The Rapture and the Day of the Lord Part II

The Day of the Lord
By Jeff Russell
 
 
INTRODUCTION
Paul now expands God's prophetic plan as he moves from the Rapture to the time after the Rapture - The Day of the Lord. The term is used 25 times in the Bible, of which only 5 times are in the NT.

The term “Day of God” is used in 2 Peter 3:12- Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? And in the context matches the term “Day of the Lord” which appears in 3:10.

The term “Day of God Almighty” appears once in Revelation 16:14, a clear reference to Armageddon.   Each usage is concerning darkness, not light.
Isaiah 13:6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

1 Thessalonians 5:1
"But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you"

Chapter 4 gave us the blessed hope of the believer, the rapture of the church to Heaven. This chapter gravely warns us of the coming Day of the Lord that deals with Israel and Gentiles (5:1-11).

The first three verses warn of the coming Day of the Lord.

But concerning

The words "but concerning" is a signpost showing that Paul now shifts to a new topic. These words are his usual formula for moving to a new line of thought (4:9, 13; 1 Corinthians 7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1).

In chapter 4, Paul discusses the Rapture but in this chapter, he turns to the Day of the Lord, which comes immediately after the Rapture. Apparently, Timothy, in his report from his visit to Thessalonica, indicated to Paul that the new church needed further clarification about the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is the next prophetic event after the Lord Jesus comes to rapture the church to Heaven.

The Day of the Lord is a period of 1007 years. The first part of this era is judgment on the world for a seven-year period. In the Tribulation, God will judge proud Gentiles and apostate Jews. However, He will deliver a faithful Jewish remnant and Gentiles who put their trust in Him. Following these seven years, Jesus will reign on the earth for one thousand years, fulfilling the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants (Genesis 15-18; 2 Samuel 7).

the times and the seasons, brethren,

Paul now expands God's prophetic plan. He moves from the Rapture to the time after the Rapture – the Day of the Lord.

We get the English word "chronology" from the Greek word for "times." "Times" refers to the succession of events, the chronology of events. This word as well as "seasons" refer to dispensations. The word "seasons" refers to the "events" of the Tribulation and Millennium. The word "times" denotes quantity whereas "seasons" carries the idea of quality – kinds of time. Thus, Paul deals with end time events following the Rapture.

There are two kinds of "seasons" following the Rapture – the Tribulation and the Millennium. These are different and unique features of the Day of the Lord.
All of this is just the opposite of the Rapture, which is a signless timeless event. The Rapture could happen at any moment, in a twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). The "times and seasons" are related to earth (Daniel 2:21; 7:12; Ecclesiastes 3:1). The Rapture, however, will snatch the church entirely away from the earth to glorious scenes in Heaven.

A "dispensation" is not primarily a period of time but a way of life. It is an economy of God. God dealt with Israel by a system of laws because she was a national entity. God deals with the church in an entirely different way because she is an organism, not an organization like Israel.
Every believer in the church has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In the old economy, only certain special people had the privilege of the indwelling Spirit such as David and only for periods in his life. That is why he prayed, "Take not your Holy Spirit from me (Psalm 51:11)."

The distinction between Israel and the church is very important because there is a massive difference in mode of living the godly life. In the church, every believer is a priest, therefore, he or she does not need a priest. We have the right to offer our own sacrifices to the Lord. We do not need to go through a mediator. The church has the prerogative of a right standing before God, earned by Christ. We have an eternal relationship with the Son of God.
you have no need that I should write to you

Paul previously taught the Thessalonians about the Day of the Lord when he established the church a year prior to writing this epistle so they did not need instruction on that doctrine. They did need instruction, however, on the Rapture.
Principle

God wants us to change the character of our lives by knowing prophetic truth.
Application

God does not give us a date to circle on our calendar (Acts 1:6-8) as to when the Rapture will occur. He wants us to live with anticipation that He might come back any day.

No sign needs to be fulfilled before He comes. He could come at any moment.

Living in the light of His imminent coming sharpens our spirituality.

The purpose of prophecy is to comfort (4:18), edify, encourage holiness and give hope. Christians who do not understand prophecy are unstable. They do not understand the counterfeiting schema of Satan. Thus, they cannot distinguish the Devil's plan from God's plan. These Christians will buy into globalism and one-world government.

