The Departure

Remember Jesus told his disciples at the last supper that there was much more He wanted to teach them but they were not ready yet. The Holy Spirit would come to reveal deeper truths. The Lord chose the Apostle Paul’s to write much of the New Testament revelation. The doctrine of Christ’s coming for the church was commissioned to Paul and sets squarely on 1 & 2 Thessalonians. The fruit of this doctrine is hope and comfort not confusion or anxiety. Jesus gave the same admonition regarding His return saying, “don’t be deceived and don’t be troubled.”

Now, brethren, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him, we ask you, not to be soon shaken in mind or troubled, either by spirit or by word or by letter, as if from us, as though the day of Christ had come. Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.—2 Thessalonians 2:1-3

There are two specific and well-defined events that signal the day of the Lord is rapidly approaching. First is the falling away meaning a departure. This text has been mistranslated and its meaning misinterpreted as a great number of believers falling away from the Lord. That is not taught by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, he stated to Timothy that some will depart from the faith.

The earliest English Bibles translate this word as departure not apostasy. (SEE Weust Translation and World English translation of 1 Thessalonians 2:1-4) Departure and not apostasy better fits the context when Paul explains the removal of the restrainer. The removal of the Holy Spirit’s ministry and the departure of the church coincide together because the Holy Spirit indwells the church.

The second specific event is the revealing of the anti-Christ which he explains can’t take place until “he” the restrainer is taken out of the way. And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time. For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way. The “he” that restrains is the Holy Spirit who was poured out on the day of Pentecost which is a restraining force upon Satan’s kingdom. The Holy Spirit has been at work for 2000 years in convicting men’s hearts of their need for Jesus. Jesus referred to the Holy Spirit as HE in John 14-16 and that He would be just like Himself.

The Anti-Christ can not appear until the church is departed because of the awesome authority and power He placed in the church. Revelation 4 & 5 is an account of the Apostle John’s vision of the redeemed worshiping at the throne of God. The redeemed then witnesses who would open the seals to judge the earth it is the Lamb of God, Jesus! The first seal judgment is the release of the rider on a white horse to conquer which is none other than the anti-Christ to deceive the nations of the world. So the church is in heaven watching the judgments unfold.

There is a clear distinction between the destiny of the world and the destiny of the church. Read 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10 and notice the Apostle Paul compares the church who receives rest from persecution versus the world who receives judgment for not obeying the Gospel.  Read 2 Thessalonians 2:8-13 and notice the Apostle Paul compares the church who is set apart for salvation because of faith versus the world who is under delusion and condemnation because of unbelief.  The future is very clear, its dark for the world but bright for the church.

The Apostle Paul closes with an admonition to stand fast and hold the “traditions.”  Paul’s revelation of who the believer is IN CHRIST is the heart of the New Testament. Stay true to the divine word of God and as you do God your Father will give you hope and comfort as we do His work.

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