The “Day of the Lord”:
1 Thessalonians 5:9- “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,”
A great deal of eschatology centers around this verse. What is the “wrath” which we’re “not appointed to”? Paul tells us in verse 2 that it’s “the day of the Lord”:
1 Thessalonians 5:2- “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.”
Most believers would agree on this. Many popular teachers, however, go on to say that the “day of the Lord” (DOTL) is the 70th week (or “tribulation”). However, is that what Scripture really says? We can find the answer in two verses. Look at what the Lord said:
Matthew 24:29- “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:”
The Lord said that the heavenly signs come AFTER the tribulation.
Now read what Peter said:
Acts 2:20- “The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before that great and notable day of the Lord come:”
Peter (in quoting Joel 2:31 directly) said that the DOTL comes AFTER the heavenly signs.
Therefore, according to the Lord and Peter, the sequence is:
Tribulation–>h eavenly signs–>DOTL.
Therefore, the “wrath” which we’re “not appointed to” is not the tribulation, according to Scripture. On the contrary, it’s after the tribulation.
One more point. Notice also that Paul describes the DOTL as coming like a “thief”. The Lord also described this:
Matthew 24:43-44: “But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the THIEF would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up. 44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”
Most don’t know, however, that the Lord later lets us know when this is, in relation to the tribulation:
Revelation 16:15- “Behold, I come as a THIEF. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.”
This isn’t a verse which is commonly cited in popular eschatological teachings, but notice that the Lord is saying this after the 6th vial, which is immediately before His literal second coming.
So if the “wrath” we’re “not appointed to” is actually AFTER the tribulation (again, according to the Lord and Peter), and we also see that the Lord comes like a “thief” at His literal, post-tribulatio n second coming, then the most popular interpretations of the rapture timing are now in conflict with this piece of truth. However, this understanding of the Scriptural timing of the DOTL fits perfectly with the fact that the only “gathering together” of believers which the Lord ever described is “after the tribulation of those days” (Matthew 24:29-31). Likewise, Paul assured us that we would not be gathered together unto the Lord until AFTER the “falling away” and revealing of the “son of perdition” (2 Thess 2:1-3). He then proceeds to explain exactly how he will be revealed (verse 4), which parallels the Lord’s description of the abomination of desolation (Matthew 25:15).
Therefore, 1 Thess 5:9 cannot be applied to the tribulation.