Prophecy distinguishes Christians from non-Christians. We live for a different
purpose and with a different hope. The character of the sons of light stands in complete contrast to the coming dark Day of the Lord (5:1-11).

1 Thessalonians 5:2
"For you yourselves know perfectly that the Day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night"


Someone told the Thessalonians that they were in the Tribulation because they suffered such persecution. Paul writes chapter 5 to clarify this point.

For you yourselves know perfectly

The Thessalonians knew "perfectly" that the Day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night. The word "perfectly" indicates that they gained knowledge of the Day of the Lord from the accurate teaching of the Old Testament by Paul.
Paul was careful in his interpretation of the Old Testament. The root for "perfectly" means pointed. Paul accurately, exactly, pointedly and precisely expounded the Bible. He paid close attention to details when he read the Bible. He conformed strictly to norms and standards of detail when it came to the Word. Since Paul taught the Bible accurately, the Thessalonians understood it "perfectly," or better yet, precisely.

that the day of the Lord

The Day of the Lord refers to both the Tribulation period of seven years and the Millennium [1000 years], thus; the Day of the Lord covers 1007 years. This is the time when the Lord will sovereignly and directly intervene into the affairs of man. Old Testament prophets expounded this day (Isaiah 13:9-11; Joel 2:28-32; Zephaniah 1:14-18; 3:14-15). This time will commence after the Rapture.

The Day of the Lord does not necessarily come immediately after the Rapture but it follows as the next event in God's prophetic plan. We know the Day of the Lord occurs after the Rapture because, sequentially, chapter 5 follows chapter 4.

so comes as a thief

Every time the New Testament refers to the Lord's coming as a thief, it refers to the Day of the Lord or the Second Coming, not the Rapture. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief who does not send an engraved invitation that he is coming. We do not say, "I understand that a thief is coming tomorrow morning at 2:00 am. We better prepare ourselves." A thief is different from a robber. A robber openly takes what he wants by brute force. A thief steals in secret or by fraud.
The thief does not openly announce his designs. He comes unexpectedly when his victim is totally unprepared. Paul adds shock to the unforeseen.

in the night

A thief comes when people are asleep. This day will be both a surprise and sudden to those living at that time. The New Testament describes both the Rapture and the Day of the Lord as sudden comings.

Paul does not concern himself with what happens in the Day of the Lord as such over this period of 1007 years. His sole interest is how it begins. That is why he refers to this period as beginning in the same manner as a thief in the night. The way it will come is very important for its manner of coming determines what sort of day it is. The way it comes also tells what it has to do with the church, if anything!

Principle
The church will not enter the Tribulation period.

Application
The arrival of the Day of the Lord is quite different from the Rapture. In the Day of the Lord, a hostile, unknown thief comes to destroy. In the Rapture, the Lord Himself comes to deliver the church.

No one ever gains by the call of a thief. There is only loss and grief. The Bible flatly contradicts any notion that the Lord Jesus will come to the true believer as a pillaging thief (5:4). The Rapture will be eternal gain, not loss. However, when the Day of the Lord comes, unbelievers stand to lose everything they hold dear. All their material gains will be lost (Revelation 17, 18).

1 Thessalonians 5:3
"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"


Paul now explains in what sense unbelievers left on earth after the Rapture will resemble unsuspecting victims of a thief. Just at the moment they least expect it, judgment will fall upon them.

For when they say, "Peace and safety!"

Paul does not include himself among those in this verse. He views them as "they." This third-person pronoun refers to those left in the Tribulation after the Rapture.

The church will not experience this "sudden destruction." Paul contrasts believers with un-believers in the next verse (4:4).

Elsewhere, the Bible tells us what brings this delusion of peace. In the Tribulation, a world ruler signs a seven-year contract (Daniel 9:27) wherein the world expects world peace. This is a peace of outward social and political conditions such as will exist at the first part of Daniel's 70th week. It will seem that mankind achieved inward peace of mind and outward one-world stability.

