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Thread: As A Thief In The Night, The Real Meaning

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    As A Thief In The Night, The Real Meaning

    In 1 Thessalonians 5:1-9, Apostle Paul showed that the "day of the Lord" will come "as a thief in the night". He showed it is when the wicked will be saying, "Peace and safety", and then "sudden destruction" comes upon them. Paul then mentions how we, Christ's Church, are to remain watching and sober (spiritually), and that God has not appointed us to wrath.

    Men's doctrines of a pre-trib rapture has confused the simple meaning of what Apostle Paul taught there. It is blatant in my opinion, their abuse of the Scripture is without excuse.

    For a very long time, the pre-trib rapture churches have instead taught that Christ's coming to rapture the Church is imminent, can happen at any time, so be ready, because He will come "as a thief in the night" BEFORE the tribulation to gather us!

    Problem is, Apostle Paul and Peter showed that "day of the Lord" they were speaking of will come on the final day of this present world. That truth is especially obvious with Peter's witness in 2 Peter 3:10-12 with God's consuming fire burning man's works off the earth. It is not as obvious by Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5 because of how those on men's doctrines do not study enough of their Old Testament, because that is actually where Paul was pulling from in 1 Thessalonians 5.

    1 Thess 5:1-9
    5:1 But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

    2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

    3 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.


    By "the times and the seasons" is meant the events to occur at the end of this world. At this point in history, what constituted God's written Word? The Old Testament Books of course. Apostle Paul would write the majority of the Epistles of the New Testament, yet when he taught he was pulling much from the Old Testament prophets, for God gave them to prophesy of the events for the end of this world also, and Peter remarked in 2 Peter 3:2 to be mindful of what the OT prophets wrote also. John Darby of 1830's Great Britain who started the pre-trib rapture theory in some Churches must have forgotten what Peter said, and about Paul often quoting from the OT prophets in his Epistles. That definitely appears so with the timing of the "day of the Lord" that Paul and Peter taught, as Darby and et al, have the timing backwards.

    I must call attention also to other doctrines of men that go against the simplicity of what Paul and Peter taught about the "day of the Lord" for the very end of this world. Some will say that "day of the Lord" idea the OT prophets wrote about already happened many times back in history. They treat it like a day like any other day when God gets angry, and destroys various operations of man's works on the earth. But how can those be so vain when in Paul and Peter's day they taught about a specific day at the end of this present world for the "day of the Lord"? It's obvious something is going on with men's doctrines today. They simply are not listening to God in His written Word. And I think it is blatant with many of them. Those who cannot see their butchery of the Scriptures apparently have been blinded spiritually also.


    Here's an example of where Apostle Paul was pulling from in the OT prophets about that "day of the Lord" coming "as a thief in the night", and the wicked saying, "Peace and safety" with that "sudden destruction" coming upon them:

    Isa 13:6-13
    6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.
    7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:
    8
    And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.
    9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
    10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.
    11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.
    12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.
    13
    Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.
    KJV


    Who would think the wicked would still be reigning on earth after that? The simplicity of that prophecy for the end of this world isn't difficult to grasp. On the "day of the Lord", God is going to bring a sudden destruction upon the earth and end the reign of the wicked upon it. Is this what Paul also showed in 1 Thess.5? YES!!!

    3 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.

    There it is, Paul pulling from OT Scripture like Isaiah 13 about the coming "day of the Lord". Notice God said in Isaiah the wicked on that day will be amazed at each other. That's the surprise, the "day of the Lord" coming "as a thief in the night"! That surprise is for them, not for Christ's Church. That timing is about the last day of this world, after the great tribulation. You should easily understand that, simply because it will end the reign of the wicked on earth. The time when the wicked will be saying, "Peace and safety" is the great tribulation time. It's when the deceived will instead accept the coming Antichrist in place of waiting for our Lord Jesus Who will come on the final day of this world, i.e., that "day of the Lord" which Paul and Peter said will come "as a thief in the night" upon the wicked.

