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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

1 Thessalonians 5:2

For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

For yourselves know perfectly - That is, they had been fully taught this. There could be no doubt in their minds respecting it.

The day of the Lord so cometh - Of the Lord Jesus - for so the word “Lord” in the New Testament commonly means; see the notes, Acts 1:24. The “day of the Lord” means that day in which he will be manifested, or in which he will be the prominent object in view of the assembled universe.

As a thief in the night - Suddenly and unexpectedly, as a robber breaks into a dwelling. A thief comes without giving any warning, or any indications of his approach. He not only gives none, but he is careful that none shall be given. It is a point with him that, if possible, the man whose house he is about to rob shall have no means of ascertaining his approach until he comes suddenly upon him; compare Matthew 24:37-43 notes; Luke 12:39-40 notes. In this way the Lord Jesus will return to judgment; and this proves that all the attempts to determine the day, the year, or the century when he will come, must be fallacious. He intends that his coming to this world shall be sudden and unexpected, “like that of a thief in the night;” that there shall be no such indications of his approach that it shall not be sudden and unexpected; and that no warning of it shall be given so that people may know the time of his appearing. If this be not the point of the comparison in expressions like this, what is it? Is there anything else in which his coming will resemble that of a thief? And if this be the true point of comparison, how can it be true that people can ascertain when that is to occur? Assuredly, if they can, his coming will not be like that of a thief; comp. notes on Acts 1:7.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

1 Thessalonians 5:2

For ye yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night

Christ coming as a thief in the night

Here we have a striking comparison--one which, to all appearance, had passed into a recognized formula, yet one which no Christian would have dared to use had it not been hallowed by our Lord’s own lips.
And so we find it first of all in His own parable (
Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39-40). Next we find it caught up by His disciple Peter (2 Peter 3:10). Then we find it adopted by Paul; and last of all we hear it again from our Lord (Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15). The formula means--

I. That as the thief comes unexpectedly, So His coming will be stealthy, under cover, as it were, of darkness; when the children of night and darkness, the dreamers (Jude 1:8), do not in the slumber of carnal security, even momentarily think of His approach. But if this were all, the idea would lack much of aptness and dignity. Therefore--

II. As the thief comes to steal, So the day of the Lord comes to take away by force the so-called goods--the possessions of the worldling. The children of the night have their most valued substance snatched from them. They are robbed of their soul (see Revelation 16:15). Vigilance is needed that the garment may be kept--not torn from him--that he may not be found robbed of the robe of the Redeemer’s righteousness, but clothed therewith, and accepted at last. (J. Hutchison, D. D.)

The suddenness of the Second Advent

This present state of things is ever close upon the next world, and resolves itself into it. As when a man is given over, he may die any moment, yet lingers; as an instrument of war may any moment explode, and must at some time; as we listen for a clock to strike, and at length it surprises us; as a crumbling arch hangs, we know not how, and is not safe to pass under, so creeps on this feeble, weary world, and one day, before we know where we are, it will end. (J. H. Newman, D. D.)

A reminder of mortality

One of Gotthold’s friends had a little scent box, made in the shape of a death’s head, with a screw at the skull for opening and taking it asunder. It then showed various cells filled with fragrant balm. Being asked why he had made the box in this particular shape, he replied, “In order to have something continually reminding me of my mortality.” On this, Gotthold rejoined, “You have done well if such was indeed your object, and not, rather, to possess a curiosity for people to gaze and wonder at. The thought of the mortality to which, like all your race, you are subjected, may be infinitely more profitable to you than all kinds of balm. If seized with the delirium of pride, reflect that death will one day reduce you to dust and ashes, and wither your pomp like a flower. If overcome by angry passion, take to heart that death stands behind you with his axe, and only waits the signal from God to reduce you in an instant to the impotency of a dead gnat. If your heart ache, and your head be distracted with cares, recollect that all your trouble and anxiety will one day come to a blessed end.”

Preparedness

When war was declared between France and Prussia, Von Molkte was fully prepared. The news was brought to him late one night: he had already gone to bed. “Very well,” he said to the messenger, “the third portfolio on the left,” and went to sleep again until morning. (H. D. Mackay.)

The day of the Lord

The day of the Lord, yet future, is the day on which, most assuredly, all thoughts will turn to Him, whether willingly or by constraint, whether in terror or in joy; the day in which His truth will silence into nothingness all human errors and guesses at truth, in which His justice will take the place of all that is named justice, rightly or wrongly, among the sons of men; the day in which everything else but He will be lost sight of, and will be as though it were not, in which the eternal reality of His relation to the world and to man will also be the acknowledged reality. As surely as we have seen this morning’s sunlight, we shall hereafter behold the eternal Judge upon His throne, the countless multitudes before Him, the division between His creatures deep and irreversible, the disciplined activities of His angels, the issues on this side and on that, as all gradually settles down into the last unchangeable award. (Canon Liddon.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "1 Thessalonians 5:2". The Biblical Illustrator. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

Know perfectly .... "There had been no special revelation to any of the Thessalonians regarding this; they had not had the privilege of hearing Christ personally while he was upon earth; and, therefore, it may be assumed that Paul here meant that he and Silas and Timothy had fully and carefully instructed them on these things at the time of their conversion.

