1 Thessalonians chapter 5 verse number 1, the Bible reads, "But of the times and the seasons brethren, you 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." When we look at this verse, it's obvious that we're continuing something that was just being spoken, because it says, "But at the times and the seasons brethren, you have no need that I write unto you," and the obvious question is, the times and the seasons of what? What are we talking about?
If you remember, we just finished up in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 with the run down of Jesus Christ coming in the clouds and all the believers being caught up together in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, what is commonly known as the rapture. In fact 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 is the most famous rapture passage that people would point to as being they clearest description of the trumpet sounding, "The dead in Christ rise first, and we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds." Look at the end of verse 17 there. "To meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Therefore, comfort one another with these words, but ..." You see that at the beginning of chapter five. That's what we're connected to. "Comfort one another with these words, but of the time and the seasons brethren, you have no need that I write unto you."
So, the times and the seasons of what? The times and the seasons of when the rapture will take place. The times and the seasons of Jesus Christ coming in the clouds and the trumpet sounding. He says, "Of the times and the seasons brethren, you have no need that I write unto you, for yourself know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief of the night." This sentence only makes sense if the day of the Lord and the rapture are both happening at the same time. If those two things had different timing, then this would make absolutely no sense for God to say, "Here's what's going to happen at the rapture, but of the times and the seasons brethren, you have no need that in write unto you, because let me tell you about a totally unrelated event and when it's going to happen." That wouldn't really make any sense, would it?
Obviously this is a continuation. He describes rapture, and here's the thing. In chapter 4, there is no discussion of the timing, because it's all just a discussion of where your departed loved ones are, and how they are going to be brought with Christ, and how we're going to be caught up together with them. There's no timing given. In Chapter 5, he gets into the timing and he says, "You don't need me to write it to you, because you already know the timing." You already know that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. Verse three, "For when ..." When has to do with the timing, "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 you brethren are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief."
So, this day is clearly bad for some people and good for others. For those that are not saved, he said it's going to come upon them as a thief in the night, and it's going to be sudden destruction coming upon them, but he says unto us, we're not in darkness that that day should overtake us as a thief. So, Christ is not coming as a thief in the night to those that are saved. He is coming as a thief in the night to the unsaved. Notice when he says here, that that day should overtake you as a thief. Notice, he doesn't say, "You're not even going to be here for that day, you're already going to be gone." He doesn't say that, does he? No. He just says, it's not going to take you as a thief because you are of the light. You are awake. You see this coming, and we'll get in to that a little bit later, but what I want to point out here is that the timing of the rapture is the same timing as the timing of the day of the Lord, and the day of the Lord is a major event that the Bible talks a lot about in both the Old Testament and the New Testament.
Let's look at some of those scriptures. Go back to Isiah 13. We don't have time to look at all of them, but let's go to Isiah, chapter 13, to see one of there main scriptures on the day of the Lord beginning in verses number six the Bible reads, "Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand. It shall come as a destruction from the almighty." That's the exact word that was used in 1 Thessalonians 5, destruction, "Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt, and they shall be afraid. Pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them. They shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth. They shall be amazed one at another. Their faces shall be as flames."
Again, the exact same illustration as 1 Thessalonians 5 where he said that it would come upon them as travail upon a woman with child. That's a pregnant woman going into labor. He said it's going to be extremely painful for them. Let's keep reading. It says in verse nine, "Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate, and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light. The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine, and I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity, and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible. I will make a man more precious than fine gold, even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Therefore, I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the Lord of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger."
Let me point out some things about the day of the Lord from this passage. We see that it is a day of wrath. God's wrath is being poured out. There's going to be destruction. The earth is being punished. The sun and moon are dark and the Bible says, and there is a great earthquake. These are all things that characterize the day of there Lord according to this passage, and people will be very scared. It talks about people hearts fainting them for fear here. Go back if you would to chapter 2 of Isiah. Chapter 2, just a few pages to the left, look at verse number 10. The Bible reads, "Enter into the rock, and hide thee in the dust, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the Lord of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and every one that is lifted up and he shall be brought low."
