2 Thessalonians 2:1-5. "Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord
Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,
2: That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
5: Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things."
Paul addresses the subject of some erroneous teaching in this chapter. There evidently had been someone who claimed to have a letter from Paul that contradicted his previous teaching about the "Day of the Lord" and the "Rapture." Someone tried to get the believers to accept this false teaching in an effort to discredit Paul's apostolic authority.
Satan wants to confuse believers whenever possible and to stir up discord among them. When the Believer follows the teaching in the Scriptures, Satan is defeated and he doesn't like that. Satan's power lies in deception and never in truth, so it's not surprising to find that this passage is controversial even today.
Let's examine these Scriptures to help clear up any misunderstanding. The Holy Spirit is the only authoritative Teacher, but history, from the time these Scriptures were written until now, also supports the interpretation we present of this passage.
I want to point out some things here. The King James translation refers to "the day of Christ." All other translations correctly refer to it as "the day of the Lord." Elsewhere in the Scriptures, "the day of Christ" refers to the Rapture and history proves that the Rapture hadn't occurred at that time nor yet at the time I am writing this. This is, therefor, not a reference to the Rapture. He is stating that they aren't experiencing "the day of the Lord" which is the Tribulation. However, this passage indicates that neither "the day of Christ" now the "day of the Lord" had occurred.
The expression “at hand” at the end of verse two means "not actually happening at this moment, but conditions are such that it could at any time." John the Baptist stated that the kingdom of heaven was at hand, in Matthew 3:2, and that carried the same meaning timewise.
Any translation I have read, other than King James, reads "day of the Lord," not "day of Christ." Read the first two verses as follows: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,  that ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, that the day of the Lord is present.” The subject is "the day of the Lord" and not "the day of Christ."
The “day of Christ” refers to the time when the Believer will stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ in heaven. Our works, and motives for those works, will be evaluated and we'll be rewarded for the worthy ones. The rest will be discarded.
1 Corinthians 4:5. "Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time; wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God." It is not a review of our sins. It has nothing to do with our salvation or possible loss of it. It is basically an "award ceremony."
I believe the Judgment Seat of Christ is often looked on as a negative thing, but there is no punishment or reprimand mentioned. I view it as a positive thing for the Believer to look forward to that time.
"The day of the Lord," on the other hand, begins with the judgment of unrepentant men and
the world in the Great Tribulation. It's described in a number of Old and New Testament
passages. It continues through the millennium until “the day of God,” which is the
eternal state described in
2 Peter 3.
Someone was teaching that the persecutions and trials these believers were passing through was “the beginning of sorrows,” which will come in the “day of the Lord.” They taught that God’s judgments on the earth had already begun. This was contrary to the teaching of the apostle Paul, but those who taught this claimed Paul had written another letter that contradicted his earlier teaching. Paul denied this and told them to “be not soon shaken in mind, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us.” [verse 2]
Someone may even have claimed to have a divine revelation from the Holy Spirit. Paul tells them not to be concerned because this information wasn't from the Holy Spirit nor from God's Word, nor from Paul's writing.
The phrase, “nor by letter as from us” indicates that either a fraudulent letter had been circulated or someone falsely claimed to know of a letter Paul wrote stating these things.
Satan loves to cause confusion and the Scriptures are one place he especially delights in trying to confuse both the Believer and the unsaved. He has many spirits he can use and in 1 John 4 we read, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they be of God.”
In this passage, Paul is just reminding them [and us] that God wouldn't give a revelation that contradicted what He had already given.
Rumors are often accepted by those who don't know the Scriptures well, especially by those who try to find something new in the teaching of Scripture. "If it's true, it isn't new. If it's new, it isn't true." Scripture truth has stood the test of time for hundreds of years and we're not going to find anything new or contradictory in them. We may not understand everything in the Scriptures, but our failure doesn't make them wrong.
Verse 3: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; 4: Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God."
Paul gives two things that will take place before the "day of the Lord" begins. One has to do with the coming of Christ and the other with apostasy.
