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When the Trumpet Sounds: Part 3
9/14/2017 12:05:00 AM by: Dr. Paul D. Norcross

What Events Precede The Coming Of Christ – How Will We Know We Are Near?

2 Thessalonians 2:1-17:

“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 the day of Christ is at hand. 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;” (verses 1-3)

Even in the Apostle Paul’s day, satan was attacking the faith of believers who were secure in the hope of Christ’s return. Paul’s language is boldly direct, and warns of two things: a falling away[1] (apostasia = a defection, falling away, forsaking) of the truth concerning the imminence of Christ’s return to gather His people, and the revealing of the son of perdition. 

Many argue this must be a spiritual falling away based on its usage in Acts 21:21. But apostasia can mean either a spiritual departure or a physical departure. Author Andy Woods describes its Greek root (aphistemi) is used 15 times, 12 of which refer to a physical departure, and 3 to a spiritual departure. [1]

Paul goes on to describe more about this person:

“Who 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. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?” (verses 4-5)

Preachers make careers out of identifying who this son of perdition really is. As events unfold on the world stage, numerous seeming possibilities appear. But just like deadly mold grows in moist atmospheres, such a tool of satan as this son of perdition can only grow amid massive unbelief and apostasy of the church. 

Signs of such apostasy and unrighteousness abound even among God’s people. The world is deeply caught up in a level of moral decay that is implicit in “a falling away.” 

For example we accept the use of powerful amoral labels and public shaming (calling it “political correctness”) so as to make Biblical morality radioactive in modern culture.  Hence all manners of perverse sexuality, governmental corruption, selective Christianity, demonic religious beliefs, and even false science-based faiths (such as environmentalism and medical pill-centric faith) – these are fleshly strongholds. They are examples of pandemic apostasy, a defection from the truth, a calling evil good.  The vitality of the hope of Christ’s return is lost in the collective shuffle.

“And now ye know what withholdeth (katecho = restraining, hindering the progress of, checking headway as in a ship’s headway, holding back) that he might be revealed in his time. For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth (katecho) will let (katecho), until he be taken out of the way (mesos = middle).” (verses 6-7)

There is something holding back the son of perdition from taking control. He is a person who many believe will become a one-world government and religious leader. This “something” which currently holds him back is so powerful that it hinders him from appearing on the world stage. As Dake[2] points out, it is not government, and it is not the Holy Spirit holding him back (because the Holy Spirit continues on the earth after the rapture and through the tribulation wherein many others become saved – John 14:16; Acts 2:16-21; Revelation 12:17 and 19:10, Zechariah 12:10-13:1). 

What is it that is holding back the Anti-Christ?

It is the church, the body of Christ! Remember the record of Abraham negotiating with God for the saving of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 18:17-33)? For ten righteous men and women God would not destroy even Sodom and Gomorrah whose sin was very grievous to God. 

The whole world is as Sodom and Gomorrah today. The mystery of iniquity with its ever advancing lawlessness is obvious to God’s people and even to common citizens. But in each community the righteous, the church of Jesus Christ, is still holding back both satanic destructions and the judgment of God from being released in full. But soon the church will be gathered together with Christ in the heavens. Believers in Christ are taken out of the middle. There is a day coming when the righteous are removed from the earth enabling the Anti-Christ to be completely unopposed. 

“And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (verses 8-12)

Thus while the Body of Christ remains in the earth, we have a job to do. We remain steadfastly being about our Father’s business – the business of the kingdom presence of God – and looking for the hope of Christ’s return.

“But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, which hath loved us, and hath given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, Comfort your hearts, and stablish you in every good word and work.” (verses 13-17)

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[1] Many argue this must be a spiritual falling away based on its usage in Acts 21:21. But apostasia can mean either a spiritual departure or a physical departure. Its Greek root (aphistemi) is used 15 times, twelve of which refer to a physical departure, and three to a spiritual departure. See Pastor Andy Woods’ article 2 Thessalonians 2:3a Apostasy or Rapture? Published in The Prophecy Watcher, May 2017.  

 [2] Dake’s Bible endnote to 2 Thessalonians “The Hinderer of Lawlessness.” 

NOTEThis is the third of a 10-part series on this topic taken from Principles for Overcoming in Spiritual Warfare,  Copyright © 2016 Paul D. Norcross. 

Part 4 will look at When Does the Tribulation Begin?

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