People of The Living God

Psalms 23

 

Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size

       



AS A THIEF IN THE NIGHT

Randall Walton

  

       “Yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (I Thess. 5:2).

       From the context of this and the preceding chapter we know that Paul was writing about the second coming of the Lord, or “the day of the Lord.”  It is a sad commentary on the “doctors of divinity” who have devised a secret catching away of the church based upon the theme of “a thief in the night.”  The idea of secrecy is not included in this phrase.

       The element which is plainly set forth here is surprise, not secrecy.  In verse 3, Paul says, “For they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them.”  This comes as a great shock, or surprise.  Peace and safety will have become the cry.  It will appear that calm and quietness have at last been acquired, then, suddenly, calamity strikes!

       This corresponds to the words of Jesus in Matthew 24:43: “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.  Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.”  Surprise, surprise, surprise!!!

Watch



       Both Jesus and Paul admonished people to be watchful, awake, alert, to know and understand the signs that would herald His soon coming.  “But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief” (verse 4).

       The people of God should not be surprised when the Lord makes His appearance.  They should be so in tune with the Lord that they fully anticipate and are ready for His glorious advent when He breaks through the clouds with His myriads of angels, not to set up His kingdom on earth, but to judge the world in righteousness and gather His family to Himself (Acts 17:31; Eph. 1:9,10; I Cor. 15:50-52).

       It is no secret that for many years people have been watching for a secret catching up of the church, in spite of the fact that Scriptures nowhere teach such a thing.  The classic passage of verses which are tenaciously clung to are found in I Thess. 4:16-18.  But most of the proponents of this gross error blindly pass over these words: “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven WITH A SHOUT, with the VOICE OF THE ARCHANGEL, and with the TRUMP OF GOD: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”  And this is done in secret??

       This doctrine has its basis in the imagination of a few folks from Scotland in the 19th century.  It is a fantastic fantasy which is being perpetuated by the means of illusory allegories, types and shadows, and interpolation.

       Over the past nearly 200 years, thousands of people have been misled by the so-called prophets of end-time events.  At different times, folds have been instructed to sell their homes and farms, quit their jobs, take the kids out of school, etc., because some master of the mystical had miraculously “discerned” the hour, the day, the month, and the year when the Lord would return and take them up in the air until the great tribulation had ceased.

       A popular, unscriptural slogan was adopted by the perpetrators of this massive scheme: “First He comes for His saints, then He comes with His saints.”  All we ask for is book, chapter, and verse.

Beware of Leaven



       Once a doctrine has been devised, it becomes necessary to back up that teaching with as much “proof” as possible.  It doesn’t seem to matter how much “wresting” of the Scriptures is necessary to bolster the ill-conceived idea; it seem the average person is geared to some glaring gullibility and will accept the teaching as true provided it has a smattering of Biblical sounding verbiage.

       Mrs. E.G. White did this with her 1844 doctrine of the cleansing of the sanctuary.  Charles Taze Russell accomplished his deception in the same manner with his millennial idea in 1914 and again in 1918.  Others have done similarly with all sorts of strange doctrines, all purporting to have had some divine revelation in their understanding of the Scriptures.

       A good example of how far these teachers will go in their mutilation of the word of God can be seen with John 5:28 and 29: “Marvel not at this: for THE HOUR is coming, IN THE WHICH ALL that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation.”

       The modern “expositors” of the word have found it necessary to butcher and distort these verses beyond recognition by inserting a period of 1,000 years.  The HOUR Jesus spoke of, then, has a duration of a thousand years!  Jesus plainly and emphatically stated that ALL that are dead, both good and evil, will come forth in the same hour, at the same occasion.  The only separation which is made is by classification or kind, not a separation in time.

       Thus, in one small instance Jesus categorically refutes both the secret rapture theory and the great millennial myth, both doctrines of which depend upon two separate times for the resurrection of the good and the evil.

       Remember, leaven puffs up, builds, and expands.  It is dangerous and destructive and causes the eyes to become dim.  “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matt. 16:6), Jesus warned, for He was referring to their doctrines (verse 12).  Both of those groups of religionists rejected the teachings of Jesus in preference to their own.  In the same manner, Bible “experts” today are rejecting the plain teachings of Jesus in preference to their own contrived ideas which are leading multitudes of people down a pathway of apathy, disregard of the commands of Jesus, and a superficial profession of Christianity.

       No wonder His advent will come as a great surprise, or as a thief in the night.  The majority are looking for an easy-out, a highway paved with gold, a life of leisure, luxury, and laissez-faire.  The “way of the Cross” has been exchanged for the “way of self-glory”; the Sermon on the Mount has been traded for the litany from the pulpit; the faith once delivered unto the saints has been replaced with a universal health plan; and the voice of one crying in the wilderness has been made obsolete in deference to an entertainment committee.

       There are many things designated in the Scriptures which must come to pass before Jesus comes back.  If He were to return before these many things are fulfilled, then the Scriptures are not true, or else He would be guilty of abrogating His own words, both of which are impossibilities.  Yet, these purveyors of error are telling us that Jesus may come at any time, even before those many events are fulfilled.

       Whom shall we believe, these masters of deceit or the Master of glory?  We’ll take Jesus and His words anytime.  If you prefer the interpolations of man, do so at your own risk, for truth is found in Jesus alone.

       It’s high time to awaken out of sleep.  “They that sleep, sleep in the night,” and He will come as a thief in the night.