Day of the Lord so cometh ... "In the Greek, there is no definite article before either `day' or `Lord,' indicating that the expression was stereotyped, having become somewhat as a proper noun."[4] The expression was used extensively in the Old Testament; and Barclay summarized the Old Testament meaning of the expression thus:

(i) It would come suddenly and unexpected, (ii) it would involve a cosmic upheaval in which the universe would be shaken to its very foundations, and (iii) it would be a time when God would bring judgment upon the nations.[5]

The adoption, from the very beginning of Christianity, of this same expression, used in the sense of the day of Jesus Christ, shows how universally the early church accepted Jesus as co-equal with God. Thus, as Gloag put it, "The day of the Lord here means not the destruction of Jerusalem, nor the day of one's death, but the day of the Lord's advent."[6]

The suddenness and unexpectedness of that day were always associated with the prophecies pertaining to it. Lipscomb has a wonderful comment on this thus:

No truth seems to have been more clearly and fully taught than that the Son of man would come when not looked for by the world. Yet there is no scriptural question upon which men bestow more attention, and no question that they seek more earnestly to determine. The time has often been set, and as often proved a mistake.

Only by a righteous and pure life can one be ready for his coming. We should not only be ready for him, but should love his appearing and desire earnestly the day of his coming.[7]SIZE>

[4] Raymond C. Kelcy, op. cit., p. 105.

[5] William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1975), p. 205.

[6] P. J. Gloag, op. cit., p. 102.

[7] David Lipscomb, Commentary on 1Thessalonians (Nashville: The Gospel Advocate Company, 1976), p. 63.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/1-thessalonians-5.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

For yourselves know perfectly,.... With great exactness and accuracy, with great clearness and perspicuity, as a certain truth, which was made plain and evident to them, and about which there could be no question; and which perfect knowledge they had, either from the words of Christ, Matthew 24:42, or from the ministration of the apostle and his fellow labourers, when among them:

that the day of the Lord; of the Lord Jesus, when he will show himself to be King of kings, and Lord of lords, and the Judge of the whole earth; and which is sometimes styled the day of the Son of man, and the day of God, for Christ will appear then most gloriously, both in his divine and human nature; the day of redemption, that is, of the body from the grave, and from corruption and mortality; and the last day in which will be the resurrection of the dead, and the day of judgment, in which Christ will come to judge the quick and dead: and which

so cometh as a thief in the night; at an unawares, and the Lord himself in that day will so come, Revelation 3:3 respect is had not to the character of the thief, nor to the end of his coming; but to the manner of it, in the dark, indiscernibly, suddenly, and when not thought of and looked for; and such will be the coming of Christ, it will be sudden, and unknown before hand, and when least thought of and expected: and since the Thessalonians knew this full well, it was needless for the apostle to write about the time and season of it; which they were sensible of, could no more be known and fixed, than the coming of a thief into anyone of their houses.


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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rightes Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855

Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

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 (Matthew 24:43; 2 Peter 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), Matthew 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 (Revelation 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 (Matthew 24:32-36; Luke 21:25-32, Luke 21:35).


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1871-8.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Know perfectly (ακριβως οιδατεakribōs oidate). Accurately know, not “the times and the seasons,” but their own ignorance.

As a thief in the night (ως κλεπτης εν νυκτιhōs kleptēs en nukti). As a thief at night, suddenly and unexpectedly. Reminiscence of the word of Jesus (Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39), used also in 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15.

Cometh (ερχεταιerchetai). Prophetic or futuristic present tense.


Copyright Statement
The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)

Bibliography
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/1-thessalonians-5.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

Perfectly ( ἀκριβῶς )

See on Luke 1:3.

The day of the Lord ( ἡμέρα κυρίου )

The day of Christ's second coming. In Paul's Epistles this is expressed by ἡ ἡμέρα theday, absolutely, 1 Thessalonians 5:4; 1 Corinthians 3:13; Romans 13:12: ἡ ἡμέρα ἐκείνη thatday, 2 Thessalonians 1:10: ἡμέρα χριστοῦ theday of Christ, Philemon 1:10; Philemon 2:16: ἡμέρα κυρίου or τοῦ κυρίου dayof the Lord, 1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Thessalonians 2:2: ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἱησοῦ ( Χριστοῦ ), 1 Corinthians 1:8; 2 Corinthians 1:14. These expressions refer to a definite time when the Lord is expected to appear, and Paul expects this appearance soon. Attempts to evade this by referring such expressions to the day of death, or to the advance toward perfection after death until the final judgment, are forced, and are shaped by dogmatic conceptions of the nature of Biblical inspiration. In the O.T. the phrase day of the Lord denotes a time in which God will conspicuously manifest his power and goodness or his penal justice. See Isaiah 2:12; Ezekiel 13:5; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:11; and comp. Romans 2:5. The whole class of phrases is rare in N.T. outside of Paul's Epistles.

