Here are some thoughts on 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 which describe the rising of the Antichrist after the rapture of the church from the earth. I believe that here is a key indicator that we are living in the last days and that the rapture is near.
There will be a great apostacy of the church which must occur around the time of the rapture. The growing apostacy of the church today, which I address in most issues of Prophecy in Perspective, is a clear indicator that the rapture is likely very near. After the rapture of the church, then there will remain no believers on the earth until the Lord raises up His two witnesses sometime in the beginning of the Great Tribulation (Revelation 11:3-12) and the 144,000 Jewish witnesses which God will seal to preach the gospel probably during the entire Tribulation period. The church age will have ended with the rapture. There will remain only the false church which is already forming into the Emerging Harlot monstrosity that is called Mystery Babylon, or the global church. This reality is hard to miss today, but, for many churches, it is business and programs as usual without hardly a word about the second coming of Jesus Christ!
When the Man of Sin is revealed, there will be no church or believers to oppose him, nor to sound the warning to a lost world, out of which the true church will have suddenly been removed. Antichrist will appear during a time of great upheaval violence and confusion. But the promise of peace will seem to be very real through the deceptions of the rising Man of Sin, whose rise onto the world scene is described in 2 Thessalonians 2:8-12 and Revelation 6:1-8.
It is important to note, so as to be able to discern the times we are living in today, that the withholding power of the Holy Spirit will have been removed at the rapture, but, for now the Holy Spirit, through the presence and preaching of the faithful believers of the true church is restraining his diabolical and tragic appearing. But, even now, it appears that this restraining influence is waning as the apostacy grows. Paul writes in these verses that “the Mystery of Iniquity doth already work” (2 Thessalonians 2:7).
Apostacy, manifested through growing compromises with truth by some of the most popular teachers and preachers in our day is the fertile ground for the rise of the Prince of Darkness, the Antichrist. People are being led away from the Scriptures into beliefs that are New Age, Contemplative/Mystical, Chrislamic, and Emerging Church. As the departure from the faith grows, this is an indication of the coming of the Lord for His true church: “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…”(2 Thessalonians 2:8-9).
While there are many wars and rumors of wars in the Middle East at this time signaling the soon coming of Jesus Christ, we must not forget the wars that are going on right around us in many of our own churches. It is time to get back into our personal study of God’s Word and for us to support, pray for, and sit under the faithful Bible teaching of sound and Scriptural teachers whose lives match up with their teachings.
God bless you as you watch for His coming with me in these exciting times!