“But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you“
Chapter 4 gave us the blessed hope of the believer, the rapture of the church to Heaven. This chapter gravely warns us of the coming Day of the Lord that deals with Israel and Gentiles (5:1-11).
The first three verses warn of the coming Day of the Lord.
The words “but concerning” is a signpost showing that Paul now shifts to a new topic. These words are his usual formula for moving to a new line of thought (4:9,13; 1 Corinthians 7:1; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1). In chapter 4, Paul discusses the Rapture but in this chapter, he turns to the Day of the Lord, which comes immediately after the Rapture.
Apparently, Timothy, in his report from his visit to Thessalonica, indicated to Paul that the new church needed further clarification about the Day of the Lord. The Day of the Lord is the next prophetic event after the Lord Jesus comes to rapture the church to Heaven.
The Day of the Lord is a period of 1007 years. The first part of this era is judgment on the world for a seven-year period. In the Tribulation, God will judge proud Gentiles and apostate Jews. However, He will deliver a faithful Jewish remnant and Gentiles who put their trust in Him. Following these seven years, Jesus will reign on the earth for one thousand years, fulfilling the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants (Genesis 15-18; 2 Samuel 7).
the times and the seasons, brethren,
Paul now expands God’s prophetic plan. He moves from the Rapture to the time after the Rapture – the Day of the Lord.
We get the English word “chronology” from the Greek word for “times.” “Times” refers to the succession of events, the chronology of events. This word as well as “seasons” refer to dispensations.
The word “seasons” refers to the “events” of the Tribulation and Millennium. The word “times” denotes quantity whereas “seasons” carries the idea of quality – kinds of time. Thus, Paul deals with end time events following the Rapture. There are two kinds of “seasons” following the Rapture – the Tribulation and the Millennium. These are different and unique features of the Day of the Lord.
All of this is just the opposite of the Rapture, which is a signless timeless event. The Rapture could happen at any moment, in a twinkling of an eye (1 Corinthians 15:51-52). The “times and seasons” are related to earth (Daniel 2:21; 7:12; Ecclesiastes 3:1). The Rapture, however, will snatch the church entirely away form the earth to glorious scenes in Heaven.
A “dispensation” is not primarily a period of time but a way of life. It is an economy of God. God dealt with Israel by a system of laws because she was a national entity. God deals with the church in an entirely different way because she is an organism, not an organization like Israel.
Every believer in the church has the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. In the old economy, only certain special people had the privilege of the indwelling Spirit such as David and only for periods in his life. That is why he prayed, “Take not your Holy Spirit from me (Psalm 51:11).”
The distinction between Israel and the church is very important because there is a massive difference in mode of living the godly life. In the church, every believer is a priest, therefore, he or she does not need a priest. We have the right to offer our own sacrifices to the Lord. We do not need to go through a mediator. The church has the prerogative of a right standing before God, earned by Christ. We have an eternal relationship with the Son of God.
you have no need that I should write to you
Paul previously taught the Thessalonians about the Day of the Lord when he established the church a year prior to writing this epistle so they did not need instruction on that doctrine. They did need instruction, however, on the Rapture.
God wants us to change the character of our lives by knowing prophetic truth.
God gives us no date to circle in our Day-Timer (Acts 1:6-8) as to when the Rapture will occur. He wants us to live with anticipation that He might come back any day. No sign needs to be fulfilled before He comes. He could come at any moment. Living in the light of His imminent coming sharpens our spirituality.
The purpose of prophecy is to comfort (4:18), edify, encourage holiness and give hope. Christians who do not understand prophecy are unstable. They do not understand the counterfeiting schema of Satan. Thus, they cannot distinguish the Devil’s plan from God’s plan. These Christians will buy into globalism and one-world government.
Prophecy distinguishes Christians from non-Christians. We live for a different purpose and with a different hope. The character of the sons of light stands in complete contrast to the coming dark Day of the Lord (5:1-11).