We are living in the last days! The rapture — when Jesus returns for His born-again believers — could happen any day now! But are you living like it’s the last days? Are you living like the Thessalonians back in the 1st century? Have you gotten lazy thinking that it’s no use to work because Jesus could come at any minute? Why bother? That’s exactly what Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica.
A Look into the Future
First let’s look at a few other scripture verses that explain what the rapture is. Jesus told us…
“Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. 2 There is more than enough room in my Father’s home [mansion]. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? 3 When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. 4 And you know the way to where I am going.”John 14:1-4 NLT
Let’s go over the important points Jesus is making here…
- Jesus is preparing a place for His believers in God’s mansion in Heaven!
- When everything is ready… When? When everything is ready. It’s God’s timing.
- Jesus will come and get us so we can be where He is. Where is He? In Heaven.
20 One day the Pharisees asked Jesus, “When will the Kingdom of God come?”
Jesus replied, “The Kingdom of God can’t be detected by visible signs. 21 You won’t be able to say, ‘Here it is!’ or ‘It’s over there!’ For the Kingdom of God is already among you.”
22 Then he said to his disciples, “The time is coming when you will long to see the day when the Son of Man returns, but you won’t see it. 23 People will tell you, ‘Look, there is the Son of Man,’ or ‘Here he is,’ but don’t go out and follow them. 24 For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one end to the other, so it will be on the day when the Son of Man comes. 25 But first the Son of Man must suffer terribly and be rejected by this generation.
26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day [before the flood]. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.
28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot [Sodom and Gomorrah]. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building— 29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed. 31 On that day a person out on the deck of a roof must not go down into the house to pack. A person out in the field must not return home. 32 Remember what happened to Lot’s wife! 33 If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it. 34 That night two people will be asleep in one bed; one will be taken, the other left. 35 Two women will be grinding flour together at the mill; one will be taken, the other left.”
37 “Where will this happen, Lord?” the disciples asked.
Jesus replied, “Just as the gathering of vultures shows there is a carcass nearby, so these signs indicate that the end is near.”Luke 17:20-37 NLT
Just to reiterate that there’s no way ANYONE can know when the rapture will happen, Jesus told us…
32 “However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven or the Son himself. Only the Father knows. 33 And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!Mark 13:32-33 NLT
Remember, God’s timing is perfect!
Back to the Thessalonians
So, some false teachers had gotten to the Thessalonians trying to convince them that Jesus had already come and they missed it. That’s why Paul had to explain in yesterday’s chapter to not worry about those that have died in Christ, because they would be raised first, then the living believers would be raised. Paul still had to explain when all this would happen so the Thessalonians would get back to work and stop their laziness.
1 Thessalonians 5
Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. 2 For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 3 When people are saying, “Everything is peaceful and secure,” then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman’s labor pains begin. And there will be no escape.
4 But you aren’t in the dark about these things, dear brothers and sisters, and you won’t be surprised when the day of the Lord comes like a thief. 5 For you are all children of the light and of the day; we don’t belong to darkness and night. 6 So be on your guard, not asleep like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. 7 Night is the time when people sleep and drinkers get drunk. 8 But let us who live in the light be clearheaded, protected by the armor of faith and love, and wearing as our helmet the confidence of our salvation.
9 For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger [wrath] on us. 10 Christ died for us so that, whether we are dead or alive when he returns, we can live with him forever. 11 So encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.
The Day of the Lord
The “Day of the Lord” is not a 24-hour day, but a time of judgement. This happens during the great tribulation which is foretold in the Book of Revelation. That’s why verse 9 is very important: “For God chose to save us through our Lord Jesus Christ, not to pour out his anger [wrath] on us.” Which is why the rapture has to happen BEFORE the 7-year tribulation. So His true believers will be in heaven with Him while the judgement and destruction of the earth is happening.
Paul’s Final Advice
12 Dear brothers and sisters, honor those who are your leaders in the Lord’s work. They work hard among you and give you spiritual guidance. 13 Show them great respect and wholehearted love because of their work. And live peacefully with each other.
14 Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.
15 See that no one pays back evil for evil, but always try to do good to each other and to all people.
16 Always be joyful. 17 Never stop praying. 18 Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.
19 Do not stifle the Holy Spirit. 20 Do not scoff at prophecies, 21 but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good. 22 Stay away from every kind of evil.
Paul’s Final Greetings
23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again. 24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.
25 Dear brothers and sisters, pray for us.
26 Greet all the brothers and sisters with a sacred kiss.
27 I command you in the name of the Lord to read this letter to all the brothers and sisters.
28 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.1 Thessalonians 5 NLT
There is a ton of valuable advice in these last few verses!
- Be on your guard. Stay sober and clear-headed.
- Wear as your helmet the confidence of your salvation. Are you confident of your salvation?
- Encourage each other and those who are timid.
- Live peacefully with each other.
- Warn those who are lazy. Many people right now are getting lazy because they’re on unemployment. They need to get back to work!
- Be patient.
- Don’t pay back evil for evil.
- Always be joyful.
- Never stop praying. That means to pray about everything. Nothing is too small or too big for God.
- Be thankful in all circumstances. IN all circumstances — not for all circumstances. Count your blessings. Start your prayers with gratitude.
- Don’t stifle the Holy Spirit! I did that for years not knowing His full power, strength and help. Call on Him for help, especially to discern what is the truth and what are false teachings.
- Don’t scoff at prophecies — test everything. Especially when preachers try to put a date and time on the rapture. God the Father is the only one who knows. However, it could be any day now!
- Hold on to what is good.
- Stay away from evil.
- Share the word.
I ask again, are you confident that you’re
going to heaven (not purgatory)?
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, this is what you have to do…
Jesus is coming back soon! Are you ready?
Soli Deo Gloria — To God Alone Be the Glory!