2 Thessalonians 2:3 Popular Deceptions Concerning the Tribulation and Rapture

2 Thessalonians 2:3 KJV

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;


It seems to me that Paul wrote 1 and 2 Thessalonians for such a time as this. The discerning Christian senses the evil of the hour and cannot help but believe that the coming of the Lord must be near. But we are also aware that there have been times of terrible tribulation in the past. We feel a need to strengthen the saints for hardness should Christ not return soon.


Signs of the times seem to be advancing rapidly. One of them that is growing in popularity is the deception that Christians will have to go through the Tribulation of the last day. More and more young, zealous preachers are rejecting the hope of the coming of Christ to rapture us away from that Tribulation and embracing the doctrine that Christians will endure those days and that Christ will not rapture us until the end of the Tribulation Period. Paul urged the believer not to let any man deceive them into believing it. That means the doctrine of Christians going through the Tribulation is a lie. The doctrines of:

  • pre-wrath
  • mid-Tribulation, or
  • post-Tribulation

are not different slants on the same truth. It is a deception. It is a lie. It most be warned against.

For this and more than 3000 earlier Daily Visits with God visit Marvin McKenzie’s blogger page. There you will find daily visits going back to 2007.

Pre-Tribulation Rapture

Author: marvinmck

Marvin McKenzie was born in the Pacific Northwest and became a Christian at the age of eighteen. He has been in the Baptist ministry for thirty years and has planted and pastored churches in Washington and Oregon. Besides his pastoral ministry, Marvin has been actively involved in training men for the Baptist ministry. He has conducted local church Bible Institutes in those churches he has pastored, from which a number of men have entered the ministry. Marvin also served as: Vice President of the Western States Baptist Bible Fellowship, The Board of Directors of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA, Dean of men at Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, Executive Vice President of Pacific Coast Baptist Bible College in San Dimas, CA and Executive Vice President of Heartland Baptist Bible College in Oklahoma City, OK. Marvin is married to Anita. They have two sons, Bohannan and Caleb. Both are Baptist pastors in Washington State. Marvin enjoys camping, fishing and horses.

7 thoughts on “2 Thessalonians 2:3 Popular Deceptions Concerning the Tribulation and Rapture”

  1. Could you elaborate more on this subject. I have many family members that believe in mid and post trib?

    1. Hi Joelle
      As I see it, the danger that lies in positions other than pre-tribulational rapture fall into two classes:
      1. And the most important of the two – they make less of the finished work of Christ.
      Any position that put the Christian in the Tribulation implies that what Christ did on the cross was not sufficient to pay for all our sin. The great Tribulation becomes a sort of purgatory substitute. The point of the Tribulation is a. To bring Israel to Christ. b. To judge rejecting Gentiles. There is simply no reason a Christian should go through the tribulation. This of course does not mean that Christians don’t go through tribulation, and sometimes even great tribulation. History reveals that Christian have and I believe could suffer again. What I do think it means is that THE Tribulation will be worse than any of us can imagine. Much much worse than anything experienced in the Middle ages.
      2. There is an arrogant, rebellious and sometimes church splitting spirit among those who hold the other positions
      When I became a Christian there were only a handful of so called “Bible Believing” Christians who claimed the mid-tribulation rapture position. Non of them, that I was aware of anyway, were Baptists. The post-tribulation position was almost entirely reserved to those who were liberal in their theology. Over the years some began to embrace positions other than pre-tribulation, as I saw it, as almost a rebellion against what they thought were other excesses among fundamental Baptists. Those who embraced “pre-wrath rapture” as it came to be called in the Baptist churches (but is just another term for “mid trib”) also had a problem with standards, separation, and social drinking. And they ALWAYS came into churches fighting for their beliefs. They implied that believing in pre-tribulational rapture was not only old fashioned but uneducated, unsophisticated, unaware of the finer points of prophetical passages and they drew people out of their Baptist churches, into congregations that taught these more “advanced” doctrines. Even today, those who hold to the pre-wrath, mid-trib, or post-trib tend to aggressively call pre-tribulational rapture preaching a lie.
      I would possibly be less aggressive in my position opposed to them except for the spirit I generally find in them. (But even if they were passive I would still preach against their positions because any position other than pre-tribulation belittles the work of Christ on the Cross – a characteristic that is common in satanic counterfeits of the truth.

