An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.”
(1 Thessalonians 5:1-4)

Eschatology is a branch of theology that focuses on the events that will precede, accompany, and follow the end of this world. In many North American churches today, especially among the so-called “mega” churches, this branch of theology is all but forgotten or ignored. For those fixated on “church growth” strategies, eschatology is too difficult, too controversial and impractical to spend much time on. The Scriptures, however, place a very different value and priority on end times prophecies. Today’s verse passage is part of Paul’s first epistle to the believers in Thessalonica. He had only been with these new believers for three weeks before he was forced to leave. Concerned for the well-being of the fledgling new church, he wrote them this epistle to encourage and instruct them. He opens the fifth chapter making mention of the fact that these people were already very knowledgeable concerning end times prophecy; they had, in fact, no need that Paul should write to them on these matters. This is astounding since Paul had only a short time with these people. This reveals the important place eschatology had among Gospel preachers in New Testament times. So why did Paul bother to write to them on these matters? This is, I think, a gentle reminder that even though the Scriptures were written to specific people and churches, they were written for all members of the household of faith ultimately. The believers at Thessalonica may have had perfect understanding of end times prophecy, but there are many in the church today that do not. Paul’s teaching on the end times, which appears in every chapter in both Thessalonian letters (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; 2:19; 3:13; 4:15-18; 5: 1-4; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-12; 2:1-12; 3:4-5) is intended to encourage and instruct others in sound, end times doctrine. This is important because when asked about the end of the age and His coming in glory to establish His kingdom, the Lord replied, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Matthew 24:4). The implication is that widespread deception would saturate the world in the last days. Paul, writing some 30 years after, affirmed this when he stated that in the last days “evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived” (2 Timothy 3:13). As we peruse God’s infallible, inscripturated revelation, we are astounded to see so many references to eschatology and the great things God has in store for those who love and trust Him. So far from being impractical, eschatological knowledge ought to move us to love the Savior Who loved us first (1 John 4:19) and to strive for purity, even as He is pure (1 John 3:3).

God bless,

pastor john