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Thread: a thief in the night

  1. #1

    a thief in the night

    Probably one of the top-three quoted phrases in support of a "pre-trib rapture" is that Jesus will come as a "thief in the night".

    But how many people have even bothered to read this phrase in context?

    Matthew 24:42-43 Therefore, stay awake, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what part of the night the thief was coming, he would have stayed awake and would not have let his house be broken into.

    Okay. Here's our setup. The day in which the Lord comes will be as a "thief in the night".

    1 Thessalonians 5:2-3 For you yourselves are fully aware that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 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.

    Hm. Absolutely no mention of anything resembling a "pre-trib rapture". It's just bam, the Lord has come, and destruction ensues.

    2 Peter 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the elements will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

    Here the coming of the Lord as a "thief in the night" is associated with the passing away of the old heavens and earth. That is distinctly "post-trib, post-millenial" if we're using the Revelation as a timelime.

    Revelation 3:3 "Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you."

    Here Jesus is speaking to the church of Sardis, yet look at the context of the Lord's coming as a thief. He specifically says He would be coming against the church of Sardis, not for them. The coming is presented here as a sort of judgment, not a catching away to heaven.

    Revelation 16:15 "Behold, I am coming like a thief! Blessed is the one who stays awake, keeping his garments on, that he may not go about naked and be seen exposed!"

    Note the placement of this statement: it is right after the dragon, beast, and false prophet release their deceptive spirits, and it is right before the gathering of armies at Armageddon. This isn't a "pre-trib" coming. It isn't even pre-wrath. Christ is projecting His coming as taking place sometime during or after this battle of Armageddon. There's no invisible coming to "rapture" the saints.

  2. #2
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    Good post and I agree this doesn't say a thing about rapturing anyone.

    A couple of things though I wanted to point out though:

    Note the placement of this statement: it is right after the dragon, beast, and false prophet release their deceptive spirits, and it is right before the gathering of armies at Armageddon. This isn't a "pre-trib" coming. It isn't even pre-wrath. Christ is projecting His coming as taking place sometime during or after this battle of Armageddon. There's no invisible coming to "rapture" the saints.
    I think if these massive events were happening people would not being saying "peace and security"...image after everyone going through the destructive powers of the beast and false prophet...there would be no peace or security...if Armageddon was going on they again wouldn't' be saying this. So they couldn't be surprised by the Coming of the Lord..and by then they would have heard all the Christians explaining what was going on anyway and to expect Jesus any time. Of course there will be those that won't listen...but it would be really, really hard to ignore those events and the bible.

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

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    Good point. 'Thief in the night' has been understood (wrongly) to mean 'sneaky' like a thief. It is supposed to be understood as 'unexpected/sudden' like a thief.

    Depending on what you pick results in quite a different scenario and left-behinders have misapplied the description in order to teach a secret rapture.

    As you say, the thief comes with destruction.

    I have no problem with a rapture though. Just not a pre-trib, secret one.
    "Your name and renown
    is the desire of our hearts."
    (Isaiah 26:8)

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    You are quite right. Passages about the thief in the night do not refer to the pre-trib rapture. Christ will not come at the rapture like a thief in the night. The theme of the thief in the night is, as it is clearly explained in 1 Thess. 5 and elswhere, for people of the night of the darkness. For the people not expecting the terurn of the Lord, He is coming like a thief in the night.

    1 Thess. 5 talk about "them" and "they", as opposed to "us" and "we" in 1 Thess. 4:13-18 - and that is a very big difference.

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    I think if these massive events were happening people would not being saying "peace and security"...image after everyone going through the destructive powers of the beast and false prophet...there would be no peace or security...if Armageddon was going on they again wouldn't' be saying this. So they couldn't be surprised by the Coming of the Lord..and by then they would have heard all the Christians explaining what was going on anyway and to expect Jesus any time. Of course there will be those that won't listen...but it would be really, really hard to ignore those events and the bible.
    Although I can't get too much into it, this is part of reason for why I connect the Coming with the first-century destruction of Jerusalem. (Aside from Christ's own words placing it at the destruction of the second temple, but it's not like that convinced anyone.) It goes along the lines of what Christ said; When His followers saw the abomination of desolation as imminent (i.e., Gentile armies surrounding Jerusalem, per Luke's parallel), then escape the city, flee the region. We know that millions of people remained inside Jerusalem while the Christians escaped, even when the Gentile armies surrounded the city, then drew back. "Peace and safety" is what they claimed, because they remained in the city and considered it unconquerable, and then the armies came upon them. Christ connects His coming to the destruction of Jerusalem, but He specifically says it would take place after it. Likewise, in Revelation 16:15 He projects His coming as taking place after the armies are gathered to make war; note how the next few verses, 16:17-21, declare "It is done!" and we see the demise of the great city Babylon, which I have consistently maintained to be Jerusalem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Although I can't get too much into it, this is part of reason for why I connect the Coming with the first-century destruction of Jerusalem. (Aside from Christ's own words placing it at the destruction of the second temple, but it's not like that convinced anyone.) It goes along the lines of what Christ said; When His followers saw the abomination of desolation as imminent (i.e., Gentile armies surrounding Jerusalem, per Luke's parallel), then escape the city, flee the region. We know that millions of people remained inside Jerusalem while the Christians escaped, even when the Gentile armies surrounded the city, then drew back. "Peace and safety" is what they claimed, because they remained in the city and considered it unconquerable, and then the armies came upon them. Christ connects His coming to the destruction of Jerusalem, but He specifically says it would take place after it. Likewise, in Revelation 16:15 He projects His coming as taking place after the armies are gathered to make war; note how the next few verses, 16:17-21, declare "It is done!" and we see the demise of the great city Babylon, which I have consistently maintained to be Jerusalem.
    Interesting...

    do you have some historical documents or something that shows the Jews were saying peace and safety when the Roman army drew back? From what I have read before this happened the upper and lower parts of the city were warring with each other...they were far from even feeling safe with each other...so I often wondered how they could be even saying such a thing at all. Especially given Jesus said their would be wars and rumors of wars going on...so why then say people would be saying peace and safety at all? I never understood that...

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

  7. #7
    Partaker of Christ Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Although I can't get too much into it, this is part of reason for why I connect the Coming with the first-century destruction of Jerusalem. (Aside from Christ's own words placing it at the destruction of the second temple, but it's not like that convinced anyone.) It goes along the lines of what Christ said; When His followers saw the abomination of desolation as imminent (i.e., Gentile armies surrounding Jerusalem, per Luke's parallel), then escape the city, flee the region. We know that millions of people remained inside Jerusalem while the Christians escaped, even when the Gentile armies surrounded the city, then drew back. "Peace and safety" is what they claimed, because they remained in the city and considered it unconquerable, and then the armies came upon them. Christ connects His coming to the destruction of Jerusalem, but He specifically says it would take place after it. Likewise, in Revelation 16:15 He projects His coming as taking place after the armies are gathered to make war; note how the next few verses, 16:17-21, declare "It is done!" and we see the demise of the great city Babylon, which I have consistently maintained to be Jerusalem.
    Luke 17:22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
    Luke 17:23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
    Luke 17:24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

    What day (of days) would the disciples, have desired to see?

    Also you say Jerusalem is/was the Babylon?????

    Why would Jesus have wept for Jerusalem, and heaven told to rejoice over her, at her (Babylons) destruction.

    Rev 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

    Why would the earth mourn at her destruction, and heaven rejoice?

    Rev 18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate

  8. #8
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    thief in the night

    I would like to add a point...

    1Thes 5:4 says: But you brethren are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. (a point reiterated in Mat 24:50).

    So, it should be a surprise, it will come as a thief in the night, to the unsaved, not the saved ones. This is also reiterated in Joel 2:9-10, which also reiterates that the day that comes as a thief, is the day the heavens disappear.

    Rev 16:15 is located after all the trumpets and after all the seals, right between the 6th and the 7th vial. This is clearly not pre-trib.

    Shalom

  9. #9
    [quote=moonglow;1970115]Interesting...

    do you have some historical documents or something that shows the Jews were saying peace and safety when the Roman army drew back? From what I have read before this happened the upper and lower parts of the city were warring with each other...they were far from even feeling safe with each other...so I often wondered how they could be even saying such a thing at all.
    Perhaps me specifically timing the "peace and safety" claim on the in-between of the original standing of the armies and their comeback would be unwise to do without specific historical documents, so I admit that in mistake.

    However, we do know that there was an "empire-wide" era of peace, and we do know that the general populace of Jerusalem considered the city to be protected against the Romans, and this peace was what was broken by that Roman war upon the Jews. In a matter of speaking just by comparing the contexts, I would say the "Peace and safety" is a reaction from those who don't believe the "wars and rumors of wars" will affect them. But that would be speculative (though not without credibility).

    Especially given Jesus said their would be wars and rumors of wars going on...so why then say people would be saying peace and safety at all? I never understood that...
    There being "wars and rumors of wars" isn't mutually exclusive to particular people claiming "peace and safety", and it doesn't necessarily mean all people were saying both at the same time. Just for an OT example, consider Jeremiah: He was crying out that destruction would come upon the Jews through the Babylonians. He and people who spread his message would, in essence, be our "wars and rumors of wars". However, a false prophet named Hananaiah was prophesying the exact opposite: there won't be a judgment, the Babylonians won't bring anything terrible upon the Jews, etc. He and the people who spread his message are our "peace and safety" people.

    Josephus (that guy, you know) describes a man (incidentally named Jesus) who, shortly before the war upon Jerusalem began, suddenly began preaching its imminent destruction. He was flogged for this, because everyone became upset at his words, and they refused to believe it could actually happen. (This Jesus did live beyond his flogging, and continued to preach, and was eventually killed during the war, mid-lamenting.) That would be, at the least, a prominent example of people claiming "peace and safety", if at least by the action of silencing those who claimed the opposite; and we don't have any reason to doubt that more examples of the type took place. This would be called "guessing", yeah, but it's definitely plausible, and very probable.

    Also you say Jerusalem is/was the Babylon?????
    Indeed, but that's not the topic of this thread. I'll respond to your questions, but if you intend to go on this tangent, please make a new thread.

    Why would Jesus have wept for Jerusalem, and heaven told to rejoice over her, at her (Babylons) destruction.
    Jesus wept for the lost people in the city, but we rejoice in the vindication that comes from it. It's a "bitter-sweet" deal, as are all victories over the wicked.

    Why would the earth mourn at her destruction, and heaven rejoice?
    We're told why: The heavens, and the prophets and the saints and the righteous who were killed by Babylon rejoice for their vindication. (Note that Babylon is assigned the blame for "the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs" and "the blood of the prophets and the saints, and of all who have been slain on the earth". The only statement in the NT that is comparable to this is from Jesus' own mouth, when He blames the wicked people of Jerusalem for the deaths of "prophets and wise men and scribes" and "all the righteous blood shed on earth".)

    The people of the earth, however, mourn the loss of Babylon because they used it for their corruption and moral depravity, and the loss of being able to "commit adultery" with her. (Again, note that Babylon is called a harlot, and that she "commits adultery with the kings of the earth"; the whole passage from Revelation 17 about Babylon committing adultery with the kings, and those kings turning against her, is found very extensively in Ezekiel 16, which describes Jerusalem.)

    Again, Babylon/Jerusalem is not this thread's topic. I answered your questions because you asked them here, but if you intend to keep this subject going in a discussion, please make a new thread, rather than derailing this one. (Not that you are at the moment, but I'd prefer to say this now, rather than after we've gone back and forth.)

  10. #10
    Partaker of Christ Guest
    [quote=markedward;1970562]
    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    Interesting...

    Perhaps me specifically timing the "peace and safety" claim on the in-between of the original standing of the armies and their comeback would be unwise to do without specific historical documents, so I admit that in mistake.

    However, we do know that there was an "empire-wide" era of peace, and we do know that the general populace of Jerusalem considered the city to be protected against the Romans, and this peace was what was broken by that Roman war upon the Jews. In a matter of speaking just by comparing the contexts, I would say the "Peace and safety" is a reaction from those who don't believe the "wars and rumors of wars" will affect them. But that would be speculative (though not without credibility).

    There being "wars and rumors of wars" isn't mutually exclusive to particular people claiming "peace and safety", and it doesn't necessarily mean all people were saying both at the same time. Just for an OT example, consider Jeremiah: He was crying out that destruction would come upon the Jews through the Babylonians. He and people who spread his message would, in essence, be our "wars and rumors of wars". However, a false prophet named Hananaiah was prophesying the exact opposite: there won't be a judgment, the Babylonians won't bring anything terrible upon the Jews, etc. He and the people who spread his message are our "peace and safety" people.

    Josephus (that guy, you know) describes a man (incidentally named Jesus) who, shortly before the war upon Jerusalem began, suddenly began preaching its imminent destruction. He was flogged for this, because everyone became upset at his words, and they refused to believe it could actually happen. (This Jesus did live beyond his flogging, and continued to preach, and was eventually killed during the war, mid-lamenting.) That would be, at the least, a prominent example of people claiming "peace and safety", if at least by the action of silencing those who claimed the opposite; and we don't have any reason to doubt that more examples of the type took place. This would be called "guessing", yeah, but it's definitely plausible, and very probable.

    Indeed, but that's not the topic of this thread. I'll respond to your questions, but if you intend to go on this tangent, please make a new thread.

    Jesus wept for the lost people in the city, but we rejoice in the vindication that comes from it. It's a "bitter-sweet" deal, as are all victories over the wicked.

    We're told why: The heavens, and the prophets and the saints and the righteous who were killed by Babylon rejoice for their vindication. (Note that Babylon is assigned the blame for "the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs" and "the blood of the prophets and the saints, and of all who have been slain on the earth". The only statement in the NT that is comparable to this is from Jesus' own mouth, when He blames the wicked people of Jerusalem for the deaths of "prophets and wise men and scribes" and "all the righteous blood shed on earth".)

    The people of the earth, however, mourn the loss of Babylon because they used it for their corruption and moral depravity, and the loss of being able to "commit adultery" with her. (Again, note that Babylon is called a harlot, and that she "commits adultery with the kings of the earth"; the whole passage from Revelation 17 about Babylon committing adultery with the kings, and those kings turning against her, is found very extensively in Ezekiel 16, which describes Jerusalem.)

    Again, Babylon/Jerusalem is not this thread's topic. I answered your questions because you asked them here, but if you intend to keep this subject going in a discussion, please make a new thread, rather than derailing this one. (Not that you are at the moment, but I'd prefer to say this now, rather than after we've gone back and forth.)
    Sorry for the derail, but since it was you who brought up, I thought I could reply. I may bring his up in another thread.

    What of my first question:

    Luke 17:22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
    Luke 17:23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
    Luke 17:24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

    What day (of days) would the disciples, have desired to see, that they would not see?

  11. #11
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    [QUOTE]
    Quote Originally Posted by moonglow View Post
    Interesting...

    Quote:
    do you have some historical documents or something that shows the Jews were saying peace and safety when the Roman army drew back? From what I have read before this happened the upper and lower parts of the city were warring with each other...they were far from even feeling safe with each other...so I often wondered how they could be even saying such a thing at all.
    Perhaps me specifically timing the "peace and safety" claim on the in-between of the original standing of the armies and their comeback would be unwise to do without specific historical documents, so I admit that in mistake.

    However, we do know that there was an "empire-wide" era of peace, and we do know that the general populace of Jerusalem considered the city to be protected against the Romans, and this peace was what was broken by that Roman war upon the Jews. In a matter of speaking just by comparing the contexts, I would say the "Peace and safety" is a reaction from those who don't believe the "wars and rumors of wars" will affect them. But that would be speculative (though not without credibility).
    Can you give me a link on that..the empire-wide era of peace when you get a chance? I have problems keeping dates right in my head about these wars...I realize when Roman invaded Jerusalem that was a huge thing...at the same time Nero killed himself...which I think it why the Romans retreated for a bit because civil war broke out in Rome....wars were going on all over the place....but I had thought some had started before Rome had invaded Jerusalem.

    Especially given Jesus said their would be wars and rumors of wars going on...so why then say people would be saying peace and safety at all? I never understood that...
    There being "wars and rumors of wars" isn't mutually exclusive to particular people claiming "peace and safety", and it doesn't necessarily mean all people were saying both at the same time. Just for an OT example, consider Jeremiah: He was crying out that destruction would come upon the Jews through the Babylonians. He and people who spread his message would, in essence, be our "wars and rumors of wars". However, a false prophet named Hananaiah was prophesying the exact opposite: there won't be a judgment, the Babylonians won't bring anything terrible upon the Jews, etc. He and the people who spread his message are our "peace and safety" people.

    Josephus (that guy, you know) describes a man (incidentally named Jesus) who, shortly before the war upon Jerusalem began, suddenly began preaching its imminent destruction. He was flogged for this, because everyone became upset at his words, and they refused to believe it could actually happen. (This Jesus did live beyond his flogging, and continued to preach, and was eventually killed during the war, mid-lamenting.) That would be, at the least, a prominent example of people claiming "peace and safety", if at least by the action of silencing those who claimed the opposite; and we don't have any reason to doubt that more examples of the type took place. This would be called "guessing", yeah, but it's definitely plausible, and very probable.
    Yea I have that same information...or similar on that man named Jesus...

