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A Study in 1 Thessalonians Chapter 5

Not Destined For Wrath

First Thessalonians Chapter 5 is a continuation of the previouschapter. Paul informed them of the ones who have died in Christ and that they will be brought back with Jesus at the coming of the Lord. For review, please read With a Shout.[1]

In this series of our study, we will examine the Pre-trib claims:

·        The day of the Lord is the tribulation period;

·        The "thief in the night" is in reference to his "secret coming"

·        The church will not be here during the tribulation;

·        The church will not be persecuted during the tribulation because "we are not destined for wrath."  

But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 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. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.   Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.  For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.  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.

For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.  

First Thessalonians 5:1-11 

The Thessalonians knew fully well about the day of the Lord and that will come like a thief in the night. During that time when the day of the Lord comes, people who are saying "peace and safety", sudden destruction will come upon them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman and they will not escape.  

Paul tells the Thessalonians they are not in darkness so that day shouldn't surprise them "like a thief." Paul gives a comparison between those who are unaware and those who are (the Thessalonians). The Thessalonians are children of light and children of the day and they don't belong in darkness or in the night. He further tells them not to be like the others who are asleep and are unaware of that day. And they should be sober(on the alert and self-controlled), unlike the sons of darkness.  

In the book of Matthew, Jesus Says about his coming after the tribulation:  

Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh (vs. 25:13).  

As Paul tells to be on the alert for the day of the Lord, Jesus tells us to keep watch for His coming.  

In order to be self-controlled we should put on faith and love as a breastplate and hope of salvation  as a helmet. In a letter to the Ephesians, Paul tells them further to put on the "full armor of God [(by)putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation…]" : 

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.

Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.


Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:


Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints…


Ephesians 6:10--18 

In summation, we are not in darkness as those who are and asleep, we need to be on the alert for that day. We need to be self controlled and need to put on the full armor of God in order to be prepared for the devil's evil schemes.  

As we see in this chapter, the coming of the Lord will come as a "thief in the night" and it will surprise those who are unaware and are in darkness. Since we as believers, we should be on the alert, so that day should not overtake us.  If we are to be on the alert, should we anticipate a "secret coming?" In  this part of first Thessalonians, does Paul say the day of the Lord is during the tribulation, or at the "pre-trib rapture?  Paul does say destruction will happen "suddenly" on that day on those who are unaware and they will not escape. This is not an indication of a secret pre-trib rapture.   

Will the Church be here at the day of the Lord? Paul said we should be on the alert so that day will not surprise us "like a thief." So if we are to be on the alert, then we must be prepared because we'll be here!  

Paul tells us we are not destined for wrath but to receive salvation through Jesus. I must totally agree with him. This wrath is for those who live in darkness,

not for the sons of light, for this is God's wrath. Does this mean that we're spared from persecution or the wrath of the Anti-christ? This wrath is different from God's wrath. The wrath of the Anti-christ is for those who will resist his demands to be worshiped as God.  

As Paul said, God did not appoint us to wrath. And he continues to say but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ." He did for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may be together with Him.  

As pre-tribbers, they insist the church must be removed before the tribulation because they believe the day of the Lord starts at the "pre-trib rapture" and ends when Jesus returns after the tribulation. They also believe God performs His wrath on His enemies during that time. As continuation of this study we will look into scripture references that describe the day of the Lord. We will look into "like a thief" scripture references. We will also examine scripture references on wrath. As a vital part of this study, since many pre-tribbers equate wrath with persecution, we will cover that topic as well.




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      Articles in this study

The Day of the Lord

Like A Thief

Wrath (of God)



Twinkling of an Eye