Jump down to verse 19, "And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they made each one for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats. To go into the clefts of the rocks, and the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of his majesty, when he ariseth to shake terribly the earth." We see a lot of the same elements here. People are very afraid they're scared of God's wrath. It talks about the great earthquake and the shaking, but here he keeps mentioning over and over again, people entering into the clefts of the rocks. Going into the caves and hiding in the rocks and in the earth.
Go if you would to the book of Joel, in the minor prophets towards the end of the Old Testament. Joel, Amos, Obadiah. Go to the book of Joel chapter number two and look at verse number 28, the Bible says, "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions, and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit. I will shew wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come and it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call."
Here when we look at the day of the Lord, we again have a description of the sun and the moon being dark. It says the sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood before the great and the terrible day of the Lord [will 00:08:45] come, and then it also talks about people being delivered. That there are going to be those who have called upon the name of the Lord shall be delivered or saved. Now, flip over to Zephaniah Chapter number 1 for another scripture on the day of the Lord. Every single one of these, if you look them up and even the ones that we don't have time to turn to, you look up every mention of the day of the Lord and it's very consistent what is being described. The type of event that's being described, where the Lord is pouring out wrath and punishment and where people are scared and hiding as an earthquake and the sun and moon are darkened.
That's a key feature that we see over and over again in these scriptures. Then some of the scriptures bring out the positive aspect for those that are saved, those who are delivered. Look if you would at Zephaniah chapter 1 verse 14, "The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth greatly, even the voice of the day of the Lord. The mighty man shall cry there bitterly." That's been a theme in some of the other scriptures that we've seen. "That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness. A day of the trumpet and alarm against the fenced cities, and against the high towers." We could go on and on, and look at scripture after scripture. The same thing comes up over and over again with regard to the day of the Lord, and the key feature is the sun and the moon being darkened, and so forth.
Go if you would to Revelation chapter 6. Revelation chapter number 6, and let's see if this event take place in Revelation, because it's very easy to identify the day of the Lord in the book of Revelation. The book of Revelation is the most important book in regard to Bible prophesy for us today in the New Testament, because this is the book to show unto to Christ servants the things which must surely come to pass. This is the revelation. What does it mean to be a revelation? It means things become clear. Things are unveiled. Things are made plain. This is what God tells us what's going to happen in the end of the world. It's not meant to be difficult to understand, or cryptic, or hidden in a way, no. It's the book of Revelation. It's something that should be easy to understand.
Now, look if you would in Revelation chapter 6, where we will see the day of the Lord, the event that is talked about all throughout Old and New Testament, clearly described. Look at verse number 12. Look at verse number 12, "And I beheld when he had opened the sixth seal, and, lo, there was a great earthquake ..." We remember that, "And the sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood." That's something that kept coming up at the day of the lord, sun and moon darkened, "and the stars of heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig tree casteth her untimely figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind, and the heaven departed as a scroll when it is rolled together, and every mountain and island were moved out of their places." That's goes very well with the description we read in Isiah 13.
Watch this, "And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains." Do you remember that from Isiah chapter 2 about the day of the Lord? "And said to the mountains and rocks, fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb for the great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?" What did we see in just about every description of the day of the Lord? The word wrath over and over again. God's wrath, he's coming to pour out his wrath. Over and over again, we see it. It's very clear.
Now, flip over to Mathew chapter 24. Mathew Chapter number 24, and we will see another crystal clear description of the day of the Lord. Look at Mathew chapter 24, beginning at verse number 29. It's easy to identify the day of the Lord because there are so many aspects of it that are the same in every passage. Look at verse number 29. It says, "Immediately after the tribulation," And those are very key words there, "Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken." I don't know if you remember, but back in the Old Testament, that term was used about the powers of the heavens being shaken. It says, "And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."
Here in this passage, we have the sun and moon being darkened, the powers of the heavens being shaken, and then we have all the tribes of the earth mourning. This is just what we saw in Revelation 6 when all of the kings of the earth and the great men are crying out and saying, "Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?" All throughout they Old Testament, weeping wailing. People are fearful and scared about God's wrath. So, this fits perfectly when it talks about all the tribes of the earth mourning.
