“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.”
1 Thessalonians 5:1-2
Paul and his team of evangelists arrived in the city of Thessalonica on his second missionary journey. After three weeks of instructing the new church there, threats of violence forced the great apostle to flee to the cities of Berea, Athens, and Corinth, respectively (Acts 17:1-18:1). While in Corinth, Paul’s concern for the church at Thessalonica prompted him to write them an instructive and encouraging letter (cf. Acts 18:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; 3:6), every chapter of which mentions the second coming of the Lord. The remarkable statement in today’s verse passage makes it clear that For Paul, even new Christians should know something about what God has revealed concerning the future. Paul’s emphasis on prophecy by no means makes him unique; Peter, John, James and Jude also wrote about events that will precede, accompany, and follow the coming of the Lord. Their emphasis on end-times events reflects the teaching Jesus Himself. The Gospels reveal that our Lord’s sermons were positively super-saturated with references to the end of the world and His second coming. The message is clear: history is moving in a straight line towards a magnificent and blessed goal, namely, the Kingdom of Christ on the earth. Before the Lord’s return, however, the earth will experience a time of unprecedented disaster and distress. Jesus called this period the great tribulation (Matthew 24:21). Prior to this time of testing, the Lord will suddenly, supernaturally, and instantaneously remove his church from the earth and take her to the place He has gone to prepare for her (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18). At that time, we will all be suddenly and stupendously changed. In an instant, our bodies will be fashioned like Christ’s glorified body (Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Corinthians 15:51-54). At last we will be all that God intends us to be. We will be perfect, fit for citizenship in God’s heaven. John explained that “it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is” (1 John 3:2). These amazing promises concerning the future are intended to give us strength, encouragement, and hope. They are also intended to motivate us to follow Christ’s morally perfect example. As John observed, “everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (1 John 3:3). May this be true of us as we serve the living and true God and wait patiently for His Son from heaven (1 Thessalonians 1:10).
God bless you,