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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - 1THESSALONIANS 5
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    CHAPTER 5

    1Th 5:1-28. THE SUDDENNESS OF CHRIST'S COMING A MOTIVE FOR WATCHFULNESS; VARIOUS PRECEPTS: PRAYER FOR THEIR BEING FOUND BLAMELESS, BODY, SOUL, AND SPIRIT, AT CHRIST'S COMING: CONCLUSION.

    1. times--the general and indefinite term for chronological periods.
    - seasons--the opportune times (Da 7:12; Ac 1:7). Time denotes quantity; season, quality. Seasons are parts of times.
    - ye have no need--those who watch do not need to be told when the hour will come, for they are always ready [BENGEL].
    - cometh--present: expressing its speedy and awful certainty.

    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).

    3. they--the men of the world. 1Th 5:5, 6; 1Th 4:13, "others," all the rest of the world save Christians.
    - Peace-- (Jud 18:7, 9, 27, 28; Jer 6:14; Eze 13:10).
    - then--at the very moment when they least expect it. Compare the case of Belshazzar, Da 5:1-5, 6, 9, 26-28; Herod, Ac 12:21-23.
    - sudden--"unawares" (Lu 21:34).
    - as travail--"As the labor pang" comes in an instant on the woman when otherwise engaged (Ps 48:6; Isa 13:8).
    - shall not escape--Greek, "shall not at all escape." Another awful feature of their ruin: there shall be then no possibility of shunning it however they desire it (Am 9:2, 3; Re 6:15, 16).

    4. not in darkness--not in darkness of understanding (that is, spiritual ignorance) or of the moral nature (that is, a state of sin), Eph 4:18.
    - that--Greek, "in order that"; with God results are all purposed.
    - that day--Greek, "THE day"; the day of the Lord (Heb 10:25, "the day"), in contrast to "darkness."
    - overtake--unexpectedly (compare Joh 12:35).
    - as a thief--The two oldest manuscripts read, "as (the daylight overtakes) thieves" (Job 24:17). Old manuscripts and Vulgate read as English Version.

    5. The oldest manuscripts read, "FOR ye are all," &c. Ye have no reason for fear, or for being taken by surprise, by the coming of the day of the Lord: "For ye are all sons (so the Greek) of light and sons of day"; a Hebrew idiom, implying that as sons resemble their fathers, so you are in character light (intellectually and morally illuminated in a spiritual point of view), Lu 16:8; Joh 12:36.
    - are not of--that is, belong not to night nor darkness. The change of person from "ye" to "we" implies this: Ye are sons of light because ye are Christians; and we, Christians, are not of night nor darkness.

    6. others--Greek, "the rest" of the world: the unconverted (1Th 4:13). "Sleep" here is worldly apathy to spiritual things (Ro 13:11; Eph 5:14); in 1Th 5:7, ordinary sleep; in 1Th 5:10, death.
    - watch--for Christ's coming; literally, "be wakeful." The same Greek occurs in 1Co 15:34; 2Ti 2:26.
    - be sober--refraining from carnal indulgence, mental or sensual (1Pe 5:8).

    7. This verse is to be taken in the literal sense. Night is the time when sleepers sleep, and drinking men are drunk. To sleep by day would imply great indolence; to be drunken by day, great shamelessness. Now, in a spiritual sense, "we Christians profess to be day people, not night people; therefore our work ought to be day work, not night work; our conduct such as will bear the eye of day, and such has no need of the veil of night" [EDMUNDS], (1Th 5:8).

    8. Faith, hope, and love, are the three pre-eminent graces (1Th 1:3; 1Co 13:13). We must not only be awake and sober, but also armed; not only watchful, but also guarded. The armor here is only defensive; in Eph 6:13-17, also offensive. Here, therefore, the reference is to the Christian means of being guarded against being surprised by the day of the Lord as a thief in the night. The helmet and breastplate defend the two vital parts, the head and the heart respectively. "With head and heart right, the whole man is right" [EDMUNDS]. The head needs to be kept from error, the heart from sin. For "the breastplate of righteousness," Eph 6:14, we have here "the breastplate of faith and love"; for the righteousness which is imputed to man for justification, is "faith working by love" (Ro 4:3, 22-24; Ga 5:6). "Faith," as the motive within, and "love," exhibited in outward acts, constitute the perfection of righteousness. In Eph 6:17 the helmet is "salvation"; here, "the hope of salvation." In one aspect "salvation" is a present possession (Joh 3:36; 5:24; 1Jo 5:13); in another, it is a matter of "hope" (Ro 8:24, 25). Our Head primarily wore the "breastplate of righteousness" and "helmet of salvation," that we might, by union with Him, receive both.

