3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for it will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself above every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, displaying himself as being God.
This is important. Very important. Why? Because otherwise we will become distracted and duped. Seriously, I think we can sometimes focus too much on the future that the present passes us by. Paul here is explaining in further detail the signs of “the end.” “Apostasy” means revolt against God. The Encyclopedia Britannica relates it to Christianity as:
“the total rejection of Christianity by a baptized person who, having at one time professed the Christian faith, publicly rejects it. It is distinguished from heresy, which is limited to the rejection of one or more Christian doctrines by one who maintains an overall adherence to Jesus Christ.”
This paves the way for the emergence of the Antichrist, which starts the tribulation. In other words, the Antichrist rises up (partly signified by a peace accord with Israel) and promotes himself as God. Until this happens, we needn’t worry that we “missed it.” This is Paul’s point here. Certainly it is important information to know and these details are found in the book of Revelation. However, we must not focus solely on the “end of days.” Fear is not the message of the Gospel, rather it’s quite the opposite: love.
I believe this is the most important aspect of the information we are given in the bible about the rapture, the tribulation, and the end of the world as we know it. It isn’t so we can live in fear, analyzing world events so we can try to predict when it is all going to unfold. We are told specifically that nobody knows the exact time but God the Father. We aren’t to worry ourselves about it. Rather we are to focus on today, for tomorrow has enough troubles of its own. It frustrates me when people focus on the doom and gloom of tomorrow and neglect the opportunities of today.
What opportunity is there to show and express God’s love today that you would miss or are missing because of your worries about the future? If you’re in Christ, there is nothing to worry about. If you aren’t and are worried about it, then do something about it so you can continue to fulfill what He has called you to do today. I’d rather live out every day as my last without regret and fulfilling my purpose instead of concerned if it is and living in fear.
Christ calls us to a life of freedom and boldness, not of bondage and fear. How will you live today?