In the beginning of the Day of the Lord, that is, in the beginning of the Tribulation period, people will say, "Peace and safety!" This slogan spreads around the world.
Peace refers to inward tranquility of mind. The word "safety" means not liable to fall, to be firm. They are under the delusion that man has come to a place of world peace so they are safe from any form of danger.

The word "when" indicates that non-Christians will say this right up to the moment of disaster. While they repeat their slogan "Peace and safety!" destruction comes on them.

Principle
World peace is a delusion without Christ.

Application
Political and religious organizations that pawn off the idea of world peace will delude the world at the beginning of the Day of the Lord. They will attempt to disarm the world. Man left to human nature in the raw will reap the pain of that fantasy.

World peace has always been the pipe dream of man without God. There is no true peace without peace with God. Legislation cannot change the heart of man. The only way to change the world is to change the heart of man. Any other approach is an illusion.

The delusion of world-peace is the great apostasy throughout the world at the beginning of the Tribulation period. There will be an attempt not only to disarm people by state and nationally but there will be an attempt to disarm people worldwide. People will utter maudlin platitudes about peace. There is no peace apart from the person of Christ.

"For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, Saying, 'Peace, peace!' When there is no peace" (Jeremiah 8:11).

then sudden destruction comes upon them,

"Destruction" means come to ruin. This is a state of utter ruin but not annihilation, a loss of all that humans think makes life worthwhile. It is not destruction of being but of well-being.

Destruction ruins peace and safety. In our verse and in 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Paul uses "destruction" for ushering in the Day of the Lord. Destruction will come suddenly. God's wrath will come to the world when they least expect it.

Operating under the myth that they have come to a place of "peace and safety," humans will suddenly face "destruction." This destruction "comes upon" them. The words "come upon" mean to stand over, to set upon. The idea may be that this destruction is at hand but has not fully arrived. Destruction is near, imminent, approaching and impending.

as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.
Destruction will come upon the world like pangs of a pregnant woman giving birth. The idea is that this is great pain. Calamities will come upon men in Day of the Lord. When the Day of the Lord comes, the world will be pregnant with pain.

And they shall not escape
No one will be able to escape judgment in the Day of the Lord. The word "escape" means to flee out of a place. No one will escape the judgment of God. They will find no safety in flight. There is no place to go. There is no refuge from God.
The word "not" is strong in the Greek so to flee will be futile. There is no way to avoid God's judgment. They can no more escape destruction any more than a pregnant woman can escape the pain of delivering her child.
Jesus warned us that people would not listen to warnings of the Day of the Lord

(Matthew 24:34). We have a warning of prophetic pain in this passage. The coming Day of the Lord will be terrible for those without Christ.
Principle

Non-Christians live under the delusion that man by man's means will give them peace and safety.

Application
In the Tribulation, the world will be shocked at the instability of human answers. Humanism, not humanitarianism, is the idea that man can get along without God. Man can find answers in himself. He does not need God. "The idea of God is for the feeble-minded and for those who need a crutch to lean upon. We know how to control our destiny. We know how to solve the world's problems without God. We do not need Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. All we need to do is believe in ourselves." Man lulls himself to sleep with these delusions.

About the time that man comes to a place of complete confidence in himself, a fancied fool's paradise, then all his ideas for peace and safety come crashing down in complete destruction. They will face judgment of God and that without escape.

All of this stands in diametrically opposed to the Rapture. Christ will catch Christians up and away from this destruction (4:13-18).

1 Thessalonians 5:4
"But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief"


But you, brethren,

Christians stand in stark contrast to those without Christ [the "they" of verse 3]. The coming Day of the Lord will not surprise them.
are not in darkness,

Paul previously told the Thessalonians about the coming Day of the Lord so they were not in the dark about that day. God takes Christians into His confidence about future things. Unbelievers live in deluded darkness about that day.

