Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nail #6

Evidence and proof negating the Pre-tribulation Rapture

To set up this “nail” I’ve got to mention some basics.  I hope you agree with the Bible that Daniel’s 70th week is not 7 years of God’s Wrath, but that it’s divided into three time periods:
   1)  The “Beginning of Sorrows” (Matthew 24:3-8) which will be 3.5 years (42 months);
   2) The “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:9-29) which is Satan’s wrath (Revelation 6:8-15, Revelation 12:12); followed by
   3) The “Wrath of God” (Revelation 6:16-17) which is the Day of the Lord.

I want to bring to light a comparison that Jesus Himself made regarding His return (parousia).

37  But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming [parousia] of the Son of man be.
38  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,
39  And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
40  Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
41  Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.

There are similar Words from Christ in Luke WITH the addition of the example of Lot

26  And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.
27  They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all.
28  Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;
29  But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all.
30  Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.

One of the things that is common with both Noah and Lot is that the day they were placed into safety, that same day God’s wrath came.  You can’t deny Jesus was saying that the way it was in the days of Noah and Lot, so shall it be at my return (parousia).  The day the church is delivered, raptured, placed into safety; that same day the wrath of God will start.  God’s wrath is the Trumpet and Bowl Judgments, NOT the Seals that were broken by the Lamb of God in Revelation 6 and the 7th Seal in Revelation 8:1.

Now - here is one of the ways those that believe the rapture occurs prior to Daniel’s 70th Week base their errant hypothesis: they misread the verses of Genesis and say that Noah entered the ark and then 7 days later, the flood started (Genesis 7) - hence the idea of the rapture happening 7 YEARS before the end... This is WRONG...  Read it again: 

6  Noah was six hundred years old when the floodwaters came on the earth.
7  And Noah and his sons and his wife and his sons’ wives entered the ark to escape the waters of the flood.
8  Pairs of clean and unclean animals, of birds and of all creatures that move along the ground,
9  male and female, came to Noah and entered the ark, as God had commanded Noah.
10  And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth.

11  In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, on the seventeenth day of the second month -- on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened.
12  And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights.
13  On that very day Noah and his sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth, together with his wife and the wives of his three sons, entered the ark.

Verses 6 and 7 are “generally speaking,” then verses 8-10, all the animals came to Noah and he loaded them up, then 7 days later God sent the flood.  Noah had 7 days to do the final preparations, because starting with verse 11 it is VERY specific to the DAY when the flood started, verse 12 tells how long it rained, then verse 13 is also very specific - that same DAY they entered the ark.  What day?  It is referring back to verse 11.  And of course this is the same thing Jesus said in Matthew 24:38-39, Luke 17:27, and in context, the same with Lot in Luke 17:29.  The Great Noahic Flood began on the 17th DAY of the second month (v11) which was the same DAY Noah and his family entered the Ark (v13).

Bottom Line for Nail #6 and I’ve said it before - The “Beginning of Sorrows” is not God’s Wrath; the “Great Tribulation” is not God’s wrath; God’s wrath commences with the 7 trumpets in Revelation 8 and concludes with the 7 vials in Revelation 16.  Even the lost men on the earth recognized it for they too have seen the signs.  They went through the Beginning of Sorrows, they were going through the Great Tribulation, but then they knew something much worse was about to begin, the wrath of the Lamb (Revelation 6:15-17).  

God’s Elect will be “raptured” the same DAY that the wrath of God commences, which will be at some point AFTER the mid-point of Daniel’s 70th Week (the mid-point is when the “Great Tribulation” started).  The RAPTURE is how God will cut short the Great Tribulation for the Elect (Matthew 24:22, Mark 13:20).

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Nail #5

Evidence and proof negating the Pre-tribulation Rapture
(building on Nail #4)

Compared to the average Christian, I’m well-studied on the subject of Eschatology and if Jesus returned for His church as you’re reading this (or as I’m writing) I would be stunned because Paul wrote we are NOT to be surprised. WHY won’t His return surprise us? Because we will have seen all the signs of His soon return. What Signs? When Jesus returns we will have lived through the “Beginning of Sorrows” (Matthew 24:1-8), (i.e., the horsemen of the first 3 seals in Revelation 6).

