Be Ready for Jehovah’s Day!
Highlights From First Thessalonians
JEHOVAH’S day! Christians in ancient Thessalonica thought it was imminent. Were they right? When would it come? That was one vital matter addressed in the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians, sent from Corinth in about the year 50 of our Common Era.
Paul and Silas established the congregation in Thessalonica, the administrative seat of the Roman province of Macedonia. (Acts 17:1-4) Later, in his first letter to the Thessalonians, Paul offered commendation, provided admonition, and discussed Jehovah’s day. We too can benefit from this letter, especially with the day of Jehovah now so near.
Commend and Encourage
Paul first commended the Thessalonians. (1Th 1:1-10) Commendation was due for their faithful work and endurance. It was commendable, too, that they “accepted the word under much tribulation with joy of holy spirit.” Do you commend others, as Paul did?
The apostle had set a fine example. (2:1-12) Despite insolent treatment in Philippi, he had ‘mustered up boldness by means of God to speak the good news’ to the Thessalonians. He had shunned flattery, covetousness, and glory seeking. Paul had not become an expensive burden but was as gentle with them as a nursing mother is with her child. What a fine example for elders today!
Paul’s next words encouraged the Thessalonians to remain firm when persecuted. (2:13–3:13) They had endured persecution by their countrymen, and Timothy had brought Paul a good report about their spiritual condition. The apostle prayed that they abound in love and that their hearts be made firm. Similarly, Jehovah’s Witnesses now pray for persecuted fellow believers, encourage them if possible, and rejoice in reports of their faithfulness.
Remain Spiritually Awake!
The Thessalonians next received counsel. (4:1-18) They were to walk more fully in a course pleasing to God, displaying more brotherly love and working with their hands to meet their needs. Moreover, they were to comfort one another with the hope that at Jesus’ presence spirit-begotten believers who had died would be raised first and be united with him. Afterward, surviving anointed ones would at their death and resurrection join Christ and those who had already been resurrected to heavenly life.
Paul next discussed the day of Jehovah and offered further counsel. (5:1-28) Jehovah’s day was coming as a thief, with sudden destruction certain after the cry: “Peace and security!” So the Thessalonians were to remain spiritually awake, protected by the breastplate of faith and love and by the hope of salvation as a helmet. They were to have deep regard for those presiding in the congregation and were to abstain from wickedness, as we must.
Paul’s first letter to the Thessalonians should prompt us to give commendation and encouragement to fellow believers. It should also move us to be exemplary in conduct and attitude. And surely its counsel can help us to be ready for Jehovah’s day.
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Breastplate and Helmet: Urging spiritual wakefulness, Paul wrote: “Let us keep our senses and have on the breastplate of faith and love and as a helmet the hope of salvation.” (1 Thessalonians 5:8) A breastplate was a warrior’s armored breast protector, consisting of scales, chains, or solid metal. Similarly, the breastplate of faith protects us spiritually. And what about the ancient helmet? Often made of metal, it was a military headgear designed to protect a fighter during battle. As a helmet protected the head of a warrior, so the hope of salvation protects the mental powers, thus enabling a Christian to maintain integrity. How vital that Jehovah’s people wear such spiritual armor!—Ephesians 6:11-17.