I've heard some people try to take this and say, "All the tribes of the earth, that's Israel." Hold on a minute, because they say, "It says tribes." Well, when it says all the tribes of the earth, it means all of the tribes of the earth, not one tiny country, but they'll say, "The word tribe is only ever used about Israel," wrong. The Bible used the word tribe about Egypt also. So that word is not exclusive to Israel. All the tribes of the earth shall mourn. That's talking about people all over the world of all the nations. It says, "All the tribes of the earth shall mourn and they shall see the of man ..." That's Jesus. Jesus called himself the Son of man many times, "coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory, and he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. Now learn a parable of the fig tree."
Of course, that was the exact illustration that Revelation 6 used when it talks about the stars of heaven falling unto the earth, even as a fig tree casted her untimely figs. Here we see here in Mathew 24, the sun and moon darkened, the trumpets sounds, men's hearts are failing them for fear, they're mourning, they're crying out, and then Christ comes in the clouds and gathers the elect, the elect or the saved, gathers up all of those who are saved in the clouds, or what we know as the rapture. So, why would it surprise us then that in 1 Thessalonians 4 he describes the rapture, and then in chapter 5, he says, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you 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." You know why? Because the day of the Lord and the rapture are happening on the same day. So, that day is a great day if you say it. It's an exciting day, but it's a terrible day if you're not saved. It's the day when God comes to punish the world.
If you go down a little bit further in Mathew 24, you'll see some other things that tier nicely with 1 Thessalonians 5. Look at chapter 24 verse 36, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man." Talking about what day and hour? The day and hour that this is going to happen, when Christ comes back. So, if somebody tries to tell you, "Hey, it's happening in September of 2015," they're lying, because nobody knows that. We don't know the day nor the hour. So, it says here, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my father only, but as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."
Isn't that like where it's said in 1 Thessalonians 5 when it said that they would say peace and safety and then sudden destruction would come upon them as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape? Here they are just eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage and then sudden destruction. Same thing. Let's keep reading. It says, "Then shall two be in the field. The one shall be taken, and the other left." Verse 41, "Two women shall be grinding at the mill. The one shall be taken, and the other left. Watch therefore, for you know not what hour your Lord doth come, but know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the what?" And, "what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. Therefore be ye also ready for in such an hour as you think not, the Son of man cometh."
It's so clear, isn't it? How can anyone argue with the fact that 1 Thessalonians 5 is still talking about the rapture. It's the same thing. Go back to 1 Thessalonians 5 if you would, because he finished up talking about it in chapter 4, he describes Christ coming in the clouds and the believers being caught up together with him. Then in verse one of chapter five, he's clearly continuing the same discussion, "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, you 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."
Remember he said look, if the goodman of the house would have watched, then the thief would not have broken up his house. He's telling us to watch and he says, "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." Right there it makes perfect sense that God will remove us from this earth right before he pours out his wrath, because that day of the Lord is the day when God comes to punish the earth. It's the day when God's wrath begins to be poured out. That's why in Revelation 6, they said, "Hide us from there face of the Lamb, for the great day of his wrath is come," meaning it just arrived. The great day of his wrath is come and who shall be able to stand?
It makes perfect sense that that's the same day that we will be removed. That's why it said in Mathew that just as the same day Noah went into the ark, the flood came. In Luke 17, it says the same day that Lot was brought out of Sodom and Gomorrah, it rained fire and brimstone. It's the exact same thing. The same day that we're removed from this earth via the rapture is the day that God pours out his wrath on this earth, fire and brimstone et cetera. It's all very simple and very easy to understand. There's nothing complicated about it when you just take it at face value, you read Mathew 24, you read 1 Thessalonians 5, it's all right there. You go to Revelation 6, you look up all the Old Testament passages, it all drives, it all fits, it's all perfect, but here's the problem. People refuse to believe in this, and the reason why is because they're stuck on this Tim LaHaye Left Behind's, Scofield, Darby.