We will have also seen the “Revealing” of the “Man of Lawlessness” (2 Thessalonians 2:3), and those Christians still alive will have survived the Great Tribulation (i.e., what takes place after the 4th seal is opened - Revelation 6:8). Then look at the 6th seal (Revelation 6:12)!! There is no way you can mistake the events associated with the 6th seal with anything that has ever happened on earth.

All that was the introduction for this Nail... NOW, the important part:

Please consider how closely Matthew 24:29-30 correlates with the 6th seal (Revelation 6:12-17):

Matthew 24
29 - Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:
30 - And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Revelation 6
12  And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake; and the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood;
13  And the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.
14  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together; and every mountain and island were moved out of their places.
15  And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains;
16  And said 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:
17  For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

Let me compare them for you, I’ll keep the colors as they are above so it will be easier to differentiate between Jesus’ words in Matthew 24 and John’s writing in Revelation 6:

shall the sun be darkened - the sun became black as sackcloth of hair

the moon shall not give her light - the moon became as blood;

the powers of the heavens shall be shaken - the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind.  And the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together;

then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; (16) And said 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: (17) For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?

These are all reasons why we will not be surprised! We will experience the great earthquake, we will see the sun stop shining, we will see the moon turn blood red, we will see (and probably hear as well) the powers of the heavens shaken. There was only one other time in human history where it is recorded in the Bible that the sun became black. Do you remember when that was? Probably the most educated of the Gospel writers, the Physician, Luke recorded when Christ gave up His Spirit while on the cross, the sun was darkened for three hours (Luke 23:44-45), literally, the sun stopped shining.  I believe one of the reasons the sun will stop shining and the stars in heaven will fall is so that the ONLY light in the skies will be the glorious appearing of our Savior.

Then what is the very next thing that Jesus says in Matthew 24? Look at verse 31.
Wait for it, ...
And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Gather together His Elect? Who are His Elect? Everyplace I’ve read in the Bible, His Elect is the Church! That, combined with the great sound of a trumpet? Then the angels “gathering” His Elect... sounds like “gathered” in 2 Thessalonians 2:1. And not only does it sound like it, it IS the same Greek word in verb form.   :)

My Friend, that is the rapture! If that is NOT the rapture, please tell me what it is.

I’ve heard scholars and theologians like John Phillips say that the Gospel of Matthew is written to the Jews and not the church. Oh Really? So we’re not to pay attention to Matthew 28:19-20 which is, as you know, the Great Commission? The passage where Jesus tells us to go and teach all those whom God saves. Well my friend, that is weird because Matthew is the only Gospel writer who EVER uses the word “church” in the Gospels. Three times to be more precise. I just thought I’d mention that since I’ve heard that explanation “Matthew was written to the Jews” before.  :)

And if you’re adamant on the fact that we can’t use Matthew, well, we don’t have to go to Matthew do we? How about Luke 21:25-28?

25  And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;
26  Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken.
27  And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.
28  And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.

Well, Matthew says the Lord will send his angels to gather His Elect, here in Luke all He says is when these things begin to come to pass, then [you] look up, and [you] lift up your heads, because your redemption draws nigh.  Well since the Elect are already redeemed, He is obviously not referring to spiritual deliverance, but physical deliverance. [pssst, the rapture]

And please consider one more, how about Mark 13:19-20?
19  For in those days shall be affliction, such as was not from the beginning of the creation which God created unto this time, neither shall be. [Great Tribulation]
20  And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.

...but for who’s sake?  The Elect’s sake!  Well how are the days shortened?  The days are shortened by the rapture!  But because of the Elect whom HE has chosen (chosen? that’s another subject for another time), He has shortened those days.  And in this context, shortened is not referring to the number of hours in the day but the quantity of days for the saints in the Great Tribulation.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Nail #4

Evidence and proof negating the Pre-tribulation Rapture

The single word I want to show you now without the other 10 nails would mean almost nothing to someone who hasn’t studied this - or who has studied it and has done more twisting and spinning than a Chinese acrobat to TRY to make God’s Word say “Pre-Trib.” But based on everything else I’ve written thus far, I hope the reader will understand why it is easy to believe what I’m about to point out.

