“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 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. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness.
6 “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 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. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
Once again, thank you for your encouraging emails. It is always good to know that someone is reading these articles. I certainly enjoy writing them, and over the past 11 years and more, with about 6 of those being on Rapture Ready, it has been and continues to be a pleasure.
The idea of making sure that we are working until Jesus comes to get us is very important. 2 Peter 3:9 tells us that the very reason that God is patient is that He wants ALL to come to repentance. God is not the ogre that many atheists make Him out to be, but He is graciously and lovingly patient with a rebellious and thankless world, a world that has rejected His love, scoffed at His Son, and made a mockery of His grace. Yet, rather than shuffle them and us, without Jesus, off to hell as we deserve, He patiently waits, allowing as many as possible to live in His loving Heaven and under His eternal protection.
God knew that the life of saved people would at times be very difficult. His own Son, Jesus, had a very difficult life here on earth. The very people who claimed to be for God, the Pharisees, hated Him and turned a large part of the Jews against Him. They eventually killed Him using the hands of the Roman soldiers. Jesus warned us that the peoples of the world system would treat us as they treated Him. For hundreds of years, the true churches of the Lord — from the one formed in Jerusalem to the churches of the Dark Ages, the churches in Russia, many parts of Europe and elsewhere — were hunted and hurt, many killed because of the truth. They, the true churches, refused to identify with Rome or England later on, and they were made illegal; many were executed, imprisoned and hurt over many, many centuries.
The exploits of the NT churches were laid out in a book called The Trail of Blood, an excellent read but not for the faint of heart at times. One Cardinal was quoted as saying that had not the RC Church hunted the Baptists for 1,200 years, they would have overrun the RC church by now.
Satan is a brilliant strategist, and he saw that pain and suffering did not quell the growth of the churches, so he set about to destroy by calm and comfort. For the past century, the churches of the world have enjoyed relative peace and safety. New laws and freedoms made our lives easier and easier; we could expand, and we did. More missionaries and more churches, more outreach and more expansion. However, all alongside the growth, the Devil has planted false churches. We have seen so much heresy and the power of greed, money and prestige take over the Lord’s churches, and for many, the need for expansion choked out the truth of the Gospel.
As we get closer and closer to the return of Jesus, it is very possible that we that are in the Lord’s churches will experience more and more trouble. Paul – well, really, the Holy Spirit using Paul’s hands – gives us words and instructions to be comforted with.
- We will not be Over Taken by ‘That Day,’ verses 1-5
Paul will explore two kinds of people here in these verses. People who live in the Light and those that live in the darkness. Depending on where you live, ‘That Day’ will be different for you. We in the Light know that the day of the Lord will come as a ‘thief in the night,’ not to us but the people who live in Darkness; they will see That Day as a thief in the night. If you take the time to go back and read Matthew 24, you will see that Jesus uses the phrase, “do not be deceived” often. He is warning His people to make sure that we are read up and watching so as not to be deceived. Jesus told us in the Gospels that ‘That Day’ will come when the world is just like it was in the Days of Noah.
What marked the Days of Noah? In Genesis 6:5, we find the answer; “that every imagination of the thoughts of his hearts was only evil continually.” Wow, we are there for sure today! We can see evil in the people in our leadership, we see evil in our society, and it seems that we only promote evil right now. I just saw an article about a school taking a day trip to a Gay Club, actually taking students there. Another had drag queens doing lap dances. And just last week or so, we heard of an incident where a young man claiming to be ‘transgendered’ had raped or at least sexually assaulted girls in the school or schools he attended.
We see the rampant evil in our governments, the corruption and the thievery. We see lying as a way of life for many in power. We find out years later that there were vast cover-ups to protect those that broke the law. Even now, 58 years later, they will not let us have the true story of what happened to JFK. We are beginning to find out that there have been large payments used to cover up sexual misconduct in the halls of government. And soon, we are to see the former governor of NY arrested and charged with sexual misconduct. Those of us that are of the Light should be able to see these things and not be caught off guard, not be dismayed, and not be discouraged to think that evil had won. The people of Noah’s day thought evil had won until the rain started to fall. Then only those who obeyed God lived.
