2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 … Apparently, the Apostle Paul is responding to something he has heard concerning the Thessalonian church, perhaps from travelers coming from that region, which indicated that some false notions had been spread among them concerning the Second Coming of Christ. Paul had previously taught them about the Second Coming when he founded the church during his brief visit there (2:5). The phrase “Second Coming” and “Day of the Lord” refer to the same thing and encompass a series of end-time events, beginning with the rapture and ending with the final judgment and the eternal state when all evil has been put away.
The rapture is what’s mentioned in 2:1 and now Paul carries that further in explaining that the Holy Spirit is restraining Satan. Satan is referred to as “he” in verse 7 … when the restraining influence of the Holy Spirit is taken out of the way, which apparently occurs concurrently with the rapture of the Church, then Satan and evil will be unrestrained on the earth among those who rejected Christ as Savior and who have rejected the testimony of the saints concerning God’s offer of salvation to all. This will be the beginning of what’s called the “Great Tribulation,” a time of lawlessness and great suffering. Verses 11 and 12 of Chapter 2 indicate that there will be a hardening of hearts. People who have made an anti-God choice will continue in their delusion and they are given over to their own desires. These are difficult times, foretold by many of the prophets as the coming “Day of the Lord.” Jesus called these future times “the Great Tribulation” in His discourse on eschatology in Matthew 24-25. This is not the whole sequence of end-time events, but it is the beginning of it, commencing after the Church is raptured to be with Christ in the air. It is a somber reckoning, foretold clearly in both Old and New Testaments.