Author: Ron Graham
The Second Coming
—in 1st Thessalonians
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
1Thessalonians 4:13 to 5:11
¶“13We 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. 14For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.”(1Thessalonians 4:13-14).
¶“15For 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. 16For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with God's trumpet sounding. First the dead in Christ will rise, 17then we who still remain alive 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. 18Therefore comfort one another with these words.” (1Thessalonians 4:15-18).
¶“1But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that anything be written to you. 2For you yourselves know well that the day of the Lord comes like a thief in the night. 3For 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.” (1Thessalonians 5:1-3).
¶“4But you, brethren, aren't in darkness, that the day should overtake you like a thief. 5You are all children of light, and children of the day. We don't belong to the night, nor to darkness, 6so then let's not sleep, as the rest do, but let's watch and be sober. 7For those who sleep, sleep in the night, and those who are drunk are drunk in the night.” (1Thessalonians 5:4-7).
¶“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. 9 For God didn't appoint us to wrath, but to the obtaining of 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 exhort one another, and build each other up, even as you also do.” (1Thessalonians 5:8-11).
¶“5Your pain is evidence of God’s righteous judgment. In the end, you will be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God for which you suffer. 6God is just: He will pay back trouble to those who trouble you. 7He will give relief to you and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels.” (2Thessalonians 1:5-7).
¶“8The Lord Jesus will punish those who do not know him, and do not obey his gospel. 9They will be punished with everlasting destruction and shut out from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might. 10This will happen 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” (2Thessalonians 1:8-10).
The Main Points
1. Death is not a hopeless state
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).
2. Dead and living saints will ascend together
"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).
3. Not a silent or secret coming
"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).
4. None can know or guess the time
"The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (1Thessalonians 5:2,4).
5. He will come when conditions are normal
"While they are saying, 'Peace and safety'..." (1Thessalonians 5:3; 2Peter 3:3-4).
6. We must all keep ourselves prepared
"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).
7. A day of both wrath and salvation
"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).
8. A doctrine of comfort to Christians
"Therefore comfort one another with these words" (1Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11).
A Thief in the Night
"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.
1. Jesus WON'T take what doesn't belong to him
“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.”
2. He WON'T come in secret
“...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).
3. He WON'T come without authority
“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?
4. He WILL come unexpectedly.
“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.