Home  Library  Donate

1Thessalonians 5:1-11

Thursday Evening Bible Study

October 12, 2017

Introduction

Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Target 3300 words   Video = 75 wpm

Review:

Video:  The Bible Project – 1Thessalonians

There would be three areas where Paul would be challenging the Thessalonians to grow in.  First was in holiness, then in love, and now in their hope of Jesus’ return.

5:1-11 The Day of the Lord

:1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.

:1 concerning the times and the seasons

timeschronos – time either long or short; time in general

seasonskairos – due measure; a fixed and definite time, the time when things are brought to crisis, the decisive epoch waited for; a definitely limited portion of time with the added notion of suitableness

What is Paul talking about?  He is going to explain in the next verse.

(Acts 1:6–8 NKJV) —6 Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. 8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
(Genesis 1:14–19 NKJV) —14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years; 15 and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so. 16 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also. 17 God set them in the firmament of the heavens to give light on the earth, 18 and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19 So the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

:2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.

:2 you yourselves know perfectly

perfectlyakribos – exactly, accurately, diligently

These people completely understood that the Lord’s coming would be suddenly.
Paul had only been with the church for a month, and during that time he had made a point of teaching them about the Second Coming.
It is kind of sad when believers have been going to church for years without hearing about the Lord’s return.

:2 the day of the Lord

Paul is using a phrase that has a rich background in the Old Testament.

I found the phrase “day of the LORD” 26 times in the Old Testament (Is. 2:12; 13:6, 9; 34:8; Jer. 46:10; Lam. 2:22; Eze. 13:5; 30:3; Joel 1:15; 2:1, 11, 31; 3:14; Amos 5:18, 20; Obad. 15; Zeph 1:7,8,14,18; 2:2,3; Zech 14:1; Mal. 4:5)

It speaks of times when God has stepped into human history to bring judgment.

You will see it used to describe:
1) Previous times of judgment
The prophet Joel used it to describe a locust plague (Joel 1:15), something that has already happened historically.
2) The Final Day of the Lord
This is how most of the occurrences are used in the Old Testament.
One of the classic passages is also from the book of Joel.

(Joel 2:28–31 NKJV) —28 “And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. 29 And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. 30 “And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth: Blood and fire and pillars of smoke. 31 The sun shall be turned into darkness, And the moon into blood, Before the coming of the great and awesome day of the Lord.

Peter quotes the Joel passage on the day of Pentecost to explain the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the church.

(Acts 2:15–16 NKJV) —15 For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:

And then he quotes from the Joel 2 passage.

In one sense, we have been in “the day of the LORD” since the day of Pentecost.

There is a more narrower use of the term to refer to the future seven-year period known as the Tribulation.

Jesus said,

(Matthew 24:29–30 NKJV) —29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

Do you recognize the Joel reference?

30 Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

This is the time of judgment on the earth before Jesus comes back.

That’s what Revelation 6-19 are all about.

:2 as a thief in the night

thiefkleptes – an embezzler, pilferer

A thief isn’t one who puts a gun in your face and hijacks your car.  A thief is one who breaks into your house at night and steals from you while you’re unaware.
Jesus used the same terminology to describe His return.
(Matthew 24:43–44 NKJV) —43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

We talked about this last week.

There is an aspect of the Second Coming that will be unexpected.

:3 For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape.

:3 when they say, “Peace and safety!”

peaceeirene – a state of national tranquillity; exemption from the rage and havoc of war; peace between individuals, i.e. harmony, concord; security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)

safetyasphaleia (“asphalt”) – firmness, stability; certainty, undoubted truth; security from enemies and dangers, safety

suddenaiphnidios – unexpected, sudden, unforeseen

destructionolethros – ruin, destroy, death

Lesson

Don’t let down your guard

In Paul’s day, Rome liked to promote its concept of “Pax Romana”, the peace of Rome.
Rome had conquered the known world and held everything together.  There was no need to fear foreign invaders because Rome ruled over all.
This is one of the paradoxes of the 2nd Coming. Though there are also signs of the 2nd Coming that speak of wars and rumors of wars (Mat. 24:6) …
(Matthew 24:6 NKJV) And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet.
The world will be touting its peace plan before the Tribulation.