As a thief ( ὡς κλέπτης )

Comp. Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 16:15, and see on Revelation 3:3.

In the night ( ἐν νυκιτί )

The ancient church held that the advent was to be expected at night, on an Easter eve. This gave rise to the custom of vigils. Jerome, on Matthew 25:6, says: “It is a tradition of the Jews that Messiah will come at midnight, after the likeness of that season in Egypt when the Passover was celebrated, and the Destroyer came, and the Lord passed over the dwellings. I think that this idea was perpetuated in the apostolic custom, that, on the day of vigils, at the Pascha, it was not allowed to dismiss the people before midnight, since they expected the advent of Christ.” It is noteworthy how many of the gospel lessons on watchfulness are associated with the night and a visit by night. See Matthew 24:43; Matthew 25:1-13; Mark 13:35; Luke 12:35, Luke 12:38; Luke 17:34; Luke 12:20.


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Bibliography
Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/1-thessalonians-5.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

For this in general ye do know; and ye can and need know no more.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes

on the Whole Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1765.

Abbott's Illustrated New Testament

As a thief in the night; suddenly and unexpectedly.


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Bibliography
Abbott, John S. C. & Abbott, Jacob. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Abbott's Illustrated New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ain/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1878.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

2Ye know perfectly. He places exact knowledge in contrast with an anxious desire of investigation. But what is it that he says the Thessalonians know accurately? (591) It is, that the day of Christ will come suddenly and unexpectedly, so as to take unbelievers by surprise, as a thief does those that are asleep. This, however, is opposed to evident tokens, which might portend afar off his coming to the world. Hence it were foolish to wish to determine the time precisely from presages or prodigies.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

Ver. 2. The day of the Lord] That day, by a specialty, Luke 21:34, that great day, Revelation 6:17, that day of the declaration of God’s just judgment, Romans 2:5; Romans 2:16, that day of Christ, 2 Thessalonians 2:2, of God, 2 Peter 3:12, wherein he will show himself to be God of gods and Lord of lords.

As a thief in the night] Who giveth no warning, Matthew 24:43. {See Trapp on "Matthew 24:43"}


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". John Trapp Complete Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1865-1868.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:2. The day of the Lord This phrase may be understood either figuratively, of Christ's coming in judgment upon the Jews; or literally, of his coming in glory to judge the world. Sometimes, indeed, it is used in the former sense; but it is more generallyemployed in the latter, by the writers of the New Testament; and the context plainly evinces that this latter is the sense in the present passage. There is a remarkable emphasis in the next expression: A thief comes upon people when they are bound in sleep; and they awake in amazement and confusion, being found unarmed, and in a helpless posture. Again, pangs come upon a woman, 1 Thessalonians 5:3 when she is eating or drinking, and thinking of nothing less than that hour: and here it is said, not that the day of the Lord will come thus, but that it is actually coming; which increases the awfulness of the representation.


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Bibliography
Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

2.] [ ] ἡμέρα κυρίου is not the destruction of Jerusalem, as Hammond, Schöttg., al.,—nor the day of each man’s death, as Chrys., Œc., Thl., Lyr., al.,—but the day of the Lord’s coming, the παρουσία, which has been spoken of, in some of its details, above. So Thdrt.— ἡ δεσποτικὴ παρονσία. This is plain, by comparing 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16. It is both the suddenness, and the terribleness (surely we cannot with Ellic. omit this element, in the presence of the image in the next verse) of the Day’s coming, which is here dwelt on: cf. next verse.

οὕτως fills up the comparison—as a thief in the night (comes), so … it comes (not for future, but expressing, as so often by the present, the absolute truth and certainty of that predicated—it is its attribute, to come).


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Bibliography
Alford, Henry. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1863-1878.

Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:2. αὐτοὶ γάρ] For ye yourselves, emphatically contrasted with the person of the writer, as in 1 Thessalonians 4:9.

ἀκριβῶς] exactly, i.e. very well.

By the ἡμέρα κυρίου, Hammond, Schoettgen, and Harduin arbitrarily understand the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; Nicolas de Lyra, Bloomfield, and others, the day of each man’s death; Oecumenius, Theophylact, and Zwingli, the death of the individual and the end of everything earthly, ἡμέρα κυρίου can only be another expression for παρουσία τοῦ κυρίου, 1 Thessalonians 4:15, and denotes, as everywhere else, the near impending period, when the present order of the world will come to an end, and Christ in His glory will return to the earth for the resurrection of the dead, the general judgment, and the completion of the kingdom of God; comp. 2 Thessalonians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 1:8; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 1:14; Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16. Besides, the corresponding expression יוֹם יְהֹוָה is used in the Old Testament to denote a time in which God will manifest in a conspicuous manner His penal justice, or also His power and goodness; comp. Joel 1:15; Joel 2:11; Ezekiel 13:5; Isaiah 2:12.

ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτί] as a thief in the night, sc. ἔρχεται; comp. 2 Peter 3:10. The figure is designed to depict the suddenness and unexpectedness of the coming; comp. Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39. Others, as Flatt, Schott, and Alford (similarly also Hofmann and Riggenbach), find expressed therein the further reference that the day of the Lord will also be terrible to all those who are not properly prepared for it. But this further idea is not contained in 1 Thessalonians 5:2, but only meets us in what follows. The comparison ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτί was undoubtedly the chief reason of the opinion in the ancient church, that the advent is to be expected at night (more specifically, on an Easter-eve), which gave rise to the vigils, as one wished to be overtaken in a waking condition by the return of Christ. Comp. Lactantius, Institt. vii. 19: “Haec est nox, quae a nobis propter adventum regis ac Dei nostri pervigilio celebratur; cujus noctis duplex ratio est, quod in ea et vitam turn recepit, quum passus est, et postea orbis terrae regnum recepturus est.” Jerome on Matthew 25:6 (vol. vii. p. 203): “Traditio Judaeorum est, Christum media nocte venturum in similitudinem Aegyptii temporis, quando pascha celebratum est et exterminator venit, et dominus super tabernacula transiit.… Unde reor et traditionem apostolicam permansisse, ut in die vigiliarum paschae ante noctis dimidium populos dimittere non liceat, exspectantes adventum Christi.”

οὕτως] even so, a strong resumption of the preceding ὡς.

The present ἔρχετε is not here used instead of the future ἐλεύσεται (Vorstius, Koppe, Flatt, Pelt), but is designed to characterize the coming thus taking place as an absolute and certain truth. See Bernhardy, Syntax, p. 371; Winer, p. 237 [E. T. 331].


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Bibliography
Meyer, Heinrich. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". Heinrich Meyer's Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hmc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1832.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:2. ὡς κλέπτης, as a thief) 2 Peter 3:10. A usual expression with the apostles, agreeing with the parable of the Lord, Matthew 24:43.— ἐν νυκτὶ, in the night) Refer those words to a thief, just now mentioned [not, the day of the Lord cometh in the night; but, as a thief cometh in the night]. The night is there, where there is unconcern and quiet; comp. however, Matthew 25:6.(25)οὕτως) so, as we shall describe in the following verse. Comp. so after(26) for, Matthew 1:18, [“The birth of Christ was so; for when His mother Mary was espoused,” etc.: οὕτως ἦν. μνηστευθείσης γὰρ, etc.]— ἔρχεται, comes) The present expressing a sudden event with great emphasis. So 1 Thessalonians 5:3, Sudden destruction cometh; comp. Luke 21:34.

AGfg, Iren. 329, Cypr. 326, and Syr. Version, omit γὰρ, and so Tisch. Lachm. reads δὲ, with BD( δ), Memph. and later Syr. Rec. Text reads γὰρ. with Vulg.—ED.


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Bibliography
Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1897.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

By times and seasons then, before mentioned, he meant the time: of the Lord’s coming, or he applies what he spoke in general to this particular, which he here calls

the day of the Lord. And though they knew not the particular time, yet they did know this, it would be sudden and unexpected, coming

as a thief in the night, Revelation 16:15: the comparison is to be restrained only to the suddenness of it; for his coming will be welcome, and so not as a thief, to all that believe. And it is called

the day of the Lord here and elsewhere, 1 Corinthians 3:13 Philippians 1:6,10, and that day, 2 Timothy 1:18, not to be taken for a natural day, but a certain period of time. Any eminent manifestation of God, either in works of mercy or judgment, is called his day in Scripture, Isaiah 2:12 Jeremiah 46:10. And so because Christ will be more eminently manifested now than ever before, therefore his coming is called his day; and that it would be sudden they did not only know, but

know perfectly, or accurately; Ephesians 5:15, circumspectly: there could be only conjectures about the particular time: the influence hereof was powerful upon their hearts, and so they may be said to know it perfectly. In religion, knowledge is not perfect which is not operative.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1685.

Justin Edwards' Family Bible New Testament

Perfectly; more literally, accurately, having been carefully instructed on that point by myself.

The day of the Lord; of his second coming in glory just spoken of.

As a thief in the night; suddenly and at an unexpected time. It is God’s will that men should live in constant preparation for it. All over-curious computations for the purpose of fixing its exact date are vain and profitless. Matthew 24:36. What the apostle here says of Christ’s second coming is eminently true also of his particular coming to each one at death, which is, in truth, to him the end of the world. Hebrews 9:27.


