Apocalyptic films like A Thief in the Night, Revelation, Apocalypse, and Left Behind: The Movie, all depict the vanishing of Christians in the Rapture prior to the arrival of the Antichrist. In fact, this concept – Rapture first, Antichrist second – has become so popular that many are not even willing to listen to an alternative view. Yet Jesus Christ definitely requires an attitude of openness to His Word from every Christian. Just because a certain doctrine is believed by millions, this doesn’t necessarily mean it’s true. Jesus said, “Search the Scriptures” (John 5:39). The noble Bereans “searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether those things were so” (Acts 17:11). We must “test all things,” and “hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
According to the Bible, which comes first – the Rapture or the arrival of the Antichrist? Amazingly, the Paul gives us a very straight and simple answer in 2 Thessalonians 2:1,3:
“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and by our gathering together to Him [here is when the church is gathered] … Let no man deceive you by any means [this warning is addressed to Christians]. For that day [the day when Jesus comes to gather us] shall not come except there come a falling away first and that man of sin be revealed [Antichrist], the son of perdition.”
Do you see it? Paul wrote about: 1) the coming of Jesus Christ; 2) our gathering to Him; and 3) the arrival of the Man of Sin. When it comes to the order of events, Paul is very definite. He said that before Jesus comes to gather us, the falling away must take place first and the Man of Sin must be revealed. Thus the Man of Sin [also called Antichrist], must come first, before Jesus comes to gather us.
Paul said, “Let no man deceive you by any means” (vs. 3) about this exact truth!