Why would we need Jesus?

:3 as labor pains upon a pregnant woman

laborodin – the pain of childbirth, travail pain, birth pangs; intolerable anguish, in reference to the dire calamities precede the advent of the Messiah

A pregnant woman knows that her time is getting near. Her tummy grows bigger and bigger. The doctor gives her a time frame of when the baby might be coming. She knows that one day it will really happen. At least she thinks it will.

Sometimes the baby doesn’t come when the doctor said it would.
But it will come.
This is just like Jesus’ return.

pregnantgaster (“gastric”) – the belly; the womb; the stomach

escapeekpheugo – to flee out of, flee away; to seek safety in flight; to escape

:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.

darknessskotos – darkness; of night darkness; of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell

:4 that this Day should overtake you

overtakekatalambano – to lay hold of

Even though there is a sense in which the Rapture will happen unexpectedly, there is also a sense in which it’s going to be obvious that we are close, and so we are ready.

Jesus said,

(Matthew 24:33 NLT) In the same way, when you see all these things, you can know his return is very near, right at the door.

If you are looking for the Lord’s return, it will be evident that He’s almost here.

:5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.

:5 light … darkness

darknessskotos – darkness; of night darkness; of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell

In the daylight, you can see things. In the light you can see what is going on.

If we were children of the night, we wouldn’t see what is going on around us.

Paul is speaking metaphorically here, contrasting light and dark, day and night.

He’s not saying that you shouldn’t be working a graveyard shift.  He’s simply painting a picture.

:6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober.

:6 let us not sleep

sleepkatheudo – to fall asleep, drop off to sleep; to sleep; to sleep normally; euphemistically, to be dead; metaph.; to yield to sloth and sin; to be indifferent to one’s salvation

Paul is using “sleep” here differently than he did in 4:13, where he was talking about those who have already physically died.

Here he’s talking about people who aren’t alert and looking for the Lord’s return.

:6 let us watch and be sober

watchgregoreuo – to watch; metaph. give strict attention to, be cautious, active; to take heed lest through remission and indolence some destructive calamity suddenly overtake one

“Watching” is in contrast to sleeping.

We need to keep our eyes open and pay attention to the things going on around us.

Being “sober” can be about not drinking wine, more on that in a minute.

be sobernepho – to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; to be temperate, dispassionate, circumspect

:7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night.

:7 at night

drunkmethusko – to intoxicate, make drunk; to get drunk, become intoxicated

Paul is contrasting the “day” with the “night”.

People of the “night” are the ones who sleep (who aren’t paying attention) and are drunk (not in control of their faculties).

:8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation.

:8 let us who are of the day be sober

Lesson

Sobriety

Since we are children of the “day” as followers of Jesus Christ, we should be sober.
How do you define “sobriety”?
Years ago there was a comedian named Foster Brooks who made a living portraying drunks.  This may offend some of you.
Video:  Dean Martin Foster Brooks Dentist

I have a theory that this is only funny until you know someone who struggles with sobriety.

For those who are in a twelve-step program, the concept of “sobriety” carries its own ideas.  Sobriety is abstaining from your drug of choice, whether it’s alcohol, cocaine, sex, gambling, or even binging on food.

To be honest, different twelve step programs define their “sobriety” in different ways.

The Bible’s concept of sobriety goes beyond that.

be sobernepho – to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; temperate, dispassionate, circumspect

Look how Peter uses the word:

(1 Peter 1:13 NKJV) Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;

(1 Peter 4:7 NKJV) But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and watchful in your prayers.

(1 Peter 5:8 NKJV) 8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.

God wants us to be alert, mentally sharp, aware of what’s going on around us.

:8 putting on the breastplate …a helmet

putting onenduo – to sink into (clothing), put on, clothe one’s self

breastplatethorax – the breast; a breastplate or corset consisting of two parts and protecting the body on both sides from the neck to the middle

faithpistis – conviction of the truth of anything, belief; in the NT of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervour born of faith and joined with it

loveagape – brotherly love, affection, good will, love, benevolence

helmetperikephalaia – a helmet

hopeelpis – expectation of good, hope

This is how we express our sobriety, putting on our armor for the day of battle.

In Paul’s day, the Roman soldier was a common sight.

