Will the Antichrist Come Before the Rapture?
You want to know: Does the Antichrist come before the rapture. I’m going to give you a clear answer from the Scripture. However, I must forewarn you, the truth may shock you.
I’m sure there are many scriptures we can use to answer our question, but I want to use the one God has made most clear to me to prove that the Antichrist will in fact be revealed before the rapture. The Scripture is found in 2nd Thessalonians Chapter 2.
2 Thessalonians 2: 1-4: 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.
The Coming of Our Lord Jesus Christ
All sincere Christians believe in the physical return of our Lord Jesus Christ. We call this His second coming, because His first coming was as a little baby laid in a manger. His second coming will be in the air to reward His people and pour out wrath upon the ungodly. The Bible says, “Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him, and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.” (See Revelation 1:7)
When the Lord Jesus Christ comes, the first thing He will do is rapture His people to Heaven. The Apostle Paul calls this “Our gathering together unto Him.” This gathering takes place in the air as the Bible teaches in 1st Thessalonians Chapter 4.
1 Thessalonians 2: 4:15-17: 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.
In order to know whether or not does the Antichrist come before the rapture or after, we must understand the rapture.
What is the rapture?
The rapture is something that occurs when the Lord himself shall descend from Heaven. In the first chapter of Acts, we read about Jesus Christ ascending into Heaven as the men of Galilee watched. The Bible says they were visited by two men, who said to them, “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.” (See Acts 1:11)
We know that the Lord shall come again, and we know that the rapture happens when He does, but is there proof? If you look back to 1st Thessalonians 4:15-16, then you will clearly see that the Lord descends from Heaven at His coming. Now, we can’t stop there to understand our first Scripture in 2nd Thessalonians 2:1. We need to continue to see that the rapture happens at the second coming of Christ. The Bibles says, “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.”
The word rapture is another English word for caught up, which comes from Latin. We find the word in 1st Thessalonians 4:17. What happens according to this verse is, the Saints are caught up to meet the Lord in the air.
The two things we need to know about the rapture in order to know that the Antichrist comes before the rapture you’ve just learned. They are 1) the rapture occurs at the coming of Christ, and 2) the rapture is a gathering together unto Christ.
So does the Antichrist come before the rapture?
Now that we know what the rapture is, we can know when the Antichrist will be revealed. Let’s go back to 2 Thessalonians 2 to get our answer…
In context, Paul is reaching out to the Thessalonian Christians concerning the coming of Christ and our gathering to Him. Remember that our gathering together unto him is the rapture, and it takes place when Christ returns.
The first area that Paul wanted to address was in the timing of Christ’s return. Apparently, the Thessalonian Christians had come to believe that the coming of Christ was imminent. Paul said that the second coming was not imminent, which meant that the rapture was not either. Yes, I said it! The rapture is not imminent, despite what some brethren teach. We do not know the time of the rapture, but that does not mean it can happen at any moment.
2 Thessalonians 2: 1-2: 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.
The Apostle admonishes these Christians not to be worried about what people were teaching about Christ’s return and the rapture of Believers. When Paul chose the words “Nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand,” he insinuates that others were writing fake letters pretending to be Apostles. This false information scared people into thinking that they were in darkness and Jesus was going to give them a surprise visit. (See 1st Thessalonians 5:1-10)
Expectancy is Not Imminency
We should expect Jesus to return and rapture His people up, but we should also expect some prophecies must be fulfilled first too. The Bible says that the Antichrist must be revealed before Jesus returns.
2 Thessalonians 2: 3-4: 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.
Does the Antichrist come before the rapture? Yes! The Antichrist is the man of sin, the son of perdition. He is the one who makes war with the Saints during the great tribulation. (See Revelation 13)
When Paul said, “For that day shall not come,” he is referring to verse 1, where he mentions the second coming and rapture. The Bible clearly teaches here that something must happen in time before Christ returns in the air and gathers us to Him: the Antichrist must be revealed!
I will also note here too that the Temple of God must be rebuilt. Now that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital again, I wonder how long it will be before this prophecy is fulfilled.