Introduction to Second Thessalonians
"The Last Days, The Rapture, The Day of The Lord"

J. Deering,

2 Thessalonians

Introduction to the Book




From: Paul


To: The Church at Thessalonica


Date: 51 A.D., Not long after the writing and delivery of 1 Thessalonians


Keys to Book: Understanding the proper timing of two events. First the "Rapture" of the church, taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, and second, "The Day of the Lord" as Jesus comes back to earth with His church in a time of terrible righteous judgment focused upon Israel and the unbelieving world (2 Thess. 1:6-2:17).


Background and Context:

Misunderstanding or misrepresentation of "The Day of The Lord."


Paul, and his companions, with him, had received news that the Thessalonian church had received a document, allegedly written in his name, which contained spurious doctrines. Specifically the document taught that the world had already entered into the Day of the Lord, and its awful judgments. They thought the persecution and judgments had already begun even though Paul previously taught them that this event was yet to come. Some, as a result of this confusion, thought the "end of the world" was upon them, were living in fear, and had stopped working to support their families.


Both letters that originated with Paul (1 and 2 Thessalonians) were written at a time when there was aggressive persecution of individual believers and the church as a whole throughout that part of the world.


In 1 Thessalonians Paul taught them that the church, the whole Body of Christ, would be translated (first the dead in-Christ, and then the living-in Christ) and taken by Jesus to heaven BEFORE the beginning of "The Day of the Lord."


Here, in 2 Thessalonians, Paul writes to correct their misunderstanding, and restates that the predicted time of "trouble" which begins "The Day of the Lord," is still future; that persecution is both normal and expected; and how to live in the midst of it.


A quick outline of 2 Thessalonians would be in four parts.[1]


1.     Glorifying God in Tribulation, 2 Thess. 1:1-2

2.     The Revelation of the Man of Sin, 2 Thess. 2:1-12

3.     Believers, Chosen to Salvation, 2 Thess. 2:13-17

4.     Believers, Serving and Waiting, 2 Thess. 3:1-18


The Order of these early Prophetic Events in 4 easy steps.[2]


  1. The working of the mystery of lawlessness under divine restraint which had already begun in the apostle's time (v. 7) and which has been expanding throughout the Church Age.

  2. The removal of that which restrains the mystery of lawlessness (vv. 6-7). There are various views as to the identity of the restraining influence. The use of the masculine pronoun "he" indicates that it is a person. It seems evident that it is the Holy Spirit:

    1. in the O.T. the Holy Spirit acts as a restrainer of iniquity (Gen. 6:3);

    2. the restrainer is referred to by the use of both neuter and masculine genders ("what," v. 6; "he," v. 7), as in Jn. 14:16-17; 16:12-13 concerning the coming of the Holy Spirit; and

    3. it will be when the restrainer is "taken out of the way" that the man of sin will be revealed; this will be when the Church is translated and the Spirit's restraining ministry through it will cease. Observe, however, that it is not said that the restrainer will be "taken away," but "taken out of the way"; thus the Holy Spirit will continue a divine activity to the end-time, though not as a restrainer of evil through the Church.

  3. The manifestation of the lawless one, the man of sin, with the resulting apostasy (vv. 3-4; 8-10); Dan. 7:8; 9:27; Mt. 24:15; Rev. 13:1-18). And

  4. The return of Christ to the earth in glory, which will result in the overthrow of the man of sin and the establishment of the millennial kingdom (vv. 8-10; Rev. 19:11-20:6).


[1] Walvoord, John, The Thessalonians Epistles, Dunham Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, p. 1

[2] Scofield, C.I., The New Scofield Reference Bible, 2 Thess 2:3 note, Oxford, 1967, p. 1294