1 Thess 5:1-11 – The Day of the Lord

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1 Thess 5:2

  1. “The day of the Lord” is a familiar expression from the Old Testament that means, in short, that God intervenes in history to judge the sin of Israel and the world through various actions (Joel 1:15, Mal 4:1-2). In other words, “the day of the Lord” can refer to different days in history.
    1. The “day of the Lord” that Paul refers to on this occasion is the day when Jesus returns.
  2. Paul had previously taught the Thessalonians about the return of Jesus, so they were well aware that no one can know on what day Jesus will return, and therefore one must always be prepared.
    1. Jesus did not want us to know when the Day of the Lord is (Matt 24:36), but he did want us to be alert and prepared for the Day of the Lord to come at any moment (Matt 24:42).

1 Thess 5:3

  1. It seems unreasonable to shout “peace and safety” on the day of Jesus’ return, since Matthew 24:15-35 describes the last days as a time of terrible suffering. Therefore, it is quite possible that the “day of the Lord” is longer than just one day and in other words describes the whole of the last days ending with the return of Jesus. 
  2. The last period will contain suffering that, like the pains of a pregnant woman, will recur more often and more painfully until something new is finally born.

1 Thess 5:4

  1. For those who believe in Jesus, Jesus’ return will be like a deliverance, but for those who do not believe in Jesus, his return will be like a thief in the night.
  2. Even if we don’t know exactly what day Jesus will return, we can guess that it will be soon. The disciples asked Jesus what the end times will be like (Matthew 24:3-14) and received an answer that can be summarized in a nutshell as follows:
    1. Many will claim that they are the Messiah, but we should not believe them. When Jesus comes back, it will definitely be felt all over the earth.
    2. There will be many wars here and there.
    3. There will be famine.
    4. There will be earthquakes in one place after another.
    5. Christians will renounce their faith and start hating each other.
    6. Many Christians will be hated, tormented and killed.
    7. Many false prophets will appear and unfortunately many will listen to them.
    8. Lawlessness will increase.

1 Thess 5:6

  1. “Spiritually sleeping” is related to not being prepared for Jesus to come back soon. If a Christian does not care that Jesus is coming back, there is a risk that he or she will not care to be sanctified in his or her spiritual life, and then there is a risk that one’s Christian life will languish and eventually be forgotten.

1 Thess 5:8

  1. Paul uses a military illustration because a soldier must always be “awake and sober” because otherwise the soldier runs the risk of being overtaken by the enemy and getting into real trouble.
    1. An “armour” was placed on the chest and protected the most important organs. Believing in God and showing love for one’s fellow man is perhaps the most fundamental and important part of the Christian faith (Matthew 22:37-40).
    2. The head is also a vital organ that a soldier must protect. For the Christian, it is vital to trust that God will intervene and save in the future. If this hope is lost, the rest of the Christian life becomes meaningless.
  2. Paul compares the Christian to a soldier at war, but he uses only defensive cover. A Christian, while engaged in spiritual warfare, does not need to run off offensively and chase demons, but if attacked, he can stand firm in his faith because of the protections available (Eph 6:13).

1 Thess 5:9

  1. When Jesus returns, he will “judge the living and the dead” (2 Timothy 4:1).
    1. Wrath is for the wicked who “will be judged and condemned” (2 Peter 3:7) and who will go away “into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matthew 25:41).
    1. Because Jesus sacrificed himself by dying on the cross, at his return he will not condemn believers to damnation, but will instead save “those who wait for him” (Heb 9:28).
  2. However, according to the letter to the Corinthians, Christians will also stand before the judgment seat of Christ and “receive recompense for what he has done in this life, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10).
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