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1st Thessalonians: Chapter 5

 

By: Steve Shirley

(5:1) "But of the times and seasons (epochs)"   "times" = Gr. "chronos" def / "seasons" = Gr. "kairos" def. A few parallel verses here: (Mt 25:13)(Mt 24:36)(Acts 1:7).

     Connecting this to verse 2, we can see this is speaking of "the day of the Lord." Apparently, the Thessalonians knew about "the day of the Lord," but they did not know the "times and seasons" of when the "day" would be. Paul seems to be telling them that they did not need to know the "times and seasons."

 

(5:2) "the day of the Lord" The Greek word sometimes used for this is "parousia" meaning "a coming." When this is, and what this is is a matter of your view on eschatology.

     The phrase "the day of the Lord" is mentioned 18 times in the Old Testament (Isa 2:12)(Isa 13:6,9)(Jer 46:10)(Ezek 13:5)(Ezek 30:3)(Joel 1:15)(Joel 2:1,11,31)(Joel 3:14)(Amos 5:18,20)(Oba 1:15)(Zeph 1:7,14)(Zech 14:1)(Mal 4:5) These mentions were most often connected with God's judgment. Let's look at some of these: (Isa 13:6,9)(Jer 46:10)(Joel 1:15)(Joel 2:1,11,31).

     In addition to this verse, "the day of the Lord" is mentioned 4 more times in the New Testament (Acts 2:20)(1 Cor 5:5)(2 Cor 1:14)(2 Pet 3:10). ("Day of Christ" in 2 Th 2:2.)

     To explain this a little further, let me quote from the MacArthur Study Bible. "The DOL ("day of the Lord") can refer to a near judgment (Ezek. 13:5; 30:3) or a far future judgment (Zech. 14:1; 2 Thess. 2:2). Two DOL expressions yet remain to be fulfilled: 1) at the end of Daniel's 70th week (see Joel 3:14; Mal. 4:5; 1 Thess. 5:2) and 2) at the end of the Millennium (see 2 Pet. 3:10). The DOL can occur through providential means (Ezek. 30:3) or directly at the hand of God (2 Pet. 3:10). At times, the near fulfillment (Joel 1:15) prefigures the far fulfillment (Joel 3:14); on other occasions, both kinds of fulfillment are included in one passage ([Isa.] 13:6,9; Zeph. 1:7,14). Here (in Isa. 2:12) Isaiah looks to the far fulfillment at the end of the time of Jacob's trouble (Jer. 30:7)."

     SO much more could be said about this, but let's move on.

"thief in the night" "The day of the Lord" will come unexpectedly, and by surprise, like a thief breaking into a house at night. Let's look at a few other verses on this: (Mt 24:36-44)(Lk 12:35-40)(Lk 21:34)(2 Pet 3:10-13)(Acts 12:21-23).

 

(5:3) "they shall say, Peace and safety" The "world" (tied to what is not of God: (James 1:27)(James 4:4)(1 Jn 2:15-17)(Rom 12:2) will have a false sense of peace and security. They will not be prepared for this day of judgment. They will listen to false prophets ("they say") concerning "peace," and not listen to the truth. This same thing occurred several times in the Old Testament. Let's look at a few examples of this in regards to Israel: (Jer 6:9-15)(Jer 8:8-13)(Ezek 13:1-16).

 

(5:4-5) "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness" The coming "day of the Lord" is not for believers (Christians). (5:5) We (Christians) are "all the children (sons) of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness" Those in "darkness" are belong to Satan (Jn 8:44). They will face the wrath of God (judgment) in the "day of the Lord."

     As Christians, we:

(Col 1:12-13) _________________

(Jn 8:12) _____________________

(Jn 12:36,46) _________________

(Acts 26:18) __________________

(Eph 5:8,11) __________________

(1 Jn 1:5-7) ____________________

     Other verses: (Lk 16:8)(Lk 22:53)(Jn 1:5)(Jn 3:19-20)(Rom 13:12)(2 Cor 4:6)(2 Cor 6:14)(Eph 4:17-18)(1 Jn 2:8).

 

(5:6) "let us not sleep... watch and be sober" Let's read a good example Jesus gave us in "The parable of the ten virgins" (Mt 25:1-13).

