I THESSALONIANS - CHAPTER FIVE
[As translated from the Aramaic (Syriac) text]
Note: Please read the introduction to I Thessalonians Chapter Four (4) before continuing.
I Thessalonians Chapter Five (5) [from the George M. Lamsa translation of the Aramaic Scriptures]:
1. But of the times and seasons, my brethren, you have no need that I should write to you.
Remember that the topic of Thessalonians concerns Christ's second coming. Paul is saying here that he should not have to remind the Thessalonians that Christ is coming back. We, as Christians who rightly divide, study, apply, and understand the Word of God know that Christ is returning and we know why he is returning. Believe it or not, there are many so-called Christians that do not really understand the second coming of Jesus Christ. I will give you an actual example of this type of situation shortly.
2. For you yourselves know perfectly well that the day of our Lord comes like a thief in the night.
God is telling Paul to remind the Thessalonians about some of the particulars of Jesus Christ's return. This verse needs to be rightly divided by taking the context of the chapter into consideration.
When God is saying that Jesus Christ will return "like a thief in the night", this final phrase is referring only to those who are not looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ. Although no one actually knows when Jesus Christ is coming back, it should not be a shock to a born again believer who is renewing their mind to the Word of God. What I am getting at is that there are many people who refer to themselves as Christians, and yet they hardly know a single thing about the Bible. They listen to television preachers and preachers at their church and many of them just talk and talk and talk and never say anything. Many Christians are very zealous and full of a counterfeit type of enthusiasm and never really understand why Jesus Christ is returning. Let me give you an actual example.
I know a person very well who acts very religious. They talk about God and faith [believing] and about other subjects that the Bible mentions. However, guess what? They rarely if ever, study God's Word. This means that they really have no knowledge at all about what they are talking about. I realize that this type of person is not doing this on purpose but that does not change the truth of the matter or the situation. This type of person can be extremely obnoxious, and most often, is sent to you to be a serious thorn in your flesh to hinder your walk with the true God. If you are not keeping God first in your life, I can almost guarantee that this person will agitate and aggravate you to no end. At times, this person may not even be born again of God's Spirit. Allow me to be more specific in my example.
Almost always, your personal adversary will make an attempt to work through people who are closest to you. This, of course, includes your earthly family. I have family members who know practically nothing about what the Bible teaches and yet they act like they are the most pristine Christians on the face of this earth. In my situation, I happen to be the younger of my siblings and just as Jesus Christ said:
Your earthly family will almost always remember you the way you were before you were born again. They will almost always never recognize the change in you as a result of your renewed mind efforts. Without exaggeration, I probably know 1000 times more truth from God's Word than any family member of mine. The situation can really get out of hand when the following occurs.
In my example, two of my family members believe that dead people are alive. This is an absolute contradiction of everything that the Bible teaches and I told them so, but my words fell upon deaf ears. They also believe that the true God kills people. For many years, these family members tried to make a mockery of the ministry that I studied with for no apparent reason. Now, and as a result, their minds seem to be shut to the actual truth of God's Word. You see, people bring spiritual oppression upon themselves and everyone has free will to believe what they choose. YOU CANNOT BELIEVE FOR SOMEONE.
I asked one of my earthly family members a very simple question one time and I never asked her another question concerning God's Word again. I said to her "Why would Jesus Christ be coming back to raise everyone from the dead if the dead were already alive???!!! She looked at me in a type of a daze and said "To save us". It became completely clear and apparent to me that this person knew absolutely nothing about the Scriptures. I stopped wasting my time from that day on because God says that we are to love Him first. That means that we love God more than our wives or husbands or more than any members of our earthly family. I have learned to politely avoid this person who still believes in the opposite of what God's Word teaches. This can definitely evolve into a spiritual problem that can cause you serious problems if you continue to go back for more. Just do your best to keep away from this type of influence and the best thing you can do would be to pray to God for guidance in this type of situation. This is a very common trick and device of your personal adversary to hinder you in your walk with the true God. Please do not forget this example. I am almost certain it will occur in every believer’s life at one point in time or another. It is a difficult situation but: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." God will warn you to do your very best to politely avoid this situation and this person. Remember, your personal adversary has no mercy whatsoever on anything or anybody. If you are moving God's Word, he is going to do whatever he can to stop you. You need to be strong and you will only obtain this strength from your knowledge of God who is His Word. If you must do so, you can rebuke this person in the name of Jesus Christ. Remember, you have this power of attorney -- don't be afraid to use it.
3. For when they shall say, Peace and tranquility; then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
I should have mentioned back in verse two (2) that those who are not born again fall into the category of those who are not looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ. Oftentimes, I will try to make myself aware of situations that are taking place in this present world. As God's Word says, a time will come when the unbeliever and the unbelieving believer will believe that we have peace and tranquillity. God's Word states that at that time there will be a sudden destruction that will come upon them, not us, and no one who is an unbeliever shall escape this unexpected destruction.
