2 Thessalonians 2
1Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us—whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter—asserting that the day of the Lord has already come. 3Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction. 4He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God.
5Don’t you remember that when I was with you I used to tell you these things? 6And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time. 7For the secret power of lawlessness is already at work; but the one who now holds it (referring back to the aforementioned subject of the discussion, the Day which is to be revealed) back will continue to do so till he is taken out of the way.
Satan will be taken out of the way before the Apocalypse.
1And I saw an angel coming down out of heaven, having the key to the Abyss and holding in his hand a great chain. 2He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years. 3He threw him into the Abyss, and locked and sealed it over him, to keep him from deceiving the nations anymore until the thousand years were ended. After that (the 1,000 years), he must be set free for a short time.
4I saw thrones on which were seated those who had been given authority to judge. And I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded because of their testimony about Jesus and because of the word of God. They had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5(The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.) This is the first resurrection. 6Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.
8And 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. 9The coming of the lawless one will be in accordance with how Satan works. He will use all sorts of displays of power through signs and wonders that serve the lie, 10and all the ways that wickedness deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie 12and so that all will be condemned who have not believed the truth but have delighted in wickedness.
7When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison 8and will go out to deceive the nations in the four corners of the earth—Gog and Magog—and to gather them for battle. In number they are like the sand on the seashore. 9They marched across the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of God’s people, the city he loves. But fire came down from heaven and devoured them. 10And the devil, who deceived them, was thrown into the lake of burning sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet had been thrown. They will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.
We’re not told that there will be another chance after Satan is released.
11Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. The earth and the heavens fled from his presence, and there was no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each person was judged according to what they had done. 14Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death. 15Anyone whose name was not found written in the book of life was thrown into the lake of fire.
First we are told that there will be a great falling away, also called the apostasy within the body of Christ’s church. Believers will seemingly turn from following Christ and follow after things taught by demons.
1 Timothy 4
1The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons. 2Such teachings come through hypocritical (pretending to be Christian) liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron. 3They forbid people to marry and order them to abstain from certain foods (I would submit that this is pointing to 2 legalistic “believing” groups that teach works as a means to abtaining salvation), which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and who know the truth. 4For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, 5because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.
6If you point these things out to the brothers and sisters, you will be a good minister of Christ Jesus, nourished on the truths of the faith and of the good teaching that you have followed. 7Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly.
However, as we know from the clarification given in Scripture, if they leave us, they were never apart of us. Saying or doing something stupid/sinful is not an indication that a person is not saved. Infact, Christians sin, we are no longer guilty of unbelief concerning the gospel and we are not in outright, continuous rebellion towards God but we live in our old bodies and we live with our old sin nature, so we sin. Saying that Christians no longer sin would be lying. Remember what caused Jesus to apparently say to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s interests, but man’s,” in Matthew 16? Examine for yourselves what Peter said. Many things having to do with the kingdom of God are about words and the reality and the effect of thought. Peter had taken Jesus aside after he had announced that he would be giving his life of the cross and Peter replied, “God forbid it, Lord! This shall never happen to You.”
The church body is presently divided over the interests of individuals, the opinions of men and it ought not be so. The World Christian Encyclopedia by Barrett, Kurian, Johnson (Oxford Univ Press, 2nd edition, 2001) reports that the body is divided into at least 33,000 factions. When it is a matter of personal opinion or preference and the choice or action has nothing to do with disobedience to God, the Scriptures says, “…let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” (Rom. 14:13). Recorded both in 1 Corinthians 6 and 10, Paul, addressing the Corinthians said, 21You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons too; you cannot have a part in both the Lord’s table and the table of demons. 22Are we trying to arouse the Lord’s jealousy? Are we stronger than he?
23“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. The understanding here is that we give ourselves permission to do things without giving consideration to God’s desire for us and then when we have to suffer the consequences, we often indirectly accuse God of not protecting us. Obviously he’s done everything to prepare the way in which we are to walk within the constructs of real love, not forcing us but rather nudging to live within boundaries which He desires for us to be one as he is one and the way we become one is through our agreement with the Word.
A Call to Repentance
1Gather yourselves together, yes, gather, O nation without shame, 2Before the decree takes effect– The day passes like the chaff– Before the burning anger of the LORD comes upon you, Before the day of the LORD’S anger comes upon you. 3Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD’S anger.
The sifting and refining comes before the gathering
1 Peter 4
…16but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name. 17For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? 18AND IF IT IS WITH DIFFICULTY THAT THE RIGHTEOUS IS SAVED, WHAT WILL BECOME OF THE GODLESS MAN AND THE SINNER?…
Now, I’m not claiming to know some secret knowledge but everytime I hear it preached that after the rapture there is still time for Gentiles to receive Christ, I feel uneasy, because a lot in our generation don’t value telling others about Christ figuring that there will be still another chance. I don’t know that, so I work while it is still day, taking every opportunity to share the knowledge of Christ, first with the believer and then the knowledge of salvation with the unbeliever. Therefore, I simply submit this for the believer’s consideration.
The word Day in the Scripture doesn’t always mean a day made up of 24 hours. The Day means a period of time or an event, like The Day of the Lord’s Wrath and The day of the Lord above mentioned in the 2 Thessalonians passage, refers to a period of time filled with events, “the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him“… The Son of Perdition, the Man of Lawlessness who will be revealed and will exalt himself and challenge the ideas many hold concerning God and the gods, the man who will attack fortresses or soveignties will be revealed, prior to that the church will experience a sifting and a refining where the number of believers martyred will reach its limit and then we will be snatched out of this dimension and be translated into timelessness. We will receive our new bodies, being forever changed in the twinkling of an eye. Like butterflies we will become new and fly away to meet our Lord and Savior in the air.