1 Thessalonians 4:15-18
15  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.
16  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:
17  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.
18  Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

I would first like to point out that the word “coming” in verse 15 is the Greek word parousia, which is a noun and means “event” - the event of the Lord’s return which will encompass more than one day.

Now for the point of this post. Have you ever wondered about the seemingly double emphasis in the English version in verse 15 - “alive and remain”?  And then again in verse 17??

Based on what the Bible says (which I’ve shown you - so far) about the conditions of what’s taking place on earth immediately preceding the rapture, “remain” is a poor translation of the Greek word perileipo. It is Strong’s #4035 and it is better translated in this context as survive. You can even look at the word and guess what English word we take from it - peril. In context of the Lord’s parousia (the event of the Lord’s return), the word perileipo connotes the idea of withstanding great hardship or persecution (in this case), surviving. This word is used only twice in the New Testament - both times in this passage.

If you’re a passenger on an airliner that crashes, then you climb out of the wreckage with a few others, you don’t call your family and say that you’re alive and remain after the crash, you say you’ve survived it. You WERE at great peril.

As my pastor would say, the Bible we use is a transliteration of the Greek, meaning the structure of the sentence is changed so that it can be easily read in English. The Greek Bible I possess has the actual English translation of v17 as follows - then we the [ones] living - surviving, together with them shall be seized in clouds to a meeting of the Lord in air; ...

Like I said, this nail by itself is almost meaningless to someone who was raised a certain way and refuses to see the Truth. But in context of all eschatological passages the preponderance of the Truth should overwhelm all Christians, even those with a traditional belief based on a lie, amen?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Nail #3

Evidence and proof negating the Pre-tribulation Rapture

I understand how some can, and will, contest some of my “Nails” but regardless of whether they contest it or not, there’s a “chance” they’re wrong, and with the added evidence of the other nails, the likelihood increases.

Nail #3 - Matthew 24:5-8 is reconciled with the first 3 seals Christ, the Lamb, opened in Revelation 6, Christ calls it the Beginning of Sorrows, which IS the first 3.5 years, or 42 months, of the 7 year period we call Daniel's 70th Week.

Matthew 24:5-8
5  For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.
6  And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
7  For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.
8  All these are the beginning of sorrows.

Revelation 6:1-6
1  And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.
2  And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
3  And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see.
4  And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
5  And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
6  And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

Is there any doubt that Daniel's 70th week has started?

Then...
Matthew 24:9-12
9  Then shall they deliver YOU up to be afflicted, and shall kill YOU: and YE shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. [Emphases added]
10  And then shall many be offended [leave the faith], and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another.
11  And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many.
12  And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.

Revelation 6:7-8
7  And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see.
8  And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.

What event seems to start here?

You (Jesus was speaking to the fathers of the Church)
YOU will be afflicted,
YOU will be killed,
YOU will be hated.
Notice how Matthew 24:9 lines up with the events associated with the 4th seal in Revelation 6?

The church is still here when these seals are opened and will suffer persecution.  Jesus said in Matthew 24:10 that we will betray one another.  I don’t believe for one second that means Christians will betray one another.  I believe these are the tares (i.e., professed Christians) betraying the wheat (i.e., true Christians) when they leave the faith during the Great Tribulation.

Matthew 24:11, the ones deceived are the tares and maybe some true Christians who thought that they would be raptured before all this starts.

Matthew 24:12, the love of many waxing (growing) cold?  Again, the tares IN the church and possibly weak or “baby” Christians.

Do you see anywhere in the first 12 verses of Matthew 24 anything resembling a rapture?  Do you see anything resembling a rapture in Revelation 6?  Do you see anything anywhere that resembles the rapture as compared to Matthew 24:31?

Is there any doubt that the Great Tribulation has started?

A Spirit-led study of God’s Word WILL show over and over that the Church will be put through the “Beginning of Sorrows” and the “Great Tribulation,” one of the purposes of which is to SEPARATE the wheat from the tares.