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Bibliography
Edwards, Justin. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Family Bible New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/fam/1-thessalonians-5.html. American Tract Society. 1851.

Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

2. αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀκριβῶς οἴδατε. For of yourselves you know precisely. On αὐτοὶ οἴδατε, see 1 Thessalonians 2:1; and cf. again 1 Thessalonians 4:9. The readers “know,” because they have been already told (cf. 1 Thessalonians 3:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:5); their question was needless, if they reflected on what they had previously learned respecting “the day of the Lord.” The allusions in the sequel to our Lord’s discourse on the Judgement imply that the Apostles had quoted His sayings on this mysterious theme. While in regard to the matter of § 8 a new revelation was required (1 Thessalonians 4:15), on this question the Lord’s own well-remembered words were sufficient.

The word ἀκριβῶς is puzzling here: “perfectly” (A.V., R.V.) is not a strict equivalent; in Matthew 2:8 it is rendered “carefully,” in Luke 1:3 “accurately,” and so on; the Vulg. turns it into diligenter; Erasmus and Estius, better, exacte. The adverb seems out of place, until one remembers that the Apostles are replying to enquiries from their readers, and that in such correspondence St Paul is fond of retorting words addressed to him (see J. Rendel Harris in the Expositor, V. viii. 161–180; also W. Lock in Expositor, V. vi. 65 ff.). Probably the Thessalonians in sending their query had used this very word: “We should like to know more precisely about the times and seasons, and when the day of the Lord will be.” The Apostle replies, with a touch of irony (cf. note on 1 Thessalonians 4:11): “You already know precisely that nothing precise on the subject can be known—the Great Day will steal on the world like a thief in the night!” 2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 shows that even after this caution the Church continued to entertain speculations about the details of the Advent.

ὅτι ἡμέρα Κυρίου ὡς κλέπτης ἐν νυκτὶ οὕτως ἔρχεται, that the day of the Lord, as a thief in the night, so is coming. Ἡμέρα Κυρίου—anarthrous (cf. Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16), as a sort of proper noun—the well-known prophetic “Day of the Lord” (יוֹם יהיה ). It “is coming,”—is on the way (cf. notes on 1 Thessalonians 1:10, 1 Thessalonians 2:16; also Ephesians 5:6; Romans 1:18; 2 Peter 2:3, &c.). Even in the act of departing Jesus said repeatedly, “I come,” “I am coming to you” (John 14:3; John 14:18; John 14:28, &c.). Lightfoot, Winer-Moulton (pp. 331 f.), and others, read this as a prophetic present: “cometh” = “will surely come.” The event is certain and in preparation; when it will arrive none can tell.

The figure of the κλέπτης ἐν νυκτί points (1 Thessalonians 5:3) to the unhappy surprise that “the day” brings to the wicked. This simile of Jesus (cf. Matthew 24:43; Luke 12:39 f.; see note above, on αὐτοὶ οἴδατε) recurs in 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15. It gave rise to the tradition that the Advent would take place on the night before the Passover, through which therefore vigil was wont to be kept (see Jerome on Matthew 25:6; Lactantius Instit. vii. 19). The metaphor possibly implies, beside the unexpectedness, the bereaving effect of the Coming: that Day will rob the wicked of ease and wealth (cf. Luke 12:20; Luke 12:33). There is a certain incongruity in the representation of a “day coming” (breaking in upon evildoers) “as a thief in the night”; but it is the Lord Himself who “comes” on this great day of His (2 Thessalonians 1:7 ff.; cf. Revelation 3:3, &c.).

The doctrine of “the day of Jehovah” may be traced through the O.T., in Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1 ff., &c., Joel 3:14; Amos 5:18 ff.; Isaiah 2:11 ff; Isaiah 13:6, &c., Isaiah 19:16-25, Isaiah 26:1, Isaiah 27:1 ff.; Zephaniah 1:7 ff., &c.; Jeremiah 31:31 ff; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 13:5; Ezekiel 39:8, &c.; Malachi 3:2, &c. It denotes the great epoch of judgement impending over Israel and the surrounding nations, which dominated the prophetic horizon; it had a further outlook, however, of blessing and restoration for God’s people (see Zechariah 14:7 ff.). The judicial aspect of the Day of the Lord in the O.T. was carried over into the New, mutatis mutandis. The Judgement now assumes a more spiritual and supernatural character; it is individualized, bearing no longer on nations and their destiny, but on men universally—on personal character and relations to God; it follows upon the resurrection of the dead; and, above all, Jesus Christ is disclosed as the Judge of “that Day”: see, amongst many other passages, Matthew 25:31-46; John 5:21-29; John 6:39 f.; Luke 17:24; Luke 17:26; Luke 17:30; Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16; 1 Corinthians 4:3 ff.; 2 Corinthians 5:10, &c. Hence this Day of the Lord is called by the Apostle “the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6, &c.); sometimes “that day” (2 Timothy 1:12, &c.), since it is the finale to which all Christianity points. St Paul loves to regard it on its brighter side, as the time when Christ’s glory will be revealed in His saints (1 Thessalonians 3:13; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; Philippians 2:16; Romans 8:19, &c.). Now the world has its day; “this is your hour,” said Jesus to the Jewish officers, “and the power of darkness” (Luke 22:53): then comes the Lord’s day, when He will be vindicated both in salvation and in judgement, when “the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together” (Isaiah 40:5). At a later period the weekly day of Christ’s resurrection received this name (see Revelation 1:10; cf. 1 Corinthians 16:2)—this is also a day of Divine vindication, and thus a pledge and anticipation of the great Day; cf. the connexion between the resurrection of Jesus and the Last Judgement indicated in 1 Thessalonians 1:10, Acts 17:31.