      Below is a lesson I taught many years ago and is now a chapter in my book called “Upon This Rock”.

      Rev 3:10
      Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I also will keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. (KJV)

      The Pre-tribulational rapture!

      At one time, the mainstay of fundamentalists. Today this doctrine is attacked openly by men who used to be strong supporters! Why would this doctrine be so difficult to grasp, and why would there be such a stand against it?

      We had better begin with some;
      The Rapture refers to a time when the Lord will return in the clouds and call all Christians to heaven, without their having to die.

      Although the word is not found in the Bible, the doctrine definitely is.
      Paul spoke about this event in,
      1Thes 4:13-18
      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. (KJV)

      There are four basic views that are taught about when the Rapture will occur;
      A. There is the view that no Rapture will occur.
      There are those that believe that things will continue on as they are forever, and that the only way a person gets to heaven is by death.

      This seems to be so blatantly contrary to literal Bible interpretation, that only the most liberal religionists believe it. Serious students of the Bible dismiss it totally.

      B. Pre-Tribulational Rapture.
      This view holds that the Rapture will occur just before the Tribulational period that the Bible says will one day try all the earth with sufferings such as this world has never before seen.

      C. Mid-Tribulational Rapture.
      This view holds that the Rapture of the church does not happen until half way through the Tribulation.

      The Tribulation, according to the Bible, is 7 years long. The first 3 and 1/2 years are of comparative peace, the second 3 and 1/2 are the ones of terrible trials. This view places the Rapture after the 3 and a half years of peace, but before the 3 and a half years of trial.

      D. Post Tribulational Rapture.
      This is the “bouncing ball” theory. The view teaches that the Christians that have survived the Tribulation alive will be raptured out of this earth at the end of the Tribulation, and then immediately return to the earth as Jesus establishes His kingdom here.

      Let me give you a brief
      of the development of these views;

      A. The Earliest Christians Believed in the Pre Tribulational Rapture!
      In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 Paul said,
      Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds… (KJV)

      Paul believed that the Rapture would happen in His own lifetime. He did not believe that He would die before Jesus would take Him to Heaven.

      In fact, it sounds as if there was a church that believed they were in the Tribulation, and Paul wrote to them to let them know that they would not have to go through that! The church of Thessalonica was one that was severely persecuted. The lost of Thessalonica ran Paul out of town in just four weeks, AND THEN FOLLOWED HIM TO THE NEXT TOWN AND TRIED TO RUN HIM OUT THERE TOO!

      2 Thessalonians was written by Paul to encourage these Persecuted Believers THAT THEY WERE NOT GOING THROUGH THE GREAT TRIBULATION!

      Look at
      II Th 1:6-8
      Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;
      And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels,
      In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: (KJV)

      II Th 2:1-8
      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, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
      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;
      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.
      Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
      And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
      For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.
      And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: (KJV)

      One of the arguments used by those opposed to the pre – Tribulational rapture view, is that there is no evidence of churches that taught this view prior to the 1800’s. This is not necessarily a concrete argument against the view since much non- Catholic writing before the 1700’s was destroyed by those persecuting them. The Protestant views have been essentially restructured Catholic views and would predictably not be reliable.

      B. As the Catholic Church grew and took root; it began to teach that the Bible was not to be taken literally, but spiritually.

      They ignored the literal teaching of the Bible, and replaced it with a spiritual teaching. Catholicism eventually began to teach that there would be no Tribulation, or even a literal kingdom when Christ returned to earth.

      Since most of today’s Christendom traces its roots back to Catholicism, they also take their doctrines from some form of the Catholic teachings. The Reformers tried to justify a literal interpretation of the Bible with their Catholic teachings by coming up with such things as Post Tribulationalism and the like.

      C. Back in the late 1800’s and Early 1900’s two men, both Protestants, began to popularize the Pre-Tribulational Rapture view.

      They were C. I Scofield, and Lewis Sperry Chafer. Scofield wrote the notes in the still popular Scofield Reference Bible. Chafer founded the Dallas Theological Seminary. Both promoted the Pre-Tribulational Rapture very successfully.