Lesson

The Battle

Some twelve years later Paul would be writing to the Ephesians and would also mention armor.
(Ephesians 6:10–13 NKJV) —10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

To the Ephesians, Paul described the armor a little differently.  He added more pieces of armor, and some of the pieces were a little different.

I think the point is not to get legalistic about your breastplate is made from, but that you learn to fight the spiritual war around you with God’s weapons.

To the Thessalonians, Paul points out three things that protect us.
Faith – We trust God in every situation, even when it doesn’t make sense.  Even if …
Love – the love God has for us, the love we have for God, and the love we should have for one another are powerful things.

When we fight, we don’t fight alone, we fight shoulder to shoulder with our brothers and sisters.

Be sure to include others in the battle and don’t do it alone.

Hope – We have hope that the things we see around us aren’t all there is.  We have hope in heaven.  We will keep fighting because we are counting on one day being with Jesus.
By the way, if these three things sound familiar, they should because they’re the “basics”.

(1 Corinthians 13:13 NKJV) And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

These qualities aren’t something new to the Thessalonians, they already have them.

(1 Thessalonians 1:2–3 NKJV) - 2We give thanks to God always for you all, making mention of you in our prayers, 3 remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father,

These same qualities aren’t new to us either.  God has already given us what we need to fight the battle.

:9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

:9 God did not appoint us to wrath

appointedtithemi – to set, put, place; to set, fix establish; to establish, ordain

wrathorge – anger; anger, wrath, indignation; anger exhibited in punishment, hence used for punishment itself

to obtainperipoiesis – a preserving, a preservation; possession, one’s own property; an obtaining

The helmet of hope protects our minds because God has promised to save us from His just punishment through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross for us.

I do not have to be fearful of hell because Jesus has bought my ticket to heaven and paid it in full.

But I think it goes a step further.

Lesson

Pre-Trib Rapture

This is an important verse in understanding when the rapture will take place.
The purposes for the Tribulation
There are several goals God has for the Tribulation period.
Judgment on a God-rejecting world.

Here’s what happens when the Tribulation begins:

(Revelation 6:15–17 NKJV) —15 And the kings of the earth, the great men, the rich men, the commanders, the mighty men, every slave and every free man, hid themselves in the caves and in the rocks of the mountains, 16 and said to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him who sits on the throne and from the wrath of the Lamb! 17 For the great day of His wrath has come, and who is able to stand?”

God will bring heavy judgment and wrath on the world. 

I believe some of it is aimed to get men one last chance to turn to God.

Yet God has promised that He has not appointed us to wrath.

The idea that the church would go through the Tribulation contradicts what Paul is teaching here.

God’s work through Israel.

While you see the Tribulation throughout the book of Revelation, and even hints at it being seven years, the root idea of a seven year period goes back to Daniel’s prophecy of the “Seventy Weeks”, given to him by the angel Gabriel.

(Daniel 9:24–27 NKJV) —24 “Seventy weeks are determined For your people and for your holy city, To finish the transgression, To make an end of sins, To make reconciliation for iniquity, To bring in everlasting righteousness, To seal up vision and prophecy, And to anoint the Most Holy.

Each “week” is a period of seven years.  Seventy weeks speaks of a total of 490 (70x7) years, prophetic years.

Who is the focus of the complete seventy weeks?

It’s for Daniel’s people – the Jews.

25 “Know therefore and understand, That from the going forth of the command To restore and build Jerusalem Until Messiah the Prince, There shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; The street shall be built again, and the wall, Even in troublesome times.

This prophecy alone is worth the price of admission!

The first seven “weeks” deal with the rebuilding of Jerusalem.

The next sixty-two weeks deal with the coming of the Messiah.

He would appear after 483 ((7 + 62) x 7) of these “prophetic” years (specifically, years of 360 days each), from the time that a decree is given to rebuild Jerusalem after the Babylonian captivity.

It’s a complicated calculation, but from Artaxerxes decree to rebuild Jerusalem on March 5, 444 BC, these 69 weeks terminate with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, March 20, AD 33. (See my notes on Luke 19:42 here for details)

26 “And after the sixty-two weeks Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself; And the people of the prince who is to come Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end of it shall be with a flood, And till the end of the war desolations are determined.