    Where did Paul get that, "as travail upon a woman with child" idea from? It's also from the OT prophets, and notice God used it there in Isaiah 13:8. That is applied to the wicked for whom that day will be a surprise. It will be a surprise upon the deceived also who do not understand when that day is. God made the 'when' very simple there. It will be the final day of this present world, when He will shake the heavens, the earth moving out her place, the day of His fierce wrath and anger. It will be the day of His vengeance upon the wicked on this earth. That means of course, the wicked will reign on earth no longer at that point. Our Lord Jesus instead will reign on earth with His elect, as it will be the first day of His "thousand years" reign of Revelation 20.


    1 Thess.5:4-7
    5 But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

    5 Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.
    6 Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.
    7 For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

    That "day of the Lord" is not to surprise us "as a thief in the night". Christ's Church instead are to remain sober, and watching for that day. Those who sleep (spiritually) in the night are deceived, and are as a drunk in the night sleeping. Once again, Paul is pulling from the OT prophets about the deceived on that "day of the Lord" event for the last day of this world. The drunken in the night metaphor is about being deceived concerning the time of that "day of the Lord". The deceived instead will be saying, "Peace and safety" on earth. They won't be looking for the day of Christ's return to gather His Church and begin His thousand years de facto reign on earth. Those on men's doctrines won't be aware of that either, it will take them by surprise also, and their faces will be like flames.

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    Re: As A Thief In The Night, The Real Meaning

    Here are some considerations:
    1. It would do well to define the word "WORLD" that you used often. Do you mean "kosmos", "aion" or "oikoumenie".
    2. The Lord's Coming as a "Thief" is not known to anyone, even the "watchers". The advantage of the "watchers" is not that they know when He is coming, but they are found in the right place and disposition
    3. A "Thief" comes for something precious
    4. Christ, coming stealthily, silently and suddenly will leave the scene silently, stealthily and immediately that He has got what He came for
    5. Christ as the "Thief" will break up a Household that was told to watch. Maybe you can name which "Household" is full of His servants and which will be broken up by His stealthy visit, and why it is broken up
    6. There are NO prophecies that must be fulfilled before Christ's Coming as a "Thief". The prophecies given are for Christ's Coming as a vanquishing King and Warrior for Israel. Thus, Paul, in 1st Thessalonians 5:23 prays to the Lord that the THEN living Thessalonians would be "whole" when the Lord Comes. This "WHOLENESS" is that they would have their, "... whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." At death, a man is torn asunder. His spirit returns to God (Eccl.3:21, 12:7), his body is NOT preserved and molds into the elements, and his SOUL goes to Hades in the heart of the earth (Matt.12:40). So Paul was praying that although some Thessalonian saints had died, the rest would be ALIVE for Christ's coming. That was about 54 AD.
    7. The cause of most problems for Christians is the DELAY of the Lord's Coming. In Matthew 24:46-48 a servant was doing well. Then the Lord delayed. Verse 48 makes the evil servant "THAT SERVANT" of verse 47. It is the same servant who served well until he despaired of his Master's Coming. In Revelation 3:10, those servants who will be kept from the hour of Tribulation of the "Whole earth" do so BECAUSE the "kept the Word of Christ's PATIENCE"!

    These all have to be considered in any exegesis of the "Thief".

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    Re: As A Thief In The Night, The Real Meaning

    Right. I agree that the Day of the Lord is the "Last Day," mentioned by Jesus. It is the last day of the age, and also the day in which Antichrist will be destroyed. The reason the Church is not given a specific calendar date for this day is because God doesn't want unbelievers to prepare in this way. He wants men to choose to live for Him today, so as to *always* be prepared. We do not expect that he could come on any day, but it is our purpose to remain spiritually ready every day, so that we are morally fit for the Kingdom of God every day of our lives. It is the way we are supposed to live.

    And so, we aren't supposed to live by anticipating times and seasons as if we only become godly 30 minutes before a plane crash. We become godly every day so that we are always ready. And that's how God wants us to live, to live godly for the needs of today, letting tomorrow's needs be dealt with in their own time.

    Unbelievers will be surprised on the Day of the Lord's Return because quite simply, they won't believe in Bible Prophecy, and will not recognize wickedness that they themselves have. If unbelievers are flowing with the wickedness of this world, they will also flow with Antichrist, and will not see him as evil. Nor will they see their own complicity with Antichrist as evil. Truly, they will be taken as by a thief in the night. They will not be expecting judgment for things that they have justified.

