Q. As I read the passages in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-6, it sounds like the second coming, and that the church will be here watching. Verses 9-10 sound like passages about salvation only, not necessarily about the wrath of the tribulation. Please help me understand these passages. Do they speak of the rapture?
A. If I read these two passages in a vacuum it sounds like you could be correct, but if I put them in the context of Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians, then you can’t be. In 1 and 2 Thessalonians the focus is the time of the 2nd Coming. In fact it’s mentioned in every chapter of both letters for an average of once every 13 verses.
In 1 Thes 1:10 Paul indicated that Jesus will rescue us from the coming wrath. The Greek word translated from refers to both the time and place of the coming wrath and denotes a physical separation. If you believe the letter has significance beyond the Thessalonians and is meant for the Church in general, then the only wrath that the entire Church can be removed from both the time and place of is the Wrath of God at the end of the age.
The same is true in 1 Thes 5:9-10 where the context is clearly the Day of the Lord (1 Thes. 5:1-2). Therefore we can logically assume the wrath Paul was speaking about in both places is the wrath of God associated with the Day of the Lord.