A Thief in the Night
1Th 5:2 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.
By Nick Bibile.
Many churches that preach the pre-tribulation rapture loves to quote this verse by saying, the Lord will come like a thief in the night to take his church to heaven. The popular movie, “The Thief in the Night” is a classic view of the dispensational view of the pre-tribulation rapture. But let us take this verse can compare with the other scriptures and see what it really means. The result will be shocking, how pastors and evangelists have put their topics into the scripture instead of exegesis of scripture.
As we know the context is the most important, so let us see the scripture and take the following verses to see the clear meaning. The following scriptures are continuation of 1 Thes chapter 4 which talks about the rapture of the church. Last time we saw very clearly there is no secret rapture and Paul continues in the same topic. Remember in the original writings there were no chapter divisions or scripture divisions but these were letters written to the churches.
1Th 5:2 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. 4 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.
Verse 2) The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. Here we see the Lord’s coming is compared to a thief in the night. The thief will not send the owner of the house a letter with the date and time of his coming but he will come as a surprise, unexpectedly and his coming will be sudden. See Mat 24:43
Mt 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.
The thief always comes when people are unprepared. Who are these people that are not prepared? The unbelievers. His victims are totally unprepared, taken off balance. See verse 3.
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.
See the emphasis of the sentence when it say, “Sudden destruction” This shows they were totally unprepared. We had hints of terrorism but the terrorists never wrote to FBI saying they will attack the twin towers on Sept 11th. We were totally unprepared and the destruction came suddenly. We were living in peace, people were eating and drinking, doing their usual business, when suddenly destruction came. This is the same language apostle Paul is using.
Mt 24:37 But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.
Was it wrong for people to eat and drink, to marry and given in marriage? No. It is a sinful when you neglect the Lord. The Lord should be the center of your life.
1Co 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
What about Matthew 24:40-41
Mt 24:40 Then shall two be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left. 41 Two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken, and the other left.
According to the pre-tribulation rapture the one is who is taken is the Christian and the one who is left is the unbeliever. According to them one is taken in the rapture and the other one is left behind. This is just the opposite what the scripture is speaking. Let us compare with Luke 17:32-37
32 Remember Lot's wife. 33 Whoever seeks to preserve his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life will keep it. 34 I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. 35 There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.” 37 And they said to him, “Where, Lord?” He said to them, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.”
One is taken the other left. One is taken not in the rapture as the disciples asked Jesus WHERE LORD? The question is taken where? We know the others are left behind but one is taken where? We clearly see they are not taken in the Rapture as some preachers put the word rapture into the scripture but, “Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.” The people who are taken are the unbelievers.