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    Re: As A Thief In The Night, The Real Meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Walls View Post
    Here are some considerations:
    1. It would do well to define the word "WORLD" that you used often. Do you mean "kosmos", "aion" or "oikoumenie".
    2. The Lord's Coming as a "Thief" is not known to anyone, even the "watchers". The advantage of the "watchers" is not that they know when He is coming, but they are found in the right place and disposition
    3. A "Thief" comes for something precious
    4. Christ, coming stealthily, silently and suddenly will leave the scene silently, stealthily and immediately that He has got what He came for
    5. Christ as the "Thief" will break up a Household that was told to watch. Maybe you can name which "Household" is full of His servants and which will be broken up by His stealthy visit, and why it is broken up
    6. There are NO prophecies that must be fulfilled before Christ's Coming as a "Thief". The prophecies given are for Christ's Coming as a vanquishing King and Warrior for Israel. Thus, Paul, in 1st Thessalonians 5:23 prays to the Lord that the THEN living Thessalonians would be "whole" when the Lord Comes. This "WHOLENESS" is that they would have their, "... whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." At death, a man is torn asunder. His spirit returns to God (Eccl.3:21, 12:7), his body is NOT preserved and molds into the elements, and his SOUL goes to Hades in the heart of the earth (Matt.12:40). So Paul was praying that although some Thessalonian saints had died, the rest would be ALIVE for Christ's coming. That was about 54 AD.
    7. The cause of most problems for Christians is the DELAY of the Lord's Coming. In Matthew 24:46-48 a servant was doing well. Then the Lord delayed. Verse 48 makes the evil servant "THAT SERVANT" of verse 47. It is the same servant who served well until he despaired of his Master's Coming. In Revelation 3:10, those servants who will be kept from the hour of Tribulation of the "Whole earth" do so BECAUSE the "kept the Word of Christ's PATIENCE"!

    These all have to be considered in any exegesis of the "Thief".
    Just to deal with the claim that the Thief timing is NOT known. 1 Thess 5 contradicts that view:
    1Th 5:4* But you are not in darkness, brothers, for that day to surprise you like a thief.*

    Those in darkness will be surprised like a thief but those who walk in the light will not be.
    Now this doesn't mean we can state right now when it will be, but we will KNOW beforehand, because we have already been told what things to expect.
    When the AC is seen then there is 42 months to endure before the end.

    As for the pre-trib doctrine of Immanent return, this was untrue in Paul's day and untrue today.
    One very clear requirement is for the gospel to be preached throughout the world.
    Another is for the 144K to be sealed.
    Another is for the 2W to start witnessing.
    Another is the appearance of the AC.
    The list goes on. Only people who cling to an invented pre-trib will claim such an idea.

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    Re: As A Thief In The Night, The Real Meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by randyk View Post
    Right. I agree that the Day of the Lord is the "Last Day," mentioned by Jesus. It is the last day of the age, and also the day in which Antichrist will be destroyed. The reason the Church is not given a specific calendar date for this day is because God doesn't want unbelievers to prepare in this way. He wants men to choose to live for Him today, so as to *always* be prepared. We do not expect that he could come on any day, but it is our purpose to remain spiritually ready every day, so that we are morally fit for the Kingdom of God every day of our lives. It is the way we are supposed to live.

    And so, we aren't supposed to live by anticipating times and seasons as if we only become godly 30 minutes before a plane crash. We become godly every day so that we are always ready. And that's how God wants us to live, to live godly for the needs of today, letting tomorrow's needs be dealt with in their own time.

    Unbelievers will be surprised on the Day of the Lord's Return because quite simply, they won't believe in Bible Prophecy, and will not recognize wickedness that they themselves have. If unbelievers are flowing with the wickedness of this world, they will also flow with Antichrist, and will not see him as evil. Nor will they see their own complicity with Antichrist as evil. Truly, they will be taken as by a thief in the night. They will not be expecting judgment for things that they have justified.
    God did... give a date for that event, He showed it's the last day of this present world. No calendar date needed.

    And His command for us to 'watch' in His Olivet discourse means just that, we are to remain spiritually sober and watching for that day by the signs of the end He gave us. If those on the pre-trib rapture theory of men don't care to watch, then they go against His direct command to watch.

