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1 Thessalonians 5

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Return of Christ

1 Thessalonians 5:1–11 ESV
1 Now concerning the times and the seasons, brothers, you have no need to have anything written to you. 2 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief. 5 For you are all children of light, children of the day. We are not of the night or of the darkness. 6 So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, are drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.
4:15 arrival of the Lord (coming, parousia)
5:2 day of the Lord
These may be two separate ‘days’. A rapture; a return for judgement.
It may be one event Paul is describing, focusing on resurrection in 4 and judgement in 5.
Day of the Lord in Paul’s writings generally refers to the time of God’s wrath pouring out on those who refuse Him.
Predictions of the return of Christ or end of the world.
1967 Jim Jones, as well as the highly intelligent, deeply religious, famous and absolutely crazy.
But what does scripture tell us about the return, second coming, of Christ? More specifically, what does Paul tell the church in Thessalonica about it?
Times and dates(seasons): Chronos and Kairos - definite and indefinite times
In greater context, Jesus said
Matthew 24:43 ESV
But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.
Luke 17:24 ESV
For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day.
He also rebuked the pharisees for asking when they should know.
And Paul reminds them they are already familiar with Christian teachings regarding the end times.
1 Thessalonians 5:2 ESV
For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.
Double emphasis on you!
Like labor pains on a pregnant woman: Expected yet sudden. And definite/final.
The implication is that the church did not need to be reminded of the facts but of the implications these facts held for their actions.
Martin, D. M. (1995). 1, 2 Thessalonians (Vol. 33, p. 157). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
So what actions are the result of knowing that the coming of the Lord is sure and will be sudden? Verses 2 and 3 are really just a gateway to get where the Holy Spirit was directing Paul. It sounded like he was about to give specifics about that event. Spaghetti/train tracks. Instead he offers the instruction to live in contrast to unbelievers!
Be sober - aware, alert, on guard, gregario
Be in the light, as you are light
Encourage one another!
Revelation 21 ESV
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” 5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” 6 And he said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment. 7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son. 8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.” 9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel were inscribed— 13 on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. 15 And the one who spoke with me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. 16 The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width. And he measured the city with his rod, 12,000 stadia. Its length and width and height are equal. 17 He also measured its wall, 144 cubits by human measurement, which is also an angel’s measurement. 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass. 22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it, 25 and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. 26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations. 27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
New heaven new earth RENEWED refining, purifying fire more than destructive
God with man
Death of death
Making all things new
It is done!
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