Author: Ron Graham
In 1Thessalonians 4:13 to 5:11, Paul teaches about the second coming of Christ. We also include a passage in 2Thessalonians 1:5-10
4:13 But we don't want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, so that you don't grieve like the others who have no hope. 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.
4:15 For this we tell you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left to the coming of the Lord, will in no way precede those who have fallen asleep. 4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God's trumpet. The dead in Christ will rise first, 4:17 then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air. So we will be with the Lord forever. 4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.
5:1 But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that anything be written to you. 5:2 For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. 5:3 For when they are saying, “Peace and safety”, then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape.
5:4 But you, brethren, aren't in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief. 5:5 You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don't belong to the night, nor to darkness, 5:6 so then let's not sleep, as the rest do, but let's watch and be sober. 5:7 For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night.
5:8 But let us, since we belong to the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and, for a helmet, the hope of salvation. 5:9 For God didn't appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 5:10 who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. 5:11 Therefore exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do.
1:5 This is an obvious sign of the righteous judgment of God, to the end that you may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which you also suffer. 1:6 Since it is a righteous thing with God to repay affliction to those who afflict you, 1:7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted with us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, 1:8 giving vengeance to those who don't know God, and to those who don't obey the Good News of our Lord Jesus, 1:9 who will pay the penalty: eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 1:10 when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed in that day (because our testimony to you was believed).
Regarding Christians who have died, Paul does not want people to "grieve as do the rest who have no hope" because "God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep" (1Thessalonians 4:13-14).
"We who are alive and remain at his coming shall not precede those who have fallen asleep. First the dead in Christ shall rise, then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them" (1Thessalonians 4:15-17).
"For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God in the clouds" (1Thessalonians 4:16-17).
"The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (1Thessalonians 5:2,4).
"While they are saying, 'Peace and safety'..." (1Thessalonians 5:3; 2Peter 3:3-4).
"You brethren, are not in darkness that the day should overtake you as a thief, let us be alert and be sober" (1Thessalonians 5:4-6).
"Sudden destruction will come upon them" (1Thessalonians 5:3).
"God has not destined us for wrath, but salvation" (1Thessalonians 5:9).
"...vengeance to those who don't know God, and to those who don't obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus, who will pay the penalty, eternal destruction from the face of the Lord and from the glory of his might, when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed in that day" (2Thessalonians 1:5-10).
"Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11).
"The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night"
Christ’s coming is not like a thief in every way, but only in one respect. Let's look at how Jesus WON'T come like a thief, then we will see in what way he WILL come like a thief.
“But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: ‘The Lord knows those who are his’, and, ‘Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.’ ” (2Timothy 2:19).
“For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.”
“Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which he purchased; with his own blood.”
“...when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels in flaming fire, giving vengeance to those who don't know God, and to those who don't obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus... when he comes to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired among all those who have believed in that day” (2Thessalonians 1:7-10).
“But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed” (2Peter 3:10).
“Then comes the end, when he [Jesus] delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power” (1Corinthians 15:24).
“At the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth” (Philippians 2:10).
So we have seen three ways in which Jesus WON'T come like a thief. How then WILL he come like a thief?
“Understand this: If a homeowner knew exactly when a burglar was coming, he would not permit his house to be broken into. You also must be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.”
That's the way Christ’s coming is like a thief coming in the night.