If you’ve been around for awhile, as I have, you’re on the lookout for something,to make you prick up your ears. Most things don’t. Most things are reminders, reinforcements, applications, etc, of what you already know. So here featured in the WatchtowerStudy is a chapter in 1 Thessalonians in which verse after verse, each one a solid base hit, adds up to a grand slam of illustrations about Jehovah’s day. Had I ever looked at the passage that way?
“Now as for the times and the seasons, brothers, you need nothing to be written to you. For you yourselves know very well that Jehovah’s day is coming exactly as a thief in the night. Whenever it is that they are saying, “Peace and security!” then sudden destruction is to be instantly on them, just like birth pains on a pregnant woman, and they will by no means escape. But you, brothers, you are not in darkness, so that the day should overtake you as it would thieves, for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We belong neither to night nor to darkness. So, then, let us not sleep on as the rest do, but let us stay awake and keep our senses.
“For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. But as for us who belong to the day, let us keep our senses and put on the breastplate of faith and love and the hope of salvation as a helmet because God assigned us, not to wrath, but to the acquiring of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. He died for us, so that whether we stay awake or are asleep, we should live together with him. Therefore, keep encouraging one another and building one another up, just as you are in fact doing.” (1 Thessalonians 1-11)
The study was a verse-by-verse commentary. I love those things. The Day comes so quickly as to perhaps surprise even those expecting it, like birth pains, like a thief in the night, not to be slept through, nor drunk into oblivion in an effort to ignore. “When we want to sleep, we turn out the lights—intentionally,” said one brother, as he likened that course to what some do today in the face of plunging world conditions.
The congregation of Thessalonica was founded amidst great persecution, another pointed out. The temptation in similar areas of persection, such as current Russia, is to imagine maybe that Day to come any second now. The temptation in more laid back areas is that it is yet a long ways off. Either view can mess one up.
I kind of liked this side reference from Ephesians on keeping our act together: “For you were once darkness, but you are now light in connection with the Lord. Go on walking as children of light, for the fruitage of the light consists of every sort of goodness and righteousness and truth. Keep on making sure of what is acceptable to the Lord; and stop sharing in the unfruitful works that belong to the darkness; rather, expose them for what they are. For the things they do in secret are shameful even to mention. (Ephesians 4:8-12)
Who knows what devious schemes or deeds or plots are referred to—things shameful even to mention? Good to be far away from where those things are launched.
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