“Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition…”
for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first,
The Rapture is a signless, immanent event; it could occur without any preceding indication of its occurrence. The Day of the Lord has a number of signs indicating its coming. We find two signs in this verse and one in verses 6 and 7.
The first sign of the Day of the Lord is a worldwide, general apostasy of the church from its biblical moorings.
The words “falling away” come from the Greek for apostasy. It means defection, revolt, apostasy. The New Testament always uses this term for some form of religious defection. The idea is to openly defy God’s authority and act in complete opposition to His plan. One day a general apostasy will occur in the professing church.
The definite article “the” before “falling away” indicates that this is not just any apostasy but “the apostasy.”
Paul’s proof in this verse that the Thessalonians are not in the Day of the Lord is that 1) a general apostasy has not occurred yet and 2) the man of sin has not yet been revealed.
Though Paul does not refer to the Rapture per se, he argues for the time of the Rapture (“the coming of the Lord,” verse 1). The Rapture must begin by the beginning of the Day of the Lord. The idea that the Thessalonians had missed the Rapture shook them to the core.
The word “first” says something about the order of events in this chapter. The apostasy of Christendom must occur either just before the Day of the Lord or at its beginning.
One day Christendom will move into acute apostasy.
Some people believe prophetically that the world is going to get better and better. When it gets good enough then Jesus will come back. The Bible teaches the opposite. The church will get worse and worse until finally she goes into profound apostasy.
The apostate church will become a worldwide movement. People will jump on the bandwagon because of the massiveness of the movement.