For everything there is a time and season (Ecc. 3:1). God is carrying out a definite plan from the beginning of time and all of history points to Jesus. In the Old Testament, Jesus is coming. In the gospels, Jesus has come. In the epistles, Jesus is coming again. The second coming of Jesus is the most mentioned event in the Bible. Out of 260 chapters in the New Testament, it is mentioned 318 times! The slogan of the early church was “Maranatha,” which means the Lord is coming!
The Sureness of His Coming
Paul begins 1 Thessalonians 5 saying, “But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night” (v. 1-2). Jesus had already taught that He would be coming again and that no one knows the day or the hour (Mk. 13:32-33, Acts 1:6-8). Paul acknowledges the church does not need a reminder. Jesus is at the right hand of the Father and at a time that no one knows but the Father, the Father will say to the Son, go get my children! The Lord’s return will be unexpected and unannounced, but it is sure.
The Suddenness of His Coming
Thieves do not announce their arrival or give advance notice! Paul says the world will have a false sense of peace and security when this sudden destruction will come (v. 3). He uses the analogy of labor pains. For a pregnant woman, labor pains are not unexpected. She knows they are coming, just doesn’t know when. We believe in the imminent return of Christ. For an unbelieving world, they will be caught off guard, unprepared, and Christ’s return will be unexpected. But for the believer, we will not be surprised. We know it’s coming. Paul continues, “But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day” (v. 4-5). Notice the pronoun change between “you” and “they.” They say peace and safety. They shall not escape. But you will not be overtaken. You are sons of light. You are not in the dark. You are not going to be surprised. “Sons of light” and “sons of the day” are terms that remind us our identity is in Christ. We live based on our relationship with Jesus. Through salvation, we are translated from the kingdom of darkness to the kingdom of light. We know how the world began, we know how it will end, and though it will be sudden, we will know we will be with Jesus!
The Seriousness of His Coming
“Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober… putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (v. 6, 8). We should be alert and not careless regarding Jesus’ return. A breastplate covers your vital organs. We have to guard our heart. We fall into sin, but we never fall into righteousness. We have to do right. The enemy has no access when you are walking in the Spirit, but the moment you step out of the will of God and start walking in the flesh, doing what you selfishly want to do, watch out! A helmet protects your head. Satan attacks the mind. He causes doubts. Salvation is more than praying a prayer. It’s more than a moment of faith. It’s a life of faith! It’s Christ in you! We have to get our heads on straight and be on guard.
Paul continues, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him” (v. 9-10). Jesus is our substitute. He paid our bill in full. If you are a Christian this world is as bad as it gets because when we leave this earth, we will be with Him! “Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing” (v. 11). Are you ready for the day of the Lord?