So often, one of the most difficult renewed mind principles, is not to seek vengeance upon anyone. Vengeance is God's job and this verse assures us that someday at the exact right moment, this vengeance will take place and not one single person will escape. God does not want us to be thinking about a subject such as vengeance, but he wants us to be at peace, and to be tranquil, and to be at ease. There are so many benefits of studying and applying God's Word. Having such knowledge should easily prevent us from even having the desire to do any type of evil act which will result in us staying in fellowship with God and having our prayers answered.
4. But you, my brethren, are not in darkness that that day shall overtake you as a thief.
The word "but" sets in contrast that which is said before. In the previous verse, obviously we were talking about those who are not looking forward to the return of Jesus Christ. In this verse, we are talking about all the Christian believers who are looking forward to that return. Those of us who are studying this teaching should fall into this category beyond a shadow of a doubt. If it were not for the return of Jesus Christ, why would we be doing all this?
The word "darkness" means "absence of light". God's Word is light and it is this light that dispels darkness. Those who do not study God's Word live in this state of darkness and stumble through life by their own free will. This verse tells us clearly that those who are keeping God first in their lives are simply not in darkness. And because of this, when Jesus Christ returns it will not be a sudden and unexpected surprise, but something that we are surely looking forward to. The verse is straightforward and very simple and should require no further explanation.
5. You are all the children of light and the children of the day; and you are not the children of the night nor the children of darkness.
Again, this verse is very straightforward and God has written this, of course, to bless us. He is telling us that we are His children and that we represent the light of His Word. Then, in contrast, God compares us to the children who belong to the god of this world, those who are not born again. God refers to these children as children of darkness. Remember, we are still living in the second heaven and earth and the present god of this world is the devil. [See II Corinthians 4: 4] God's Word living in our minds is the only thing that will teach us how to function as more than conquerors in this present world. If everyone did their best to study and learn God's Word and apply it in their lives, there would hardly be a problem anywhere on the face of the earth. It still amazes and baffles me as to why everyone isn't joyfully studying the scriptures. Remember always that although the enemy is very strong and he stops people in any way he can from learning God's Word, he is SECOND in power to God. Once we do our best to learn and apply God's Word, we are more than conquerors in every single situation.
If we allow it to happen, I will admit that the influence of the world seems sometimes overwhelming. That is only one of the reasons that we need to pray to God. God and Jesus Christ are well aware of our shortcomings and I would like to remind you of the scripture that Jesus Christ quoted to the two men on the road to and Emmaus while he was in his resurrected body.
Luke 24: 25 -- Then he [Jesus] said unto them, 0 fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: -- King James Version
Jesus Christ was listening to everything that these two men had to say concerning his death and resurrection. The two men did not recognize Jesus Christ. But the point of the example is to stress the phrase "slow of heart to believe". Think of all of the times that you have no doubt whatsoever when your banker tells you what your balance is in your bank account. Or you may read something somewhere and believe it beyond a shadow of a doubt. But then for some reason, when it comes to the Word of God, we have questions and sometimes we have doubt. If we can only get to the point where we simply believe the Word, we will never experience another problem and we will live the more than abundant life to its fullest. We should endeavor to believe the Word of God without any doubt, worry, or fear. Think about it, it's God's Word and God is not a man that He can lie. God must stand behind His Word even if not one person in the world believes it. That still has no effect on the fact that it is truth and will work for you every time you believe it and apply it.
6. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others, but let us watch and be sober.
God wants us to be enthusiastic Christians which results in us being a better witness for Him. He does not want us to forget about the return of Christ, as do others. The word 'sober' means that we should have a disciplined mind. We should know by now that the only way to achieve this is to renew the mind to God's Word.
The world, which is run and controlled by the adversary, will do its best to make people forget about the most important future event that will ever occur in the history of mankind. Why? Because the hope of the return is what MOTIVATES a person to live a godly life and continue to renew their mind. If the enemy can distract the whole world to forget, or not even believe, that Jesus Christ is returning, he leaves people without hope. We must remember that we are sanctified or set apart from the rest of this world and that we are merely passing through. We are not to get entangled with worldly affairs.
II Timothy 2: 4 -- No man that warreth [serves] entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him. (‘to be a soldier’ is not in the text.) -- King James Version
While others may appear to be asleep, God wants His people to be alert to and to EXPECT Christ's return. I don't know of a more comforting thought. In the midst of all the distractions that the world has to offer, we are to have the ability, by knowing and applying God's Word, to CONTROL OUR THINKING.
