Not Appointed to Wrath
1 Thessalonians chapters 4 and 5 give a very nice picture of the phases of the Lord’s Second Coming. In 1 Thessalonians 4, Paul deals with the first phase. He explains how the Lord is going to return with all who died in Christ, and then they which are alive at this time will be instantly resurrected. The entire church will meet in the air and will then be taken before God’s throne in heaven:
1 Thess 4:16,17 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This is the Blessed Hope, the Lord Jesus returning for His church. The following verse explains that believers should comfort one another with the Blessed Hope:
1 Thess 4:18 Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
After finishing the first phase with an encouragement, Paul then turns to chapter 5 for the second phase of the Lord’s coming. He addresses the Day of the LORD. During the Day of the LORD, Jesus Christ is returning with His church to Jerusalem .
He ties together the expression “times and the seasons” which is the restoration of the kingdom to Israel with the Day of the LORD. This is most important as the context of the 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 is the Day of the LORD.
After the Lord Jesus returns, during the Day of the Lord, He will restore the kingdom to Israel with Him reigning as King:
Acts 1:6 … Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel ? (7) And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
1 Thessalonians 5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.
(2) For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
Paul warns that the Day of the LORD is going to come suddenly upon the world with great travail. The Day will overtake the world and none shall escape it:
(3) For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
He then states that believers were not in darkness but were children of the light. The Day would not overtake the believers, and they should not sleep but watch and be sober. Believers are called children of the day meaning they can see, while unbelievers are called of the night. The use of “day” in verses 4 through 6 is not to be confused with the Day of the LORD:
(4) But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (5) Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. (6) Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
Because believers are of the light, they are to walk in faith, love and hope. The hope is the “hope of salvation which is the coming of the Lord Jesus for His church:
(8) But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.
Paul then states what is the “hope of salvation”. It is obtaining salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ who will deliver the church from the wrath that is to be poured out during the Day of the LORD. The church is not appointed to this wrath.
Remember, the Day of the LORD is the context of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11; therefore, the Bible clearly states that the church is not appointed to God’s wrath which is poured out during that Day:
(9) For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,
The Lord Jesus comes for His church before God’s wrath is poured out on the world. The church is in heaven, before the throne, with the Lord Jesus and then experiences the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. The church is not appointed to God’s wrath.
Is it possible that God wants His church to watch for the coming Day of the LORD because just prior to it, the Lord Jesus returns for His church? I believe when chapter 4 and 5 are read together that this is the message.
This section of scriptures concludes with a reference back to chapter 4 and the coming of the Lord for the church. It states whether we wake or sleep we should live together with Him, and then adds that believers should comfort and edify one another. This is how chapter 4 ends!
(10) Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. (11) Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.
Our focus now is to live with the Blessed Hope, the coming of the Lord Jesus for His church who delivered us from the wrath to come. We are to wait for Him:
1 Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.