All too often in our churches today, we do not teach about the end times and about what to look for. Many Christians have never even read the Book of the Revelation, which promises a blessing for just reading it. Yet, after just about 3 weeks, and some say 3 months here in Thessalonica, Paul was broaching the end times. He had and was preparing them for the end. He was teaching about the Rapture and the need for God’s people to keep an eye open and to know what to look for so that we are not caught off-guard. Sadly, too many churches today do not teach about the end and that we should live in anticipation of Jesus’ return.
Hiebert tells us that ‘The Day of the Lord’ is a familiar Old Testament expression that denotes a time when God would intervene in the history of man to judge His enemies, deliver His people, and establish His Kingdom. The Rapture is just the beginning of a long journey of 7 years to the establishment of the Kingdom here on earth.
- A Thief in the Night, verses 2-3
Today we see brazen thievery in broad daylight. But in Jesus’ day, most of the thievery was done by night. There is still a lot of that today as well. A good thief must be good at stealth and good at secrets. The day of the Lord will be just like that, sudden; no one will know when it is going to happen, and we cannot set any dates. This is an important doctrine. If you see or hear any preacher, pastor, or so-called modern-day prophet setting a date for the Lord’s return, the Rapture or the Day of the Lord, they are liars. Paul tells us that The Day will come as a thief in the night. Our job is to be ready and to be doing the Kingdom business of sharing the Gospel.
While we are not to set dates, as children of the Light, we are not to be surprised by the arrival of The Day; rather, we should be looking for it with diligence and anticipation.
In Matthew 16: 1-3, Jesus criticized the religious leaders of the day for not being able to recognize the signs of the times. Why were they blind? The vast majority of them, if not all at the time, were children of the Darkness. But as children of the Light, we are to live prepared for the unexpected. The people who live in the darkness, blinded by their sin and rejection of God’s grace, are trying to create peace and safety on earth without Jesus. This is impossible with sinful men. We are corrupt at best, and dead people cannot produce life, furthermore, a good life. But when the leaders of the world promise us ‘peace and safety,’ beware that the time of The Day is near. They are trying to do what only God can and will do.
The Rapture is part one of the whole Day of the Lord. The first part told to us in 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 is that we will “meet the Lord in the air.” The second part seen in Zechariah 14:5 is Jesus coming with the saints. These events are 7 years apart at least; together, they make up The Day of the Lord. In that time, God will judge His enemies, rescue His people, and pave the way for the establishment of the Kingdom that Jesus will rule from Jerusalem. Paul tells us that as we get closer and closer to The Day, the signs will be like the labor pains in a woman who is giving birth.
Just over 2 weeks ago, we got a call from our daughter, and she was experiencing labor pains. It was very early, in the wee hours of the morning, and she went to the local hospital. But it was not until about 12 hours later that she gave birth to our first grandbaby. Well, The Day of the Lord will be like this; we will see signs, then more clear signs, then very deliberate signs, then the Trumpet sounds and The Day begins.
We will come back to this text next week. There is so much more to investigate, but I want to leave you with Paul’s words of comfort from verse 11. ‘Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
Let us help each other to be ready for The Day. We did not miss it; God did not forget us, and He certainly did not change His mind. Rather, He is doing what a Loving, gracious God does. He is being patient, waiting for as many as possible to receive Jesus’ awesome gift of salvation. So let us edify to build each other up, encourage each other, and comfort each other. God knows how to care for the righteous in Jesus, and for sure, He will not judge the righteous with the evil ones. This we know for sure, and we will explore more of this next week as we revisit these verses.
God bless you,
Dr. Sean Gooding
Pastor of Mississauga Missionary Baptist Church
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