One of my correspondents recently pointed out a “rule” to me that some scholar told her; Whenever “that day” is used in Scripture it always refers to the Tribulation.
I think that we need to read words in the plain sense, normal usage of the words involved. Creating rules in this way could interfere with our understanding of Scripture.
“That day” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 is referring back to the previous two verses.
1 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;
No doubt “that day” refers to the Tribulation period itself, but it also refers to “our gathering together unto Him”. The people Paul was writing to were concerned that they had missed the rapture and were going into the Tribulation period itself. Paul is addressing both concerns, because they are one and the same. If you miss the rapture you will go into the Tribulation period.
Speaking of rules of Scripture interpretation…
Zephaniah 2 leads us to create a rule about Scripture interpretation; Since chapter 2:1-2 indicates that Israel must be fully gathered before the Tribulation, then any prophecy that speaks of Israel being gathered must occur before the Tribulation.
1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you.
I didn’t create this rule; it was the Lord. I just noticed it. Israel must gather before the Tribulation begins. There are millions of Israelites living as Muslims today, in places like Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. They must return to the God of their fathers, and to the land of Israel before the Tribulation begins. This does not mean a part of Israel, not even a part of every tribe; It means everyone who has an Israelite background.
Thus Ezekiel 37:19, chapters 38-39, Isaiah 11:11, 27:12-13, and any other prophecies concerning the return of Israel to the land, must be timed BEFORE the Tribulation; i.e. during the Church Age!
As many prophecy scholars have noted, the first 3 1/2 years of Daniels 70th week are relatively peaceful, we will not expect many wars to occur during that time; they must occur before the week begins. The Antichrist’s covenant will appear to work for a time. Armageddon occurs after this time.
What else can we say about this covenant? It is a response to the war that Israel has just been through, Gog/Magog, and based on the agreement that ended the Psalm 83 war, which did bring some peace to the region for the time between these two wars.
A lot of prophecy scholars talk about a time between the rapture and the Tribulation as being an indefinite time where things will ramp up to the Tribulation. They put these wars in that time frame. I see no indication of this time frame in Scripture. It doesn’t exist. The world will go from the Church Age back to the Age of Israel instantaneously, at the rapture!
So these wars must occur while the Church is still here on the earth.
Lastly, consider Hosea 5:15-6:2. This passage tells us that Jesus will return for Israel “in the third day”. Peter tells us that a day with the Lord is as a thousand years, in the context of the End Times, so we can be sure that Jesus will not return until after the second thousand years is over.
15 I will go and return to my place, till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early. 6: 1 Come, and let us return unto the LORD: for he hath torn, and he will heal us; he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. 2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.
It is still possible that the rapture could occur some 7 years before this time, but it is not likely to occur before then.
So when was the cross? We don’t know for sure, but the best estimates are somewhere between 28-33 AD. If God went by 360 day years, we are already beyond that time, but I think He goes by 365 day years. This is why He told Adam to count the seasons by the sun and stars, and not the phases of the moon.
So, taking the earliest date, 28 AD, as the basis point for our two days, then seven years before the second day is 2021 AD, only six years from now. But the crucifixion may have been as late as 33 AD, so in that case the Tribulation could not start until 2026.
Does the Tribulation occur entirely during the last seven years of the second day, or does it straddle the two days? This is something I am not entirely sure, but I am certain it is related to these two days, and definitely ends in the third.
There is still plenty of time for a pseudo-Tribulation. And you will notice that I have not said a day not an hour.
Why would God allow Satan to do this? I think it is because He is setting a trap for false Christians! He is quite willing to trap those who think they know God, but don’t bother studying His Word.