The Day of the Lord
Open Your Bible
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11, Acts 1:6-7, Ephesians 6:10-18
BY Patti Sauls
Dreams are definitely not child’s play. Even now, I have intense dreams—in detail, in color. How about you? Some of my dreams are lovely and make me want to linger in the storyland of sleep. Others are disturbing and jolt me awake. For a moment the fear swirls, but then sweet relief washes over me as I open my eyes and realize the nightmare is not my reality.
In his letter to the church he started in Thessalonica, Paul reminded the new believers of the ultimate dream come true: the Day of the Lord, the return of Jesus Christ and His gathering of all believers together, with Him, forever. I love how Paul is sensitive to his friends who would be hearing his letter read aloud. He didn’t shy away from the burning question that was surely on their minds: “When, Paul? When will Jesus come back?”
Paul did not beat around the bush: “For you yourselves know very well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night” (1Thessalonians 5:2). It will be sudden and unexpected. He wrote of robbery, destruction, and the onset of excruciating pain like that of a pregnant woman in labor. The dream of Christ’s return suddenly sounded more like a nightmare leaving listeners feeling vulnerable and defenseless.
We can’t shy away from the fact that the Day of the Lord is also a Day of Judgment. Every person will be found either in the dark (enslaved to sin and separated from God forever) or in the light (freed from sin and united with God through the death and resurrection of Jesus). Paul is quick to remind and reassure these believers that they “are all children of light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or the darkness” (v.5). They are brothers and sisters in the family of God. They have encountered the truth about Jesus and have responded with repentance and faith.
Here is sweet relief for every believer from all times and all places. We open our eyes to daylight. The nightmare of judgment is not our reality because Jesus willingly received it as His reality on the cross. Yes, we will be surprised at the timing of Jesus’s return, but we will not be unprepared, groping in the dark. God provides for us.
In this letter, Paul also mentions the “armor of faith and love” and the “helmet of the hope of salvation” (v.8). Later, he wrote to the church in Ephesus in more detail about the full armor that God gives to believers for protection and deliverance. God Himself is our defense and provision as He gifts us with truth, righteousness, peace, faith and salvation (Ephesians 6:10–18).
Surprised, yet safe and fully equipped. By the grace of God, He gives us what we need now and forever. Now that is the ultimate dream come true. Come, Lord Jesus!