Posts filed under ‘Pretribulational Rapture’
The mere fact that Christians live on this earth goes much further in keeping God’s judgment at bay than the fact that righteous Lot lived in Sodom and Gomorrah. In spite of how evil this world is becoming (and will become), the fact of the Church’s presence acts as a wall of sorts that keeps evil in check. It is not the Church itself that has that power, but the Holy Spirit who resides within the Church. It is He who stands up to Satan and even though Christians are persecuted and even martyred for their faith almost daily throughout the world, this does not mean that the Holy Spirit is somehow weak or losing His grip. The Holy Spirit – through the Church – restrains evil, keeping the world from what it will one day become.
Paul implies that the Thessalonian readers already knew who the restrainer was because Paul had already told them (“you know what restrains him”). With reference to evil – the lawless one, defined also as the “mystery of lawlessness” – that is defined with a personal pronoun as well. Evil resides in Satan. He is thoroughly evil and one day, he will have a “spiritual” son who will do his bidding. That son will be the Antichrist and he will be completely indwelt by Satan. In fact, this “indwelling” will mimic the way the Holy Spirit indwells each believer.
How does one come away from a verse like that and determine that it was not God Himself who restrained Satan? It can only be done through exceedingly poor and sloppy exegesis of His Word. God spoke a warning to Satan, telling him he could do anything he wanted to Job except touch him on his person. Later, we know that God modified this to allow Satan to do what he wanted with Job except take his life. Why did Satan obey? Because it was God who gave him his marching orders, not some impersonal barrier or “restraint” that has no mind or power of its own. The restraint was literally God’s Word, which is God Himself (John 1:1).
It is the Rapture that is expectantly waited on by the powers of darkness. They know that once it occurs, the Holy Spirit will no longer have the invisible Church through which to work, to convict the world of sin and to call them to righteousness. At that point, Satan and his minions will have far greater leeway to work. They will not hesitate to use every dark art to their advantage as they race toward the culmination of human history in Armageddon. Satan actually believes he has a chance of “besting” God, but we know that Satan (via Antichrist) will be destroyed by a word from the mouth of our returning Jesus, during His Second Advent (2 Thessalonians 2:8).
It is important to understand first, that the “day of the Lord” (DOTL) often represents a span of time, not a singular day or one single event. We’ll look to Scripture in a moment to provide some examples. Note also that there are many different names for this period, depending upon the person called upon by the Lord to write a section of His Word. The phrase DOTL (or its equivalent) is used some 20 or so times in the Old Testament. Because of that, it is imperative to thoroughly research each usage to determine if/how they tie together.
The “day of the Lord” is another one of those subjects that people like to discuss and even argue over. For some, it means a certain length of time when the Lord will do a specific work. In that case, while it culminates in the return of the Lord on a specific “day,” the phrase “day of the Lord” includes other events as well. For instance, some believe that the Tribulation period begins the “day of the Lord” because we can clearly see from the opening of the very first seal in Revelation 6 (which also coincides with the beginning of the Tribulation period; see also Daniel 9:27), that the Lamb (the Lord) is in full charge and He is pouring out His wrath as He opens each of those seals.
The Tribulation will be a time of unparalleled evil and the persecution of Christians will be a daily experience throughout the entire globe, including America. God will use the 144,000 Jewish evangelists of Revelation 7 to be His messengers spreading the gospel far and wide. It is not coincidence that after the 144,000 are sealed, we read starting in Revelation 7:9 that there are multitudes of people became martyrs during the Tribulation.