    Mark 13:35-37
    35 Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning:

    36 Lest coming suddenly he find you sleeping.

    37 And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.
    KJV



    Thus the idea from men's doctrine that to watch and be ready means to just believe and be prepared to fly away is actually a show of ignorance against His command, which again was to do what? To "Watch".

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    Re: As A Thief In The Night, The Real Meaning

    Quote Originally Posted by Walls View Post
    Here are some considerations:
    1. It would do well to define the word "WORLD" that you used often. Do you mean "kosmos", "aion" or "oikoumenie".
    2. The Lord's Coming as a "Thief" is not known to anyone, even the "watchers". The advantage of the "watchers" is not that they know when He is coming, but they are found in the right place and disposition
    3. A "Thief" comes for something precious
    4. Christ, coming stealthily, silently and suddenly will leave the scene silently, stealthily and immediately that He has got what He came for
    5. Christ as the "Thief" will break up a Household that was told to watch. Maybe you can name which "Household" is full of His servants and which will be broken up by His stealthy visit, and why it is broken up
    6. There are NO prophecies that must be fulfilled before Christ's Coming as a "Thief". The prophecies given are for Christ's Coming as a vanquishing King and Warrior for Israel. Thus, Paul, in 1st Thessalonians 5:23 prays to the Lord that the THEN living Thessalonians would be "whole" when the Lord Comes. This "WHOLENESS" is that they would have their, "... whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." At death, a man is torn asunder. His spirit returns to God (Eccl.3:21, 12:7), his body is NOT preserved and molds into the elements, and his SOUL goes to Hades in the heart of the earth (Matt.12:40). So Paul was praying that although some Thessalonian saints had died, the rest would be ALIVE for Christ's coming. That was about 54 AD.
    7. The cause of most problems for Christians is the DELAY of the Lord's Coming. In Matthew 24:46-48 a servant was doing well. Then the Lord delayed. Verse 48 makes the evil servant "THAT SERVANT" of verse 47. It is the same servant who served well until he despaired of his Master's Coming. In Revelation 3:10, those servants who will be kept from the hour of Tribulation of the "Whole earth" do so BECAUSE the "kept the Word of Christ's PATIENCE"!

    These all have to be considered in any exegesis of the "Thief".
    No, those don't have to be considered to understand the simplicity of what God taught in the OT prophets, and which Apostles Paul and Peter taught from concerning the events of the "day of the Lord" coming "as a thief in the night".

    The "thief in the night" is an expression Jesus used to show His coming will take the wicked and deceived by surprise. He compared His coming being like a thief breaking in at midnight. The analogy is a natural one, i.e., the simple idea of a thief breaking into your home. He made it simple so even a little child can understand it!

    Matt 24:43-47
    43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.
    44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.
    45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
    46 Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
    47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.


    How would the goodman of the house know in what watch the thief would come? Simple. By staying on watch. Jesus refers to the individual night watches the Hebrews used, of which there were four two hour watches. Since we're supposed to know what 'watch' the thief comes, it means watching the events leading up to Christ's return, which is what those signs in Matthew 24 and Mark 13 are. They are the Seals of Revelation 6.

    He didn't allude at all to date setting for His coming. If one of His can't be smart enough to realize the signs He was giving in that Chapter are how we will know in what 'watch' the thief comes, then that person may as well make their bed with those drunken in the night that sleep in the night. Those will not know simply because they won't be watching for the signs of the end He gave there. That person is stubborn, and God equates stubbornness as being rebellious.


    This is what those who follow men's doctrines are subject to:

    Matt.24:48-51
    48 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, 'My lord delayeth his coming';
    49 And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
    50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
    51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
    KJV


    Our Lord Jesus isn't talking about the unbeliever there. He is talking about His servants whom He expects to remain faithful to Him. Are these faithful to Him? No, simply because they don't 'watch' for the signs He gave for the end, and thus they do not know the "hour" of His coming.

    Jesus gave us a sign in Revelation to know His coming is within three and one half days. No man knows what date that is, or the hour. One must be watching for the signs He gave leading up to it. In Revelation 16, on the 6th Vial, Jesus speaking to His Church, said He comes "as a thief". The very next verses are about Armageddon and the final 7th Vial being poured out.

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