1 Thessalonians 5:3 Parallel Verses [⇓ See commentary ⇓]

1 Thessalonians 5:3, NIV: "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 5:3, ESV: "While people are saying, “There is peace and security,” then sudden destruction will come upon them as labor pains come upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."

1 Thessalonians 5:3, 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."

1 Thessalonians 5:3, NASB: "While they are saying, 'Peace and safety!' then sudden destruction will come upon them like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."

1 Thessalonians 5:3, NLT: "When people are saying, 'Everything is peaceful and secure,' then disaster will fall on them as suddenly as a pregnant woman's labor pains begin. And there will be no escape."

1 Thessalonians 5:3, CSB: "When they say, "Peace and security," then sudden destruction will come upon them, like labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape."

What does 1 Thessalonians 5:3 mean? [⇑ See verse text ⇑]

Paul is explaining the nature of the "day of the Lord," a reference to the time when God's judgment falls on an unbelieving world. This will occur after the rapture—a bodily removal of all Christians by Christ (1 Thessalonians 4:15–17). The day of the Lord will catch unbelievers by surprise. They will think the world is experiencing peace and security, but sudden destruction will come upon them, just as labor pain grips a pregnant woman. Unbelievers will enjoy a false sense of peace and security at the beginning of the tribulation, but the peace and security will not last long.

Daniel 9:27 describes the signing of a peace agreement, but it will be broken in the middle of the tribulation period. Further, Israel will feel secure and peaceful when the day of the Lord begins. Ezekiel 38:11 describes her as a land of "unwalled villages." Revelation 6:3–4 describes a rider on a red horse taking peace from the earth as the day of the Lord—in this case meaning the tribulation—begins. Unbelievers will not be able to avoid that horrific time. There will be no escape. The Greek word for "escape" here is ekphygōsin, which includes the concepts of fleeing or escaping. According to this verse, such attempts will be futile.