Philip 3:20-21, 2Cor 5:1b)
Paul continues his teaching in 2 Thessalonians 2:3-5, reminding them of what he had told them (v5 below).
3 Let No Man Deceive You by any means: for THAT DAY (The “Day of the Lord” and His return to earth) Shall Not Come, Except (until) there come A FALLING AWAY FIRST, and that MAN OF SIN Be Revealed, THE SON OF PERDITION (The ANTICHRIST);
4 Who (The Antichrist who) opposeth (God) and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that HE (Antichrist) AS GOD SITTETH IN THE TEMPLE OF GOD, SHEWING HIMSELF THAT HE IS GOD. 5 Remember Ye Not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? (2Thes 2:3-5)
Some mistakenly think this above means the Rapture will occur after the “man of sin (Antichrist, v3) be revealed.” It takes careful Bible study to make sure we do not skip over any key phrases in Scripture. Verses 1-2 are the critical verses for understanding the timing of the revealing of the “man of sin,” the Antichrist.
Let’s consider these verses 1-2 as seen more understandably in the Amplified Bible in order to get a clearer idea of what Paul is writing. He is saying don’t believe the lies that “The Day of the Lord (the 2nd coming) has [Already] Arrived and Is Here” (v2 below).
“1BUT RELATIVE to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our (the body of Christ) gathering together to [meet] Him (at the Rapture), we beg you, brethren,
2 NOT to allow your minds to be quickly unsettled or disturbed or kept excited or alarmed, whether it be by some [pretended] revelation of [the] Spirit or by word or by letter [Alleged To Be] From Us, To The Effect (or, as if) That THE DAY OF THE LORD Has [Already] Arrived and Is Here.” 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;” (2 Thess 2:1-3 AMP)
Paul then goes on in 2 Thessalonians in 2:3-4 (above), saying “That Day of the Lord” in His 2nd coming can’t come until AFTER … the Antichrist is revealed and also usurps the Temple of God calling himself God (v4 above and below). As of today, we haven’t seen the Antichrist or the rebuilt temple in
In short Paul is telling the believers the 2nd Coming of Christ will not take place until…
1) … there is the falling away from faith in the Lord (among
) first (v3) on earth at that time. The time will come when Israel will welcome the Antichrist, signing his covenant that starts the Tribulation. Israel
2) … the Antichrist is revealed (v3 above) taking the throne in the
These yet unfulfilled major signs are Paul’s proof to the Thessalonians that the Rapture had NOT already past; even though they were being persecuted, they were NOT experiencing the Tribulation.
As stated earlier, the phrase “Day of the Lord” always refers to the 2nd coming for
, while the phrase “the Day of Christ” always refers to the Rapture of the Church. Yet, many wrongly assume “the day of Lord” in 2 Thes 2:2 means the day of the Rapture. Israel
No, “the day of the Lord” refers to the day of the literal 2nd Coming of Christ to earth. Paul wrote in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, “nor by (a falsified) letter AS (as if it were) from us, that “the day of the Lord (the 2nd coming)” is (already) at hand.” Sadly, many articles and commentaries skip over the little word “as” (meaning, “as if”). Thus, Paul is saying, “What they are saying is NOT TRUE”!
Having mistaken The Day of the Lord (2nd coming) for the Day of Christ (Rapture), they then jump to and erroneously interpret the two signs given in verse 3 as 1) the falling away in the church and 2) the revealing of the Antichrist; erroneously saying the “body of Christ” will see the Antichrist. However, the phrase, “as if’ or “to the effect” that the day of the Lord is at hand” cannot be overlooked. They imply “AS IF the Rapture was past,” just as did “17… Hymenaeus and Philetus; 18 Who Concerning the Truth Have Erred, Saying That THE RESURRECTION (at Rapture) IS PAST ALREADY; and overthrow the faith of some. (2 Timothy 2:17-18)
When Paul is giving the two signs in verse 3 he is speaking of the “day of the Lord.” The “day of the Lord” is always a term for the Second Coming of Christ to Earth as described in prophesy and referring of the coming Messianic Kingdom on earth. In 2 Thessalonians 1:10 Paul uses the phrase, “That Day,” then clearly describes what is undeniably the time of the 2nd Coming to “take vengeance (v7)” in “THAT DAY (v10 below).”
“7to you who are troubled rest with us, when THE LORD JESUS SHALL BE REVEALED From Heaven With His Mighty Angels, 8In Flaming Fire Taking Vengeance On Them That Know Not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, 9 Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; 10When he shall come to be glorified in his (kingdom) saints, and to be admired in all them that believe IN THAT DAY.” (2 Thes 1:7-10.)
Jesus will return in “That Day” of His 2nd Coming to “take vengeance… with everlasting destruction (v9)” on Antichrist and the unbelieving world to close the Tribulation. By contrast, Paul’s Rapture account in 1Thes 4:13-18 makes no mention of “angels” or “vengeance.” The Rapture is a secreted “catching away” of “the body of Christ,” which will escape “the wrath to come.”
In this passage the term “Day of Christ” is properly translated as used by Paul to refer to the Rapture.
“I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgment; That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence…TILL The Day Of Christ. Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” (Philip 1:9-11)
Paul’s exhortation in this passage is that the “body of Christ” should remain abiding in Christ until the Rapture, which is the end of this age of grace, just before the Tribulation. Here above the context ascribes what Paul writes to his fellow grace believers, Paul then uses the phrase “the day of Christ” is not referring to the Second Coming, but to the Rapture.
Some have wrongly argued that the day of “our gathering together unto him,” (2The 2:1), “the day of Christ,” “The Day of The Lord” (1Thes 5:2) and “That Day” (2Thes 1:10) refer to the 2nd Coming, are the same event. But “the Day of Christ” as the “Head of the body” (
1:18) refers to the day of the Rapture of “the church which is His Body,” while “The Day of The Lord” (1Thes 5:2) and “That Day” (2Thes 1:10) refer to the 2nd Coming. Col
Paul clearly dispels that false notion by the following. “Holding forth the word of life; that I may REJOICE In The Day of Christ…” (Philip 2:16, cf., 2Thes 2:2, Philip 1:10). Clearly Paul would not be rejoicing in the midst of the devastating end time vengeance and judgments poured out during “The Day of The Lord.” Instead he is writing that he will rejoice at “The Day of Christ,” which is the day of the Rapture of “the body of Christ.”
So, when Paul is addressing the Thessalonians he is telling them… do not to be shaken or scared when you hear the lies of some that to the 2nd Coming is “at hand (already here)” and that you have missed the Rapture, and that you are now experiencing the Tribulation. He is saying it is NOT TRUE.