|The Second Coming of Christ 4
There is a sense in which the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is used to describe coming judgment in the Bible; but when coupled with our gathering together
unto him it is only used in one sense – what is generally referred to as The Second Coming, described by Paul in his first epistle to the Thessalonians:
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope. For if we
believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord,
that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven
with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain
shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another
with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 KJV)
It is that same day referred to by the angels in the first chapter of Acts:
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly
toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven?
this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven. (Acts 1:9-11 KJV)
It is the literal, physical return of Jesus, when the saints will be gathered into the air to meet Him.
2Th 2:3 Except there come a falling away first. An apostasy must precede the Coming. That is, there shall be a general falling away from the
purity of the faith. No apostasy of magnitude occurred in the history of the church for centuries, which could answer to Paul's description, but
the gradual declension, corruption, and departure from the ancient faith, which was fully developed a few hundred years later, has always been
spoken of by Protestant church historians as The Apostasy. There is no good reason for doubting that it is to the apostle refers.
And that man of sin be revealed. He shall be revealed then in connection with the apostasy. The son of perdition. This expression occurs once
elsewhere, and is there applied to Judas, an apostate [Joh 17:12]. Here it evidently has a similar application. Some power, once Christian, falls
away and becomes opposed to Christ.
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself. I shall endeavor in a few words to identify this power. Various explanations have been given, but
there is only one power that exhibits all the marks given by Paul. Observe these: (1) The man of sin exalts himself above God. (2) He sits in the
temple, that is, in the church, for that is always the sense in which Paul uses the term. He is a church power. (3) He claims powers that only
belong to divinity. (4) He shows off signs and lying wonders (2Th 2:9); or, in other words, lays a claim to miraculous powers. Every one of these
marks applies to the papacy: (1) Its development was simultaneous with that of the apostasy. (2) Its development was let (hindered) until the
pagan Roman empire fell, but was rapid after it was taken out of the way (2Th 2:7). (3) The papacy has set aside divine laws and has made other
spiritual laws to bind men, and has claimed divine prerogatives. A newly-elected Pope is adored and styled "Lord God, the Pope." (4) It is in the
temple of God, that is, it arose in the church, and still claims to be the "Holy Catholic Church." (5) The claim of Infallibility is "sitting as God
in the temple." (6) The papacy has always claimed miraculous powers, and it is a fact well known that it has often worked off lying wonders (2Th
2:9). No fact is better established than that the hierarchy of the church have often deceived by false miracles. Indeed, these have often been
detected and explained. (2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 KJV)
B.W. Johson, People’s New Testament with Notes
Paul was not telling them anything new. This is what he told them when he was there in person. It is now what he is writing. The coming of the day of the
Lord is NOT at hand. The evidence is that it is removed by a great amount of time.