“Not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” - clearly a promise relating to the coming “day of the Lord”
The word “darkness” is used 168 times, 51 of which are in the New Testament - from Isaiah to Malachi, the prophets dealing with the coming “day of the Lord,” the word appears 35 times.  It is used in the New Testament in the following ways:
 
  It refers to “outer darkness”

Matthew 8:12 But the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 22:13 Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
Matthew 25:30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
   
 It refers to “chains of darkness”

2 Peter 2:4 For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment;
   
 It is used of the “power of darkness”
Luke 22:53 When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.
Colossians 1:13 Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:
 
It refers to “works of darkness”
Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.
Ephesians 5:11 And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
     
It refers to those who “sit in darkness” -         
Luke 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
Isaiah 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
     
It speaks of those who “walk in darkness”
(obviously unbelievers)
John 8:12 Then spake Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.
1 John 1:6 If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
                                       
It refers to the coming “day of the Lord”
Amos 5:18 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.
Zephaniah 1:15 That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

Those who “walk in the light” are believers, and those who “walk in the darkness” are unbelievers;  but, believers are also challenged to not “walk in darkness.”
so that this Day

Christians will not participate in the beginning of the Day of the Lord, the Tribulation (5:9-10).

should overtake you as a thief
The word "overtake" properly signifies to lay hold of; then, to lay hold of so as to possess as one's own, to appropriate, apprehend, overtake. Jesus will have already raptured the church by the Day of the Lord (4:13-18). That is why this day will not overtake them.

"Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial [the seven year Tribulation] which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation 3:10).

Principle
God discriminates between what He does with believers and non-believers.

Application
God always makes a distinction between His people and the unbelievers. We cannot emphasize this distinction too strongly. God will translate true Believers to heaven at the Rapture. God will leave unbelievers on earth to go into the Day of the Lord.

The children of the Light have knowledge about the coming dark day. They are in the light about God's purpose.

The Day of the Lord is when the Lord returns to earth in great glory to judge the world. He will make things right in that day.

First, He will bring great judgment on the earth during the Tribulation.
Then, in His Second Coming, He will come back with the saints to establish His Kingdom on earth for 1,000 years. The Day of the Lord includes both the

Tribulation and Kingdom.
"…and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe, because our testimony among you was believed" (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10).

1 Thessalonians 5:5
"You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness"

You are all sons of light and sons of the day.
Notice that Paul does not say, "You are all sons in light and sons in the day “but” of the light" and "of the day." The issue is not where they are but who they are. It is not a matter of environment but of origin and source.

The Christian lives in the orb of light and day. Status as sons of light and of the day carries privilege.

"Sons of light" denotes that a person partakes of and possesses the character of his origin or derivation just as a child takes after his parent. God characterizes sons of light as to their nature. Christians are inevitably light. Sons of light are also sons of day when light rules supreme.

God deems "all" Christians as light, not just some.

We are not of the night nor of darkness
The coming Day of the Lord is a day of darkness, a day of wrath. Christians will not participate in that day.
Paul changes from "you" to "we." We were sons of the night and darkness.

Principle
Christians are inevitably light.

Application
Regardless of the state of the Christian, he is the personal responsibility of the Lord Jesus Christ. Every Christian is a personal representative of the Lord Jesus on earth. We are here for the purpose of glorifying Him through the witness of our life and lips. Every believer is in full-time service, a priest of the Lord Jesus. We are here to represent the Lord Jesus.

We might say, "I have failed Him and do not deserve to serve Him." However, we represent Him for good or bad. We remain His ambassadors here. We are lights in the world (Matthew 5:14) because He is the "light of the world" (John 1:1-9; 8:12; 9:5). Jesus was the light as long as He was on the earth.
"…that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world…" (Philippians 2:15).

Many Christians do not give out very much light. That is why the world is so dark.
"For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light…" (Ephesians 5:8).

God illumines Christians. Some of us give out more light than others. Christians are lighthouses that war against of the shoals of hell and shine light on eternal life.

1 Thessalonians 5:6
"Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober"
Paul now turns to the practical implications of the day of the Lord.

Therefore
Now we come to the punch line for prophecy. The word "therefore" draws an emphatic, inescapable conclusion to the doctrine of the teaching on the coming Day of the Lord. Paul draws the upshot of this truth to our personal lives. It is out of character for the believer to live in the night (5:5) because darkness is foreign to his character.