      I should say, they did not dream up the doctrine. The Pre-Tribulational Rapture had been taught and preached by many throughout the centuries, THEY WERE JUST THE ONES TO MAKE THEM POPULAR.

      Back in the 70’s and 80’s, when I first began to live for the Lord, there was no question concerning the subject of the Pre- Tribulational Rapture among fundamentalists. The Charismatics however, had written several books on what they called the Mid- Tribulational Rapture.

      D. However, in the last several years, there has been a popular movement towards the Mid-Tribulational Rapture view by many fundamentalists.

      Marv Rosenthal, a popular Jewish Fundamentalist Christian, changed his view to what he called the “PRE- WRATH” view. It is virtually the same as Mid-Trib, wrapped in a new name.

      Although there have been a number of articles written against Rosenthal’s views, he was popular enough among the fundamentalists, that he has developed a large following in fundamentalism.

      I believe that this issue could become one of the more divisive that we face in coming years! Already some well known ex-fundamental Baptists have organized and promoted rallies and gatherings designed to attract Independent Fundamental Baptists and present to them the arguments for the Pre-Wrath Rapture view. Dr. Roland Rasmussen, long time Fundamental Baptist pastor and popular guest speaker at Independent Baptist colleges, has written a book on the Pre-Wrath Rapture view and has promoted it heavily among Independent Baptists.

      With that, let us now consider three reasons

      A. First, Because our judgment has already been dealt with on the cross.

      The Tribulation serves two purposes;
      First, to bring the Jews to a place where they will trust Christ as Saviour.

      Second, To judge the Gentiles for their idolatry and rejection of God.

      For the Christian both issues are dealt with. We have already trusted Christ as Saviour, so we would not need this Tribulation for that. And our sins have been judged in Jesus. He has already taken the judgment for them, and God does not remember them any more. There is therefore no reason for us to be in the Tribulation!

      B. What purpose is there for the rapture if not to rescue the Christian from Tribulation suffering?

      There is none! The Rapture’s entire purpose is to take the Believer out of this world while the world is judged! The idea of the “bouncing ball” is out of character for God! He would not rapture us to heaven only to return moments later with Jesus!

      C. The word church is not found anywhere in the book of Revelation after the Tribulation begins!

      In Revelation 2-3 there are the letters to the seven churches. In Revelation 4:1 John is told to “…Come up hither…” and be shown the things that will happen in the future (the Tribulation). The church is not found again on earth! I believe that is because that church has been removed, or RAPTURED TO HEAVEN!

      There would be no hope in the return of the Lord, no real reason for looking forward to His return if you believed that you would have to face suffering and even death at the hands of anti-Christ before Jesus arrived.

      The Rapture is pre-Tribulational! God WILL remove us from this earth BEFORE the hour of trial that is to try this earth. This is the BLESSED HOPE of the believer.

      1. Why did you ignore the second half of II Thessalonians 2:3? Do you believe the antichrist will sit in the temple declating himself as God after the rapture or before the rapture? This article used your own theology and ignored the actual verse.

        1. Renee, I want to thank you for reading my blog. I am also happy you responded to it.
          May I ask you some questions?
          Why didn’t you introduce yourself in your reply?
          Why didn’t you tell me what state you live in?
          Why didn’t you tell me how long you have been studying the Bible?
          Why didn’t you tell me under whose teaching you study the Bible?
          I would assert that the reason is because it was not the purpose of your post.

          I did not ignore the second half of the verse. Neither did I simply give my theology while ignoring the verse. I merely stuck to a simple purpose. The post was not meant to be long and detailed. It is only the result of my personal visit with God for that particular day. If you engaged in a conversation with me, or would have read my blogs over an extended period of time, you would have known that. Instead, you chose to react. Nobody really gains much insight if all they do is react without actually learning something about the person with whom they are conversing.

          Have a good day.

  2. Pretrib Rapture – how WHAT becomes WHEN

    Certain rapture verses in the Bible are a WHATers paradise!

    WHATers can dazzle their audience with a lot of WHAT WHAT WHAT between Gen. 1:1 and Rev. 22:21 and, while you’re not noticing, quickly sneak in their own WHEN of the rapture and ignore the Bible’s WHEN!

