“Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you. For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night. 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.” (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
The Second Coming is a momentous event. It will be either a day of great joy or a day of terror depending on whether or not you are prepared. We will look at three kinds of persons with respect to the Second Coming. The first is not preparing in the right way. The second is not prepared at all. The third kind we will take up next time.
- THE CURIOUS PERSON
A) He wants to know what he is not meant to know. But Paul says,
“Now concerning how and when all this will happen, dear brothers and sisters, we don’t really need to write you,” (verse 1).
There isn’t really much to write about because not a lot has been revealed!
“So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, ‘Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?’ He replied, ‘The Father alone has the authority to set those dates and times, and they are not for you to know.’” (Acts 1:6,7)
“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. And since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!” (Mark 13:32)
(B) He focuses on the conjectural rather than on what is essential.
A lot of speculation is going on regarding who’s the beast of Revelation (Is it the computer in Germany?), what’s the mark of the beast (Is it the vaccine?), whether or not the pandemic is a dress rehearsal for the new world order, etc. Is all this spiritually healthy? Does it draw us nearer to Jesus Christ and make us love people more? Or does it make us spiritually proud of our esoteric knowledge? Are we unwittingly spreading fear and fake news and causing division by all this idle curiosity and endless speculations? The essential thing is Christ is sure to return and we will be with him! And therefore we should be prepared all the time for his return because he will return suddenly, even if we don’t know exactly when.
“For you know quite well that the day of the Lord’s return will come unexpectedly, like a thief in the night.” (Verse 2)
- THE CARELESS PERSON
They feel secure and do not sense any danger.
“When people are saying, “Everything is PEACEFUL and SECURE,” (verse 3a)
People who enjoy a lot of material comfort and physical safety tend to take God for granted and keep on sinning, thinking God won’t punish them. They say to themselves, “Peace, peace!” when actually their souls are in grave danger.
From the least to the greatest,
their lives are ruled by greed.
From prophets to priests,
they are all frauds.
They offer superficial treatments
for my people’s mortal wound.
They give assurances of peace
when there is no peace.
Are they ashamed of their disgusting actions?
Not at all—they don’t even know how to blush!
Therefore, they will lie among the slaughtered.
They will be brought down when I punish them,”
says the LORD.
“So be on your guard, not ASLEEP like the others. Stay alert and be clearheaded. Night is the time when people SLEEP and drinkers get drunk” (Verses 6, 7).
They’re asleep. They’re not aware of the danger they’re in. And they don’t care! Their false sense of security will be their undoing.
They love their sins and do not care about the consequences, although they’re ashamed to be found out.
“NIGHT is the time when people sleep and drinkers get DRUNK,” (Verses 6, 7).
They’re drunk in various ways – drunk with wine, drunk with violence, drunk with pleasure, drunk with power!
“Watch out! Don’t let your hearts be dulled by carousing and drunkenness, and by the worries of this life. Don’t let that day catch you unaware,” (Luke 21:34).
“Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy.” (Romans 13:13)
At the time Paul wrote this, drunkenness was a shameful thing (even now, it’s still something people are ashamed of). Therefore people who were addicted to drink got drunk under the cover of darkness.
“And the judgment is based on this fact: God’s light came into the world, but people loved the darkness more than the light, for their actions were evil. All who do evil hate the light and refuse to go near it for fear their sins will be exposed.” (John 3:19, 20)
They’re not prepared for the Second Coming. They won’t be allowed to enter God’s Kingdom.
“Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9, 10)
“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,” (verse 3).
- It will be sudden and unexpected.
“When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. In those days before the flood, the people were enjoying banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat. People didn’t realize what was going to happen until the flood came and swept them all away. That is the way it will be when the Son of Man comes.” (Matthew 24:37-39)
- It will be very painful.
Scream in terror, for the day of the LORD has arrived—
the time for the Almighty to destroy.
Every arm is paralyzed with fear.
Every heart melts,
and people are terrified.
Pangs of anguish grip them,
like those of a woman in labor.
They look helplessly at one another,
their faces aflame with fear.
For see, the day of the LORD is coming—
the terrible day of his fury and fierce anger.
The land will be made desolate,
and all the sinners destroyed with it.
- It is Inescapable – unless you repent before it’s too late.
“Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant.” (Galatians 6:7)
“So what makes us think we can escape if we ignore this great salvation that was first announced by the Lord Jesus himself and then delivered to us by those who heard him speak?” (Hebrews 2:3)
People have this foolish idea that they’re immune to the consequences of sin. So they keep on sinning. They think no one sees. They forget that God sees everything. And someday he’s going to punish all unrepentant people. They won’t escape.
You won’t escape if you neglect the great gift of salvation. But you will escape if you don’t neglect it, if you receive God’s gift of salvation with all your heart.
“And just as each person is destined to die once and after that comes judgment, so also Christ was offered once for all time as a sacrifice to take away the sins of many people. He will come again, not to deal with our sins, but to bring salvation to all who are eagerly waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27, 28)
“I tell you the truth, those who listen to my message and believe in God who sent me have eternal life. They will never be condemned for their sins, but they have already passed from death into life.” (John 5:24)
Copyright Dennis M. Cortes 2021