In this post I want you to read a Terry James argument from his post sited at the end of this article, using the Thief in the night as his proof for the pre-Trib Rapture. I want you to see first hand both sides of this debate.
So first, I want you to consider some questions and verses that Terry does not use in his argument. I will do this to help you make up your own mind on the Rapture’s timing. Here are the things I want you to think on when you read his blog post.
Why did Paul state?:
1 Thessalonians 5:4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; (NASB)
This verse Terry says is talking about the Rapture, and it is. There is no disagreement that this is the Rapture of the church. In fact it is the only rapture of the church. It’s timing is at issue. So — Why did Paul state the above concerning our not being in darkness, if the Rapture is and has always been an imminent unknowable event? An event, which those of the Pre-Trib persuasion have been looking for now for almost 200 years, since John Nelson Darby began teaching it to the church in the 1830’s.
The next question: why does Terry leave out these other verses which I’m about to give you, when he makes “the thief in the night” event to be his proof for the Rapture’s timing? He says that Rapture will occur for us on the Day of the Lord. When you read his post look for this connection between the thief in the night and the Day of the Lord. Then consider these two passages which he omits, in light of what he says, and remember I have no disagreement, the Rapture will come on the day of the Lord. This is what Paul has taught.
2 Thessalonians 2:2 that you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. 3 Let no one in any way deceive you, for [it will not come] unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, (NASB)
So this first passage states emphatically that the day of the Lord will not come until Antichrist is identified presenting himself as God in the Temple. Either the Rapture does not happen on the day of the Lord; or it is not at the beginning of that day as Paul states it to be. Remember Terry says that the thief in the night coming occurs on the day of the Lord, and he bases that on Paul’s 1 Thess. 5 verse; then Paul says that this will not occur until after Antichrist is revealed in 2 Thess 2:3. This revealing of Antichrist will be in the middle of Tribulation, thus you have some who believe a mid-Trib rapture. So what does the next scripture passage tell us, which was omitted by Terry?
Revelation 16:15 (“Behold, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and keeps his clothes, so that he will not walk about naked and men will not see his shame.”) 16 And they gathered them together to the place which in Hebrew is called Har-Magedon. (NASB)
Remember Jesus is giving the Revelation to John, so He said that He is coming as a thief at the time when Armageddon is unleashed. Pre Trib scholars try to tell us that this statement by Jesus is just a reminder to us of His imminent coming, but Paul has just told us that Jesus can’t come on this Day of the Lord until Antichrist is revealed which is midway during Tribulation. So Jesus is in Rev.16, placing His coming for us in a particular segment of time. Jesus teachings are why Paul says:
1 Thessalonians 5:1 Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. (NASB)
In other words times and seasons are clear. Because he says we are not in darkness as to this thief in the night coming. He reminded them in second Thessalonians that he had already told them this. Paul also tells us in Galatians that he was taught by Jesus Himself, and not by the Disciples. So what did Jesus say?
Mark 13:23 “But take heed; behold, I have told you everything in advance. 24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, THE SUN WILL BE DARKENED AND THE MOON WILL NOT GIVE ITS LIGHT, 25 AND THE STARS WILL BE FALLING from heaven, and the powers that are in the heavens will be shaken. (NASB)
Now ask yourself this question: is this a description of His coming as a thief in the night? In fact this is the only coming about which we could not be surprised when it comes. It is His only nighttime coming, for there is no day existing throughout all the earth. No sun or moon can be seen, but only falling stars which are only visible at night. And this coming is the only Surprise Coming for the world, and one which includes complete destruction for those of the world (remember this is a surprise for the world, not us). Paul had learned the timing of the thief in the night from Jesus, just as we do by listening to His word.
Now, go and read Terry’s take on the Thief in the night:
Here is his post and when reading remember my questions and points made in this post: