But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. For when they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. (1 Thessalonians 5:1-3)
What You Know Perfectly
The expectation of a child is an incredible experience. For nine months, the child grows inside the womb in a marvelous and wonderful way. There are the initial signs of pregnancy, some good, some bad. The woman’s body begins to change as it adapts to the miraculous birth process. As the child grows to full term and begins to move around with little kicks and hiccups, the wonder of the new birth intensifies. One of the certainties of pregnancy is the uncertainty of when birth will occur. Doctors will make predictions of when the child is to be born, but the timing of birth is unknown. And then it happens. Pain begins to set in, and birth begins unexpectantly, suddenly, and forcefully. There is no turning back. Without warning, a child enters the world.
Before the advent of modern medicine, birthing was not as predictable. It came suddenly, and it came with pain. Lots of pain. The cycle of life has continued unabated since Adam and Eve witnessed the birth of the first human being and called his name, Cain. Nothing has changed the process in its simplest form as life comes through the avenue of birth. God created woman to be the only agency that birth can happen in the human condition. The apostle Paul uses a woman’s pregnancy to show the sureness of another great and unexpected event – the second return of Jesus Christ.
There have been myriads of pundits who have declared they know when the Lord will return. In the centuries since the resurrection of God’s Son, men have tried to determine the time of Christ’s return. All have failed because Jesus said that He does not know. If the Son of God does not know when He is to return, how futile a man to exalt himself above Christ. The coming of Jesus will be like a woman with child who cannot know the moment of birth. Interestingly, Paul tells the saints at Thessalonica they knew perfectly when the day of the Lord would be. He does not suggest they knew of the timing of the return since two thousand years have passed and the Lord has yet to return. The Thessalonians knew perfectly that the coming of the Lord was without warning.
In the analogy of pregnancy, everyone knows perfectly well that the day of birth comes suddenly, like a thief in the night. When a person least expects a child to be born, labor starts. The saints knew that Jesus would come without warning. There will be no sixth sense like the animals possess when something cataclysmic is about to happen. Even the animals will not know when Jesus returns. The certainty of the coming of Christ is uncertain, making the knowledge of His unexpectant coming a certainty. When everyone lives in a manner that all is well and nothing can change the world, that is when the Lord comes. They will say everything is peaceful and secure, but then disaster will fall on them because they were unprepared for the coming of the Lord. A pregnant woman knows her day of delivery will come, and that day is certain. She will not know when that day comes, but she lives every day with the evident knowledge that day will happen.
Christians must impregnate their hearts with the reality that Jesus Christ will return one day, and that day will be sudden and without warning. A woman prepares for her day of delivery. The child of God prepares his life to accept the day when the Lord returns. There is a sense in which the Lord returns more often than many know. God will destroy the world one day, and everything known to man will be gone. Jesus will return, and judgment will be given. However, the day of the Lord also can be described as the day of death when the final chapter of life is written. Death is unexpectant and final. Every man and woman should live for the coming of Jesus Christ, but they must also live for the reality of the coming of death. Both will happen, and both will have eternal consequences. Regardless of whether the Lord comes today or death takes life – be ready. The times and seasons of life are known to all men. You know perfectly well the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night.