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1 Thessalonians 5:3

    1 Thessalonians 5:3 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes on them, as travail on a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    When they say, There is peace and no danger, then sudden destruction will come on them, as birth-pains on a woman with child; and they will not be able to get away from it.

    Webster's Revision

    When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape.

    World English Bible

    For when they are saying, "Peace and safety," then sudden destruction will come on them, like birth pains on a pregnant woman; and they will in no way escape.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    When they are saying, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape.

    Clarke's Commentary on 1 Thessalonians 5:3

    For when they shall say, Peace and safety - This points out, very particularly, the state of the Jewish people when the Romans came against them; and so fully persuaded were they that God would not deliver the city and temple to their enemies, that they refused every overture that was made to them.

    Sudden destruction - In the storming of their city and the burning of their temple, and the massacre of several hundreds of thousands of themselves; the rest being sold for slaves, and the whole of them dispersed over the face of the earth.

    As travail upon a woman - This figure is perfectly consistent with what the apostle had said before, viz.: that the times and seasons were not known: though the thing itself was expected, our Lord having predicted it in the most positive manner. So, a woman with child knows that, if she be spared, she will have a bearing time; but the week, the day, the hour, she cannot tell. In a great majority of cases the time is accelerated or retarded much before or beyond the time that the woman expected; so, with respect to the Jews, neither the day, week, month, nor year was known. All that was specifically known was this: their destruction was coming, and it should be sudden, and they should not escape.

    Barnes' Notes on 1 Thessalonians 5:3

    For when they shall say, Peace and safety - That is, when the wicked shall say this, for the apostle here refers only to those on whom "sudden destruction" will come; compare Matthew 24:36-42 notes; 2 Peter 3:3-4 notes. It is clear from this:

    (1) that when the Lord Jesus shall come the world will not all be converted. There will be some to be "destroyed." How large this proportion will be, it is impossible now to ascertain. This supposition, however, is not inconsistent with the belief that there will be a general prevalence of the gospel before that period.

    (2) the impenitent and wicked world will be sunk in carnal security when he comes. They will regard themselves as safe. They will see no danger. They will give no heed to warning. They will be unprepared for his advent. So it has always been. it seems to be a universal truth in regard to all the visitations of God to wicked people for punishment, that he comes upon them at a time when they are not expecting him, and that they have no faith in the predictions of his advent. So it was in the time of the flood; in the destruction of Sodom Gomorrah, and Jerusalem; in the overthrow of Babylon: so it is when the sinner dies, and so it will be when the Lord Jesus shall return to judge the world. One of the most remarkable facts about the history of man is, that he takes no warning from his Maker; he never changes his plans, or feels any emotion, because his Creator "thunders damnation along his path," and threatens to destroy him in hell.

    Sudden destruction - Destruction that was unforeseen (αἰφνίδιος aiphnidios) or unexpected. The word here rendered "sudden," occurs nowhere else in the New Testament, except in Luke 21:34, "Lest that day come upon you unawares." The word rendered "destruction" - ὄλεθρος olethros - occurs in the New Testament only here and in 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:9; 1 Timothy 6:9, in all of which places it is correctly translated destruction. The word destruction is familiar to us. It means, properly, demolition; pulling down; the annihilation of the form of anything, or that form of parts which constitutes it what it is; as the destruction of grass by eating; of a forest by cutting down the trees; of life by murder; of the soul by consigning it to misery. It does not necessarily mean annihilation - for a house or city is not annihilated which is pulled down or burnt; a forest is not annihilated which is cut down; and a man is not annihilated whose character and happiness are destroyed. In regard to the destruction here referred to, we may remark:

    (1) it will be after the return of the Lord Jesus to judgment; and hence it is not true that the wicked experience all the punishment which they ever will in the present life;

    (2) that it seems fairly implied that the destruction which they will then suffer will not be annihilation, but will be connected with conscious existence; and,

    (3) that they will then be cut off from life and hope and salvation.

    How can the solemn affirmation that they will be "destroyed suddenly," be consistent with the belief that all people will be saved? Is it the same thing to be destroyed and to be saved? Does the Lord Jesus, when he speaks of the salvation of his people, say that he comes to destroy them?

    As travail upon a woman with child - This expression is sometimes used to denote great consternation, as in Psalm 48:6; Jeremiah 6:24; Micah 4:9-10; great pain, as Isaiah 53:11; Jeremiah 4:31; John 16:21; or the suddenness with which anything occurs; Jeremiah 13:21. It seems here to be used to denote two things; first, that the coming of the Lord to a wicked world will be sudden; and, secondly, that it will be an event of the most distressing and overwhelming nature.

    And they shall not escape - That is, the destruction, or punishment. They calculated on impunity, but now the time will have come when none of these refuges will avail them, and no rocks will cover them from the "wrath to come."

    Wesley's Notes on 1 Thessalonians 5:3

    5:3 When they - The men of the world say.