Paul now gives a number of directives to the believers in Thessalonica that the Holy Spirit intends for us today.

let us not sleep,
The first exhortation of how a believer should carry himself is to stay awake spiritually. "Sleep" here refers to carnal indifference to spiritual things by believers (Ephesians 5:14; 1 Thessalonians 5:6). This is a condition of insensibility to God's values.

as others do,
The "others" are those who do not know the Lord (4:13). They do not have a single ray of light from the Lord to beckon them on. They live their lives in hopeless despair and indulgence. They live as if Christ will never return and that they will never experience the awful day of wrath. Like the foolish virgins of Jesus' parable they sleep in spiritual unpreparedness (Matthew 25:5). They are indifferent due to stupor and sloth of sin.

Principle
Staying alert to prophecy enables Christians to stay spiritually alert.

Application
Carnal Christians are usually dull to prophetic things. They show little interest in things to come. However, the Bible has much to say about the correlation between prophecy and godly living. We cannot help but be sensitive to God's values when we anticipate what God is going to do in the future.

but let us watch
Paul sets "watch" in contrast to "sleep." "Watch" signifies not simply absence of spiritual sleep but a determination to keep awake spiritually. Instead of indifference to spiritual things, the believer should vigilantly stay alert to God's plan. Those who fail to watch will suffer loss (1 Corinthians 3:15; 9:27; 2 Corinthians 5:10). Like a sentinel, Christians are to be on alert. Determined wakefulness alerts us to the dangers and urgency of God's plan.
"Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave, be strong" (1 Corinthians 16:13).
"Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving…" (Colossians 4:2).

Principle
Determination to stay on top of prophecy will impact our spiritual lives.

Application
The antithesis to spiritual stupor is a spiritual determination to stay in tune with God's plan for the future. Christians should be fully awake to the dulling effects of immorality, indulgence, carnality, corruption and covetousness of a dying, God-defying age. They refuse to succumb to the opiate of materialism.
"Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour" (1 Peter 5:8).

and be sober
Spiritual apathy to God's program for the future will bring spiritual instability. The idea of "sober" is to be free from excess and imprudence. This well-balanced and self-controlled person is circumspect about God's viewpoint on life. A sober person refrains from carnality. When it comes to spiritual things, a believer must be in control of his thought processes and freedom from irrational thinking. Self-control is at the core of spiritual strength. Christians need to know how to
restrain and moderate themselves.

"But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry" (2 Timothy 4:5).

Christians should never lose sight of God's prophetic program but should live in the light of the reality of what God is doing in the world. Satanic movements and influences do not seduce a sober-oriented believer.

Spiritual poise refuses to be rattled by an unsteady age fast getting out of control. This is the sane perspective of those not clouded by scholarly rationalism, theological compromise or worldly orthodoxy. Many Christians today buy into the world system. They believe they can fulfil themselves by self-indulgence.

Principle
Spiritual-minded believers maintain a sane viewpoint on life.

Application
Pseudo security of spiritual sloth will put us in danger. Be on guard against spiritual indifference. A believer who has the viewpoint of God on prophecy has a sane outlook on the future. He knows that God has a plan. He knows everything is in control.

God expects believers to behave in keeping with their prerogatives and status as Christians. God gives to us special revelation about the Rapture and the Day of the Lord in the Bible. Prophecy is not for the carnal or curious. All prophecy has a practical, spiritual lesson to teach.

1 Thessalonians 5:7
"For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night"
Watching God's prophetic program is no mysterious or obscure truth (5:6). It is profound because it is so simple. As a universal principle, it is evident in the everyday life of men as we seen in this verse.

For those who sleep, sleep at night,
The sleepers here are those without Christ. Sleeping by day was a sign of great laziness in the first century. Non-Christians are night people. They live in the dark.
and those who get drunk are drunk at night

Both sleepers and drunkards operate in the night because of shame. They are people of the dark.

Christians are people of the day, not night people. Our behaviour bears the light of day. Therefore, the Christian must stay alert to God's program. The Christian anticipates what God will do in the Rapture and the Day of the Lord.

Principle
Believers must orient to God's prophetic program.

Application
Non-Christians have a commonality. They are night people. Operating in the night is a natural analogy to parallel spiritual truth. Only with the exception of those who throw away all decency to the winds choose to carouse by daylight (2 Peter 2:13). Those without Christ are nightlife people. They may not actually go to all the parties but their hearts do.

