1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
I had to look up the word “epochs,” since I’ve never really heard it or used it before. It means a record of time. Essentially, it is a documented event or period. While it is usually used as a reference to history, it could also mean a record of the future, a prophecy. In this case, it could be used either way, since the prophecies were recorded in the past about the future. It could also refer to something specific of the time that everyone knew about and referred to specifically as “the epochs.” Either way I don’t think it matters since they obviously all point to the next point Paul is trying to make: the second coming of Christ.
Here, Paul is discussing the manner in which Christ will return, I believe, as a way to encourage the church of Thessalonica to not grow weary or complacent. How often do we do this? Do we take for granted that we are saved? Do we become complacent in our beliefs? When we decide to follow Christ, it is the beginning of a journey and adventure. I think that sometimes we take it for granted and get lazy. We are called to continually seek Him out and worship Him in the capacity that He created us. However, it is easy to accept the attitude of “well I’m saved, so I don’t have to do anything.” No, we don’t have to, but we get to.
Paul’s explanation here of “being asleep” is different from that which we read earlier. Here he is not talking about being physically dead (or asleep) but rather spiritually dormant. Paul is reminding us not to act as if we are ignorant to the truth because we are aware of what is to come. While unbelievers do not have the knowledge of The Truth, we have no excuse and therefore should not act contrary to it.
Are you pretending that you don’t know the Truth? Are you being dormant, sleeping despite the fact we are to be alert? If you knew Christ was coming tomorrow, how would you prepare today?