Read 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11
1 Thessalonians 5:1-3. "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I
write unto you.
2: For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
3: For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them,
as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
The last part of chapter 4 and the first half of chapter 5 are as different as day is from night. Chapter 4:13-18 is about the "rapture," related solely to the church. Chapter 5:1-11 is about the "Day of the Lord," related solely to apostate Israel and the unbelieving Gentiles.
Paul acknowledged the Thessalonians knew the signs pointed to the return of Christ to claim His Kingdom. Apparently the subject of "The Day of the Lord" was disturbing the Thessalonians. "The Day of the Lord" is the next event after the Lord Jesus comes for the Christians at the "Rapture." It's a period of judgment extending over a thousand years in which the Lord alone will reign supreme.
In the first part of this judgment, God will destroy the ungodly Gentiles and apostate Jews but He will deliver the faithful Jewish remnant and repentant Gentiles.
The last part is a judgment of government when Jesus will have put all unrighteousness in subjection to Himself and will rule over the earth for a thousand years. This rule will mainly be for God's chosen earthly people, the Jews, and will be a time of peace and prosperity.
"The Day of the Lord" is related to "times and seasons." [Verse 1]. The first phase starts with the signing of a covenant between the apostate Jews and the godless dictator, who is the Antichrist. [Daniel 9:27a "And he shall confirm the covenant with many for one week."] At this point, a definite timetable of events will go into effect.
"The Day of the Lord" is also made up of “seasons” or segments of time when certain things will happen, and it won't be the same all the way through. First will come a time of awful wrath that Jesus called the "Great Tribulation." Then a time of glory, the Kingdom Age, [sometimes called the Millennium,] when Christ will rule the earth. This will end with a battle against the evil that man and Satan will bring to this earth. Final judgment for unrepentant man of all ages, called the "Great White Throne Judgment," will occur and then God will destroy the heavens and earth with fire.
This is just the opposite of the "rapture." Christ will snatch the church away from the earth and into heaven. Jesus Himself will come in the air and deliver us to be forever with the Lord. There will be no previous signs or times to announce this event, and it can happen at any moment. It will happen "in the twinkling of an eye." [1 Corinthians 15:52].
The Thessalonians seemed to have an accurate understanding of the Day of the Lord, and Paul had written setting forth the details of the "rapture" in chapter 4. He didn't have to write at length regarding "The Day of the Lord" as the events pertaining to it are given in the Old Testament. Paul had no doubt explained these Old Testament Scriptures to the them during his earlier stay.
Since "The Day of the Lord" will extend to just after the thousand-year reign of Christ and until the time of the destruction of the heavens and earth by fire, Paul was more interested in how it would begin. He said it would come as a thief in the night.
Peter also wrote about this:
2 Peter 3:10. "But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up."
It will come like a thief that destroy things, and the nonbelievers of this materialistic world will lose everything they hold dear. It's a horrible feeling to walk in and find your home ransacked and many of your possessions stolen. You don't expect to come home and find your things stolen, but when the nonbelievers least expect it, sudden destruction will fall on them without warning and out of nowhere, just like that. Those left on earth after the church is "raptured" will be like the unsuspecting victims of a thief.
This will happen when people are feeling safe and secure and are repeating the slogan, “Peace and safety.” [Verse 3]. This false peace will give them a sense of inward tranquillity, possibly gained by trusting in the Satanic religions that will flourish. Safety refers to the apparent stability of social, economic, and political conditions. Those, along with peace, will exist in the first part of the Tribulation.
Sin will be deified and glorified, and the man of lawlessness will be substituted for the Prince of peace, and there will be no real peace.
The sudden destruction that will come is not annihilation, it's the loss of all that makes life worthwhile. There isn't any possibility of escaping it. It will be like a woman in childbirth where the pain is inevitable. It can't be postponed a second. It will be so terrible that people who try to kill themselves won't be able to die![Revelation 9:6: "And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die, and death shall flee from them."]
"The Day of the Lord" and the "rapture" are exact opposites. Instead of the promised false security of the unsaved, believers can comfort each other by the words of the Lord, and rest assured in His promises.
Verses 4-5. "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5: Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
We also see that being "children of light," as the Christians are called, precludes any connection with "Day of the Lord."
The Thessalonians were not in the darkness of unbelief but were in the light of understanding. They had been wonderfully enlightened by God the Father. This is in accordance with His divine plan so that they wouldn't be involved in that terrible wrath of God.
Verses 6-8. "Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7: For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night. 8: But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."
"To sleep," "to watch," and "to be sober" are all figures of speech. "Others" are the lost of the world that are in the darkness of spiritual night. Their lives are given up to the hopelessness of despair of this world. They are asleep spiritually as if Christ will never return for His own and as if the awful day of wrath won't come to them.
"To watch," on the other hand, involves being fully awake to the effects of immorality, indulgence, and corruption of a God-defying age of materialism.
"To be sober" is to keep things in perspective and not be mislead by Satan's influences.
In verse 7, Paul is just stating facts. Then, in verse 8, he warns us to arm ourselves with faith, love, and the surety of our salvation in Jesus Christ. Once you put on the "Gospel Armor," [Read also Ephesians 6:11-18] you'll never have to replace it or put it on again.
Notice the "breastplate." It's to protect our affections or heart. The "breastplate" has two parts, "faith and love." "Faith" because unbelief strikes hardest at the heart, not the head, as is commonly supposed. "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." [Romans 10:10] The other side of the "breastplate" is "love." We are to love one another.
The believer also has a special
reward because he loves Christ's appearing.
2 Timothy 4:8: "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."
Next is the "helmet of salvation." "Salvation" here refers to the future deliverance of the believer at the coming of the Lord Jesus. If you ever played football, you wanted a good dependable helmet. We can depend on our "helmet of salvation" to keep us from God's wrath, His holy indignation, and it's judgment to come.
Verses 9-10. "For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, 10: Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him."
Paul tells us it was God who chose to appoint us unto salvation and saved us from the wrath to come. Sin has no part or portion of the Christian now or in the future tribulation period. God’s wrath, that was rightfully due the believer, was poured out on Christ on the cross.
This does not leave the believer without responsibility. It's our responsibility to believe God and
trust Christ for our salvation, and live according to His Word.
Even after we are saved, we don't make full use of our position in Christ. We still give in to the old sin nature at times. At the "Rapture," every believer will fully and completely obtain the salvation that is rightly his through Christ's atoning death on the cross. We'll be rescued forever from this wicked world system and from the sin-nature and the influence of sin in our life. We will be able to appreciate and love the Lord Jesus perfectly as never before!
Obtaining salvation is never through our own efforts or strength. It's only through our Lord Jesus Christ! Salvation guarantees that all believers will participate in the "Rapture." That will be our ultimate salvation.
The resurrection of Christ insured resurrection for every believer, and His return for the Believers
depends on the fact that Christ died for sinners. He died that not even one believer should
miss out on this greatest of all blessings, spending eternity with Christ in heaven.
Believers who are alive, and all those who have already died, will all take part in the "Rapture." It will take place "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye."
Verse 11. "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do."
The Thessalonian believers were already encouraging each other and comforting each other with the fact that their loved ones who had passed on would join them in the "Rapture." When they comforted and encouraged each other, they got a better understanding of their worth to God. This would give them a sense of great value to their Creator. After all, God had sacrificed His Only Son to redeem them to Himself. How much greater worth could they have to God?
This same Son of God died for our sins.
Have you taken Him for your Savior?
He is waiting for your answer.
He won't force you to accept Him,
but if you refuse Him,
He will be forced to judge you
at the Great White Throne of God.