Because the Thessalonians had been taught by some within the local Assembly that they have missed the Rapture, and were then in the Day Of The Lord, Apostle Paul penned this letter to them in order to correct this erroneous doctrine. He made a plea based on the coming of the Lord, and our gattering together unto Him. These two event, the coming of the Lord and our gathering together unto Him occur at the same time(Rapture).
“For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son Of Man be in His day”(Luk.17:24).
When the Shekinah, the visible presence of the Lord appears in the heavens, we the saints shall be gathered unto Him. In Matthew, it is referred to as the appearance of the sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens.
“And then shall appear the sign of the Son Of Man in the heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son Of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory”(Matt.24:30).
This event, the appearance of the Shekinah in the heavens is preceeded by the Great Tribulation.
“Immediately after the Tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heaven shall be shaken”(Matt.24:29).
For the Thessalonians to be in the Day Of Lord, they must have past through the Great Tribulation, witnessed the Cosmic and celestial disturbances, and the appearance of the Sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens, and the gathering together of the elect by the angels of God to meet the Lord in the air. These are no secret phenomena. These are worldwide events that shall be witnessed by all and sundry.
“Behold, He cometh with the clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all the kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen”(Rev.1:7).
We can see that Revelation corroborates Matthew that all the Earth shall mourn when they see the Son Of Man appear in the heavens. This should not surprise us because our Lord Jesus is the author of both the Olivet Discourse and the Scroll Of Revelation. In the Olivet Discourse, the letters are in red, indicating that Jesus the Christ is the speaker. In the Scroll of Revelation, it is written:
“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto Him, to show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass; and He sent and signified it unto His servant John: who bear record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and all things that he saw”(Rev.1:1,2).
Therefore Jesus Himself is the author of the Scroll of Revelation, and John was His amanuensis. It is after the appearance of the sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens that He shall dispatch His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His elect from one end of heaven to the other.
“and He shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together His Elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other”(Matt.24:31).
These are unmistakable worldwide events that shall be witnessed by all and sundry. How then shall any intelligent person, in his normal senses, teach that the Rapture can occur at any moment, and that no prophesied event must precede the Rapture? A very Big Lie. Why is it that the Earth mourn when they see the sign of the Son Of Man in the heavens? Because they know His wrath is about to be poured out on them(Rev.6:12-17).
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto Him, That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that day of Christ is at hand.”(2 Thess.2:2).
Our brother Apostle Paul founded the church in Thessalonica(ca. 50-52 AD). His stay there was rather brief due to persecution from the civil authorities. But before Paul left he had taught them the rudiments of the second coming of Christ; he never had time to ground them fully in the basics and fundamentals of biblical eschatology. Thereafter, some within the church began to expound erroneous doctrine that the day of the Lord has already come and that the Thessalonians have missed the Rapture, and would never see their deceased loved ones in the Lord any more. This erroneous doctrine was propagated in three ways: (1) by prophetic utterance(by spirit); (2) by teaching(by word); and (3) by a letter(a written document) purportedly to have been written by Apostle Paul and or his associates in the ministry(by letter as from us, 2 Thess.2:2).
“Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there be a falling away first, and the Man of Sin be revealed, the Son Of Perdition; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, showing himself that he is God”(2 Thess.2:3,4).
The word translated sin here is lawlessness. The antiChrist is the man of lawlessness. He shall change the times and seasons. He shall change the Judeochristian Mores which have guided the Western nations for over a thousands years. Paul wrote to correct this erroneous doctrine, that the Thessalonians should not be shaken in mind nor be troubled. He started by warning them that they should not be deceived because that day shall not come until two things happen:
(1) The Apostasy
the apostasy, a falling away from the faith, a rebellion, a total abandonment of the faith by some within the church, and some Jews who shall abandon covenantal relationship with the God of Israel in favour of a false man made God, the antiChrist, and
(2) The Unveiling Of The Man Of Sin
The antiChrist, the man of sin must be revealed(2 Thess.2:3). It is the revelation of the Man Of Sin, the antiChrist that leads to the apostasy, when he deifies himself and demands worship of all mortals(2 Thess.2:4). The apostasy occurs when the antiChrist demands worship of all mortals, and persecutes those who refuse to worship him. The Great Tribulation precipitates the apostasy, when there is a mass exodus of believers who are ungrounded in God’s instruction concerning perseverance to worship the Beast-antiChrist(Rev.3:10). These have been fed on bread and butter Christianity, and that they will never go through the Great Tribulation. They have been taught by some pretribbers that seven years before the antiChrist shows up on the world stage, they are already in Heaven. Imagine how unprepared they will be to face the antiChrist. This event takes place precisely in the middle of the 70th Seven of Daniel.