    WHATers read all of the WHAT details in I Thess. 4:13-18, emphasize the “comfort one another” at the end, and say something like “What a comforting thought that the rapture can happen at any moment BEFORE the tribulation!”

    They often add: “It wouldn’t be comforting if we had to face the Antichrist.” (Maybe they believe a lighthouse wouldn’t be comforting to sailors on a dark, stormy night but only when the sun is shining!)

    WHATers avoid the next chapter (I Thess. 5) which says that the rapture’s “times and seasons” happen WHEN “sudden destruction” (the “destruction” part of the “day of the Lord”) happens.

    (How can the wicked be destroyed before, or during, the time of their tribulational “reign”? Even their leader, the Antichrist, isn’t destroyed until the trib’s end!)

    Now look at I Cor. 15:51-54. WHATers have a blast with the first half. They dwell on “mystery,” read “in a moment” as if it really means “AT ANY MOMENT,” spend an inordinate amount of time explaining how fast the “twinkling of an eye” is, and try to prove that “last” (in “the last trump”) doesn’t really mean “last”!

    Seldom do WHATers dare to reveal WHEN we are changed into immortal bodies – but verse 54 dares to when it says our rapturous change occurs WHEN WHEN WHEN “Death is swallowed up” (same as “ended”).

    Obviously the trib’s time of death can’t be ended before, or even during, the trib!

    And WHATers don’t want you to realize that the “Death” quote is a paraphrase of Isa. 25:8 which even Scofield etc. agree is in a posttrib setting!

    II Thess. 1:6-10 is further proof that our rapture (“rest” in vs. 7) happens WHEN the wicked are destroyed – and not several years ahead of time!

    And Acts 2:34-35 and Acts 3:21 declare that Christ must stay in heaven UNTIL He comes down to earth to destroy the wicked (make them His “footstool”) and restore “all things” – so how can He leave heaven ahead of time for a pretrib rapture?

    II Tim. 3:14 says we should “vet” our teachers (“knowing of whom thou hast learned them”). You can do this if you Google or Yahoo “Pretrib Rapture Dishonesty” and “Left Behind or Led Astray?” (on You Tube).

    What I’m wondering is this: WHEN will everyone wake up and realize that a lot of WHAT will never take the place of WHEN?

    [Hi Marvin. Saw above on the net. Whattya think? Lord bless.]

    1. Jon
      You ask what I think…
      Obviously, I disagree with you. I have written a number of pieces in favor of Pre-Tribulational rapture.
      You style of writing is very difficult for me to “get”. I think you are trying to be clever with your WHAT and WHEN, but it is not easy reading for me.
      There is no way for me to “vet” you as you have left no information about yourself.

  3. The Thessalonian church was troubled when they hear from false teachers that the Day of the Lord was already present! That was too much disturbing and unsettling to them since not too long ago, Apostle Paul had taught them that the Day of the Lord was the most terrible event as predicted by the Old testament prophets concerning Israel.
    Hence Paul is encouraging and clarifying their misconception and untimely fear in 2 Thess 2: 2-3.
    How else can we explain the context of the entire passage? As an example: If my peace of mind is shattered since I am being informed by a false informer that I will go thru a great trouble, then the only possibility for me to feel comforted and encouraged is when I am consoled by someone reliable (whom I trust) that I won’t be going thru that trouble.

    Do you think otherwise that If I experience the great trouble, I will be troubled at all? My experience tells me that I do not have to be concerned if I was instructed that I would be going thru the trouble, since I was expecting it!!

    So Paul is comforting the believers that in relation to the coming of the Lord and their gathering to our Lord, they are NOT in the Day of the Lord because the man of sin & apostasy has not yet been revealed.

    Paul is further encouraging them “But we ought to give thanks to God for you always, brothers loved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in truth. To this end he has called you through our gospel to possess the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

    In our daily Christian life, only when some misinformation is propagated and we are told that we are going to have a rough time ahead, we get unsettled in our mind.

    Or else the Thessalonian believers would not be unsettled in their mind if they were already informed that they would be gathered to the Lord after experiencing the terrible day of Lord and Paul would not have to clarify their concerns. Paul is also telling them (with a little admonition) that he had told them about these sequence of events when he was with them.

    In Christ

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