As a Thief in the Night

The Scriptures sometimes present the coming of the Lord as a thief in the night. Luke 17:20 says that the Kingdom of God comes not with observation, which means the King is not observed outwardly as He comes. It is as a thief in the night. Many Christians believe that when He comes every eye will see Him (Revelation 1:7). But we realize from Matthew 5:8 that it is the pure in heart that is able to see the Lord. Thus, “every eye” is not talking about the natural sight of our physical eyes but the spiritual sight of our hearts. So, only those with the proper spiritual perception will see Him. The disciples had asked Jesus, Lord, how is it that you will manifest Thyself unto us, and not unto the world? John 14:22. He comes as a thief in the night; He comes at a time of anti-Christian darkness.

I Thessalonians 5:2-5 For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night.
3 For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.
4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.
5 You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

The verb "come" in verse two is translated from the Greek word erchomai, and it is not future tense. It is present tense continuous, which means the Day of the Lord is presently coming and will continue to come. Even now there are Christians who are only looking for the Lord to come in the future, and they will always have it in the future. They are like the ones in II Peter 3:4, saying: Where is the promise of His coming? For since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation. They are in darkness, not aware that His presence is ever drawing closer to us. We are in the Day of the Parousia, the Day of the Lord!

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 have not suffered his house to be broken up.

The goodman of the house is the house holder or the master of the house. Every pastor is the master of his church. It is his responsibility to be aware of the Day of the Lord and to prepare His people for the coming of the Lord's presence. We are going to follow this through to verse 51, and you will see that this is exactly what Jesus is saying in these verses. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. You are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. I Thessalonians 5:4-5. The elders in the churches are responsible to know and to teach. But many are saying that the coming of the Lord could take place at any moment. Yet, they are acting as though it will not happen in their lifetime.

Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man cometh (is coming).

As it was in the days of Noah most people are not ready, are not aware of His coming. In fact, many in the churches are not ready either. They have put it in the future. The historical coming of Jesus Christ in the future has become a sacred doctrine for many.

Again, the word "hour" is hora in the original text and refers to a definite time or season. Therefore, the hour is the span of time of the parousia; it is the Day of the Lord from the Day of Pentecost through now. The return of the Lord began on the Day of Pentecost and it still continues. How is it happening? Well, in Acts 1:11 when Jesus ascended, two from heaven said to the disciples: You men of Galilee, why stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen Him go into heaven. How did He go? He was taken up from the midst of His disciples, and when He returns He descends into His disciples, which He did on the Day of Pentecost. If you are His disciple, He is coming forth in you; you are experiencing His parousia.

Matthew 24:45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his Lord has made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?

Oh, so many pastors and elders are unaware of their responsibility to teach and prepare His people. Not only are many of the churches immature spiritually, their ministers are, too. My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. James 3:1. If all the leaders in the churches were aware of the magnitude of their responsibility, there would be far fewer of them.

The pastor must feed the flock in due season. A church's congregation is made up of different spiritual ages. John in his first epistle spoke of ministering to little children, young men, and fathers (I John 2:12-14). The children are in one season, the young men in another, and the fathers in another. The pastor must be aware of what season each is in and feed them accordingly. He must give then spiritual food in due season.

Matthew 24:46-47 Blessed is that servant, whom his Lord when He comes shall find so doing.
47 Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all His goods.

The servant that is aware of the parousia and teaches his people, bringing them into spiritual maturity will be blessed of the Lord.

Matthew 24:48-51 But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My Lord delays 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 looks not for Him, and in an hour that he is not ware of,
51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

How does the evil servant, or pastor, say in his heart that the Lord delays His coming? He teaches the coming of the Lord only as a future event, which ultimately results in him and his church becoming very worldly. Worldly Christians are often described as "drinking with the drunken." They are drunk on the world, numb to things of Spirit. When God begins dealing with the half-hearted ministers, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Peter speaks of this in his epistle: For the time will come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the Gospel of God? I Peter 4:17.

The Lord comes as a thief in the night. The night season is upon those who have put His coming in the future.

Copyright © 2011 by Henry DuBose