     Here are a few other verses which remind us to be watchful and sober: (Rom 13:11)(Eph 5:14)(2 Tim 4:5)(1 Pet 1:13)(1 Pet 4:7)(1 Pet 5:8).

 

(5:7) "For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night." Let's look at one parallel (Lk 21:34-36).

(5:8) "putting on the breastplate of faith and love" One of several places where Paul speaks about putting on "armor." The most well-known of these places is found in (Eph 6:10-17). In (Eph 6:14), Paul mentions the "breastplate of righteousness." The "breastplate" of armor covered the heart, and other vital organs. This "figurative" use of the "breastplate" is first found in (Isa 59:17).

"a helmet, the hope of salvation" The helmet being tied to "salvation" is also used in (Eph 6:17).

     The head is obviously the most important part of the body. The brain is the control center of our body. If an injury occurs there, it can affect the rest of the body, and even result in death. In light of this, I find it interesting that this armor of the head is connected with "salvation." It seems clear to me that this is pointing to having assurance of your salvation in the midst of the battle. I have seen time and time again that perhaps the greatest attack of Satan is to make a person doubt their salvation, ESPECIALLY in a new Christian.  Christians become doubtful and discouraged when they are in a struggle to overcome a besetting sin, or when they commit a grievous sin, or when they aren't as close to God as they once were, etc... When they get in this condition, Satan is winning.

     However, we need to "take" this helmet, put it on, and have assurance of our salvation. This helmet will protect our brain/mind from attacks from Satan on our thought life. Obviously then, I see this as pointing to "Eternal Security." We will not go into this subject here, but if you want verses I use to support Eternal Security, you can go here: https://jesusalive.cc/es.htm .

***Note: As we spoke of previously in 1st Thessalonians 1:3, notice Paul again uses the pattern of "faith, love, and hope" (Also see: 1 Cor 13:13, Col 1:4-5).

 

     Let me take a moment here to share a chart from the "Believer's Bible Commentary " by William MacDonald titled:
"Important Contrasts in Chapter Five"

Unbelievers ("they") Believers ("you")
sleeping not sleeping
drunk not drunk
in darkness not in darkness
of the night and darkness sons of light and sons of the day
overtaken unexpectedly by the Day of the Lord as a thief in the night not overtaken unexpectedly by the Day of the Lord as a thief in the night
sudden and inescapable destruction, as labor pains of a pregnant woman not appointed to wrath but to obtain salvation

 

(5:9) "For God has not appointed us to wrath" This could be speaking about God's wrath during the Tribulation, or God's "eternal wrath" (Hell). However, when we connect it with the second part of the verse "but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ," it appears to be speaking about Hell. Several verses also point to this. Let's look at them: (1 Th 1:10)(Jn 3:36)(Rom 1:18-19)(Rom 5:9).

***Note: The wrath of God in the Tribulation can be seen in these verses: (Rev 6:16-17)(Rev 14:9-10,19)(Rev 15:1,7)(Rev 16:1,9).

 

(5:10) "whether we wake or sleep" This goes back to (1 Th 4:13-15).

"we should live together with Him" One day, all believers will be with Christ for eternity (1 Th 4:17)(2 Cor 4:17-18)(Jn 3:16,36)(Mt 25:46)(Rom 6:23).

 

(5:11) "Therefore, encourage one another and build up one another" The words in verses 1-10 concerning the "Day of the Lord" should bring great comfort to Christians.

 

(5:12-13) "to recognize those who labor among you, and who are over you in the Lord and admonish you; (13) and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake."

     This is almost certainly speaking about "elders / pastors." The Greek word for "over you" is "proistemi." Thayer's gives us these definitions: 1. to set or place before, 2. to set over, 3. to be over, to superintend, preside over, 4. to be a protector or guardian.

     In place of "recognize" (NKJV), other versions use: "acknowledge" (NIV), "respect" (ESV), "appreciate" (NASB), "know" (KJV), "honor" (NLT). The Greek word used here is "eido." In this context, it appears to mean "know" in a more personal way.

     The Greek word for "labor" is "kopiao," which means "to labour with wearisome effort" (Strong's). Literally, to labor to the point of exhaustion. This is what nearly every pastor does.