After this initial 69 week period, the Messiah is “cut off”.

This speaks of Jesus’ betrayal and crucifixion.

It’s at this point that God’s timeclock stops at 69 weeks.  One week is left unfulfilled until the time of the next verse.

Forty years after Jesus’ death, Jerusalem is destroyed by the Romans (the people of the prince who is to come – the antichrist).

27 Then he shall confirm a covenant with many for one week; But in the middle of the week He shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall be one who makes desolate, Even until the consummation, which is determined, Is poured out on the desolate.”

This last verse is that 70th week.  It’s the Tribulation, and lasts for how many years? Seven.

The “he” that confirms a covenant is the “prince who is to come”, the antichrist.

He will apparently make some type of treaty with Israel.

In the middle of the week, 3 ˝ years into the Tribulation, the antichrist will perform the “abomination of desolation”, declaring himself to be God, and for those who are left on the planet at that time will know they only have 1290 days before Jesus returns (Daniel 12:11; see last week’s study).

(Daniel 12:11 NKJV) —11 “And from the time that the daily sacrifice is taken away, and the abomination of desolation is set up, there shall be one thousand two hundred and ninety days.

It is during this 70th week of Daniel that God will once again work through Israel as His chosen people.  Many of them will turn to recognize Jesus as their Messiah.  John records that there will be a special group of 144,000 that will be used by God during this time.  Think of 144,000 Greg Lauries running around this planet.

Your view of Israel determines your view of the Rapture.

Some hold the view that God rejected Israel 2,000 years ago, and that the church has taken the place of Israel.

They base this on the Scriptures that talk about Gentiles receiving the promises of Abraham (Gen. 3:7), or how we’ve been “grafted” into the olive tree (Rom. 11:17)

(Galatians 3:7 NKJV) —7 Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham.

(Romans 11:17 NKJV) —17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree,

These folks will take you to passages that will talk about the “elect” being present in the Tribulation and say that this refers to the church.

(Matthew 24:22 NKJV) And unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened.

The problem with this view is that God has never given up on Israel.  Paul wrote,

(Romans 11:1 NKJV) I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin.

The predominantly Gentile church and the nation of Israel are two distinct entities with different sets of promises.

When we see the “elect” being present in the Tribulation, it’s talking about Israel, not the church.

I believe the Gentile church will not be going through the Tribulation period.
God has not appointed us to wrath.
The Tribulation is the time of wrath.
Jesus seemed to hint that it could be possible to “escape” the time of the Tribulation:
(Luke 21:36 NKJV) Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man.”
Jesus wrote to the church of Philadelphia,
(Revelation 3:10 NKJV) Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.

:10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.

:10 that whether we wake or sleep

Jesus died on a cross for us, so that we could live with Him forever.

Those who “sleep” now goes back to be talking about those who are already physically dead.  They will live with Him.
Those of us who are alive and remain will live forever as well.

:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.

:11 comfort each other and edify one another

comfortparakaleo – This word has more than just the simple idea of “comfort” to it. It means – to call to one’s side, call for, summon; to admonish, exhort; to beg, entreat, beseech; to console, to encourage and strengthen by consolation, to comfort; to encourage, strengthen

edifyoikodomeo – to build a house, erect a building; to restore by building, to rebuild, repair; metaph.; to found, establish; to promote growth in Christian wisdom, affection, grace, virtue, holiness, blessedness; to grow in wisdom and piety

In light of our common future together, our hope of heaven, we have a responsibility.

We are to encourage and build each other up.

Lesson

Keep Going

Video:  Facing the Giants – Death Crawl
I think that sometimes we underestimate what God would like to do in our lives.
I think sometimes we quit just a little bit short of the finish line.
Like that coach, we need to be encouraging each other to stay at it, to keep going.
That requires that you establish relationships with people who can speak into your life.

That means you open up yourself and be vulnerable to others and to share when you’re struggling.

It means that we set an example for each other.

(Hebrews 3:12–13 NLT) —12 Be careful then, dear brothers and sisters. Make sure that your own hearts are not evil and unbelieving, turning you away from the living God. 13 You must warn each other every day, while it is still “today,” so that none of you will be deceived by sin and hardened against God.