Chapter # 5 Paragraph # 1 Study # 2
Thesis: The Day of the Lord will commence unexpectedly and inescapably.
Introduction: In our last study we noted that Paul told the Thessalonians that they should not be attempting to figure out the "when?" issue of The Rapture. They, he said, knew "perfectly" that the Day of the Lord would come as a thief in the night. This means that The Rapture is, in some way(s), connected to the coming of the Day of the Lord. But his subject is "times" and "seasons"; i.e., multiple events with multiple points in history when they will occur. Thus, one question we face is whether, or not, The Rapture is a part of the Day of the Lord, or an event that is outside of that framework. This makes at least this difference: if The Rapture is a part of the Day of the Lord, it is not as "imminent" as we have thought; and if it is not, our grasp of "imminence" remains but with the strong implication that The Rapture occurs closely to the timing of and, perhaps, is one of the catalysts for, the coming of the Day of the Lord. This latter scenario is probable simply because Paul is emphatic in our paragraph about the Day of the Lord not being something to which the Thessalonians are to be subject.
Thus, our study this evening will be a study of Paul's focus upon the "thief"-like character of the Day of the Lord and we will see what connections that has to The Rapture as our hope.
January 18, 2015
- I. Paul's Explanation of His "Thief" Thesis.
- A. There are certain ones known as the "they" who will be "saying" something that is completely false.
- 1. This "they" is unspecified by Paul in any direct statement.
- a. The reason the identity of this "they" is important is that there are different biblical prophetic scenarios that argue for different understandings of those who are saying what they are prophesied in this text to say.
- 1) Daniel 9 reveals a covenant between Israel and the Antichrist that argues for some kind of pressure to make such a covenant; something not likely to happen if the Jews are saying "peace and safety".
- 2) Ezekiel 38-39 reveals a scenario wherein both Russia and the Islamic nations will be decimated by God on the mountains of Israel; a scenario that would easily lead to the world saying "peace and safety".
- b. Technically, it could be "the Jews" since all of the revelation regarding the Day of the Lord is contained in their sacred writings.
- c. However, it could also be "the inhabitants of the world" since Paul is writing about a Day which has direct connections to the Thessalonians, many of whom (Acts 17:4 - "a great multitude of God-fearing Greeks) were Gentiles.
- d. When we compare the Old Testament revelations regarding the Day of the Lord to the New Testament revelations regarding the same, we come to the conclusion that the entire world is involved: this leads to the conclusion that Paul's "they" is the inhabitants of the world (a conclusion that argues for the "peace and safety" notion that will follow the decimation of the communists and muslims as entities that could create an absence of peace and safety.
- 2. That they are "saying" what they are saying means that it is an article of "faith".
- B. What they are saying is completely false.
- 1. What they are saying is that there are no visible indications of any nations or groups that can disturb their "peace" and/or "safety".
- a. This implies that both "peace" and "safety" have been missing for long enough for people to long for them.
- b. This also implies a kind of "power vacuum" in the "balances of power" that had been in place when both "peace" and "safety" did not exist.
- c. Thus, a "world-wide power" that appears to be thoroughly "peaceful" must be dominant and the formerly powerful "disturbers of the peace" must be absent the scene.
- 2. What they do not realize is that this "era" of "peace" and "safety" is a significant illusion and that illusion will be destroyed by "unexpected destruction".
- a. The AV's "sudden" destruction is misleading; the word means "unexpected" (Luke 21:34).
- b. This is the heart of the "thief" motif: it is not "sudden", but it is totally unexpected and there have been no provisions made for its potentiality (Matthew 24:43).
- c. Additionally, the "destruction" is ultimately physical death and spiritual rejection by God, but these realities will come incrementally.
- C. What is going to happen is inescapable.
- 1. The Day of the Lord is, at least initially, not something to look forward to in any sense.
- 2. The "inescapability" factor is not absolutely "all inclusive".
- a. The Bible says that some will "endure to the end and be saved".
- b. But Jesus said that no one could see or enter His kingdom if they were not born again.
- II. Paul's Point.
- A. The Rapture is "off the table" in terms of any revelation regarding its "timing".
- B. The Day of the Lord is also "off the table" in terms of any ability of men to read the signs of the times with any degree of accuracy.
- C. Those involved in The Rapture will not even be on the scene to "say" "peace and safety".