The Antichrist: Who is the Man of Sin (2 Thessalonians 2)
In this sermon, Pastor Allen clarifies for us the Church's fate during the tribulation period, providing clarity on the Rapture and the Second Coming of Christ. The second letter to the Thessalonians, penned by the apostle Paul, serves as our guide through these intricate matters.
Paul's purpose in writing the letter was twofold: first, to address the eagerly awaited return of the Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering to Him, and second, to dispel any confusion regarding the timing of these events (2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). This letter was written to ensure that believers would not be easily shaken in mind or troubled by false reports, whether through spirit, word, or letter, suggesting that the day of Christ had already arrived.
The distinction between the Second Coming and the Rapture is crucial. The Rapture is not to be confused with the Second Coming of Jesus. When will the Rapture occur? The debate centers around pre-tribulation, mid-tribulation, or post-tribulation scenarios.
Next, we explore the Second Coming, often referred to as the Day of the Lord, by addressing the who, what, when, where, why, and how. The Second Coming is primarily for the Jews, marking God's final attempt to save Israel as prophesied in passages such as Jeremiah 30:7 and Zachariah 12:10. Revelation 7:4-8 speaks of the sealing of 144,000 Jews. This period represents seven years when God pours out His wrath upon the world, as foretold in Revelation 6:17 and Isaiah 2:12.
The timing of the Second Coming is post-Rapture, and its exact moment remains unknown, even to the Son of Man, as stated in Matthew 24:36-44. We draw parallels to Jewish weddings, highlighting that the Son builds the house, while the Father determines its readiness.
Concerning the location, the Rapture involves believers meeting Jesus in the air, while the Second Coming entails Jesus returning to Earth. The purpose of the Second Coming is to pass judgment upon a Christ-rejecting world, as seen in Revelation 19:19.
The manner of these events involves a dramatic contrast: the Rapture begins with a shout and ends with the gathering of believers, while the Second Coming commences with the Rapture of the Church and culminates in divine wrath.
To clarify these differences, we present a comparison chart (2 Thessalonians 2:2) that highlights the need for discernment, especially in light of disinformation by some suggesting that the Rapture has already occurred.
We further dissect the concept of apostasy (2 Thessalonians 2:3), which can be understood as a departure from the faith, both morally and doctrinally. Moral apostasy signifies a departure from high moral standards, while doctrinal apostasy involves a departure from sound doctrine, exemplified by those denying Jesus as the only way.
The man of sin, also known as the Antichrist, is a central figure. His various names, including the Antichrist, the Man of Sin, the Son of Perdition, and others, reflect his opposition to and usurpation of Christ's position.
Antichrist's audacious claim to deity, described in 2 Thessalonians 2:4, includes sitting in the temple of God and declaring himself as God. Reference is made to the Third Temple, which is crucial for the Antichrist's ultimate deception, with the Temple Institute actively working toward its construction.
The restraining force of the Holy Spirit, residing within the Church, prevents the Antichrist's from appearing. When the Church is raptured, this restraint will be removed, allowing the Antichrist to step into the limelight.
The mystery of lawlessness is already at work, with evil on the rise, reflecting the urgency of these times. The Antichrist, empowered by Satan, will employ deceit, signs, wonders, and manipulation to deceive those who reject the truth.
For those who succumb to this delusion, God will send strong delusion, causing them to believe the lie that the Antichrist is the Christ. Consequently, those who do not accept the truth will face condemnation.
Yet, for believers, there is hope and assurance. God has chosen us for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, leading to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).
As we anticipate the Rapture of the Church, we are encouraged to stand firm and hold fast to the traditions and teachings we have received (2 Thessalonians 2:15). May the Lord Jesus Christ Himself comfort our hearts and establish us in every good word and work (2 Thessalonians 2:16-17).
Join us at Calvary Chapel West Jacksonville, led by Pastor Allen Victor, as we explore these profound truths further. Visit our website at http://ccfjax.org and support our ministry at https://CCFJax.org/give.
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