    The Adam Clarke Commentary
    What Josephus reckons one of the most terrible signs of all was, that one Jesus, a country fellow, four years before the war began, and when the city was in peace and plenty, came to the feast of tabernacles, and ran crying up and down the streets, day and night: "A voice from the east! a voice from the west! a voice from the four winds! a voice against Jerusalem and the temple! a voice against the bridegrooms and the brides! and a voice against all the people!" Though the magistrates endeavoured by stripes and tortures to restrain him, yet he still cried, with a mournful voice, "Wo, wo to Jerusalem!" And this he continued to do for several years together, going about the walls and crying with a loud voice: "Wo, wo to the city, and to the people, and to the temple!" and as he added, "Wo, wo to myself!" a stone from some sling or engine struck him dead on the spot! It is worthy of remark that Josephus appeals to the testimony of others, who saw and heard these fearful things. Tacitus, a Roman historian, gives very nearly the same account with that of Josephus. Hist. lib. v.
    *************************
    Ok it does say there that things were peaceful too...so I stand corrected...

    And you are right...when things are going well and doom sayers come along people don't exactly want to hear it...

    God bless
    "People do not drift toward holiness. Apart from grace-driven effort, people do not gravitate toward godliness, prayer, obedience to Scripture, faith, and delight in the Lord. We drift toward compromise and call it tolerance; We drift toward disobedience and call it freedom; We drift toward superstition and call it faith. We cherish the indiscipline of lost self-control and call it relaxation; we slouch toward prayerlessness and delude ourselves into thinking we have escaped legalism; we slide toward godlessness and convince ourselves we have been liberated?" - D A Carson

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Partaker of Christ View Post
    Sorry for the derail, but since it was you who brought up, I thought I could reply. I may bring his up in another thread.
    Nah, it's fine. I realize I brought it up, but I just wanted to keep the main topic on focus if we could help it.

    What of my first question:
    Oh, sorry, I missed this.

    Luke 17:22 And he said unto the disciples, The days will come, when ye shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and ye shall not see it.
    Luke 17:23 And they shall say to you, See here; or, see there: go not after them, nor follow them.
    Luke 17:24 For as the lightning, that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day.

    What day (of days) would the disciples, have desired to see, that they would not see?
    The plurality, "days", refers to the days in which the Son of Man will have already have come; simply, they will have a desire to see the days of the Son of Man, but their desires will remain unfulfilled because He will not have come yet. Jump down to verse 26, and we see what these plural days are: "as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man"; this is followed by Christ's exhortation to be vigilant, and flee the coming destruction of those days.

    I generally interpret this to mean that the disciples would have the desire to see the Son of Man before it was actually His time; this is why Christ warns them against false prophets who would claim He had come at a time sooner than He actually would be.

  13. #13
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    I didn't see it mentioned, sorry if it has. -
    Just a point, those of us who have experienced a thief in the night.. could in most cases all agree on one thing I think.
    "We Knew it had occurred" -in other words, the damage had been done.
    No 'thief' spotted.. but knew it had been there.

    .
    .
    .
    "Let no man deceive you"

    I also am "man" - this includes myself !

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    Quote Originally Posted by markedward View Post
    Revelation 3:3 "Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you."

    Here Jesus is speaking to the church of Sardis, yet look at the context of the Lord's coming as a thief. He specifically says He would be coming against the church of Sardis, not for them. The coming is presented here as a sort of judgment, not a catching away to heaven.
    Hey Mark...

    I do not believe in a Pre Trib Rapture, but what bible version did you get this verse from? I looked it up in my PC Bible Study Software and I do not see this wording, "come AGAINST you," anywhere. I do, however, see that "against" is one of the many translations of this Greek word, "Epi," but so is the word, "For."

    Just curious where you got that verse from...

    Most verses say "Come upon you." Thanks!

    God bless,
    Alyssa

  15. #15
    I grabbed those verses from the English Standard Version (ESV). I checked over other versions like you said, and it does seem like "to" and "upon" are the dominant words. Perhaps the ESV is more direct in giving a translation of "against", but I still get the same sense from those versions that give the word as "upon". (The Holman-Christian version also uses "against".) I checked out epi, and I cannot find "for" in the list of words it is translated as (specifically, for the KJV and the NASB). But I would say "for" doesn't quite fit, because the connotation of the verse is primarily negative (e.g., "repent", "If you will not wake up").

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