When It Ends

Read: 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

Now concerning the times and the seasons . . . (v. 1)

Why are some believers obsessed with figuring out when Jesus will return? They painstakingly connect contemporary events to biblical prophecy and often appear confident in their calendars. Yet, “concerning that day or that hour,” Jesus told the disciples, “no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son” (Mark 13:32). Paul likewise said it would be “like a thief in the night” (1 Thess. 5:2). Since no one knows, Paul focuses on what to do and reminds us why we need not fear.

With language that echoes the armor of God in Ephesians 6, Paul calls us to “keep awake” (1 Thess. 5:6), “having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation” (v. 8). He uses the same words in 1 Corinthians 13:13 as the enduring marks of believers: “So now faith, hope, and love abide.” While we wait, we keep on in faithful obedience to God’s Word, we keep on loving others, we keep on with a sure hope. Pastor and author Eugene Peterson calls this kind of endurance “a long obedience in the same direction.”

As we “stay awake” (v. 37), we’ll have no need to fear the coming of Jesus. His return won’t bring the anxiety of a thief’s surprise. For believers, it’ll be like a bride whose groom has finally arrived. Jesus is the groom preparing a room in his Father’s house. He promises us, “I will come again and will take you to myself” (John 14:3). What a day it will be! —Jon Opgenorth

As you pray, thank God for the promise of heaven.

About the Author

jon opgenorth

Rev. Jon Opgenorth serves as president of Words of Hope. Previously, he served for 18 years as senior pastor at Trinity Reformed Church in Orange City, Iowa. In preparation for ministry, he received a BA in Religion from Northwestern College, and an MDiv from Fuller Theological Seminary.