The Study of Last Things
by James T. Bartsch

Learning about the Future to Live Better Today

"For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ .....” (1 Thessalonians 5:9)

Will Church-Age Christians Have to Endure the Tribulation?

Part 4: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-13

Introduction: There are conflicting opinions as to whether or not Christians of the Church Age will have to go through the Tribulation. People who believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture believe Christians will NOT have to go through the Tribulation. People who believe in a Post-Tribulation Rapture believe Christians WILL have to go through the Tribulation. I am one of the former. I believe the New Testament teaches us Christians will NOT have to go through any part of the Tribulation. In the previous article we discussed the third reason why the Church will not be forced to go through the Tribulation. In this article, I will give you my fourth reason.

Fourth Reason. The Promise of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-13: They would not participate in the Day of the Lord, i.e., the Tribulation period. Allow me to summarize what is going on in this passage.

(1) Paul has already discussed with the Thessalonians that the Rapture is coming at any time, without any preceding “signs” or miraculous events. When Jesus returns for His Bride, the Church, the bodies of all deceased Church-Age believers will be resurrected, and the bodies of living believers will be transformed into “resurrection-type” bodies without their having to die first. Then the dead and the living will rise to meet the Lord in the air and will ever be with the Lord. They are to comfort one another with this assurance (1 Thess. 4:13-18).

(2) The Thessalonian believers already knew about future events. The “Day of the Lord,” the time of great judgment and trouble upon the earth (the Tribulation) would come unexpectedly, “like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:1-2).

(3) While the world was proclaiming “peace and safety,” destruction would come on them suddenly like labor pains. There would be no escape (1 Thess. 5:3).

(4) Paul assured them that as Christians, they would not participate in the “Day of the Lord” (1 Thess. 5:4-10)

    (i) That day would not overtake them like a thief at night (1 Thess. 5:4).

    (ii) They were all sons of the light / day, not sons of the night / darkness (1 Thess. 5:5).

    (iii) Their responsibility was to be alert and sober, equipping themselves with faith, love, and the hope of salvation (1 Thess. 5:6-8).

(5) Their destiny (1 Thess. 5:9-10)

    (i) God had not appointed them to the wrath of the Tribulation period (1 Thess. 5:9), nor the eternal wrath of the Lake of Fire and Brimstone (Matt. 25:41, 46; Rev. 14:9-10; 20:14-15; 21:8).

    (ii) Rather, God had appointed them to salvation through Jesus Christ, who died for them so that whether they were alive or in the state of having died, they would live together with Christ (through the means of the Rapture) (1 Thess. 5:10).

(6) Their corporate need – to encourage one another and build one another up just as they were already doing (1 Thess. 5:11).

(7) Conclusion: The promise of 1 Thessalonians 5:1-13 is that Church-Age believers will, through the mercy of God, be exempted from having to endure any part of the Tribulation period.

(Scripture quotations taken from the NASB 1995.)

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Posted March 21, 2021