Night people will enter the Day of the Lord, a day of darkness. The church will not go into that day. The believer must orient to his own dispensation, a day of light. He expects the Rapture and the coming Day of the Lord. The very fact that the Christian is of the day, in the nature of the case, compels him to be sober, to maintain a cool and collected attitude so that he stands on guard in a wicked world.

1 Thessalonians 5:8
"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"

Paul now introduces the metaphor of the armor of a soldier to establish the believer's spiritual armor (Romans 13:12; Ephesians 6:10-18; 1 Timothy 6:12; 2 Timothy 2:3-4; 4:7).

But let us who are of the day be sober,

Paul appeals to the Thessalonians on the basis that they are "of the day.” Christians live according to the norms of the Christian day, not the Devil's night.
The idea of "sober" here refers spiritual stability. Paul repeats this idea for emphasis (5:6), not for padding. Being of the day is not enough for Christians to withstand darkness. They must understand the importance of having a cool and collected attitude toward temptation. Being "sober" has nothing to do with being gloomy and sad. There is nothing in the Bible against humor.
putting on

Christians must don their spiritual armor. The words "putting on" are the normal words for attiring oneself with clothes. If we are going to institute stability into our lives, we must put on our spiritual armor. God will not do this for us. This is
our responsibility.

the breastplate of faith and love,

Paul argues for putting on two pieces of armor in particular: the breastplate and helmet. The "breastplate" consists of two parts in front and back, that protect the body on both sides, from the neck to the middle of the body. This piece of armor protects the chest against blows and arrows. In ancient times the breastplate covered a soldier's vital organs.

The modern-day equivalent is the bulletproof vest.

Paul's breastplate has two features: faith and love. "Faith" and "love" may allude to the two parts of the breastplate. The first piece of armor is the faith that protects the affections or heart. Unbelief strikes hardest at the heart, so Paul mentions it first. The downfall of those without Christ is that they "believed not the truth" (2 Thessalonians 2:12). If we live by faith, this will keep us "sober" -- spiritually stable in spiritual war. Faith will enable us to stand against those who would undermine what we believe.

The other side of the breastplate is love. God pronounces a curse on those without Christ, because they love not the Lord (1 Corinthians 16:22). Believers, on the other hand, have a very special reward because they love Christ's appearing (2 Timothy 4:8). A heart full of love will arm us against broken relationships. It will stabilize relationships and promote accountability, thus reducing the chances that people will steer into apostasy.

"And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:11-12).

Principle
God provides two pieces of spiritual armor to protect us vertically and horizontally.

Application
Faith and love protect believers against vertical problems and horizontal problems. Faith protects our ability to trust God when we're in difficulty. Love protects our relationships. If we trust God, we will love people. These two graces will enable us to fortify ourselves in the Christian life. Faith and love are our armor against satanic influences.

and as a helmet the hope of salvation
The protective armor for the head is the "helmet." This helmet is the hope of salvation. The lost have no such covering. Our hope is in the coming of the Lord Jesus at the Rapture for the church.

Those without Christ have no hope, but believers look forward with anticipation to the blessed hope, the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ (Titus 2:13). This is the hope directed to ultimate salvation.
"
Hope" does not mean that Christians simply yearn for eternal life. The Greek word "hope" does not carry the same meaning as the English. In English the word has the idea of a wish as in, "I hope it does not rain tomorrow for our picnic."
The Greek word incorporates the idea of confidence in God's promise.
"…in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began…" (Titus 1:2).

"…looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ…" (Titus 2:13).

"…that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life" (Titus 3:7).

"Salvation" here is that future deliverance for which believers hope at the coming of the Lord Jesus in the Rapture. Negatively, it means they will be rescued from the wrath of the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 5:9; 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9). Positively, it means the perfect redemption of their physical body (Romans 8:23) and their sanctification and glorification (1 John 3:2).

The hope of salvation in the future is the best safeguard for the here and now. No team ever gave up, no matter how bad the reverses, if they were confident of victory in the end. The hope of salvation is an indication of our eternal security in Christ.

"And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…" (Ephesians 6:17).

God links these three pre-eminent graces of faith, hope and love in a number of places in the New Testament. They are a blessed trilogy (1 Thessalonians 1:3; 1 Corinthians 13:13).