     There are some other verses related to this verse. Let's look at them: (Heb 13:7,17)(1 Tim 5:17-19)(1 Cor 16:15-18)(1 Pet 5:1-5).

 

(5:14) "warn them that are unruly" We are called to "warn" fellow Christians who are in sin in a number of places. Let's look at a few verses: (Ezek 33:8-9)(Acts 20:26-27, 31)(Gal 6:1)(James 5:19-20). Here are two examples where this was done in the Bible: (Gal 2:11-21)(2 Sam 12:1-15).

 

"comfort the feebleminded (fainthearted / timid)" The Greek word used for "comfort" is "paramutheomai." Strong's defines it as "to soothe, console, encourage." It is only used here, and 3 other places: (Jn 11:19,31)(1 Th 2:11).

"support (help) the weak" The Greek word used here for "support" is "antechomai." This word is also used in only 3 other places. It is interesting to see the other ways it is used: (Mt 6:24)(Lk 16:13)(Titus 1:9). A few related verses on "helping the weak" (Rom 15:1)(Rom 14:1)(Gal 6:1-2).

"be patient toward all men" Patience! The Greek word used here is "makrothumeo." Let's look at a few other uses: (Lk 18:7)(1 Cor 13:4)(Heb 6:15)(James 5:7-8)(2 Pet 3:9).

 

(5:15) "See that none render evil for evil unto any man" Do not retaliate (Mt 5:38-44)(Rom 12:17)(1 Pet 2:21-23)(1 Pet 3:8-9)!

 

(5:16) "Rejoice always" What does it mean to "rejoice?" What should we "rejoice" about?

 

     This word is generally tied to "joy." Webster's Dictionary does this, using the definition: "to give joy, to feel joy." The Greek word used for "rejoice" here is "chairo." It is used for "rejoice" 42 times in the KJV Bible. It is also translated as "be glad," "joy," "hail," "greeting," "God speed," "all hail," "joyfully," and "farewell."

     Let's look at a few verses that tell us what we should "rejoice" ("chairo") about:

(Mt 5:11-12) _____________________
(Lk 10:20) _______________________
(Acts 5:41) ______________________
(2 Cor 7:9) ______________________
(Phil 4:4) ________________________
(1 Pet 4:12-13) __________________

 

(5:17) "Pray without ceasing" Remember when we discussed this in (1 Th 1:2-3)? What does it mean to pray "without ceasing?"

 

(5:18) "In every thing give thanks" "Everything!" This is not always easy to do, right?

     Paul gave us two great examples of "in everything" (Acts 16:16-25)(2 Cor 12:7-10).

 

"the will of God" We talked about this previously in (1 Th 4:3). Stating again, this phrase is used in 22 verses in the New Testament. If you want to see some other things that are called "the will of God," here are the verses we looked at before: (Rom 8:27)(Gal 1:4)(1 Th 5:18)(1 Pet 2:15)(1 Pet 3:17)(1 Jn 2:17).

 

 

(5:19) "Quench not the Spirit" What do you think this means? How can we "quench the Spirit?"

 

     It is an interesting to note that the Holy Spirit is referred to several times as "fire" (Mt 3:11)(Acts 2:3). Perhaps there is a connection?

 

(5:20) "Despise not prophesyings" (NASB - "do not despise prophetic utterances") What is "prophecy?" How can we "despise prophesyings?"

 

 

(5:21) "Prove all things (test everything); hold fast to that which is good" How do we "test / prove" all things?

 

     I also believe that when the Bible speaks about "discernment," this also applies here.

     First, this is one of God's "spiritual gifts" (1 Cor 12:10). If we look at the word "discern" in the Bible, several different Greek and Hebrew words are used. However, the Greek word used in (1 Cor 12:10) when speaking of the spiritual gift of "discerning of spirits" is diakrisis (taken from diakrino). According to Strong's, this word means "to separate thoroughly." This word is also translated in other places as "doubt, judge, contend, waver." When this word is combined with "spirits," it is basically speaking of "discerning" between what is from the Spirit of God and what is from an evil spirit. For example:
Knowing who is teaching truth from God's Word, and who is a false teacher.
Knowing who is truly a prophet from God, and who is a false prophet.
Knowing if a miracle is from God, or from an evil spirit. (Satan can perform miracles too: Acts 8:9-13, Ex 7:8-12, Ex 7:20-22, Ex 8:1-7.)

