Terry James in this post is drawing our attention to the pre-Tribulation and the post Tribulation views on the Rapture. He states: “The defining thing to consider in thinking on the two diametrically different views of the Rapture and Second Coming is wrapped up in the term ‘thief in the night.’”
Terry makes clear that both Peter and Paul use this term to indicate the timing for the Rapture. On this point I agree. He states: “It will be a sudden, catastrophic break-in upon a world doing business as usual.” His reference for this statement is Luke 17:26-29
26 And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all.
Luke 17:26-29 NASB
Terry presents these verses to imply that what Jesus stated here represents a world “doing business as usual”. However what Jesus states here, as the condition existing at His Coming, certainly implies something more than normalcy. For God was ready to and did unleash total destruction in both examples used by our Lord. And so it will be at His Second Coming. Were we to look back at the actual time in question of each of these events we would see out of control sin and total disregard for God Himself. This will also be the condition on most of the earth following the Tribulation. What was normal then on the outside was certainly not normal on the inside of man. At this time man w/o Christ will have been given over to a reprobate mind (2 Thessalonians 2). The marriage and giving in marriage spoken of by Jesus is only an indication of the age in which we are now living, and in which we will live until He comes. It will come to an abrupt close with His coming. To the world this will be sudden and unexpected. To the bride who has prepared herself (Rev.19:7), it will be seen as imminent. In fact this will be the only time in man’s history that His Coming will be imminent (overhanging with nothing else to come before it). If you view one of my previous posts, this condition is fully explained there in this article: Here are the Scriptural Errors that Can Be Found in Just This One Paragraph Of Terry James’ Article, Missing Dave Hunt, posted July 25th.
But back to this post. Here Terry uses additional scripture to impress the “thief in the night” surprise on us. “(Jeremiah 30:7; Matthew 24:21). He says: “This indicates that it will be a total surprise, because a thief in the night doesn’t announce his coming with great, cataclysmic fanfare. The break-in is swift, stealthy–a totally unexpected event.”
So let’s view his last point with the scripture he refers to.
‘Alas! for that day is great, There is none like it; And it is the time of Jacob’s distress, But he will be saved from it.
Jeremiah 30:7 NASB
No surprise here because the O.T. Promises God’s eventual deliverance of Israel from the day of Jacobs trouble. Terry attributes the “day” in this verse as being the Day of the Lord, but it cannot be.
21 For then there will be a great tribulation, such as has not occurred since the beginning of the world until now, nor ever will.
I don’t intend to reinvent the wheel. So to answer this I will refer you to another of my posts:
Alas, you who are longing for the day of the Lord, Nov. 17,2017. You see according to Joel the day of the Lord does not begin until there is total darkness on the earth. Jesus says in Matthew 24, that the sun moon and stars are at this time no longer producing light. The whole earth is covered in darkness. This is the only way He can return as a thief in the “night”. Otherwise it would not be “night” in almost half of the earth. But He will be seen by all when He comes because He is the light.
The day of the Lord is not to be desired unless you are in Him and with Him at His Coming. To many He will say “depart from me for I never knew you.” This is why Paul says: “make your calling and election sure”.
Terry says that this “the thief in the night” is the difference in believing in a pre-Trib versus a post-Trib Second Coming. On this point he is correct. The Lord will not return until the end of the age when there is total darkness or “night”.
Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “ Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. (At this point in time men have escaped the Tribulation only to be utterly surprised by His Coming) But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, (Should you want to see what scripture defines this wrath to be that we escape, see my post: Is The Great Tribulation Really God’s Wrath — is it really the wrath that we will not see? Aug. 11,2017). but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 NASB
No scriptural proof-text in God’s Word more clearly points to the first of the two phases of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming than does the following: “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). We who hold to the pre-Trib Rapture viewpoint are often accused of being deceivers. We are condemned by our detractors as leading astray Christians alive now–if they live to see it–who will be required to endure the tribulation, thus to wash their robes clean in preparation for inheriting God’s Kingdom.
We are castigated for foisting upon innocent, gullible believers a “secret rapture” that will somehow lead these Christians to take the mark of the Beast (Revelation 13:16-18).
I’m not precisely sure of their “reasoning,” but I think they claim this because they are convinced that the ones who fall for the Rapture viewpoint won’t be able…
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