What is being referred to by "the day of the Lord" in 1 Thes 5:1 and 2 Thess 2:2, the rapture or second coming?
2 Thessalonians 2:1
NASB - 1 Now we request you, brethren, with regard to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our gathering together to Him.
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The Day of the Lord: Day of the Lord Jesus, when he will show himself to be King of kings, and Lord of lords, and the Judge of the whole earth; and which is sometimes styled the day of the Son of man, and the day of God, for Christ will appear then most gloriously, both in his divine and human nature; the day of redemption, that is, of the body from the grave, and from corruption and mortality; and the last day in which will be the resurrection of the dead, and the day of judgment, in which Christ will come to judge the quick and dead.
The Day of the Lord, and the Day of the Lord Jesus are two different events, the day of the Lord is when God pours out His Wrath, and the day of the Lord Jesus is when He (Jesus) comes in the clouds which is known as the Rapture.
The Day of the Lord in 2 Thess. 2:1-2 is the period of time in which God’s Wrath is directed at Babylon the Great – those Godless people left behind, after the Rapture takes Christ’s Church off the face of the earth. In Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, he describes the Rapture in 1 Thess. 4:16-17. This is the only place in Scripture where the Rapture was explained to a specific church. Jesus spoke of the Rapture (Matthew 24:29-31) but it was privately to His disciples after they had asked about signs of His coming back and the end of the age. Two months after Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, he had to write his second epistle. They become fearful that they had missed the Rapture, and would now have to face the Day of the Lord – God’s Wrath. We all know that the Lord’s Church is not destined for wrath (1 Thess. 5:9), but it is human nature to forget such assurances and become anxious in the moment. What did Paul do? He gives the Thessalonians two signs they can observe in order to know that they had not missed the Rapture. Neither of those signs have occurred yet. One of those signs is the revealing of the man of lawlessness, the son of destruction (2 Thess. 2:3). It has to occur before the Day of the Lord, and before the Rapture. The man of lawlessness is revealed when he takes his seat in the Rebuilt Temple of God, and proclaims he is God (2 Thess. 2:4). The Church has to be there, on the earth to see this occur, because the Rapture could not have taken place yet. (The whole reason for Paul’s second epistle – to allay the fears of the Thessalonians). The second sign is the rebellion (ESV) or apostasy (NASB) – 2 Thess. 2:3. It is a “falling away” (NKJV) from the faith, and I believe it happens when the man of lawlessness seeks to impose the Mark of the Beast on the world. I believe this is the Third Seal, that it begins at the mid-point of the Tribulation, and lasts for the duration of the last half of the Tribulation – 3.5 years. You can find a detailed argument for this scenario here: https://ebible.com/questions/14525-when-will-people-be-asked-to-take-the-mark-of-the-beast#answer-23185 The Day of the Lord occurs after the Sixth Seal (Joel 2:30-31). The Sixth Seal is described in Rev. 6:12-13. It occurs after the Tribulation (Matthew 24:29). Hence, the Day of the Lord occurs after the Tribulation. I can’t tell you how critical this point is, because it resolves all the contradictions that are introduced from a Pre, or Mid-Tribulation viewpoint. You can find more detail on this issue at: https://ebible.com/questions/1630-what-is-the-day-of-the-lord#answer-18026 and: https://ebible.com/questions/14490-what-is-the-prophecy-of-2-300-days-in-daniel#answer-24729 But a picture is worth a thousand words, and you can find Fig. 10 (Major Events of the Tribulation & the Day of the Lord), Fig. 12 (The Sign of the Son of Man – The Rapture), and Fig. 3 (Author’s Post-Tribulation Viewpoint) here: https://www.facebook.com/Craig-McElheny-430759656985167/ God bless!
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