They're struck on this pre-tribulation rapture. So, they can't see this. A child could see this. It's right there, but they don't want to see it. So, they have to go through all these mental gymnastics and all these mental acrobatics just to deny the clear teaching of scripture and they say, "This just can't be. The day of the Lord can't be talking about the rapture." They'll try to say, "These are totally different events, totally different things. Don't let it bother you that it says the trumpet sounds and Christ comes in the clouds in Mathew 24, and gathers the elect. We know that's not the rapture," and here's why they know it's not the rapture, because it says after the tribulation. It's a very circular thinking here. It's funny that they love to quote the versus about, "Of that day and hour knoweth no man. He's coming as a thief of the night," or "Watch therefore, you know not what hour your Lord doth come." Even though these are all coming from passages that tell you that it happens after the tribulation.
They'll just lift those versus out of context. When you read the whole chapter, it doesn't work that way. Here's where people are getting confused. They're confusing God's wrath with the tribulation, and people are teaching that the tribulation is a seven year period where God pours out his wrath on this earth, and that is a lie, because the Bible says that the sun and moon are darkened after the tribulation, after the tribulation. Then it says that when the sun and moon are darkened, that's when God starts to pour out his wrath. God does not pour out his wrath on this earth before the sun and moon are darkened. Therefore, the tribulation does contain God's wrath whatsoever, and that's very clear from these passages. We are removed before the wrath. Yeah, it's a pretty rough rapture, but it's not a pre-tribulation rapture. They just don't understand what the tribulation is.
The tribulation, if you read Mathew 24, it will tell you what the tribulation is, and if you read Revelation 6, it will tell you what the tribulation ... It's a period where there's a going to be warfare all over the world, there's going to be great famines, pestilence, natural disasters, and then it's going to culminate in a period where Christians are persecuted for the course of Christ unlike they have ever been persecuted before in history. It is the greatest persecution of believers that has ever been known and ever will be known. This is known as the tribulation. If it were not shortened, the Bible says then no flesh would be saved, but for the elect sake those days shall be shortened, because if it were allowed to run its course, all Christians would be killed, but it's cut short and so only some will be imprisoned and killed, and those that are alive and remain will be caught up together to meet up the Lord in the air, but there will be a time of intense persecution for believers leading up to the rapture, but this is not what we're taught today.
In churches we're taught that we just go through our happy lives and then one day we just disappear. We just [sluh duh duh 00:23:51] and then we're just gone. First of all the Bible never teaches anything about anyone disappearing. The Bible talks about the fact that at the rapture, that he'll send forth his angels to gather his elect. Just like the two angels went and gathered Lot and his daughters and took them by the hand and brought them out. So, this whole thing of a pile of clothes being left behind is just a Hollywood fictionalization. It has nothing to do with biblical reality of everybody just wondering through life and they just disappear, piles of clothes, and everybody is wondering, "What happened? Where did everybody go?" There is no mention of anybody asking that question, or, "Where [is it be 00:24:33]," because when it happens, it's a period where there is a great earthquake, sun and moon are darkened, the heavens are rolled back as a scroll.
You're not going to be wondering, [inaudible 00:24:45]. They're going to be running for cover and hiding in the dens and the rocks, because there's going to be fire and brimstone that's going to be raining from the sky. They're not just going to be wondering and wondering, "What happened? Where is it? Was it aliens?" This is all what Hollywood is actively teaching people, and also the Christian bookstore and the Evangelical Church. They've all joined in on this pre-tribulation rapture, "Jesus can come at any moment. He is coming today," and it is not biblical at all. 1 Thessalonians 5 clearly proves that it's not biblical. You see it yourself right here. He doesn’t say, "That day is nothing to you, because you're not even going to be here."
Think about it, the day of the Lord, the sun and moon being darkened is after the tribulation. No matter what you believe, you've got to believe something happens after the tribulation. Matthew 24 says after the tribulation, sun and moon are darkened, tribes' mourning, et cetera. Why is God not telling us in this chapter, "You guys are going to be gone years before that." No, he says, "That day is not going to overtake you as a thief." He didn’t say it's not going to overtake you at all. He said it's not going to overtake you as a thief, because you are awake. You are watching. You know what's happening. When these things begin to come to pass, you can lift up your heads and look and say that your redemption draweth nigh.