Concerning the first, even though Satan had caused some dissension in the church by circulating the rumor that the "day of the Lord" had begun, that couldn't be true. Christ had not yet come for His Church and here are several other reasons that the Rapture must precede the "day of the Lord."
Revelation 6:16 tells us that in the "day of the Lord", chief captains and mighty men “shall say to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” This had not occurred.
We read of another reason in 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.” This is not salvation from sin, they already had that. It's salvation from the coming day of wrath. They shouldn't have been so “soon shaken in mind” that they accepted this contradictory view.
Paul gave another reason why they shouldn't have been easily shaken in mind. “Let no man deceive you by any means, for that day shall not come except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition.”
"The falling away" is apostasy in the last days. People and governments will reject God and consider their own evil ways as superior in authority to God's ways. Part of this apostasy, or abandonment of the truth, includes the manifestation of the "man of sin".
"The man of sin," or "son of perdition," is the anti-christ who will appear at the start of the Tribulation as a man of peace, but will become a ruthless and evil ruler at the mid point of the seven year Tribulation period.
The kind of tribulation which believers have experienced ever since sin came into the world is not the time of God's judgment on the earth and is not to be confused with the "Great Tribulation." Jesus states that at that time "there shall be tribulation such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, nor ever shall be." Matthew 24:21.
Later in this chapter we'll see that the Believers and the Holy Spirit are a hindrance to his being revealed. We plan to discuss that in a later message.
"Man of sin" describes his character, and "son of perdition" is another name for hell, which is his destiny. I'm certain there will be many of Satan's sons of perdition in hell.
Judas Iscariot was also called the "son of perdition," but the only connection between Judas and the "man of sin" is that both are called "sons of perdition."
Some might think that this man will be a reincarnation of Judas, but that is totally outside the teaching of Scripture, because the Bible does not teach reincarnation.
Reincarnation would nullify the fact that our eternal destiny is governed by our response to God in this life, and deny that we enter into our eternal destiny at death.
Reincarnation would pre-suppose a second chance for non Believers to be redeemed, and the Scriptures do not teach that in any form.
The apostasy of "the man of sin" will be so complete that he will proclaim himself to be God and seat himself in the very temple of God.
Around 300 B.C., the ruler Antiochus Epiphanes did about the same thing. He died and his rule ended centuries before this letter was written to the Thessalonians. Antiochus wasn't an apostate because he never professed to be a Believer.
Daniel 11:37-38, speaks of a man honoring "the god of forces." "Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all. 38: But in his estate shall he honour the god of forces: and a god whom his fathers knew not shall he honour with gold, and silver, and with precious stones, and pleasant things."
Since this man disregards "the God of his fathers," he likely will have Jewish ancestry.
Another thing, the desire of every Jewish maiden was to become the mother of the Messiah, and if his disregard of “the desire of women” means that he has no regard for the Messiah, this also indicates that the “man of sin” will be from the Jewish race.
If we understand "the god of forces" to refer to the last Gentile world-ruler of the four world empires of the vision in Daniel 2, this would identify him as the beast out of the sea from Revelation 13. This is the political leader who Satan will give "his power," and his seat, or "throne," and great authority.
Daniel 11:36. "And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done."
The "willful king" who honors only the "god of forces" corresponds to the second beast of Revelation 13:11 who comes out of the earth. This is the Beast with "two horns like a lamb," the "Antichrist" who represents himself as the Messiah.
Daniel 11:36 corresponds exactly with the "man of sin" described in verse 4, who, "as God, sits in the temple of God, and shows himself that he is God."
2 Thessalonians 2:5 "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things."
Paul's teaching has the full weight of apostolic authority and this verse implies that he considered these subjects necessary for every Believer.
Had they rejected those false teachings they wouldn't have gone astray and been confused about the rapture and the day of the Lord. Paul's teaching is Scripture, it is true and accurate.
These Thessalonian letters were written before any of the gospels and were the first writings of the New Testament. Paul wrote them by inspiration of the Holy Spirit.
They didn't have all the written Word of God at that time. We have the total word of God now, and have no excuse to stray from it. Paul had not erred in his teaching, he was correcting the false teaching someone tried to impose on the Thessalonians.