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Read Introduction to 1 Thessalonians


“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“


then sudden destruction comes upon them,

“Destruction” means come to ruin. This is a state of utter ruin but not annihilation, a loss of all that humans think makes life worthwhile. It is not the destruction of being but of well-being. Destruction ruins peace and safety. In our verse and 2 Thessalonians 1:9, Paul uses “destruction” for ushering in the Day of the Lord. The destruction will come suddenly. God’s wrath will come to the world when they least expect it.

Operating under the myth that they have come to a place of “peace and safety,” humans will suddenly face “destruction.” This destruction “comes upon” them. The words “come upon” mean to stand over, to set upon. The idea may be that this destruction is at hand but has not fully arrived. Destruction is near, imminent, approaching, and impending.

as labor pains upon a pregnant woman.

The destruction will come upon the world like pangs of a pregnant woman giving birth. The idea is that this is great pain. Calamities will come upon men in Day of the Lord. When the Day of the Lord comes, the world will be pregnant with pain.

And they shall not escape

No one will be able to escape judgment in the Day of the Lord. The word “escape” means to flee out of a place. No one will escape the judgment of God. They will find no safety in flight. There is no place to go. There is no refuge from God.

The word “not” is strong in Greek, so to flee will be futile. There is no way to avoid God’s judgment. They can no more escape destruction any more than a pregnant woman can escape the pain of delivering her child.

Jesus warned us that people would not listen to warnings of the Day of the Lord (Matthew 24:34). We have a warning of prophetic pain in this passage. The coming Day of the Lord will be terrible for those without Christ.


Non-Christians live under the delusion that man by man’s means will give them peace and safety.


In the Tribulation, the world will be shocked at the instability of human answers. Humanism, not humanitarianism, is the idea that man can get along without God. Man can find answers in himself. He does not need God. “The idea of God is for the feeble-minded and for those who need a crutch to lean upon. We know how to control our destiny. We know how to solve the world’s problems without God. We do not need Jesus Christ to save us from our sins. All we need to do is believe in ourselves.” Man lulls himself to sleep with these delusions.

When man comes to a place of complete confidence in himself, a fancied fool’s paradise, then all his ideas for peace and safety come crashing down in destruction. They will face judgment of God and that without escape.

All of this stands diametrically opposed to the Rapture. Christ will catch Christians up and away from this destruction (4:13-18).