"Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, 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. 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; who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God. Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things? And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time." (2 Thessalonians 2:1-6)
This passage is highly significant, and I thought I'd just make a few preliminary comments on it:
Notice in the first verse the connection between the coming of the Lord and our being gathered unto Him. They are one and the same event. When Christ returns in triumph He shall gather His elect from the four corners of the earth. His coming, our gathering. It is together. (Matthew 24:29-31, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17)
Paul was assuring the Thessalonians that the Day of Christ was NOT at hand, as some where trying to make them believe. Contrary to the doctrine of imminency, certain events must take place before Christ can return. This is not foreign to Scripture! Jesus said the gospel must be preached into all the world and THEN the end shall come (Matthew 24:14). That's one condition. We must be hated and persecuted by ALL nations for His name sake (Mark 13:13). That's another condition. Paul gives us another condition in 2 Thessalonians: "...for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshiped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God." He could not be more clear. That day, the Day of Christ, cannot come until first antichrist is revealed and Satan has his final hour on earth. There must be the time of great darkness before there can be the time of great light. Paul presses this by saying, "Let no man deceieve you by any means." Men were trying to deceive them then, and men are trying to deceive us now. "Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?" This was a subject of much concern.
"And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time." Even now, that Wicked is being withheld until he shall be revealed "in his time." God has a plan, and He is patient with us not desiring that any should perish. "Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain." (James 5:7) Things must happen according to God's timing, but so many Christians are trying to push God's agenda. The Bible commands us to be patient, to wait, to watch, to hope. This idea of imminency is not right; it's not in the Spirit and it's not in the Bible.