A quick overview of 1st Thessalonians.
1 Thessalonians 1:10
and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.
The wrath was already coming at the time when the book was written.
1 Thessalonians 2:14-16
For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out.
They displease God and are hostile to everyone in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.
The wrath of God was coming upon them “at last”. This means it’s “around the corner”. It is however not directed towards the whole world but just the Jews who oppose the gospel from being taught to the Gentiles. Hence it could not have been directed to the whole world which makes up almost the whole world.
1 Thessalonians 3:3-4
so that no one would be unsettled by these trials. For you know quite well that we are destined for them. In fact, when we were with you, we kept telling you that we would be persecuted. And it turned out that way, as you well know.
Paul tells the listeners to his letter who was addressed to that they were destined for this. Not our generation but theirs.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-4
The Day of the Lord
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.
But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
This tells us that the Thessalonians had at that time already know when the “thief in the night” was coming. There was no need for Paul to tell them when he was coming.
In others words, the whole letter tells us the events mentioned in the whole book was about to take place at that time.
So I have a question.
How can the following verses be interpreted to be events that have yet to happen until today?
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Christ is your hope of glory. Not some rapture in the future.