Principle
Christians must give strict attention to donning themselves with the armor of faith, hope and love if they're going to have spiritual stability.

Application
Both the breastplate and the helmet are defensive equipment. A Christian needs defensive equipment as well as offensive. To go to spiritual war without defense is to incur deep spiritual trouble. God designed a specific armor for spiritual battle (Ephesians 6:11). This is God's equipment but it is our responsibility to put on the gear.

The breastplate and helmet protect against harm to vital areas of the human body. Both the head and heart need protection against the assault of the enemy. That is why Christians must give strict attention to faith, love and hope.
Believers are not ignorant of prophetic issues. They understand their hope in Christ. They are confident about their marvelous future with the Lord. Nothing or no one can destroy that. If believers arm themselves in anticipation of spiritual war, they will prepare themselves for any eventuality.

1 Thessalonians 5:9
"For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ…"

For
Paul gives both a negative and a positive reason as a basis for the hope of salvation (5:8).

God did not appoint us to wrath,
First, the negative reason. Paul here alludes to God's sovereign placing of the church in a situation whereby she will not go through the Tribulation [the Day of the Lord].

"…and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come" (1 Thessalonians 1:10).

"Because you have kept “My” command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth" (Revelation 3:10).

God constructed the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, chronologically. We can decipher the plain strokes of prophecy by studying the argument of the entire book. First, Revelation deals with the church, then the Tribulation, the Second Advent, the Millennium and finally the eternal state. Almost two-thirds of the book expounds the tribulation period.
but to obtain salvation

Secondly and positively, God appoints believers to "obtain salvation." The word "obtain" literally means to make around. The idea is the obtaining of something in its completeness. God obtained salvation in its completeness for us. It is our possession because God did everything to acquired it (Ephesians 1:14; 1 Peter 2:9). Because God acquired it, it is a complete and full salvation. He keeps it safe. Note that the word is "obtain" and not "attain" salvation. We can do nothing to attain salvation. We rest on the finished work of Christ for that. Salvation is a gift with no strings attached. We cannot work for our salvation in order to merit brownie points with God.

through our Lord Jesus Christ

Jesus merited our salvation, not us. We owe our salvation to Him. We cannot acquire salvation for ourselves. Jesus died on our behalf. His work on the cross is the means of our salvation. Jesus is the only way of salvation. No one can do business with God apart from the Lord Jesus Christ.
"Jesus said to him, 'I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me'" (John 14:6).

"For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time…" (1 Timothy 2:5-6).

Satan invents religious works to appeal to the pride of people. People can do nothing to work for salvation. Religious works are a satanic imitation of salvation. This is difficult for most people to swallow, because they think that people must pay the price for eternal life. All of this is to blind people to the true way to Heaven -- believing in the death of Christ on the cross for our sins. Salvation is free, but not cheap. It cost the Lord Jesus His life on the cross.

Principle
God makes appointments for us in His eternal calendar.

Application
There are certain divine appointments that God ordains for every believer. There are appointments God does not want us to keep. One of them is the Tribulation. Christians in the church not will go through the Tribulation. God will rapture them first.

God does appoint trial for the believer's life. Sometimes He does this for remedial reasons. He does this to build our faith, but not for punishment. At other times, He does this for many other reasons such as glorifying Himself, building our character, witnessing to those without Christ and many other reasons.

"For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake…" (Philippians 1:29).

1 Thessalonians 5:10
"…who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him"

The foundation of our assurance before God is the person and work of Christ.
who died for us,

The phrase "who died for us" modifies "through our Lord Jesus Christ" of the previous verse. Paul points to the sweeping scope of salvation we have in Christ.
The word "for" in the phrase "for us" means in our behalf. Jesus died in our behalf on the cross. He suffered all that needs to be suffered for our sins.
that whether we wake or sleep,

The idea of "wake or sleep" in this context refers to spiritual vigilance versus spiritual softness (1 Thessalonians 5:6, 7) rather than to life and death.
we should live together with Him
I
t makes no difference whether we are spiritual or carnal, the Lord will rapture us into His presence. This argues against the partial rapture theory that claims that God will translate only the spiritual at the Rapture. The Rapture will shock some carnal Christians living in sin, as God translates them to Heaven right in the act of
their sin.