My question still is, what qualifies someone (or maybe some church) to be counted among those who will be Divinely protected (Revelation 3:10) while in the midst of the “the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the world, to try them that dwell upon the earth.” ? Will it be those who believe God’s Word completely regarding this subject (and maybe also other controversial subjects)?  If so, that would mean brothers and sisters in Christ within even the SAME denomination and within the same church; some being protected and others going through horrible persecution and martyrdom.  That shows me whatever you believe, you better have God’s Word backing you up in EVERY way.

A random verse here, and a contradictory verse there, is not Truth. God said in Psalm 119:160 - (NASB) that the SUM of His Word is Truth.  This means there is no contradiction whatsoever anywhere. As an example: Jesus said in John 3:16 that God so loved the world... How does that reconcile with Psalm 5:5, Psalm 11:5, and Proverbs 6:16-19? In those verses it is clear that there are those people in the world God hates. So how can John 3:16 mean God loves every human on the planet? It is clear that He doesn’t. This seeming contradiction is reconciled when John uses “world” in a number of places where the only way it can be understood in light of other Scripture is if he means the Jew AND the Gentile, not just the Jew. e.g., For God so loved the Jew AND the Gentile [world], not just the Jew, that He gave His only Begotten Son... (but that’s another subject.)

My point is that if there are ANY contradictions in what you believe about His return (parousia [noun] - the event, not erchomai [verb] - come), then dig deeper until all contradictions are worked out and only the Truth emerges.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Nail #2

Evidence and proof negating the Pre-tribulation Rapture

1 Thessalonians 5:1-5
1  But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
2  For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3  For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4  But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5  Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Christians say (and it saddens me) that the Lord’s return will be like a thief in the night. And they clearly mean it will surprise everybody, including themselves, i.e. Christians.

But Paul said the exact opposite. He was explicitly clear that, while The Lord’s return will be like a thief in the night to a lost and dying world (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3), that day will NOT surprise Christians (1 Thessalonians 5:4-5)! Look at verses 1-3 above again. Paul is implying that he had previously told them about the end times and how it will happen. Look at the pronouns in verse 3 (i.e. they, them). Verse 3 clearly refers to people who are not saved, the lost, “those people.”

Now look at verses 4 and 5 where Paul introduces a contrasting thought by using the conjunction “but.” In verse 4 he changes the subject from “them and they” to “YOU and WE,” clearly a different group of people. But what is he writing? That day will NOT overtake us or surprise us like a thief... what day? The “Day of the Lord” (verse 2). Wait a minute! The Day of the Lord is God’s wrath and that doesn’t start until well AFTER the mid-point of Daniel’s 70th Week, perhaps as late as the 7th year, and we’re still here to be “NOT SURPRISED” !?!?! Can you see the clarity of verse 4 that clearly says that day (day of the Lord) will NOT surprise us?

That is why I say if the Lord returned right now it would surprise EVERYBODY, which includes me. But Paul writes above that His return will NOT surprise us. Now WHY will it not surprise us? I’ll let you think on that until you read Nail #3.

Bottom Line - The Lord’s return and the rapture of the Church will NOT surprise the Elect, the Bride of Christ, the Church. If the Pre-trib rapture theory is correct, the rapture WOULD surprise everyone. Sorry, not to be.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Nail #1

The sadness of tradition involved with the Pre-trib rapture

I have some points I use in debates with “pre-tribulation rapturists” that prove my belief about the church going into the Great Tribulation and/or the non-existence of the pre-tribulation rapture.  I have invited them to offer me proof of their position as well and they are unable to adequately prove their position with Scripture, nor disprove mine.

Each blog post listed to the right, or "Nail," covers biblical evidence the Church WILL go into the final 7 years (i.e. Daniel’s 70th week) OR proof against the Pre-tribulation rapture.

One of the first things I’d like to point out is that nowhere in the Bible is this 7-year period called the Tribulation.  The 7 years is divided into three time periods, of which Jesus refers to two of them in Matthew 24:
1. The “Beginning of Sorrows” which is the first 3.5 years (Matthew 24:8); and
2. The “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21) which starts at the mid-point of the 7-year period, or Daniel’s 70th Week (Daniel 9:27).

