Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Thessalonians Words ~ Day 17: Day

Day 17: Day

Yesterday we looked at the questions and concerns the young Thessalonian Christ followers had/ regarding those who died in Christ before the Lord's Second Coming. Today we look at another concern they had. It also had to do with the Second Coming of Christ, but now it turns to the fate of those in Christ who are living when He returns.

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." 1 Thessalonians 5:1-5
The phrase "the day of the Lord" comes from the Old Testament prophets and would have been a part of Paul's teaching, just as it was a part of Jesus' teaching. In the Old Testament the prophets spoke of a day that would come that would bring destruction.
"Alas for that day!
    For the day of the Lord is near;
    it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
The sun will be turned to darkness
    and the moon to blood
    before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord.
And everyone who calls
    on the name of the Lord will be saved." Joel 1:15; 2:31-32
"Woe to you who long
    for the day of the Lord!
Why do you long for the day of the Lord?
    That day will be darkness, not light.
It will be as though a man fled from a lion
    only to meet a bear,
as though he entered his house
    and rested his hand on the wall
    only to have a snake bite him.
Will not the day of the Lord be darkness, not light—
    pitch-dark, without a ray of brightness?" Amos 5:18-20
Paul continued that teaching in his letters, for example the passage below in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
"By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as a wise builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should build with care. For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. If anyone builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, their work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each person’s work. If what has been built survives, the builder will receive a reward. If it is burned up, the builder will suffer loss but yet will be saved—even though only as one escaping through the flames."
The day of the Lord will be a day of judgement. Christ first came as a suffering servant and Savior. He will return as Judge and Lord. Paul describes the Lord's judgement in his second letter to the Thessalonians:
"All this is evidence that God’s judgment is right, and as a result you will be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are suffering. God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels. He will punish those who do not know God and do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might on the day he comes to be glorified in his holy people and to be marveled at among all those who have believed. This includes you, because you believed our testimony to you." 2 TH 1:5-10
It is apparent that the Thessalonians were not overly concerned with trying to figure out exactly when the Lord would return, a topic even the people Jesus Himself taught seemed to be concerned with. (read Matthew 24:36-41 for how Jesus explained that we do not need to know the when it will happen). Paul points out  in 5:1-3 that they know the day of the Lord will come suddenly and unexpectedly. Like the metaphor of a pregnant woman, we know for certain the day will come, the exact day will, however, come upon us suddenly.
Paul goes on to reassure the Thessalonians that, though they may not know the exact time of Christ's return, His return will not be unexpected, catching them unaware or unprepared. For they are people of the light and the day, not of darkness. Light is often used in the Bible as a metaphor for the righteous people of God who live in the light of His revelation and grace.
"But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light." 1 Peter 2:9
Those who are people of the light need not fear the day of the Lord for they have received His salvation (1 TH 5:9-10). Paul's call to the Thessalonians has laid a foundation for them to continually abound in living a holy life, this is their preparation for the coming day of the Lord. His words throughout his letters regarding the day of the Lord are meant to encourage them, as well as for them to use his teaching to encourage each other (1 TH 4:18 and 5:11).

Today we look at how to establish the context of a word, verse, or book. My document is an overview of the types of ways we can determine context and the types of context we can look at. Head over to the Bible Study Techniques page and locate the document How to Determine Context.

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