Let's look at this passage here. It says in verse 4, "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." When the Bible here talks about being asleep or being drunk, these both have to do with being unaware of what's going on.
A lot of people will use these terms today in the truth movement. When people are a truther, they'll talk about those who are awake, and those who are asleep. Why? Those who are asleep are basically the people who just kind of believe whatever the media tells them. They are not paying attention to what's really going on. They don’t know what Bible prophecy tells us. They don’t see behind the façade of what they're shown through the media. So, those who are awake are those who are paying attention. Think about it, when you are asleep, you're not really in tune with the reality around you. You are living out a reality that you've created in your own mind, but it's fake. It's fiction. When you are awake, you're seeing the real events that are happening around you.
A lot of people today are described as being asleep. They are living in a dream world. What they think is real is not really real, and then there are other real things that are dangerous things that they don’t even know anything about. They are sleeping. They are not awake. God tells us not to be like them, but to be awake, to pay attention, to first of all know the scriptures is the best way to be awake. That's how we're going to know what's happening. The other way to be awake is to not just believe everything that we're told, and just take everything that the TV says or magazines and newspapers say, as gospel. We need to pay attention and realize that there are darker forces that work.
The Bible talks about the rulers of the darkness of this world. The Bible says, "They that sleep, sleep in the night, and they that be drunken are drunken in the night." Again, people who are drunk, they tend to have a different view of reality. They see things in a way that's not real. So, when it talks about being awake and being sober, we are alert, our senses are tuned in to what's really happening around us. It says, "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."
Again, let me just quickly point out to you in 1 Thessalonians chapter 3. Flip back there quickly. It says in verse number 3, "That no man should be moved by these afflictions, for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto, for verily when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation, even as it came to pass, and ye know." In chapter 3, it clearly says that we are appointed to afflictions and tribulation, but we are not appointed to wrath, according to chapter 5. Chapter 3, "Appointed to tribulation," chapter 4, "The rapture," chapter 5, "Not appointed to wrath." That's what the Bible teaches.
Now look at chapter number 5, verse 11. It says, "Wherefore comfort yourselves together." Wherefore comfort yourselves together." Again, that's very similar to what it said at the end of chapter 4, isn't it? "Comfort one another with these words." Now he says, "Comfort yourselves together." Have we just completely switched topics here? No, we're talking about the same timing, the same event. It's very clear. "Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves."
When the Bible says, "To know them that labor among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you, and esteem them very highly," this is talking about those who preach to you. This is talking about pastors and preachers who preach to you. He says, "First of all to know them," and he says, "to esteem them very highly in love for your work's sake, and be at peace among yourselves." Now listen. Today in 2015, there is a huge attack on the institution of the local church. People want to get out of church. They don’t want to be a part of any church. They just claim that if they get together with a couple of Christian buddies, they say "That's church," and they'll say, "where two or three are gathered together, there is Christ in the midst." That's true.
If a couple of believers get together and pray together, which is the context of that passage, if a couple of Christians get together and pray together, there is Jesus Christ right there in the midst of them, but that is not a church. There are so many scriptures that emphasize the importance of having a church that has a leader, that talks about the bishop, the elder or multiple elders, but the importance of leadership is something that is stressed throughout Old and New Testaments. Now today, people want to get away from this, and they attack this. Go to Hebrews Chapter 13, if you would. They'll talk bad about the subject of pastoral authority, and say, "You believe in pastoral authority and all these stuff," because they basically believe that church should be a free-for-all, or just that any free-for-all group of Christians who get together in a living room somewhere somehow constitutes a scriptural church. That is really not true.
In fact, it doesn’t make sense when you read the whole Bible, since the whole Bible is constantly emphasizing men of God and leaders who rise up and rally the people and lead the people to do things for God. Where do you see throughout the Old Testament or New Testament just a free-for-all. No, you see men in the Old Testament being anointed by God, being lifted up by God, being filled with the Holy Spirit, who rally the people. When they don’t have a leader, they don’t live for God like they should. Then in the New Testament, there are all kinds of people being ordained and being sent out, and Jesus is choosing men to call them apostles and telling them, "Look, go out and preach and do this," and then God's telling Timothy through the Apostle Paul, "You need to ordain elders in every city," and all these.