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"Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cgt/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1896.

George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians

2. αὐτοὶ γὰρ ἀκριβῶς κτλ.] ‘For yourselves (A.V. 1611 ‘your selues’) know accurately’—a further appeal to the Thessalonians’ own experience (cf. 2:1 note), the addition of ἀκριβῶς being due not only to the stress laid by the Apostles on this point in their oral teaching, but perhaps also to the fact that then as now (see below) that teaching had been based on the actual words of the Lord. For a somewhat similar use of ἀκριβῶς cf. Acts 18:25 where it is said of Apollos ἐδίδασκεν ἀκριβῶς τὰ περὶ τοῦ ησοῦ, though it is going too far to find there with Blass a proof that Apollos made use of a written gospel (‘accurate … videlicet non sine scripto euangelio’: cf. Knowling E.G.T. ad loc., and see J. H. A. Hart J.T.S. 7. p. 17 ff.). In Ephesians 5:15, the only other Pauline passage where the word occurs, it can mean little more than ‘carefully’ if we follow the best-attested reading βλέπετε οὖν ἀκριβῶς ( א *B): if however with אcA ἀκριβῶς belongs to περιπατεῖτε, the thought of strict conformity to a standard is again introduced. The same idea underlies the old Engl. use of ‘diligently’ by which the word is rendered in the A.V. of Matthew 2:8 (cf. κρίβωσεν ‘inquired diligently’ v. 7), as is shown by the translators’ own description of their version as ‘with the former Translations diligently compared and revised.’

ἀκριβῶς is found with ο δα as here in P.Cairo 3, 8 f. (3./b.c.) ὅπως ἀκριβῶς εἰδῆις, P.Petr. 11. 15 (1), 11 (3./b.c.) εἰδῆσαι ἀκριβῶς; cf. P.Hib. 40, 6 f. (3./b.c.) ἐπίστασο μέντοι ἀκριβῶς.

ὕτι ἡμέρα κυρίου κτλ.] an evident reminiscence of the Lord’s own teaching Matthew 24:43, Luke 12:39 : cf. Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15, and for a similar use of the same figure 2 Peter 3:10. The absence of the art. before ἡμέρα is due not only to the fact that the expression had come to be regarded as a kind of proper name, but to the emphasis laid on the character of the day, a day of the Lord. It ‘belongs to Him, is His time for working, for manifesting Himself, for displaying His character, for performing His work—His strange work upon the earth’ (A. B. Davidson, Theol. of the O.T. (1904) p. 375).

The phrase is first found in the O.T. in Amos 5:18 ff., where the prophet criticizes the popular expectation that the ‘day’ was to be a day not of judgment but of national deliverance (perhaps in connexion with phrases like the ‘day of Midian’ Isaiah 9:4 recalling the victory of Israel over her foes, see W. R. Smith Prophets of Israel2 p. 397 f.). It is very frequent in the later prophecies (e.g. Isaiah 2:12 ff., Zephaniah 1:7 ff., Malachi 3:2; Malachi 4:1), and always with a definite eschatological reference to the term fixed for the execution of judgment: see further A. B. Davidson op. cit. p. 374 ff., and Art. ‘Eschatology’ in Hastings’ D.B. 1. p. 735 ff., also the elaborate discussion in Gressmann Der Ursprung der israelitisch-jüdischen Eschatologie (1905) p. 141 ff.

The actual comparison ὡς κλέπτης is not found in the O.T. (but cf. Job 24:14, Jeremiah 29:10 (49:9), Obadiah 1:5), while the addition of ἐν νυκτί, which is peculiar to the present passage, may have led to the belief so widely prevalent in the early Church that Christ would come at night (Lact. Instt. 7:19 ‘intempesta nocte et tenebrosa, ’ Hieron. ad Matthew 25:6 ‘media nocte’). ρχεται, pres. for fut., lends vividness and certainty to the whole idea (cf. Blass, p. 189).


