MP3: The Rapture Road Thru 1 Thessalonians 5
Hosts: Nathan Jones & Vic Batista
Since the first installment of The Truth Will Set You Free podcast series titled “The Rapture Road,” Pastor Vic Batista and Nathan Jones have been teaching through the Bible’s prophetic book of 1 Thessalonians in a verse-by-verse study. We will finish looking at the Apostle Paul’s letter with chapter five and find our comfort.
Comfort One Another
Vic Batista: In this “Rapture Road” series we have been reiterating again and again that believers in Jesus Christ in this Church Age are not going to have to live on this earth during the Tribulation. The Apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 4 explained just what the Rapture will be and how this event makes what we’ve been stating possible. Now let’s recap chapter four before we move into chapter five.
Nathan Jones: First Thessalonians 4, 1 Corinthians 15, John 4, as well as some other passages, all teach about the Rapture of the Church. “Rapture” is an anglicized word for the Latin rapio which was translated from the Greek harpazo meaning “caught up,” as found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. There Paul uses the term “caught-up” signifying that one day suddenly the Church will be caught up to meet Jesus in the clouds and there we will be with the Lord forever. Jesus will rapture believers in Christ off this earth before the most terrible time will befall the world, called the Tribulation. That time of judgment covers seven years of the worse time period in all of human history. Exactly 21 of God’s judgments will befall humanity to punish the world for its continued willful sinfulness and wickedness. The Tribulation can be compared to the time period, like the days of Noah, when evil so dominated that God had to step in and reboot society.
Because the world grows darker and darker, we then know that we are getting closer and closer to the coming of the Tribulation, and therefore even sooner the Rapture. The Church holds that blessed hope that Christ will use the Rapture of the Church to take Christians off this world before God’s judgment happens. Jesus will “catch up” His Church to Heaven to live with Him while the world endures the Tribulation.
Now we are entering 1 Thessalonians 5. This first section will cover the Day of the Lord as described in verses 1-11.
“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, ‘Peace and safety!’ then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him.
Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.”
Vic Batista: Oh, I love the way that passage closes with such comfort! It reminds me how 1 Thessalonians 4:18 closed with, “Therefore comfort one another with these words.” Biblical prophecy really should be a comforting and encouraging teaching.
Nathan Jones: Yes, I agree. The church in Thessalonica needed such comfort. As a matter of fact, Paul’s second letter, referring to 2 Thessalonians, had him again dealing with a church that was very concerned about the Lord’s return. But, remember, the church in Thessalonica was a baby church, as we learned about in chapter one. Paul didn’t get a chance to stay there too long, maybe a few weeks to a few months, before the Jewish people who rejected his message rose up and had him and his companions evicted from the city. Paul was trying to minister to this church by letter. First Thessalonians is, of course, Paul’s first letter, and we know that there are two, though there were likely other letters lost to time.
Besides verse 2, throughout all of Bible prophecy there can be found many references to the Day of the Lord. That title is a reference to the Tribulation, meaning the seven years of judgment that God will inflict upon the earth, similar to God judging the world during the Flood.
These people were quite worried that due to their sufferings they were actually living during the Day of the Lord. They were worried because of all the persecution they had been experiencing after accepting Jesus Christ as their Savior. They were living under a time of persecution from the God-haters in Thessalonica. Paul consistently had to encourage the church that the Day of the Lord would never befall them. Paul here was encouraging them with a sort of, “No, you are not living in that time period.”
Vic Batista: Sometimes people get their prophetic timeline mixed up, and so grow concerned. They forget that the Day of the Lord is God’s judgment and wrath upon unbelievers, not believers. God also uses the Day of the Lord to bring a remnant of the Jewish people back to Him. As we proved in our last segment, the Day of the Lord has never been meant for the Church.
Nathan Jones: Right, and you bring up two good points. The Tribulation is indeed first, like you said, about God’s judgment on mankind for their sins. Second, it exists to bring a remnant of the Jewish people, a third of them actually, to finally accept Jesus as their Messiah. I’ll add a third point. The Tribulation exists in order for Jesus to defeat the evil satanic and human governments of this world and then set up His Millennial Kingdom. So, the Tribulation has three main purposes.
As you stated, the Tribulation has nothing to do with the Church. When I refer to the Church I am talking about all of those who have accepted Jesus as Savior. Once saved you are part of the universal Church — the Bride of Christ — as the Bible calls her. We are “sons of the light and of the day,” as Paul states in verse 5, and “not of the night nor of darkness.” In other words, our sins have been forgiven by Jesus Christ when we accepted Him in faith and became saved from our sins and just punishment in Hell. Therefore, Christians need not fear the Day of the Lord because it will never overtake those saved today due to the Rapture of the Church.Nathan Jones: #Christians need not fear the Day of the Lord because it will never overtake those saved today due to the #Rapture of the Church. Click To Tweet
Vic Batista: Excellent third point! I’m reminded of Zechariah 13:8 which talks about God’s plan for the Jewish people in that two-thirds of them are going to be cut off right before Zechariah 14 prophesies, “Behold, the Day of the Lord’s coming.” This shows we need to reference the Old Testament as well in order to be able to see what the Day of the Lord means and to whom it affects.
Nathan Jones: Paul refers back to quite a number of teachings from the Old Testament, primarily to Isaiah about how the Jewish people would be regathered a second time. We today are living in that prophesied time period, witnessing the Jewish people regathered from all across the planet and returning to Israel a second time. About twelve million Jewish people reside around the world, with six million or so now living in Israel. God is accomplishing this astounding regathering by letting the pressure of Anti-Semitism and intolerance grow so that the persecution drives the Jewish people back to their homeland.
The Tribulation time period will serve as a crucible of sorts as the one-world ruler — the Antichrist — persecutes the Jewish people, especially hard during the second half of the Tribulation. By the time Jesus returns at the Second Coming, only a third of the Jews will have survived that awful persecution. As Christ returns, this Jewish remnant will look on Him whom they have pierced and they will weep and mourn and wail and cry out, “Baruch haba B’Shem Adonai,” meaning “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord” (Zech. 12:10; Mat. 23:39; Lk. 13:35).
In the seventeenth part of our travels along the Rapture Road and our verse-by-verse study of 1 Thessalonians, we will look at by what method Jesus Christ will arrive at the Rapture.