Then He goes into great detail about the qualifications of the elder, and says, "He needs to be blameless, the husband of one wife, having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly, he needs to be sober, he needs to be given the hospitality, he needs to be apt to teach, he …" What is the point if people are going to say, "We don’t need that guy any more. We don’t need a pastor, we don’t need a leader, we don’t need a bishop," or, "If you are in one of these pastor-run churches, that's a cult," or whatever. Any strong leadership is just called a cult.
Having a [Bible-patterned 00:33:37] church with a pastor or bishop or elder who is actually biblically qualified and leading the church is considered a cult, because we should just have an open mic, free-for-all. When you have a free-for-all, then the worst people take over. It's like communism, where you say, "We are all going to be equal," and then the worst people take over. It's not biblical. Look what the Bible says in Hebrews chapter 13. It talks about this. [Somebody 00:34:06] says in verse 7, "Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God, whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation."
Look at verse 17. "Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves, for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief, for that is unprofitable for you." Look at verse 24. "Salute all them that have the rule over you, and all the saints. They of Italy salute you." So, the Bible does teach that we should have leaders, people that are over you in the Lord and admonish you. The Bible says you should esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake, and be at peace among yourselves. Meaning, you don’t just try to pick fights with the leadership for no reason and be a rubble-rouser.
Today, a lot of people … We don’t have this problem in our church at all, but I hear it all the time, people being very disrespectful to their pastor and rebelling against the pastor. The Bible says, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father." It's not that the pastor never makes a mistake. Of course the pastor is going to make mistakes, teach things that are sometimes not exactly right. Sometimes, someone even needs to correct the pastor, but it's to be done with respect. That's why the Bible says, "Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father." If the pastor needs to be corrected, then you go to him kindly, humbly, and point out the error. You don’t just mouth off and be disrespectful, because of the fact that deposition a pastor. It's not that we're lifting up a certain person, but it's their work's sake.
It's the position that God has ordained. There is a reason why God has ordained it, because if it were a free-for-all, then the worst people would come in and take over. The worst doctrine would be preached behind the pulpit. The purpose of the bishop is to be an overseer, to guard the church, and make sure that the doctrine stays right, that the people behind the pulpit preaching know what they're talking about, and they can take the church in a clear direction. If you're going to lead any organization to do something, somebody has to be in charge and call the shots.
You can't just have everybody going in all different directions. Then it's not even a church. It's not even a group anymore. Everybody believes something different. Everybody is doing their own thing. No, you need to have leaders. You say, "I don’t want to get behind this particular leader." Then you need to leave and go to a church where you can get behind the leader. Someday, if you can be qualified and go through the process of being trained, and learn, and get sent out to start a church or take over an existing church, then you can be the leader, and then you can do things how you believe that they should be done. In fact, if you want to be a pastor some day, great, I'll train you. I'll teach you, and we'll send you out to go start a church.
You meet the qualifications, you learn, and be sent out of here to go pastor a church, and then you can lead and do things how you want to do them, and no one will stop you. That's why we believe in doing it Independent Baptist. The church that sent me out to start this church, they don’t like a lot of things that I've done, but I don’t really care, because I'm an Independent Baptist. While I was there, I was a blessing to that church. I was not a pain. I was helpful, and I did my best to promote the church, to support the pastor, to get on board with the program at that church. Today, everybody just thinks that they know better than the leadership, and just wants to do their own thing. Even people that are newly saved, even the people that haven't even read the Bible cover to cover once, thinks that they are an expert, and that they don’t need a leader.
Honestly, we need strong leadership in our churches across America today like we have never needed it before. It's amazing, because people will say this, "We need pastors and bishops. We need leaders, but we shouldn’t have one leader. We need multiple leaders." That's what you will often hear people say. Here is the thing about that, according to scripture, the Bible clearly teaches that the pastor is supposed to be a full-time position. It's supposed to be a paid position. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn." "The laborer is worthy of his reward." "Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor," et cetera, et cetera.