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Milligan, George. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "George Milligan - Paul's Epistle to the Thessalonians". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gmt/1-thessalonians-5.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

2. Yourselves—Emphatic; as also 1 Thessalonians 4:9.

Day of the Lord—An Old Testament phrase to designate any period of God’s terrible visitation. Joel 1:15; Joel 2:11; Ezekiel 13:5; Isaiah 2:12. Here specifically applied to the day of the event just described, 1 Thessalonians 4:15-18, the Parousia.

A thief in the night—This remarkable comparison of the Lord to a thief was first used by our Lord himself in Matthew 24:43-44; and Luke 12:39-40. And thence it became a standard simile. 2 Peter 3:10. Wordsworth acutely argues that none but Jesus would have invented such a comparison, and that, therefore, the Thessalonians must have had a gospel of either Matthew or Luke, to have learned it from. That Matthew, in its Hebrew form, was early written, we have indicated in our Introduction to that gospel. And we are inclined to believe that Luke was now extant. But had the Thessalonians a copy of either in possession, how could they be so ignorant of the resurrection as 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 implies? There are striking coincidents of Greek words, however, between St. Paul’s language and our Lord’s in Luke.

Lunemann calls to mind the impression made by this phrase in the night on the mind of the early Church. The so-called vigils, or watch-nights, were held, especially on Easter-night, in expectation that the sign of the coming Son of man would streak the darkness of the midnight sky. They awaited that solemn token with watching, and fasting, and prayer. A beautiful error, solemnizing the soul and reforming the character! So Lactantius, in the fourth century, says: “This is the night which by us is celebrated; of which night, twofold is the reason, because in it He received life when he suffered, and because in it He will soon receive the dominion of the earth.” And Jerome says, on Matthew 25:6, “It is a tradition of the Jews, that the Messiah is to come at midnight, as in the time of Egypt; when the Passover was celebrated, and the destroyer came, and the Lord passed over their tents. Whence I recognise the permanent apostolic tradition, that in the paschal vigils it is not permissible to dismiss the people in the earlier half of the night, while they are waiting the advent of Christ.”

Cometh—Not future; for it is an ever-pending He cometh!


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1874-1909.

Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:2. For ye yourselves know, and therefore do not need to be reminded; this itself being, however, the most delicate and yet most effectual reminder. Perfectly literally, with perfect accuracy; and perfectly accurate knowledge on this point is, that there can be no perfectly accurate ascertainment of the date of the Lord’s coming.

The day of the Lord. ‘Neither the day of death to individuals, nor the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, nor in the common sense the end of the world. More truly should we say that the apostle meant all these, ere they had separated themselves from the indistinct future. It was the day spoken of by the prophet Joel, referred to by Saint Peter in the Acts, and prophesied of by Christ Himself’ (Jowett). The expression originated with the prophets, who used it of those times when God specially manifested Himself in judgment.

As a thief in the night. That is, without warning (comp. Luke 12:39; and Revelation 3:3), or when least expected, as described in the following verse.


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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1879-90.

The Expositor's Greek Testament

1 Thessalonians 5:2. οἴδατε, referring to the teaching of Jesus on this crucial point, which Paul had transmitted to them (see Introduction).


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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". The Expositor's Greek Testament. http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1897-1910.

Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible

1 Thessalonians 5:2 “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night”

“For yourselves know”: They already knew the answer to their own question, and they knew it, because Paul had previously taught them about the subject, while with them. “Perfectly”: “Exactly”. Paul knows that he had taught them well. They could not plea ignorance or lack of clarity on this issue. Hendriksen notes, “Sometimes men wonder about facts which, deep down in their hearts, they really know accurately!” (p. 122). “The day of the Lord”:

Premillennialists try to separate the "day of the Lord" from the events previously mentioned in . They claim that the "day of the Lord" comes some seven years after 4:16-17. Yet the reader can see that Paul has not started a new topic in this chapter, for the first verse begins with, “Now as to the times and the epochs” (NASV), the times for what? Obviously, what has been previously mentioned in the last chapter, the Second Coming. In other passages the "day of the Lord" is viewed as the time when Christians are rewarded and not merely a time when destruction comes upon the wicked (Philippians 1:6; Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16; 1 Corinthians 1:8). This same expression is used in referring to the final destruction of the physical universe (2 Peter 3:10; 2 Peter 3:12), yet some Premillennial views have that day being 1000 years from the "day of the Lord" mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 5:2! Fields is right when he notes, “If one did not have a certain theory about what will happen when Christ returns, he would never from this Scripture itself (4:13-5:11) get the idea that two different events were being described” (p. 130).

Thus in the Scriptures we find that the "day of the Lord" will include:

· The resurrection of all in the grave (John 5:28-29).

· The transformation of all living Christians (1 Thessalonians 4:17; 1 Corinthians 15:52).

