The Lord gives us the answer as to what comes first – the rapture or the Antichrist: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together to Him [here is when the church is gathered] … Let no man deceive you by any means [this warning is addressed to Christians]. For that day [the day when Jesus comes to gather us] shall not come except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed [Antichrist], the son of perdition” (2 Thessalonians 2:1,3).
Paul said that before Jesus comes to gather us, the falling away must take place first and the Man of Sin must be revealed. Thus, the Man of Sin [Antichrist], must come first. The antichrist will appear as the true Christ. The true leader of all this rebellion is Satan clothed as an angel of light.
Many teach today as shown in the Apocalyptic films (like A Thief in the Night, Revelation, Apocalypse, and Left Behind: The Movie) that Christians will disappear in the Rapture prior to the arrival of the Antichrist. In fact, this concept – Rapture first then Antichrist second – has become so popular that people are not preparing for the tribulation.
The Bible teaches that the faithful will go through the great tribulation before the Second Coming of Jesus Christ for tribulation is necessary for Christian growth: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation [even] to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1); “And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:14); “And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect‘s sake those days shall be shortened” (Matthew 24:22).
The good news is that God’s children will survive the final tribulation. Jesus assures His faithful children, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20). And if Jesus is with His children who can stand against them? (Romans 8:31).
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In His service,
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