Peter was told to stop fishing, and to serve the lord, and he was a pastor. On and on, the Bible says, "They that preach the gospel should live off the gospel." People will point to the Apostle Paul, who wasn’t even a pastor. He was never a pastor, and he was a single man. He wasn’t married. He just lived on his own, making tents and preaching. Great, but that's not the pattern God set for churches and pastors. All the pastors in the Bible were full-time workers of the church, and they lived off of the money that they made from working with the church, just like in the Old Testament, the priests lived off of the sacrifices and the offerings of the people, et cetera.
Here is what's funny. They'll say, "What we need all is multiple pastors." How does that work in a small church? How are you going to afford to pay all these multiple pastors? Your board of 12 pastors and 7 deacons, how are you going to pay these 19 people in your house church that meets in your living room? It doesn’t make any sense, folks. Of course as a church grows and gets very large, then you need more than one leader. You need other leaders, just like Moses all kinds of other leaders that were chosen to help in his ministry, just like Jesus had the 12 disciples, and then later he had 70 apostles that were added.
Obviously, more leaders are needed as the church grows, and it gets too large. When it's running thousands, you're going to need more pastors. You're going to need more deacons and so forth, but don’t get caught up in this junk where people just say, "We are all the same. We are all equal. We all have an equal say in the direction of the church." No, that's not what the Bible says. That is called "The Gainsaying of Korah." That's what Korah taught, and the Bible warns us against that philosophy. Be careful of that, because there are bad people who want to creep in, turn it into a free-for-all, corrupt the church. You say, "It's supposed to be a democracy." Says who? Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner.
Democracy is not biblical in any way, shape or form. You know why? The majority is always wrong. "Broad is the way that leads to ..." Why would you put the majority in charge when they are always wrong, according to the Bible? "Broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat, because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." What if our church goes out and wins a bunch of people to the Lord, and then they all come in here and say, "We want the NIV"? 51% of us want the NIV." It won't matter, because we're going to do the King James because the pastor says it's the King James, because it's a pastor-led church, because the pastor is a biblically qualified man of God to lead.
You get behind him or you get behind a different pastor, but you go to church, and you get behind the leadership. You don’t just come and say, "We're going take a vote on which Bible we use," "We're going to take a vote on whether or not we're going to do door-to-door soul-winning. We're going to take a vote on the music. We're going to take a vote on who is doing the preaching." No, we're not. Our church has never voted, and never will. I'm not voting in the 2016 election, but that's a whole nother sermon, and of itself. I didn’t vote in the last one either. Anyway, let's get back to the sermon. It says in verse number 12, "We beseech you brethren to know them which labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you." "I can't believe that someone would be over someone else." This is the mentality that people have, and it didn’t come from the Bible. Did it? It came from the world.
The Bible says, "To esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly." What does it mean to be unruly? Notice, it has the word there "rule," right there in it. Unruly means people who will never have anybody tell them anything. They don’t want anybody to tell them what to do whatsoever. They are unruly. They just are going to do whatever they want. The Bible says, "Warn them that are unruly," and then it says, "Comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man, but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In everything, give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings. Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil."
This is a neat little section here where it has these series of just short little statements, these seven really short verses making these profound statements. It's hard to do these justice in a sermon like this, because each of these points … You could do a whole sermon on, "Pray without ceasing." You could do a whole sermon on, "Rejoice evermore." You could do a whole sermon on, "In everything, give thanks." These are just profound statements and instructions to be meditated upon, important things to remember. Every day we need to be ... By the Holy Spirit to lead us and guide us and direct us in our lives. When God's Spirit brings from the word of God to remembrance, we don’t want to just shut that voice out. We want to listen to what God is saying to us in our spirit.
