1 Thessalonians, 5
1: 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. 4: 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. 6: 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. 9: 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. 11: Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. 12: And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; 13: And to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. 14: Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. 15: See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16: Rejoice evermore. 17: Pray without ceasing. 18: In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19: Quench not the Spirit. 20: Despise not prophesyings. 21: Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22: Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23: And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24: Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 25: Brethren, pray for us. 26: Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. 27: I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. 28: The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.
Chapter 4 has given us very important truth regarding the coming of Christ for his church. But there are some who object to this truth saying that the return of Christ is only one event at the end of the world. Chapter 5 shows how this cannot be true. In 1Cor 15 Paul describes the same event which is often called the Rapture, he says in verse 51, ‘Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed’. Here Paul explains that the coming of the Lord for the Church – the Rapture was ‘a mystery’. It was something which God knew but was hidden in God until the time when he revealed it to Paul. This was something that was unknown in scripture and in the Christian world until God revealed it to Paul and until Paul wrote about it to the Thessalonians. Some might say. But we have always known that Christ was coming back. Yes that’s true but we didn’t know that, before Christ came back to the earth for Israel, he would come back to the atmosphere for the church. So in contrast to ‘the mystery’ that he describes in chapter 4 in chapter 5, Paul says, but concerning the times and seasons brother you don’t need me to tell you about it because you have always known completely about the coming of Christ - called ‘The day of the Lord.’ The ‘times and seasons’ is used in scripture to describe the periods of time in the history of the world in which God is dealing with Israel. One of those periods is called ‘The times of the gentiles’. It is the time when Gentiles rule the world which was revealed to Daniel. So Paul says you know everything about the times and seasons and they knew that the day of the Lord will come secretly like a thief who comes when men are asleep. The day of the Lord is the appearing of Christ in judgment at the end of the Tribulation - spoken of by Christ in Matt 24 & 25. When men are half asleep thinking everything is ok then sudden destruction will come on them like the sudden birth pains of a pregnancy. None will escape this judgment. But says Paul, you are not going to see the darkness of the Tribulation. You are children of the light and children of the day not of the darkness and the night. So don’t fall spiritually asleep as other do but be awake and sensible. Put on the armour of God, because God has not ordained us for the time of wrath (The Tribulation) but to be saved from it, by our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ died for us so that whether we live or die we will one day live together in Him in heaven. So comfort each other and build each other up in the faith. Have respect to those who work hard in ministry among you and who watch over you in the Lord and who correct you when you stray. Have great respect for them and love them because of their work. And let peace reign among you. But l encourage you says Paul to warn those who are out of line, comfort those who are faint hearted, sustain the weak and be longsuffering to all men. Do not pay back evil for evil to anyone, but do good to all men. Rejoice in the Lord continually. Pray all the time. And in everything give thanks to God because this is Gods will for you. Do not look down on prophecy. (This was a spiritual gift still in operation until the completion of scripture which has now been superseded by preaching the word of God) Paul says, test everything and hold on to what you discover to be good. Abstain from every appearance of evil. And in doing this you will know the peace of God transforming you in holiness and l pray that your whole spirit, soul and body will be preserved blameless until Christ comes again. Christ is faithful he will do it. Lastly, says Paul, pray for us. And so Paul brings his first recorded letter to an end.