Andy Tran

University Seventh-day
Adventist Church

A Thief in the Night


A Thief in the Night

Apr 15, 2016Unlock Revelation

When General MacArthur was commanding the US forces in the Pacific Ocean during WWII, the Philippines came under heavy enemy attack. By order of the President, MacArthur’s forces withdrew from the battle scene. Leaving behind others who wondered what their future would be like, General MacArthur left the Philippines with these words, “I shall return.” Those words gave the people left behind hope, and something to look forward to. Two years later, in 1944, he did return, keeping his promise.

Tonight’s lecture focused on how Jesus will come again. When He left Earth the first time, two angels told the disciples that He would come back the same way he left. The Bible gives us enough information to know how He is coming back, so we do not fall into traps set by false people claiming to be Jesus. Here is what we studied:

We have previously talked about the inevitability of Jesus’ return, from the signs in Matthew 24 (read here) to the events that will follow after. We know that no one knows specifically when Jesus will come (Matthew 24:36) but that as the signs grew more frequent and intense that we would be nearing His return. We know that we are living in the end times and Jesus’ coming is just around the corner! To learn more about His second coming, it would be beneficial to examine His first coming.

When Jesus came the first time, very few were ready. Despite the fact the Bible mentions the first coming over 300 times, the religious leaders and the nation of Israel were caught by surprise. Isaiah 53 says that Jesus was despised and rejected of men. They also misunderstood why he was coming. They thought he would overthrow the Romans and make the nation of Israel a superpower. What he really did was show God’s love and provide a way into God’s kingdom. But when you study the Bible it makes you wonder how on Earth could anyone miss Jesus’ coming!

Yet, the Bible tells us history will repeat itself. Matthew 24:37 says that Jesus’ coming will be like the days of Noah. In Noah’s day, there was ample warning about a flood, yet people chose not to believe it. They thought that it could never happen. And they were caught by surprise! We are given ample warning that Jesus is coming again. How are we going to respond?

When Jesus left Earth, he ascended to heaven until a cloud took him out of the disciples’ sight. As the disciples gazed into heaven, angels appeared and in Acts 1:11 said that Jesus would come back the same way he left. Jesus was taken up into the heavens, so we know that when He comes back He will come back from the heavens. It will be a literal event. He left in the clouds and in Revelation 1:7 we see that He will come back in a cloud, and everyone will see him.

This leads to our next point, Jesus’s second coming will be a visible event. Matthew 24:30 says that we will see Him come again in the clouds of glory. Everyone will know and observe Jesus coming again. Unlike Jesus’ coming, where a handful of people initially saw Him, everyone will see Him come again.

Matthew 24:27 says that Jesus’ second coming will be like lightning flashing from the east and the west. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 we see that Jesus will come again with a shout, and the voice of an archangel, and the trumpet of God. Psalm 50:3 says that when Jesus comes He will not keep silent. We see that when Jesus comes again He is bringing the whole nine yards. It will be the event of Earth’s history, surpassing the most famous events that have ever happened. This coming will be an audible and glorious event.

All of these characteristics indicate that this will not be a secret event. Yet some say that Jesus will come back in secret, and there will be a secret rapture. However, Jesus advises against this possibility. In Matthew 24:24-26 He reveals that many false prophets and Christs (whoa, other people will claim to be Jesus) will arise and deceive even the smart ones. If anyone tells you that He is in the desert or anywhere on Earth that requires effort on your part to see Him, it is fake.

There is a school of thought that says Jesus will come back twice. He will return in secret for those who are already saved and then come again for those who were saved since the first return. As great as this may sound for some people – that they can continue in sin until they notice their friends are gone, then repent – this idea is not taught anywhere in the Bible. The second chance to repent is today, and every day until Jesus comes. We do not know when that will be specifically, but we can choose today to repent and believe. In fact, it is based on this reasoning that Jesus mentions the whole “thief in the night” idea that is popular among many Christians.

Thief in the night
This is mentioned in several places (Matthew 24:42-44, 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 2 Peter 3:10, Revelation 16:15) and is in context to the unknown surrounding Jesus’ date of arrival. We discussed how a thief always has an element of surprise. If you are not expecting someone to rob you, then when it does happen it will not be a surprise. For those who aren’t ready, the day of Jesus’ return is a surprise to them, just like most people aren’t expecting a thief to strike.

What does it mean when Jesus says “one will be taken and one will be left” in Matthew 24:40,41?
Remember this is mentioned in the context of Noah. In Noah’s day there were two groups of people when the floods came, those that were saved and those that were lost. Jesus is saying here that there were two groups of people in the same place with the same opportunities to repent, but the outcome of each group was different. There was no third option here, only those for Jesus and those against Him. Indifference or apathy is a choice against Jesus.

What about the seven years of tribulation?
This comes from a misunderstanding of the 70 week prophecy (read about that here). The 70th week is taken from the prophecy and placed at the end of time. But there is no biblical support of this. In addition, pulling the 70th week away from the 70 week prophecy makes it a 69 week prophecy. 70 follows 69, not an expanse of time following the 69th week.

The devil wants you to be deceived. He wants you to think there is a second chance after Jesus comes again, but there is not. He wants you to follow after imposters who claim they are Jesus, but they cannot match the glory that will accompany the Second Coming. Jesus is telling you these things in Scripture so that you will not be deceived. He wants you to be ready when He comes, and He wants you to be ready today. He is longing to be reunited with you where there will be no more sin separating us from God.

Will you choose to accept that Jesus is coming back in all His glory to take you to his home, where there is no suffering, pain, or sin?





You may also like…

The Book of 1st John

The Book of 1st John

It is not hard to identify John’s message with great ethos regarding the true salvation he experienced through his interaction with Jesus Christ. In this study, we attempt to see what John saw, feel what John felt, and touch what John touched as he handled the greatest gift given to humanity.

read more