     Not all Christians have the "spiritual gift" of discernment, however, ALL Christians are called upon in the Bible to exercise some measure of discernment. For example, in regards to false teachers and false prophets, the call to discern (or judge) who is false is given to ALL Christians: false teachers (Rev 2:2)(Rom 16:17)(Gal 1:6-9)(1 Tim 1:3)(2 Jn 1:10-11)(Titus 1:3)(1 Tim 6:3-5), and false prophets (Mt 7:15)(1 Jn 4:1). Some other examples are:
Discerning between good and evil (Heb 5:14).
Discerning the Lord's body (1 Cor 11:29)(when taking Communion).
Our verse here: "Examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil" (1 Th 5:21-22).
Checking to see if what people are teaching lines up with the Bible (Acts 17:11)(Jn 6:39-40)(Gal 1:8-9).

 

(5:22) "Abstain from all appearance of evil" To me, this is a crucial verse for Christians. What does this mean to you? What are some examples of how Christians can give the "appearance of evil?"

 

(5:23) "the God of peace" Paul uses this phrase several times near the end of his letters: (Rom 15:33)(Rom 16:20)(2 Cor 13:11)(Phil 4:9)(2 Th 3:16)(Heb 13:20 - "if" Paul wrote Hebrews).

"sanctify you" What does this this phrase mean? How does God "sanctify" us?

 

"your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."

     I will quote the "Believer's Bible Commentary"  by William MacDonald on this: "Notice the order. Man always says body, soul, and spirit. God always says spirit, soul, and body. In the original creation, the spirit was of first importance, the body last. Sin reversed the order; man lives for the body and neglects the spirit. When we pray for one another, we should follow the biblical order, putting spiritual welfare before physical needs."

 

(5:24) "Faithful is He who calls you, and He will also bring it to pass" God is "faithful:" (Deut 7:9)(Isa 49:7)(1 Cor 1:9)(1 Cor 10:13)(2 Th 3:3)(1 Pet 4:19).

     When the Bible ties the word "calls" to God, it is speaking of God calling people to salvation. We can find this in many verses. For example: (Rom 1:6-7)(Rom 8:28)(1 Cor 1:9)(1 Cor 7:20)(Eph 4:1,4)(2 Th 2:12)(2 Th 4:7)(2 Tim 1:9)(1 Pet 5:10).

     Therefore, in this verse, when God has "called" us to salvation, He will be "faithful" to "bring it to pass" (also see: Phil 1:6, Jude 1:24, Jn 10:27-29). To me, this can be linked to "eternal security."

 

(5:25) "pray for us" Paul asks for prayer from fellow believers in many of his letters: (Rom 15:30-32)(2 Cor 1:10-11)(Eph 6:18-20)(Phil 1:19-20)(Col 4:2-4)(2 Th 3:1-2)(Phile 1:22)(Heb 13:18-19 - "if" Paul wrote Hebrews).

 

(5:26) "Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss" Greeting each other with a hug and and kiss was often a part of the culture in Bible times. Here are some examples in the New Testament: (Lk 7:44-45)(Mt 26:48-49)(Lk 22:47-48)(Acts 20:36). Paul mentions a "holy kiss" in several other places too: (Rom 16:16)(1 Cor 16:20)(2 Cor 13:12). Peter says to "Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity" in (1 Pet 5:14).

 

(5:27) "I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren" The Greek word for "charge" here is "diamarturomai." It is used 15 times in the New Testament, and it means "to testify, to attest, to solemnly affirm." In essence, Paul was putting them under an oath to publically read this to others. You can see this same word translated as "charge" (KJV) in (2 Tim 2:14)(2 Tim 4:1).

 

(5:28) "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." Paul closes every letter with some form of this phrase: i.e. (Rom 16:20,24)(1 Cor 16:23)(2 Th 3:18). Paul opened 1st Thessalonians with "grace to you," and closes with "grace be with you."