Welcome to a new week of study, Bible lovers! If you are still on cloud 9 concerning the rapture, hold your spot right there because we’re not coming down yet! We are sailing out of chapter 4 into chapter 5 of 1 Thessalonians, though, so open your Bible and read that chapter.
One of the most exciting things about being a Christian is knowing that Jesus could come for us at literally any moment! There is not a single prophecy that must be fulfilled before He draws us to Himself in the clouds! However, the tribulation that follows soon after the rapture has signs flashing all around us. That is how we know the time is near.
Let’s talk for a moment about what Scripture has to say about the rapture. Keep a marker here in 1 Thessalonians 5, but flip back a few books in the New Testament and read Matthew 24:36, Matthew 25:13 and Mark 13:32. Jesus’s words are clear and straight forward. What is the message?
Indeed, no one knows the day or the hour of the rapture, that time when Christ descends from heaven and snatches us up from this earth to meet Him in the air. (“Rapture” is a Latin word, meaning “to seize, to quickly snatch away.” The word in the original language, Greek, is harpazo, and means the exact same thing.) Anyone who says they know when the rapture will occur is wrong, and is a false teacher! Don’t believe anyone who tells you they know the day or hour of His return, because Jesus Himself doesn’t even know! (Read the verses again if you missed that part!) However, go back to 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2 and re-read those verses. Be careful here, because Paul is not saying we know the day or the hour, but what does he say? Why do you think he emphatically says, “For you yourselves know perfectly…,” or “For you yourselves know full well….”
Mark 13:33 tells us to take heed, watch and pray because we don’t know when the time is. Could it be that Paul is following up on that idea to tell us that, as we take heed, watch and pray, there is no need for any other instruction? If we are living our lives heeding God’s Word, watching for His coming and praying faithfully, that day that sneaks up on others will not be a surprise to us because we’re ready every single day! 1 Thessalonians 5:4 reiterates that. Stop to meditate on that verse. What do you think it means?
Now, consider the world around us. Let’s think, even, of other Christians you know. As a whole, do you think the world will be caught by surprise at Jesus’s coming? Absolutely. Very few are heeding, watching and praying. Jesus’s parable of the 10 virgins (Matthew 25:1-13) illustrates that very thing. Only 5 who kept their lamps lit and watched diligently for the arrival of the Bridegroom saw His coming and went into the wedding feast with Him. Are you heeding? Are you watching? Are you praying? The Spirit-filled Christian will be aware of the time and season, though not the day and hour. We will keep our lamps lit. (Oil in lamps is symbolic of the Holy Spirit’s presence in us. Are you filled?) We will not be caught off guard.
Verses 3-5 of 1 Thessalonians 5 teach us to walk in the light. Let’s begin in verse 5 and work backward through those 3 verses.
- In verse 5, how are Spirit-filled Christians described?
- What do you think it means to be children of light?
- Read verse 4 carefully. Who is Paul addressing in this passage?
- “Brothers” is a generic term here, and means sisters as well! These are brothers and sisters in Christ.
- Now, notice the contrast in pronouns between verse 3 and verses 4-5. Who is “them” and “they” in verse 3? Who is “you, we, us” in verses 4-5?
There is a clear distinction! Christ followers are children of the light/day, while others are children of darkness, being lured in by promises of “peace and security.” That is the ploy of the Antichrist and his minions, even now, who are battling for our ears, then our emotions, then our minds! We yearn for things such as peace, security and a better way of life. It tugs at our heartstrings!
Now, think of what we hear in the news today. One lie, after another, after another. Promises broken, ungodly ideas about a better way of life never realized, and the hope that things on this earth will get better if we only do XYZ. Sadly, there are those who believe those lies and multitudes are being led astray. In some ways, it is eerily reminiscent of what occurred in Nazi Germany in the 1930’s, when Hitler and his killing machine commanded the airwaves, told enough lies for a long enough period of time, that people began to believe them. Deception abounded and over 6 million Jews lost their lives, while millions of European citizens did absolutely nothing, having been brainwashed by a false narrative. Only a very few saw through the evil and attempted to do something about the atrocities.
Rest assured, atrocities will make a comeback. How many will see through the deception this time?
Often, signs of the times are likened to birth pains of a pregnant woman. Jesus, in Matthew 24, tells His disciples what can be expected in the last days, and in verse 8, He states clearly that the signs He describes are merely the beginning of birth pains.
Here is the reality: the world is pregnant with sin! The world carries pain and judgment within. In some ways, the “pregnant woman” is not showing, while in other ways, she is showing fully. In actuality, if one woman is only 4 weeks pregnant and another is 39 weeks pregnant, which woman is more pregnant? They are both equally pregnant, since one cannot be “a little bit” pregnant! It’s just that one is further along and showing more than another. That is how the world is circumstantially. Sin may not always be showing, but it is there nonetheless. The world is pregnant with sin.
Let’s conclude today’s lesson by tying the idea of a sinful world with the truth of Galatians 6:7-10.
- Verses 7-8 speak to the idea that sin that doesn’t “show” is sin nonetheless. Earlier in our study, we talked about Lies, Deception and Delusion. What does verse 7 have to say about that?
- What happens to the person who sows bad seed?
- What is Paul’s encouragement to believers in verse 9?
- Have you become discouraged or weary? If so, please know the God of your salvation is not mocked and your labor will not be in vain.
- How does verse 10 instruct us?
- Who is the household of faith?
- What is one good thing you will do in the next day or two to encourage another believer? Go do that thing!
Together, we’re learning how to live in these difficult and challenging days! Aren’t you glad God’s Word contains answers! Daily, I long for God’s Word, His instruction and His encouragement. How about you? My earnest prayer is that you are finding exactly that as you study along with us. We’re on a journey together, and journeys into God’s Word fill that longing! I’m glad you’re here!
Stick with us because Paul has more vital instruction as we continue in 1 Thessalonians 5 tomorrow. See you then!