“…you know perfectly that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. When they say, “Peace and safety!” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape. But you, brothers, are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief.” 1 Thessalonians 5:1-4

The Thessalonians knew that Jesus would return in a manner where only those watching would recognize it. The fact that He would come as a “thief” would show that it would secretive and unexpected. Why? Jesus explained it was to plunder Satan’s house. “When a strong man (Satan), fully armed, guards his estate, his possessions are secure. But when one stronger (Jesus) than he attacks (unexpectedly) and overpowers him, he takes from him all his weapons he trusted in, and divides up his plunder.” Luke 11:21-22 (CSB). 

1 Thessalonians 5 continues: “peace and safety, then sudden destruction”.  Jesus also prophesied about His unexpected return by  comparing it to Noah’s day. (See Matthew 24:36-39.) The world watched Noah build the ark for 120 years, but they didn’t believe his message of a coming flood. They continued living as usual. They felt at peace and safe. Then, “sudden destruction” came with the flood. Only those eight souls who listened to and obeyed the warning God gave through Noah recognized God’s timing and were saved. 

The description of a woman’s labor pains is another prophetic illustration of what we see happening today. There are waves of turmoil. The “wise” people have no solutions but are in perplexity. The birth pangs grow in intensity and frequency. Then things calm down again. Just as Jesus prophesied, “…upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring…” Luke 21:    

But Christians are not in darkness. We know, “in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44.

Christ is the one who is  “breaking in pieces” these unrighteous social, political, and religious structures. It is the Day of our Lord’s return! Revelation 11:15 is being fulfilled: “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!”   

Soon “there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:4.