We do not know how long the Great Tribulation will be but God ends it with the Rapture which occurs immediately before the beginning of the “Day of the Lord,” also known as the wrath of God, which is the third segment or time period within the 7 years.  Regarding the length of time of God’s wrath, the only thing we know is that the 5th trumpet judgment is 5 months long (Revelation 9:1-11).  Other than that it’s possible that God could drop every other trumpet and bowl (vial) judgment on the earth very quickly.

Bottom Line - I believe the Bible clearly teaches the Church will go into and through “The Beginning of Sorrows” AND “The Great Tribulation” and those Christians who are alive and have survived (1 Thessalonians 5:15,17) will be taken off the earth before God’s wrath begins.

By the way - The reason I will be using the term “nails” in the subject line is because I’m putting nails in the coffin of the Pre-Trib Rapture theory that got its start in the 1830s.

Nail #1 - Evidence and proof negating the Pre-tribulation Rapture

1 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.

Some otherwise excellent and strong preachers have said that there is no more prophesy that must be fulfilled before the Lord returns.  This is not what Scripture says! Paul himself wrote in the verses above, BEFORE the Lord’s return and “our being gathered to Him” the man of lawlessness must be revealed.  Our “being gathered together to Him” is the rapture and the man of lawlessness is the Antichrist.

So, read that Scripture again with the meaning the same but different word phrases - “Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and the rapture of the church, ... it will not happen until the Antichrist has been revealed, exposed, for who he is.”  Now Christians have different opinions as to what revealed or exposed means but according to verse 4 above and Daniel 9:27 (which supports verse 4), I believe he will be revealed to the whole world for who he really is when he stops the sacrifice in the middle of the 7 years (Daniel’s 70th week) and sets himself up as God in the rebuilt temple.  This is one of the signs Jesus told His apostles to look for: the abomination of desolation - (Matthew 24:15).  If someone doesn’t consider that being revealed, I don’t know what would.  But the Antichrist will be revealed BEFORE the Rapture.

Now some good strong Christians who misunderstand this passage will say that the word “apostasy” in v3 is referring to the rapture of the church.  That position in fact is impossible because it involves circular reasoning.  Let’s reword the Passage to take their understanding as fact: “Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the rapture of the Church, ... that won't happen until the church is first raptured and the Antichrist is revealed.”  The rapture of the church won't occur until we are first raptured?  That is circular reasoning.

Second, the Greek word for apostasy is apostasia and it is NEVER used in any of the classic rapture passages for what will happen to the church when Christ returns.  It is used only one other time in the New Testament and it is in Acts 21:21 regarding FORSAKING Moses.  Please consider that context: the Church being forsaken?  No, God said that He would never forsake us (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Matthew 28:20; Hebrews 13:5).

One other thing to pay attention to is that Paul ties three events together, they happen on the SAME day. (Matthew 24:38-39, Luke 17:26-30)
1 - The coming of our Lord. (Verse 1)  The Greek word translated as “coming” is parousia and it is a noun, meaning it is an event, not a verb indicating come or go, enter or exit.
2 - Our gathering together to Him, the rapture. (verse 1)  The usage of the word indicates an upward gathering (episynagoge).  You can see the prefix and word where that idea comes from. Epi meaning above - (like epidermis being the top level of skin), and synagogue - in the most common use it is where Jews would gather to worship on the sabbath.  Epi - above or upward; synagoge - gathering.  Here are some Rapture passages where the word or its root is used - Matthew 24:31; Mark 13:272 Thessalonians 2:1.  The use of the word in Matthew and Mark are verbs because the angels are doing the gathering but in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 it is a noun referring to the gathering itself, or the body of believers.
3 - The Day of the Lord. (verse 2)  The Day of the Lord is not a single 24-hour day but a period of time when God’s Wrath will be poured out upon the Earth.

These three things happening together is important and I will show why in a future “Nail.”

Bottom Line of Nail #1: The next prophetic event that may occur regarding the sequence of the end-times is the rise of the Antichrist, not as an evil fiend killing millions but as the world's savior bringing peace and safety.  He will be loved by billions.  According to 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the rapture will NOT take place until AFTER this man is revealed as the Antichrist - whenever you believe that is.