Principle
We owe our salvation exclusively to the death of Christ on the cross.

Application
God will not judge us, because He has already judged Christ for our sins. We owe our salvation exclusively to the work of Christ on the cross. Christians will never face the judgment of God.

"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.”Most assuredly, I say to you, the hour is coming, and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear will live" (John 5:24-25).

"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:1).

1 Thessalonians 5:11
"Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing"
Therefore

Paul appeals to the Thessalonians to comfort and edify one another because of the truths in verses one through eleven.

Comfort each other
Christians are to care for the pain of other Christians (1 Thessalonians 4:18). God comforts us so that we might comfort others. This is a clear responsibility for every Christian.

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God" (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

As Christians see the rapture coming, they are to exhort one another even more.
"…not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

 “Wherefore” - Greek: dio
           
Two things should characterize our relationships as believers with one another in the light of the rapture and the promise of our rescue from the coming wrath of God:

We should constantly encourage one another Greek: parakaleite:
Hebrews 10:24-25
“And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good                            works: 25 Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the                       manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the                            more, as ye see the day approaching”.
We should constantly edify one another
The opposite of being critical and tearing a person down - Greek: oikodomeite
This Greek word means to build.

Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

1 Corinthians 8:1 Now as touching things offered unto idols, we know that we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffeth up, but charity edifieth.

Principle
A responsibility of every Christian is to encourage other Christians.
Application

Many Christians come to church discouraged and defeated. Some come disenchanted about life. Our warm encouragement might be just what they need that day. When the pastor closes in prayer, do you charge for the nearest door or do you head for people who need encouragement?

The blessing of the Rapture is for every believer. This is a common blessing that all can share. This is a basis for our mutual edification. Because of this hope, we Believers develop a strong sense of comfort.
F
uture Prophetic Events in Order of their happening.
The Rapture of the Body of Christ
The Revelation of the Anti-Christ
The Great Tribulation
The Battle of Armageddon
The Second Coming of Christ
The Binding of Satan, judging of nations.
The Millennial Kingdom of Christ
The Final Rebellion against God
The Great White Throne Judgment
The New Heavens and Earth

When will the Rapture occur in time?
1. Scripture presents it as the next prophetic event and as being imminent.
2. There is no teaching or prophecy in the Bible of any intervening event before the Rapture.
   
 John 14:3. Christ in the Upper Room just before His death, told His disciples that He would  

Leave and "go prepare a place for you."
He then promised to return for He said "I come again, to receive you unto myself that where I am, there ye may be also."
Three events are mentioned.
(1) He would leave
(2) He will prepare a place
(3) He will return

Contrast the Rapture with the Second Coming as recorded in Matthew
24:15-22 and note the differences.
Titus 2:13. The eminency of the Rapture is seen in that even in Paul's day, he instructed Titus to be "looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ.
1 John 3:1-3. "And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Believers who have the "hope" (sure hope) of the promise of the return of Christ keeps himself pure, waiting for the event, being ready to go at all times.

Philippians 3:20-21. Paul states our "conversation," which means "citizenship" is in heaven, and we are looking forward to the time when we will being going home. Our "vile body," or "body of humiliation will be changed like unto His (Jesus's) glorious body.

Phil. 4:5. "Let your moderation be know unto all men. The Lord is at hand." Moderation doesn't mean we only sin a little and is not a reference to drinking. It literally means "Let your forbearance or gentleness be evident at times", in readiness for Christ's coming for His Bride.
James 5:8. "Be ye also patient, stablish your hearts: for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh."

I John 2:28. "And now, little children abide in him; that when he shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before him at his coming."
Note: In each of the above Scriptures the writer presents the coming of Christ for the church as being at any time or imminent! Also note that the imminent return of Christ is a strong reason to keep oneself from sin and unspotted before the world. In no Scripture in the New Testament, which is addressed to the Christians of the church age, are they told to look for signs which will indicate the Rapture is near. In 2018 we gave a face lift to the movie Future Survival with Chuck Smith. From Adam to 1976 the population on earth was 4 billion people. 40 years later we discovered the population was now nearly 8 billion with a dwindling food supply. So how close are we to the second coming? And the Rapture is first!

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