top of page



The Rapture as Expressed to the Thessalonians

Bible passages are copied from the Holy Bible, New International Version (NIV), Copyright 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011

by Biblica, Inc., Used by permission.  All rights reserved worldwide.


Some of the most useful information on the circumstances surrounding the Rapture is found in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians and especially in 2 Thessalonians.


1 Thess. 4:13 - 17

In 1 Thessalonians, Paul assures the church in Thessalonica that those individuals who die prior to the Rapture will be included in the Resurrection at the time of the Rapture.  The Rapture itself is briefly described in verses 4:16-17.


1 Thess. 5:1-4

Paul tells this church that the “day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.”  It will be totally unexpected by much of the world’s population.  But Paul adds that the day should not surprise believers like a thief (v. 4), implying that they should see it coming.  This is similar to what Jesus tells the apostles in Matthew 24:32-34 when He implies that believers should recognize the “season” of His return.  There must be something more than just a rumor of a war or an earthquake to alert believers.  Jesus tells us in Matthew 24:15 that the specific sign is the “abomination that causes desolation” spoken of in Daniel 9:27. Paul will go on to imply the same thing in his second letter to the Thessalonians.

1 Thess. 5:9

“For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.”


The above verse does not exempt us from experiencing life’s difficulties or from the endtime Tribulation of Satan. It promises us that with the salvation that comes from faith in the Lord Jesus, we will not have to face God’s wrath in Hell.

2 Thess. 1:6-10 – The Rapture described:

"God is just:  He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well.  This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.  He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed.  This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you."

2 Thess. 2:1-4 – Antichrist will be revealed prior to the Rapture:

"Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you brothers and sisters not to become easily unsettled or alarmed by the teaching allegedly from us – whether by a prophecy or by word of mouth or by letter – asserting that the day of the Lord has already come.  Don’t let anyone deceive you in any way, for that day will not come until the rebellion occurs and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the man doomed to destruction.  He will oppose and will exalt himself over everything that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sets himself up in God’s temple, proclaiming himself to be God."


Verse 1 makes it as certain as anything can be made certain that the topic at hand is the Rapture.  The remainder of this passage goes on to say that the “rebellion” must occur and that the “man of lawlessness” (Antichrist) must be revealed.  The “rebellion,” I believe is the breaking of the Covenant in the middle of Daniel’s Seven Years.  Antichrist will exalt himself and be revealed at that time (Dan. 7:25, Dan. 9:27, Matt. 24:15, Rev. 11:2). The Rapture cannot take place until sometime after the midpoint of the Seven Years.


2 Thess. 2:6 – That which is holding Antichrist back.


"And now you know what is holding him back, so that he may be revealed at the proper time."


What is holding Antichrist back? 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7 makes reference to the removal of a person who holds back “the secret power of lawlessness.”  The Bible does not tell us who this person is, but it is often assumed that it is the Holy Spirit and that He is removed at the Rapture. I strongly believe that the Holy Spirit continues in His current ministry of indwelling believers. Many Jews and Gentiles will be saved during the Tribulation, such as the 144,000 sealed Jews (Revelation 7:1-8), probably most or all of the Jews who escape into the 'wilderness' (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:14), and Gentiles who will populate the nations during the thousand-year reign of Jesus (Revelation 20:4).


My candidate for the person removed would be the Archangel Michael.  Michael is the protector of the Jewish people (Daniel 10:21). I believe it likely that Michael continues to protect that portion of the Jews who are removed from Satan’s grasp during the Tribulation (Revelation 12:6, Revelation 12:14). We are told that Michael and his angels hurl Satan to the earth at the middle of the seven years (Revelation 12:7-9). It is likely that Michael is the force that protects the Jews in the 'wilderness' (Revelation 12:14). He could go immediately to these Jews after he hurled Satan to earth since they seem to happen the same day. He would then return to Israel at the end of the 1,260 days that these Jews are in exile. At the end of the seven years when righteous Israel is established, Michael would again be in position to once again protect Israel (Daniel 12:1-4).


2 Thess. 2:8 – The Coming of Jesus


"And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will overthrow with the breath of his mouth and destroy by the splendor of his coming."


As I state elsewhere on this website, I believe that Jesus continues on earth with His people (the 144,000 among others saved after the Rapture and before the end of the Seven Years).  There will be only one Second Coming, and Jesus will spend the entire time period from the Rapture to the establishment of His Kingdom with His people.


bottom of page