1 Thessalonians 5:1-3
There is a stern challenge from The Wiersbe Bible Commentator given to us believers as it explains Chapter 5. The challenge is that Christ both unites and divides. We should be united as a body of believers as we hold fast to the truth that God has called us by name, and we are His! I pray near daily with my girls that in our house we will always hold fast to this truth. This also divides us as we are to be in the world but not of the world. John 7:16 says, “They are not of the world as I am not of the world.” There should be a difference in us as we eagerly await our glorious hope: Christ’s rapture of His bride. As Paul challenged the believers to live holy lives in the midst of their pagan surroundings, we should be challenged by that today in our ever-degrading society into further wickedness.
1 Thes. 5:1: Times and seasons: This phrase as with the other uses in the Bible primarily refers to God’s plan for Israel. Daniel used this term when interpreting the king’s dream. Jesus used this term in Acts 1:7 regarding Israel as well. It is important to note, we are in the church age or the time of the Gentiles as we can study in our Bibles. Israel’s time will come again at the midpoint of the Tribulation. Therefore, the times and seasons to be deciphered is understanding what is going on this world and how it harkens the day of the Lord. This could be expounded on in great detail. We have covered some of this with our world spiraling into further wickedness such as sexual immorality, child sacrifice, calling evil good and good evil, etc.
1 Thes. 5:2: The day of the Lord: the world is so desperately trying to self-fulfill prophecy with a utopian dream of everyone being at peace. This is definitely a deceit as it will not come until the 1000 year reign in partial fulfillment then at the New Heaven and New Earth in full fulfillment. This is looking ahead at Revelation, but a point that must be recognized. This world yearns for peace but will find it in none other than Jesus. The day of the Lord is the judgement that will come upon this world and the nations for their wickedness. This day of the Lord can also be described in the theme as the Time of Jacobs Trouble which is the last 3 1/2 years of the Tribulation. It will come as a surprise as does a thief in the night. This is why we must live in a constant attitude of watching and waiting, while we are busy working and witnessing (Wiersbe).
1 Thes. 5:3: Peace and safety: You need only to watch the news or read headlines to know we are definitely not in a time of peace of safety. A day is coming when the Anti-christ will be on the scene promising peace and safety which will probably be at least deceptively shown. This also doesn’t mean the world will not be in some type of interim period of calm at the Rapture. Nonetheless, it is the world, not us, that will say “peace and safety” before sudden destruction comes. We should be saying, “Look at what is going on. The Day of the Lord draws near.”
David Guzik notes this as it pertains to “peace and safety:” Matthew 24:15-35 happens at a time of great global catastrophe, when no one could possibly say “peace and safety!” Comparing passages like this shows us that there must be, in some way, two aspects to Jesus’ Second Coming: one aspect of His coming is at an unexpected hour, the other is predicted; one coming is to a “business as usual” world, the other to a world in cataclysm; one coming is meeting Him in the air, the other is Him coming with the saints.
As Guzik lays out, there are two aspects: the Rapture and the end of the tribulation in judgement to then establish Jesus’ millennial reign. This is what is pretty awesome about God’s timing. He lays things out from a Heavenly-time perspective. The Second Coming can be separated in years from the start of it (Rapture) to the completion of it (end of the tribulation). It has been lost in my memory, but I recall a verse in the Old Testament where a mere comma in a sentence separated a couple thousand years. In many parts of the prophets, you can see the tense they are speaking in which is called the prophetic perfect. They declare something as if it has already happened but is the near and even sometimes distant future in man’s years. When God declares something, it is as good as already occurred.