    9. For--assigning the ground of our "hopes" (1Th 5:8).
    - appointed us--Translate, "set" (Ac 13:47), in His everlasting purpose of love (1Th 3:3; 2Ti 1:9). Contrast Ro 9:22; Jude 4.
    - to--that is, unto wrath.
    - to obtain--Greek, "to the acquisition of salvation"; said, according to BENGEL, Of One saved out of a general wreck, when all things else have been lost: so of the elect saved out of the multitude of the lost (2Th 2:13, 14). The fact of God's "appointment" of His grace "through Jesus Christ" (Eph 1:5), takes away the notion of our being able to "acquire" salvation of ourselves. Christ "acquired (so the Greek for 'purchased') the Church (and its salvation) with His own blood" (Ac 20:28); each member is said to be appointed by God to the "acquiring of salvation." In the primary sense, God does the work; in the secondary sense, man does it.

    10. died for us--Greek, "in our behalf."
    - whether we wake or sleep--whether we be found at Christ's coming awake, that is, alive, or asleep, that is, in our graves.
    - together--all of us together; the living not preceding the dead in their glorification "with Him" at His coming (1Th 4:13).

    11. comfort yourselves--Greek, "one another." Here he reverts to the same consolatory strain as in 1Th 4:18.
    - edify one another--rather as Greek, "edify (ye) the one the other"; "edify," literally, "build up," namely, in faith, hope, and love, by discoursing together on such edifying topics as the Lord's coming, and the glory of the saints (Mal 3:16).

    12. beseech--"Exhort" is the expression in 1Th 5:14; here, "we beseech you," as if it were a personal favor (Paul making the cause of the Thessalonian presbyters, as it were, his own).
    - know--to have a regard and respect for. Recognize their office, and treat them accordingly (compare 1Co 16:18) with reverence and with liberality in supplying their needs (1Ti 5:17). The Thessalonian Church having been newly planted, the ministers were necessarily novices (1Ti 3:6), which may have been in part the cause of the people's treating them with less respect. Paul's practice seems to have been to ordain elders in every Church soon after its establishment (Ac 14:23).
    - them which labour . . . are over . . . admonish you--not three classes of ministers, but one, as there is but one article common to the three in the Greek. "Labor" expresses their laborious life; "are over you," their pre-eminence as presidents or superintendents ("bishops," that is, overseers, Php 1:1, "them that have rule over you," literally, leaders, Heb 13:17; "pastors," literally, shepherds, Eph 4:11); "admonish you," one of their leading functions; the Greek is "put in mind," implying not arbitrary authority, but gentle, though faithful, admonition (2Ti 2:14, 24, 25; 1Pe 5:3).
    - in the Lord--Their presidency over you is in divine things; not in worldly affairs, but in things appertaining to the Lord.

    13. very highly--Greek, "exceeding abundantly."
    - for their work's sake--The high nature of their work alone, the furtherance of your salvation and of the kingdom of Christ, should be a sufficient motive to claim your reverential love. At the same time, the word "work," teaches ministers that, while claiming the reverence due to their office, it is not a sinecure, but a "work"; compare "labor" (even to weariness: so the Greek), 1Th 5:12.
    - be at peace among yourselves--The "and" is not in the original. Let there not only be peace between ministers and their flocks, but also no party rivalries among yourselves, one contending in behalf of some one favorite minister, another in behalf of another (Mr 9:50; 1Co 1:12; 4:6).

    14. brethren--This exhortation to "warm (Greek, 'admonish,' as in 1Th 5:12) the unruly (those 'disorderly' persons, 2Th 3:6, 11, who would not work, and yet expected to be maintained, literally, said of soldiers who will not remain in their ranks, compare 1Th 4:11; also those insubordinate as to Church discipline, in relation to those 'over' the Church, 1Th 5:12), comfort the feeble-minded (the faint-hearted, who are ready to sink 'without hope' in afflictions, 1Th 4:13, and temptations)," applies to all clergy and laity alike, though primarily the duty of the clergy (who are meant in 1Th 5:12)."
    - support--literally, "lay fast hold on so as to support."
    - the weak--spiritually. Paul practiced what he preached (1Co 9:22).
    - be patient toward all men--There is no believer who needs not the exercise of patience "toward" him; there is none to whom a believer ought not to show it; many show it more to strangers than to their own families, more to the great than to the humble; but we ought to show it "toward all men" [BENGEL]. Compare "the long-suffering of our Lord" (2Co 10:1; 2Pe 3:15).

    15. (Ro 12:17; 1Pe 3:9.)
    - unto any man--whether unto a Christian, or a heathen, however great the provocation.
    - follow--as a matter of earnest pursuit.

    16, 17. In order to "rejoice evermore," we must "pray without ceasing" (1Th 5:17). He who is wont to thank God for all things as happening for the

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