|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:1-5 It is needless or useless to ask about the particular time of Christ's coming. Christ did not reveal this to the apostles. There are times and seasons for us to work in, and these are our duty and interest to know and observe; but as to the time when we must give up our account, we know it not, nor is it needful that we should. The coming of Christ will be a great surprise to men. Our Lord himself said so. As the hour of death is the same to each person that the judgment will be to mankind in general, so the same remarks answer for both. Christ's coming will be terrible to the ungodly. Their destruction will overtake them while they dream of happiness, and please themselves with vain amusements. There will be no means to escape the terror or the punishment of that day. This day will be a happy day to the righteous. They are not in darkness; they are the children of the light. It is the happy condition of all true Christians. But how many are speaking peace and safety to themselves, over whose heads utter destruction is hovering! Let us endeavour to awaken ourselves and each other, and guard against our spiritual enemies.
Verse 2. - For yourselves know perfectly; namely, not from Scripture, nor from oral tradition, but from the teaching of the apostle when in Thessalonica. That the day of the Lord. "The day of the Lord" is a common Old Testament expression, denoting the coming of the Divine judgments (Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1); and by the phrase here is meant, not the destruction of Jerusalem, nor the day of one's death, but the day of the Lord's advent, when Christ shall descend from heaven in glory for the resurrection of the dead and the judgment of the world. The idea of judgment is contained in the term "day." So cometh as a thief in the night. The same comparison is used by our Lord himself (Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39), and the very words are employed by Peter (2 Peter 3:10). The point of resemblance is evidently the unexpectedness and suddenness of the coming. The thief comes upon people in the night season, when they are asleep and unprepared; so, in a similar manner, when Christ comes, he will find the world unprepared and not expecting his advent. The ancient Fathers inferred from this passage that Christ would come to judgment in the night season, and hence they instituted vigils, or night watches. Some, still more precisely, fixed the coming on Easter night, from the analogy of the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt on the paschal evening.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For yourselves know perfectly,.... With great exactness and accuracy, with great clearness and perspicuity, as a certain truth, which was made plain and evident to them, and about which there could be no question; and which perfect knowledge they had, either from the words of Christ, Matthew 24:42, or from the ministration of the apostle and his fellow labourers, when among them:
that the day of the Lord; of the Lord Jesus, when he will show himself to be King of kings, and Lord of lords, and the Judge of the whole earth; and which is sometimes styled the day of the Son of man, and the day of God, for Christ will appear then most gloriously, both in his divine and human nature; the day of redemption, that is, of the body from the grave, and from corruption and mortality; and the last day in which will be the resurrection of the dead, and the day of judgment, in which Christ will come to judge the quick and dead: and which
so cometh as a thief in the night; at an unawares, and the Lord himself in that day will so come, Revelation 3:3 respect is had not to the character of the thief, nor to the end of his coming; but to the manner of it, in the dark, indiscernibly, suddenly, and when not thought of and looked for; and such will be the coming of Christ, it will be sudden, and unknown before hand, and when least thought of and expected: and since the Thessalonians knew this full well, it was needless for the apostle to write about the time and season of it; which they were sensible of, could no more be known and fixed, than the coming of a thief into anyone of their houses.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. as a thief in the night—The apostles in this image follow the parable of their Lord, expressing how the Lord's coming shall take men by surprise (Mt 24:43; 2Pe 3:10). "The night is wherever there is quiet unconcern" [Bengel]. "At midnight" (perhaps figurative: to some parts of the earth it will be literal night), Mt 25:6. The thief not only gives no notice of his approach but takes all precaution to prevent the household knowing of it. So the Lord (Re 16:15). Signs will precede the coming, to confirm the patient hope of the watchful believer; but the coming itself shall be sudden at last (Mt 24:32-36; Lu 21:25-32, 35).
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