We need to be careful not to confuse the Rapture, described in the previous chapter, with the Day of Lord in the beginning of chapter 5. The Day of the Lord indicates a time when God (Christ Jesus) will return to the earth; it is a time of judgment of His enemies, and deliverance of His people. Both of these events were well taught to the early church, and the first Christians understood that God would return to rule and reign. The hope that it would be in their lifetime was just the same then as it is for us today and, again, is a reason for us to be living our lives in a godly manner in view of His imminent return.
A main emphasis here is that these events, while predicted by certain signs (Matt. 24:32-44; Luke 12: 35-40), cannot be accurately predicted as to the exact day or hour. The important thing was not when, but that He will indeed come. We need to be ready, waiting, and watching eagerly for His return.
As I study all this, I am impressed with how important the Lord’s return was to the early believers. We tend to consider eschatological teaching as obscure, and maybe not really that important. What we need to realize is that without teaching and preaching on this topic, we will lose our zeal to be ready; to be winning others before it’s too late; to look at every day as “maybe today.” As the years roll by and I find myself facing the middle of my ’60’s, I am more acutely aware of wasted time; hours and days spend with no real concern that Jesus could come to take the Church out “in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,” setting into motion all the events that will follow the Rapture. It’s way to easy for us to lose our focus, especially if we are not in the Word; and if the Word is not being preached and taught in its fullness.