There was a minister of the gospel who refused to sit at our seminar, claiming he is a preacher of righteousness. That all we need to do is to live right, we shall be raptured whenever the rapture occurs. No amount of righteous living will deliver anyone from the horrors of the Great Tribulation if the one has not mastered the sequence of events of the End Times, and has prepared accordingly. It shall be a horrible disaster for this period to come upon us unawares, like a thief in the night. We are children of the light, and of the Day. We are not of Night nor of Darkness, therefore that event should not come upon us unawares(1 Thess.5:5).
“And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the sacrifice and the oblation to cease, and for the over spreading of abominations he shall make it desolate, even until the consummation, and that determined shall be poured upon the desolate”(Dan.9:27).
The 70th seven of Daniel, the last seven years of the 490 years allotted to the Gentiles to persecute Israel, [“Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy Holy City, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and the prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy”(Dan.9:24)], shall begin when the Man Of Sin, the antiMessiah signs a seven year peace treaty with the many from within Israel. It is not the whole nation of Israel that will be in agreement with the covenant made with the antiChrist. There shall be some, even in government that shall be opposed to it. Nevertheless, the scornful rulers of Israel at that time shall go ahead and sign the covenant. This is the reason why it is referred to by the prophet Daniel as the covenant with the many. The many however are from within Israel.
The prophet Isaiah refers to it as “covenant with death” and “agreement with Sheol”(Hell or Hades). He also referred to it as “taking refuge in Lies” and “hiding under Falsehood.” The prophet Isaiah chided the rulers of Israel at that time, saying,
“Wherefore hear the word of The LORD, ye scornful men, that rule this people which is in Jerusalem. Because ye have said, we have a covenant with Death, and with Hell are we at agreement: when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made Lies our refuge, and under Falsehood have we hid ourselves.”(Is.28:14,15).
Is it not a curse to trust in man and a blessing to trust in the Lord?
“Thus saith the Lord; Cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the Lord. For he shall be like the heath in the desert, and shall not see when good cometh; but shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.”(Jer.17:5-8).
Because at that time, more than ever, Israel’s security shall be precarious, and the whole nation in grave existential danger due to hostility from its Arab and Islamic neighbours, and nations of the world, Israel shall seek protection from the most powerful ruler of the world at that time, the Emperor of the Eighth and Final Beast Empire of Satan. Israel is surrounded by hostile Arab and Islamic nations which shall be allied to the antiChrist. Instead of trusting in the Lord, they shall look up to man.
“Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for wherein is he to be accounted of?”(Isa.2:22).
In context, “man” is the antiChrist though applicable to anybody. Our Lord Jesus told the Jewish people who rejected Him who came in the name of the Father, but will accept another that will come in his own name:
“I am come in my Father’s name, and ye receive me not: if another shall come in his own name, him ye will receive.”(John 5:43).
They shall seek refuge and protection from the most powerful ruler of the world, not knowing they shall be seeking refuge in “Lies,” and hiding themselves under “Falsehood.” Their covenant with the antiChrist shall be covenant with “Death,” and their agreement with him, an agreement with “Hell.” Here the antiChrist is referred to as “Death”, “Hell”, “Lies” and “Falsehood.” Because of existential threat Israel shall run into the open arms of the antiMessiah, the worst Jew hater of all times. They will take refuge in lies and hide under falsehood because the antiChrist shall be both “lie” and “falsehood.”
Following this agreement, the antiChrist shall station a protection force in Jerusalem, and all over the land of Israel. This he shall do under the guise of providing protection for Israel from its enemies. But his intention all along shall be to destroy the nation later on altogether after he has gained their confidence. They shall be “caught off guard.” For the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel, he shall offer protection to Israel. During this period, none of the sourounding nations shall invade Israel. Those of them who attempt shall incur his wrath. Remember that at this time, the antiChrist has the most sophisticated armies in the world equipped with the latest in military technology at his beck and call. This offer of protection by the antiChrist accounts for the relative peace that Israel enjoys during the first half of the 70th seven of Daniel.