It says, "Despise not prophesyings." Prophesyings are preaching. That's what the Bible means. A lot of people will say, "Prophesying, that's foretelling the future," but it really isn't. If you study the word "prophecy" in the Bible, it's just preaching. An example I like to use is Proverbs 31, where it says, "The words of King Lemuel, the prophecy that his mother taught him." There is no foretelling of future events in that passage, just preaching. It says,"Despise not prophesying. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good." "Prove" means to test. We would think of "proving" a little bit differently in today's vernacular, but in the Bible, proving something means to test it. He says, "Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good."
What is he saying? When you hear something, when you read something, when you're confronted with something, you need to test it. He says, "Hold fast that which is good." The implication is to discard that which is not good. Everything in our lives, we need to examine it and ask ourselves, "Is this good, or is this evil? Is this something that we want to have in our lives or is this something that God wants us to get rid of out of our lives?" he says, "Prove all things. Hold fast that which is good." Then lastly, "Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly. And I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
Again, this is yet another proof, and there are so many proofs of this in the Bible that the rapture is the second coming of Jesus Christ. That that's what the Bible is ... Every time the Bible says, "The coming of the Lord," "The coming of Christ," "The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ," it's referring to him coming in the clouds at the rapture. People will often say, "Don’t get confused between the rapture and the second coming." The rapture is the second coming every single time. Here, it's proven yet again. What does it say here? "And the very God of peace ..." Verse 23, "sanctify you wholly, and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." If our body and soul and spirit, if He wants them to be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, how could that be someday, years after the rapture, when the body is already been done?
Think about that. It's like when the Bible says, "He that hath began the good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." That work of sanctification that's going on in our lives, it goes up until the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Why? When Christ comes, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. We'll be changed in a moment, in a twinkling of an eye, and we will be like Him. We will be conformed under his image. Clearly, this proves once again that the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is when our sanctification is over, because at that point we're transformed. We're like Him. We're fully sanctified. So, the Bible talks about us being preserved unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
"Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us. Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen."That wraps up the book of 1 Thessalonians. What were the main themes? All throughout the book, the theme of the second coming of Jesus Christ was always in view. All five chapters dealt with it in detail, and brought it up over and over again, and then another theme that carried throughout the book was trials, tribulations, afflictions and suffering that we go through as believers.
This is a great book for the end times. 2 Thessalonians covers a lot of the same things, but from a different angle, because 2 Thessalonians is also going to cover a lot with Bible prophecy and a lot along those exact same themes. This is a great pair of books for us today in 2015, because these things could happen in our lifetime. We're definitely closer than any generation has ever been, so we need to be prepared spiritually to go through tribulation, to go through persecution. This is a great book to warn us and strengthen us for the fight ahead. So many people aren't ready for it, because they're being told, "We'll be gone by then. We're just going to be removed before any of the persecution comes, the tribulations come," and they'll say, "We all go through tribulations and persecution. We are not going to go through the big tribulation."
When you see a lot of them, and you look at the way they live their lives, they are really not going through any persecution at all, even now. Yet the Bible says here, "And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall persecution." The truth of the matter is that when you live the lukewarm Christian life in 2015, you're not going to go through persecution, but if you want to live godly in Christ Jesus, if you actually step out in faith, and serve God, and get out there and do something for the Lord, then you will suffer persecution. It's a guarantee. This is the book to help strengthen you from the word of God, First and Second Thessalonians. Let's bow down and have a word of prayer.
Father, we thank you so much for you word. Lord, we thank you so much for these warnings, and thank you for laying out a very clear timeline of events for the end times and showing us what the tribulation is like, showing us that the rapture will occur on the day of the Lord, that the sun and moon will be darkened, and then we will be caught up in the clouds with Christ before your wrath is poured out. Lord, there are many people out there who are trying to deceive us right now, and trying to just muddy the waters here and make this really confusing, when really it's not confusing at all. They want to get everybody to believe in this fable of the pre-tribulation rapture. Lord, I pray that no one in this room tonight would fall for their lies, and that they would just pick up the Bible, and study to show themselves approved by reading First and Second Thessalonians for themselves, and paying close attention to every word, and also reading Matthew 24, the book of Revelation, and all the other pertinent scriptures, Lord. In Jesus name we pray. Amen.