Colossians 3: 2 -- Set your affection [your thinking] on things above, not on things on the earth. -- King James Version
7. For those who sleep, sleep in the night; and those who are drunken are drunken in the night.
As can be seen by the context of this chapter, God is comparing His children, referred to as 'children of the day', to the worldly unbelievers, previously referred to as 'children of the night'.
Remember, that to understand God's Word, we must take into consideration that the Bible interprets itself either:
1) Right in the verse where it is written. 2) In the context. 3) Where it was used before.
This verse is obviously referring to the unbeliever who is lulled to sleep regarding the subject of the glorious return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
8. But let us who are the children of the day be alert, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet put on the hope of salvation.
Again, God is exhorting us to be alert and to put on the breastplate of believing and love. But notice the last part of this verse. God says that He wants us to put on the hope of salvation.
'Salvation' is referring to a person who is born again of God's Spirit and is a person of body, soul, and spirit. Salvation can also be referred to as "wholeness". It is the hope of salvation and the hope of the return of Jesus Christ that MOTIVATES the Christian believer.
9. For God has not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,
As born again believers, God states in His Word that we will not have to experience His wrath that will occur in the Book of Revelation. If you remember the sequence of events that occur with the second coming of Jesus Christ from I Thessalonians Chapter Four, the dead in Christ will rise first and we who are still alive and remaining on the earth will meet them and our Lord Jesus Christ in the air. Then, at a much later time, the events that are written in Revelation will occur. It is best at this point to simply let God's Word speak about the subject matter of the first part of this verse.
Romans 5: 9 -- Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. -- King James Version
This assures us that we have escaped the wrath of God which will be manifested to the unbelievers as mentioned throughout the Book of Revelation.
As we should know, the word "but", in the second part of verse 9 above, sets in contrast that which is said before. God, once again, is trying to assure us who are born again of His spirit that He has designated us to experience all of the blessings of salvation as a result of the work that Jesus Christ finished while on earth.
10. Who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we shall live together with him.
Always stay sharp on pronouns -- "Who" here is, of course, referring to Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ gave his life for us that whether we are alive or have died ["wake or sleep"] when he returns, we will be together with him. We are to think on these things and comfort one another with these words. That is why we are to think on spiritual matters so that we stay blessed.
God has a sense of humor and so do I, so I would like to say to you that you won't hear about the return of Jesus Christ on the 6 o'clock news, or on 99% of radio stations, or in the Wall Street Journal or most other newspapers because the world controls those forms of media. The unbeliever surely won't talk about it. But it is mentioned constantly in God's Word. "We shall live together with him."
At one point in my life, I was somewhat shocked to find out that there was someone who was doing whatever they could to hinder my walk and growth with God behind my back. God made sure that I found this out. I decided once and for all that I would permanently terminate any and all relations I had with this person. My last words to this person was that they could think and say what they wanted to, but that NO ONE COULD EVER STOP ME FROM STUDYING GOD'S WORD. I never missed a beat and continued to study until this day. No matter what anyone does or says, they cannot stop you from learning God's Word. The choice is up to you.
11. Wherefore comfort one another and edify one another, even as also you do.
Again, continuing to read and understand the chapter in light of the context, God wants us to comfort, encourage and build up one another as a result of all that we have to look forward to. God also stresses the fact that we are to CONTINUE to do so at the end of the verse.
The battlefield is IN THE MIND and the more whole and sound thoughts we put on in our minds from the Scriptures, the stronger and more blessed we become. We live in a world where we must learn to BALANCE what we allow to enter into our minds. We must work and have hobbies, recreation, and interests of many types, but GOD AND HIS WORD MUST TAKE PRIORITY over all other influences. It is really that simple. Just keep Him first and everything else in your life will flow smoothly. I want to share a relevant Scripture at this point that has always comforted and motivated me when it came to deciding what I should be doing with my life.
Hebrews 4: 12 -- For the word of God is quick, and powerful [living and energetic], and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner [a critic or a judge] of the thoughts [emotions] and intents [ideas] of the heart. -- King James Version
The Word cuts out the old man thoughts and will guide you as to what you should be doing with your life. This takes a lot of pressure off of a person knowing that they can depend on God to help them choose a vocation and path in life that will always bless them. Again, all God asks is that you keep Him first in your own life by doing your best to study and apply His principles. What a comfort it is to know and understand this Scripture especially for a young dedicated Christian who is either in high school or college. The FIRST guidance counselor you should go to for advice for your future is the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For that person who continues to put forth a diligent effort to renew their mind to the Word, God will show them what path or paths is best for them throughout all of their lives.
** This concludes PART ONE of I Thessalonians Chapter Five (5)
** (from the Aramaic Text with some backup Scriptures from the King James Version)