There shall be wars and rumors of wars, and the antiMessiah shall go forth conquering and to conquer. The Wars shall lead to famines, pestilences and earthquakes, but Israel shall be relatively quiet during the convulsions of the first three and one-half years of the 70th week of Daniel(Rev.6:1-6; Matt.24:4-8; Mk.13:5-8; Luk.21: 8,9). Precisely, at the midpoint of the 70th week, and without warning, Jerusalem shall be surrounded with the armies of the antiChrist as he relocates his headquarters to the rebuilt Third Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah in Jerusalem, Israel. This move by the antiChrist should not surprise us. Because the antiMessiah, the Man of lawlessness is a copycat. Christ shall reign from His Throne Room in The Holy Of Holies of the Fourth and Millennial Temple on the renovated Mount Zion in Jerusalem, Israel. The word antiChrist means the one who is against and in place of Christ. He is opposed, and exalts himself above all that is called God or worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, displaying himself that he is God(2 Thess.2:4).
In verse 4, Paul asked them, don’t you remember that when I was yet with you I told you these things?
“And your covenant with Death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with Hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be vexation only to understand the report”(Is.28:18,19).
Their covenant with Death shall be abrogated, and their agreement with Hell abolished. Therefore the antiChrist shall not keep his part of the covenant.
“And he shall plant the tabernacle of his palace between the seas in the glorious Holy Mountain; yet he shall come to His end, and none shall help him”(Dan.11:45).
In his bid to rule the World in place of God, He shall come to His demise. He shall meet his Waterloo. Precisely in the middle of the 70th week of Daniel, he shall transfer his headquarters to Jerusalem, from its previous location in the land of Magog or perhaps from Babylon if he had already relocated their from the land of Magog earlier on as some biblical scholars suggest. Following the transfer of his headquarters to Jerusalem, Israel, the antiChrist shall massively surrounding Jerusalem with his armies. This is the Jerusalem Campaign. These are the armies of his three power base nations of the Eighth And Final Beast Empire, the armies of the nations of Magog, Meshech, and Tuval.
“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are Judea flee to the mountains: and them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them who are in the countries enter thereinto.”(Luk.21:20,21).
The surrounding of Jerusalem with armies coincides with the abomination of desolation when the antiChrist transfers his headquarters to Jerusalem.
“when ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the Holy Place,(whoso readeth, let him understand:) then let them which be in Judea flee to the mountains”(Matt.24:15,16).
“But when ye shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet standing where it ought not, (let him that readeth understand,) then let them that be in Judea flee to the mountains”(Mk.13:14).
The surrounding of Jerusalem with armies, and the abomination of desolation occur at the same time, at the midpoint of the 70th week of Daniel, when the antiChrist relocates his headquarters to the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. On arrival on the Temple Mount, he and his acolytes will violate the sacred precincts of the rebuilt Third Temple on Mount Moriah by threading on it. He will enter into the Holy Of Holies of the Temple forbidden to the Gentiles. He shall desecrate its sacred altars. Like His prefigure, the seventh Greek ruler of the Seleucid dynasty Antiochus Theos Epiphanes, he shall offer forbidden unclean animals on the rebuilt Jewish Altar Of Holocaust. He shall import a statue of himself into the Holy Of Holies of the rebuilt Third Temple. This is the abomination of desolation standing where it ought not. He shall deify himself. He shall demand to be worshipped by all mortals. He shall demand that all give allegiance to him by being branded with the mark of the Beast. This mark of allegiance is the number of man. It is 666(Rev.13:18).
It is an 18 digit computer bar code, much like our BVN of today with other biometric data specific to the individual. Before this time, there shall be a harmonisation of all biometric data worldwide. However, it shall be implanted on the forehead or right hand or left to avoid theft or loss, and for ease of verification by the enlivened images of the Beast stationed at strategic locations throughout the world. The enlivened images of the Beast have near field communication(NFC) readers that enables them to identify and distinguish those who are Beast branded from those who are not. Those who are chipped can buy and sell. Those who are not chipped could die of starvation unless they have earlier procured food, medicine, and other supplies ahead of time. Besides, they will be hounded, hunted down and coerced to be branded, or killed on refusal to be branded. It cannot be done by force. No one will be held down my force to be chipped. It will not count. Every person shall be given chance to accept to be branded, or killed on refusal to be branded. Forced branding is unacceptable, but people can be coerced to accept to be branded. Anyone who willing accepts and is branded is doomed for eternity. If any man accepts the mark of the Beast, the wrath of God abideth on him.
