Many of us watching Bible Prophecy unfold are aware that the Day of the Lord will spring “like a trap” or as a “thief in the night” upon those who are not awake and watching. When people are saying “peace and safety”, destruction will come suddenly. Today I would like to examine this peace and safety, and how it relates to dwelling securely, or in a state of “betach”.
Peace and Safety
Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3 ESV
Peace – Strong’s 1515 – is used 48 times in the New Testament. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon adds some very interesting information here. I would specifically draw your attention to #3:
- a state of national tranquility; exemption from the rage and havoc of war
- peace between individuals, i. e. harmony, concord
- after the Hebrew שָׁלום, security, safety, prosperity, felicity, (because peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous)
- Specifically, the Messiah’s peace
- according to a conception distinctly peculiar to Christianity, “the tranquil state of a soul assured of its salvation through Christ, and so fearing nothing from God and content with its earthly lot, of whatsoever sort that is
- of the blessed state of devout and upright men after death
In the context of 1 Thessalonians 5, it would seem that peace could mean a state apart from war, or dwelling in security or safety. These are people upon whom the destruction of the Day of the Lord will come, thus it cannot refer to believers (#4,5,6).
Safety – Strong’s 803 – is only used once in the New Testament. Thayer’s Greek Lexicon states that this word could mean a firmness or stability, or security from enemies and dangers. Strong’s Concordance defines asphaleia as safely, security, reliability. And HELPS Word studies adds in that it is a “firmness that equates to security”.
In the latter years you will go against the land that is restored from war, the land whose people were gathered from many peoples upon the mountains of Israel, which had been a continual waste. Its people were brought out from the peoples and now dwell securely, all of them. (Ezekiel 38:8 ESV)
The word translated “dwell securely” is the Hebrew word lā·ḇe·ṭaḥ, Strong’s 983 betach, and there are 32 occurrences in the Old Testament. These are translated as securely, in safety, carelessly, without care, and with confidence.
From Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:
assurance, boldly, without care, confidence, hope, safely secure, surely
From batach; properly, a place of refuge; abstract, safety, both the fact (security) and the feeling (trust); often (adverb with or without preposition) safely — assurance, boldly, (without) care(- less), confidence, hope, safe(-ly, -ty), secure, surely.
What Does Dwelling Securely Mean?
From the word studies above I think we can clearly connect the “peace and safety” of 1 Thessalonians 5 to Ezekiel 38’s “dwelling securely”. These seem to be referring to the same event – some type of secure, prosperous, confident living, which will be disrupted suddenly and severely by the Day of the Lord.
This year we have seen a marked theme of “peace and security” in the news.
Are we dwelling securely? More importantly, is Israel dwelling securely?
At the time of this writing (April 12, 2018), there is the usual tension between Hamas and Israel and threats coming from the Gaza strip. But more prophetically, there is an interesting focus on Syria. News reports have been pouring in for the last 2 days showing involvement of Russia, the UK, France, Israel, and the USA. Syria should most definitely feel threatened. But what about Israel?
Israel seems quite confident in its military prowess, which is considered one of the most technologically advanced in the world. They are not currently at war. As far as dwelling securely, I’m not sure that Israel can ever dwell completely at peace as long as it falls in the bulls’ eye of satan’s target. But as far as its’ history goes, this is probably one of the times when it is most flourishing.
- NY Post – Israel Has the Most Technologically Advanced Military on Earth (2017)
- National Interest – Israel’s Military Dominates the Middle East for 1 Reason: An Air Force Like No Other (2018)
- CBN – Despite All Odds, Israel Flourishing (2016)
The End of Peace and Security
I believe that the prophetic wars of Isaiah 17 (the destruction of Damascus), Psalm 83 (Israel’s neighbors coming against her), and Ezekiel 38-39 (additional specific nations coming against Israel), will need to flow one into the other. If we are the fig tree generation, there is not time for these wars to occur independently with years of recovery and peace in between. But even more than that, from their prophetic descriptions they all have the same endpoint – the beginning of the Day of the Lord.
When the Time of Jacob’s Trouble (“Tribulation”) arrives, it will be marked all at once by the arrival of widespread war, global earthquakes, famines and pestilences, terrors and great signs from heaven. Collectively, “all these” are the “beginning” of the birth pains.
This is why we scour the headlines on Syria, Damascus in particular. This will be the spark that ignites the point of no return. It will mark the transition from “the end is not yet” to “the end has come”. Now, when these things begin to take place, we look up, for our redemption draws nigh. It will take approximately 7 years for all these things to play out, and true believers will be whisked away in the rapture right at the cusp.
I believe the phrases “Peace and Safety” and “Dwelling Securely” definitively connect the Ezekiel 38-39 (Gog Magog) war with the Rapture of the Church, pretribulation.
Are you CERTAIN of your Salvation, beyond a shadow of a doubt? Do you KNOW that no matter when the rapture occurs, you will be counted worthy to escape? If not, please read What Must I do to Be Saved.
The Bible is infallible. I am not. I am merely challenging traditional models and testing them against Scripture. I believe that traditional pretribulation teachings provide a solid backbone upon which to lay the musculature of details, some of which I think might need to be adjusted slightly. I encourage you to consider my thoughts as you also examine the scriptures to see if these things are so!