Gino raised some good questions at http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/march2013/gino315-4.htm . I didn't really cover the points she raised - I was mostly focused at http://www.fivedoves.com/letters/march2013/jovial312-1.htm that apostacy was the subject of the entire chapter in 2Thess 2. But I do think BOTH letters to Thesselonia tell us about the timing of the second coming.
2 Thess 2:1-7 says, "our gathering to him" will not come until the apostacy comes and the man of sin is revealed. So we see this order of things;
- The Great Apostacy
(And we see how Context, Usage and Etymology all support this is an apostacy, as the word suggests, not a "rapture" - click the links on the words to review my earlier posts)
- The man of Sin (Lawlessness) is revealed
- Yeshua comes and we are gathered to Him.
And as Paul said in his FIRST letter to these same people...
- "the dead in Christ shall rise first"
- "we which are alive [and] remain shall be caught up [raptured]" (1 Thess 4:15-17)
We can see this order being clearly told because we're told...
- "Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him..."
- "...that day shall not come except the APOSTACY come first and the man of sin be revealed."
So we are not "gathered" to him until the Apostacy and revelation of the son of perdition. So what's unclear about this? Looks pretty straightforward to me.
A great apostacy will be needed in order for the world to submit to the False Messiah as a ruler.
It sounds like several interpretations are a bit strained in order to promote a certain agenda. For example;
- As for the "comma" being the rapture, that's only in the English text, not in the original. No one can prove anything with an English comma.
- As for "“that day”, points back to II Thessalonians 2: 2". 2 Thess 2:2 doesn't reference a time. How can "that day" point to something that is not a day?
Secondly, let's base our understanding of what will happen when from clear intrustive phrases like "gathered to him" or "apostacy" or stuff like that. If we allow ourselves to redefine "that day" to mean.....well.....whatever we'd like it to mean, we might deceive ourselves for a while, but what good does that do you. G-d isn't going to create a "blessed event" just because we want it to happen. He will do what we want, He has announced it to us, and we either interpret it right or we don't, but we don't cause it to happen by hoping it will happen.
Objectively, I'm sure most people would conclude that when you see "that day", it refers back to the most recently referenced time event, adn thus "that day" in 2:3 references 2:1 not 2:2. Furthermore, 2:2 is talking about something that is under the reader's control in his personal life, whereas by "that day", Paul was obviously talking about something under G-d's control that would affect everyone's life since it would be a world-wide event.
To accept the idea that "that day" refers to the day you become troubled in mind and for Paul to tell us that the day we become troubled in mind won't happen until the apostacy has smoe obvious problems to it. First off, the context is obviously discussing an event G-d was controlling the timing of for the future. Also, "that day" in which the Thessolonians became "troubled in mind" had already come. Paul was trying to get rid of it.
Verse (in 2 Thess Chapter 2)
1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters
2be 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 This describes "apostating" from an emotional state of peace. 3alet no many deceive you Deception involves a rebellion / apostacy against the truth. 3bfor that day shall not come except there come an APOSTACY (apostacia) first Yes, this is talking about an apostacy, not the "rapture" 3cand the MAN OF SIN (LAWLESSNESS) be revealed This is the only place he is called the "man of sin", a term that describes him as an apostate, or a rebel, in rebellion against G-d. The word "SIN" here is actually LAWLESSNESS - refusal to accept G-d's Law. 3dthe SON OF PERDITION again, another term that describes him as an apostate is used here. Judas was called this in John/Yochanan 17:12. Judas rebelled or apostated from the 12 chosen. 4Who 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 Once again, apostacy is the theme of this verse.
6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
Much like Matt 24 developes the concept of rebellion or apostacy into different forms, so does this chapter. Restrainment is an apostacy of sorts by something aganist something else. The MAN OF LAWLESSNESS want to reveal himself, but something is apostating against his ability to do that.
7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
Again, apostacy or rebellion is the theme of this verse, saying that the power of apostacy (or mystery of iniquity) is already working in the world. But something else is restraining it, and again, restrainment is an apostacy by something against soemthing else.