“And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, if any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the Holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who shall worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”(Rev.14:10,11).
The Scriptures do not tell us when the Temple shall be rebuilt. All we are told is that a temple shall be standing at the Temple Mount by the midpoint of the 70th week for the antiChrist to desecrate it(Dan.9:27), and for the revelator John to measure it and those that worship therein, and to leave the outer court to the Gentiles to thread underfoot forty and two months(Rev.11:1-2). Any discussions as to the time of the building of the temple, or whether a full temple shall be built or a tabernacle-like structure erected, are in the realm of speculations.This end time scenario has not yet played out. So the Thessalonians had not yet missed it; for none of these events has occurred. Therefore prophesied events must occur before the day of Christ. Once again, the pretribulational doctrine of imminence is turned on its head.
Imminence is the cardinal pillar of pretribulational rapturism. It states contrary to Christ’s teaching in the Olivet Discourse and Apostle Paul’s teaching in 2 Thess.2, that no prophesied event must occur before the Rapture takes place. In other words, the Rapture can occur at any moment. Their doctrine of Imminence allows them to position the Rapture before the 70th week in the eschatological timeline. They also start the day Of Lord at the commencement of the 70th week of Daniel. We can see that That Day does not come until two vital events of the 70th week, the revelation of the antiChrist, and the attendant apostasy, the total abandonment of faith in the God of Israel by those with covenantal relationship with the God of Israel as a result of sever persecution by the antiMessiah occur.
They make no distinction between the wrath of Satan(Rev.12:12) which is directed towards the saints of the Most High, and the faithful remnant of Israel, and culminates in The Great Tribulation, and the wrath of God(Rev.6:17) which is directed towards the worshippers and adorers of the Dragon and the Beast-antiChrist, and culminates in The Armageddon Campaign.
What is offensive to me is ignorant people who arrogate to themselves a monopoly of understanding and interpretation of the word of God, and arrogantly, insolently and over-zealously urge us to believe the Rapture will take place before the Great Tribulation contrary to Paul’s teaching in his Second letter to the Thessalonians, and our Lord Jesus’ teaching in the Olivet Discourse(Matt.24, Mark 13, Luk.21), and the scroll of Revelation(Rev.6,7). The Church is never in danger of being “Left Behind” but of being “Caught Off Guard.” Satan’s method of deception is to tell A Big Lie, repeat it so often, and people will start believing it. Adolf Hitler used this same method to hoodwink the Germans, the most educated society in Europe and the whole World before the Second World War into believing that the Jews were suitable for nothing but the Gas Chambers and crematoria. Highly educated Germans were members of the Nazi Party. We can see that this method of repeated a Big Lie has worked before on civilised humanity. Satan is using his tested and proven method on the Church. Tell the Big Lie that the Church will not go through the Great Tribulation. Repeat it so often, and they will believe it. Tell them that God loves them so much that He does not want them to suffer. Tell them that the Blessed Hope of The Glorious Appearing of the Great God and our Saviour Jesus The Christ(Tit.2:13) shall be no longer blessed and glorious if the Church were to go through the horrors of the Great Tribulation. This is palatable because men naturally do not want to suffer. I myself writing do not want to suffer, but that does not change anything. It is not what we want, but what is in His plan.
How else can the Church be purified other than by fire. If anyone thinks that the Church is raptureable in her present state, he is deluded. We know the origin of this doctrine. It was purppotated to have come from a charismatic visionary teenager, Margaret MacDonald of the Plymouth Brethren in 1828. But this is false. The pamphlet by MacDonald stated clearly that the saints will go through the Great Tribulation, and that the antiChrist will be responsible for the Great Tribulation, and that God would use the Great Tribulation to purify the saints before Rapture. Besides, J. N. Darby was teaching that the Church would be raptured before the antiChrist shows up before the publication of the pamphlet by Margaret MacDonal in 1830. By the early 1900 it crossed the Atlantic to US, was popularised by C. I. Scofield in his popular reference Bible, The Scofield Reference Bible. From America, it crossed the Atlantic again to Africa. A lot of our pentecostalism and evangelicalism in Nigeria and the rest of Africa South of the Sahara is made in America with the teaching that God wants you to be prosperous and happy all the time. Could that be true when Jesus told His disciples,
“In the World ye shall have Tribulation; be of good cheer for I have overcome the World”(Jon.16:33 ).