· The complete removal of the physical heavens and earth (2 Peter 3:10).

· The judgment of all who have lived (Matthew 25:31 ff).

· A day that will be viewed as the "last" day (John 6:39).

·

“So cometh”: “Will come” (NASV) (2 Peter 3:10). Whatever time lapses between now and that day, should never be viewed as lack of determination or inability on the part of God, rather it should be viewed as God"s merciful patience in giving sinners the chance to repent (2 Peter 3:9).

“As a thief in the night”: (2 Peter 3:10). Fields makes an excellent point when he notes, “It is difficult to imagine how the day of the Lord could come as a thief if only seven years before that day all the saints had been taken out of the earth and a period of great tribulation had followed” (p. 131). This point should not be overlooked, for if the Premillennialists are right, then seven years separates the events of 4:13-18, from 5:1-3. Now everyone on the earth would know when all Christians are removed. Therefore anyone wishing to read the material left behind by the popular Premillennial writers, would know exactly when the Lord would return. Thus Premillennialism is found guilty of setting a precise date about when the “day of the Lord will come”. And they cannot argue, “But we haven"t set a date for the rapture, because by their own admission they claim that 1 Thessalonians 5:1 does not apply to the rapture, but an event exactly seven years down the road!

The coming of Jesus is likened to that of a thief. Stott notes, “The trouble with burglars is that they do not tell us when they are coming. It is not their habit to send a warning postcard. The same unexpectedness will characterize the day of the Lord’ (p. 109). Hendriksen notes, “He does not send a warning letter to this effect, ‘Tomorrow, at such and such a time, I"ll pay you a visit. Be sure to hide all your valuables’” (p. 122). Carefully note that Jesus is not likened to a thief in this passage, rather His coming will be unexpected as that of a thief. The phrase "in the night", does not mean that Jesus will necessarily come "when it is night" (I think many make this assumption). "In the night" is an expression that completes the imagery of the thief. If Jesus came at noon on a sunny day, that would surprise people just as much as during any evening or early morning hour.


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Dunagan, Mark. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Mark Dunagan Commentaries on the Bible". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dun/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1999-2014.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

For. Greek. gar.

know. App-132.

perfectly. Greek. akribos. See Acts 18:25.

Lord. App-98.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

As a thief in the night. The apostles follow their Lord's parable, expressing how His coming shall take men by surprise (Matthew 24:43; 2 Peter 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), Matthew 25:6 : cf. Luke 17:31, "in that day;" Luke 17:34, "in that night." The thief not only gives no notice of his approach, but takes all precautions to prevent the household knowing of it. So the Lord (Revelation 16:15). Signs will precede, to confirm the patient hope of the watchful; but the coming itself shall be sudden at last (Matthew 24:32-36).

Cometh. - present: expressing its speedy, awful certainty.


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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(2) Know perfectly.—Or, accurately. There is something of an oxymoron (see Note on 1 Thessalonians 4:11) here. “I need not tell you about the time, for you know to a nicety—not the hour of Christ’s coming, but—the utter uncertainty respecting it.” The word shows at the same time with what scrupulous care St. Paul had instructed them on this topic.

The day of the Lord.—Here “the Lord” (as usual in the New Testament) means Jesus Christ; and this day can mean nothing else than the great day of His return to judgment. The expression is taken from the Old Testament, where, of course, it does not primarily mean what we call “the Day of Judgment,” but the set time which God has fixed for any great visitation. Thus in Joel 2:1, et seq., it means the time appointed for the plague of locusts; in Ezekiel 13:5, generally, any day when God visits His people; in Joel 3:14, the fixed time for vengeance to be taken upon the heathen for persecuting the Church; which, in Isaiah 2:12 (a passage largely influenced by recollections of Joel), seems to widen into a general day of judgment for mankind.

Cometh.—Not merely, will come; it is an absolute certainty that the time is on its way to come. (See Note on 1 Thessalonians 1:10.)

As a thief in the night—i.e. unexpectedly (Matthew 24:43), and under cover of darkness. The frequency of the simile (see references) throws light on the words “know perfectly,” making it apparent that it was the ordinary formula in which the doctrine was universally taught by the Apostles.


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Bibliography
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/1-thessalonians-5.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
know
Jeremiah 23:20
the day
Matthew 24:42-44; 25:13; Mark 13:34,35; Luke 12:39,40; 2 Peter 3:10; Revelation 3:3; Revelation 16:15

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/1-thessalonians-5.html.

The Bible Study New Testament

Come as a thief comes. Sudden, unexpected! This can be understood of: the day of each person's death; the day of Jerusalem's destruction [which was still future as he wrote this]; the day of Christ's Second Coming at the end of the world.


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Bibliography
Ice, Rhoderick D. "Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:2". "The Bible Study New Testament". http://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ice/1-thessalonians-5.html. College Press, Joplin, MO. 1974.


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