Evening Bible Study
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
What is Paul talking about? He is
going to explain in the next verse.
: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
perfectly – akribos –
exactly, accurately, diligently
These people completely understood that the Lord’s coming would be
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.
It speaks of times when God has stepped into human history to bring
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.
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.
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.
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?
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
That’s what Revelation 6-19 are all about.
:2 as a thief in the night
thief – kleptes – an
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.
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!”
Don’t let down your guard
In Paul’s day, Rome liked to promote its concept of “Pax Romana”, the peace
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) …
The world will be touting its peace plan before the Tribulation.
Why would we need Jesus?
:3 as labor pains upon a pregnant woman
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
Sometimes the baby doesn’t come when the doctor said it would.
But it will come.
This is just like Jesus’ return.
:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake
you as a thief.
:4 that this Day should overtake you
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.
(Matthew 24:33 NLT)
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
:5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night
nor of darkness.
:5 light … darkness
In the daylight, you can see things. In the light you can see what is going
If we were children of the night, we wouldn’t see what is going on around
Paul is speaking metaphorically here, contrasting light and dark, day and
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
:6 let us not sleep
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
:7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk
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
Since we are children of the “day” as followers of Jesus Christ, we should
How do you define “sobriety”?
Years ago there was a comedian named Foster Brooks who made a living
portraying drunks. This may offend some
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.
The Bible’s concept of sobriety goes beyond that.
be sober – nepho
– to be sober, to be calm and collected in spirit; temperate,
Look how Peter uses the word:
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
Peter 4:7 NKJV) But the end of all things is at hand; therefore be serious and
watchful in your prayers.
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
This is how we express our sobriety, putting on our armor for the day of
In Paul’s day, the Roman soldier was a common sight.
Some twelve years later Paul would be writing to the Ephesians and would
also mention armor.
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
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
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
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”.
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
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
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.
This is an important verse in understanding when the rapture will take
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:
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
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
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.
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
The next sixty-two weeks deal with the coming of the
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
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
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).
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
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).
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)
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
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,
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
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
(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.”
:10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together
: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
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
:11 comfort each other and edify one another
In light of our common future together, our hope of heaven, we have a
We are to encourage and build each other up.
I think that sometimes we underestimate what God would like to do in our
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
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.
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.