“It is given unto us in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe in His name, but to suffer for His sake”(Phil.1:29).
“No chastening for the moment seemeth to be joyous but greavious, nevertheless, afterwards it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them that are exercised thereby”(Heb.12:11).
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord deliverers him from them all”(Ps.34:19).
“If we suffer with Him, we shall reign with Him”(2 Tim.2:12a).
Our brother Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles wrote to the Thessalonians,
“Remember that when I was with you, I told you that ye shall suffer Tribulation, and it came to pass”(1 Thess.3:4).
We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom( Acts 14:22 ). In the mouth of two or three witnesses, every word shall be established(2 Cor.11:2). Christianity without Tribulation is fake. Satan has recruited the best minds in Christendom to propagate this evil doctrine. They will harass you with their knowledge of Greek and Hebrew. They will lay emphases on obscure passages, and grey areas of the Scriptures while giving wild interpretions to or outrightly denying the obvious in their bid to befuddle the kinds of the simple.
It was not the original position of the Church. The historic churches do not preach it. Neither the Roman Catholics, nor the Anglicans believe in it. Those of them who do, learned it from the fundamentalist evangelicals and Pentecostals and Charismatics. Neither the Church Fathers nor the Didache taught Rapture before the Great Tribulation. It stretches credulity that an intelligent person who is not deluded by the machinations of the Evil One can read 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, and Matthew chapter 24, and come away with the impression that the Church will not go through the Great Tribulation. What is the need to warn about deception, to be watchful, prayerful, to be faithful and prepared if there is no danger to the Church?
Please brethren, pick up your Bible, a good concordance, pen and paper, and study this topic prayerfully for yourself, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit. I recommend it because a brother and personal friend of mine who was a pretribulationist like I was did after he was challenged by another brother and friend, and found no biblical evidence for the pretribulational view of the Rapture, but rather found overwhelming biblical evidence for the Prewrath Rapture Position, i.e., that the antiChrist will manifest first, and perpetrate the Great Tribulation against the saints of God, the observant Jew, and other nonconformists and free thinkers before the Rapture occurs and the wrath of God is poured out on the remaining living wicked earth-dwellers who worship and adore the Dragon and the Beast by taking their mark of allegiance.
I came to this knowledge by studying the works of Marvin J. Rosenthal in his book, “The Prewrath Rapture Of The Church,” and his publications in his ministry’s bimonthly magazine, “Zion’s Fire,” and those of Robert van Kampen in his books, especially, The Sign. Their interpretations of the Scriptures were simple and accurate, based on face value hemanuetics. If you cannot do as my friend Dr Jeminusi has done, or as I have done, please find someone who knows to guide you. The first step to the acquisition of knowledge is recognition of one’s ignorance. Then one must throw away pride and arrogance, humble oneself, and sit at the feet of those who know. If Paul had not sat at the feet of Gamaliel, he would not have become a doctor of the Torah. If he had not submitted himself to Jesus when he met Him on the Road To Damascus, he would not have received such wonderful and insightful Revelation of the New Life In Christ. His question when he met Jesus was, “what would thou have me to do Lord?” We shall never be led astray if we ask the right people the right questions. Dr. Jeminusi has a power point presentation on his findings. He will be happy to forward it you if you request for it.
There was a minister known to me personally who zealously proclaimed the Church will not go through the Tribulation, and the Rapture will take place in his life time. Now he is gone, and the Rapture has not yet taken place. If anything, the antiChrist is gearing up to take over the World. The technology is down, the world is about to go cashless, the Big brother can monitor everyone. One World government, one World Religion, and one world currency. Israel is now an independent State. The Jews have remained control of Jerusalem. The Sanhedrin has been reconstituted, and the Cohen Gadol(the High Priest) appointed. The red heifer has also been found. Any moment from now, temple worship and animal sacrifice will be reintroduced. If you are expecting to be raptured before the antiChrist hangs out His shingles, you will be “caught Off Guard.” Be prepared(Matt.25:1-13) , be watchful(matt.24:36-44), be prayerful(Luk.18:1-8), and be faithful(Matt.24:45-51), and be fruitful(Matt.25:14-30).